Performance Thursday, April 9, 2015 | 7:30 PM


Music for the Tudor Queens

Weill Recital Hall
Pomerium, “a driving force for performances of Renaissance polyphony” (The Washington Post), sings music from the reigns of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, one of the most turbulent periods in English history. Composers at Mary Tudor’s court wrote music that was stunningly ornate, based on chants grounded in Catholic liturgy. Elizabeth I outlawed Catholicism and favored a leaner style, but much brilliant music was written during her reign. Ecstatic motets and ethereal movements from the Mass, including sections from Tallis’s elaborate Missa Puer natus est nobis, are featured.

Part of Salon Encores.


  • Pomerium
    Alexander Blachly, Director


    For Mary Tudor (reigned 1553–1558):
  • TALLIS "Te lucis ante terminum"
  • TALLIS "Salvator mundi"
  • TALLIS Gloria: Missa Puer natus est nobis
  • SHEPPARD "In manus tuas Domine"
  • TALLIS Sanctus: Missa Puer natus est nobis
  • R. WHITE "Regina caeli laetare"
  • TALLIS Agnus Dei: Missa Puer natus est nobis
  • For Elizabeth I (reigned 1558–1603):
  • BYRD "Christe, qui lux es et dies"
  • TALLIS "In jejunio et fletu"
  • TALLIS "Derelinquat impius"
  • BYRD "O lux, beata Trinitas"
  • BYRD WILLIAM BYRD "In resurrectione Tua"
  • BYRD WILLIAM BYRD "Haec dies"
  • Reminiscences of the 16th Century:
  • PURCELL Fantasy Upon One Note, Z. 745 (set to text by Richard Crashaw)
  • PURCELL Fantasy No. 7 in C Minor, Z. 738 (set to text by John Donne)

  • Encore:
  • BYRD "Haec Dies"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Pomerium

    Founded by Alexander Blachly in New York in 1972 to perform music composed for the famed chapel choirs of the Renaissance, Pomerium derives its name from the title of a treatise by 14th-century music theorist Marchettus of Padua. In the introduction, Marchettus explains that his Pomerium (literally, "garden") contains the fruits and flowers of the art of music. Widely known for its interpretations of Dufay, Ockeghem, Josquin, Palestrina, Lassus, and Gesualdo, the modern Pomerium is currently recording a series of compact discs of the masterpieces of Renaissance a cappella choral music; the 14th recording of this series, A Voice in the Wilderness: Mannerist Motets of the Renaissance, was released on the Old Hall Recordings label in 2012. Pomerium's most recent CD, Music for the Tudor Queens, was released in February 2015. Visit for more information.

    Alexander Blachly

    Alexander Blachly has been active in early music as both performer and scholar since 1972. He earned his postgraduate degrees in musicology from Columbia University, and is a recipient of the Noah Greenberg Award given by the American Musicological Society to stimulate historically aware performances and the study of historical performing practices. Prior to assuming the post of director of choral music at the University of Notre Dame in 1993, Mr. Blachly taught early music and directed collegia musica at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, Rutgers University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where for eight years he directed the a cappella  ensemble Ancient Voices. For 14 years, Mr. Blachly directed a summer workshop in Renaissance a cappella  performance sponsored by the Syracuse (New York) Schola Cantorum; he has also been on the faculties of the Oberlin Conservatory Baroque Performance Institute, the Amherst Early Music Festival, and Pinewoods Camp Early Music Week. In addition to Pomerium, Mr. Blachly directs the University of Notre Dame Chorale and Festival Orchestra.

    More Info


Orlando De Lassus's Ave Verum Corpus
Old Hall Recordings

At a Glance

Queen Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, ruled England for only five years, but they were good years for music. Mary’s first priority was the restoration of the Catholic Church, recently outlawed by her father and younger brother in favor of the new Church of England. Considering music to be an important part of the restoration, Mary encouraged composers to write elaborate sacred music similar in style to the monumental English works from the late 15th and early 16th centuries—works as different as possible from the simplified music for the Church of England composed in the years immediately preceding her reign. Upon Mary’s death, Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne. She, like Mary, was a fine musician, much enamored of the sacred works by Tallis, White, and the young William Byrd. As a Protestant, she officially catered to the Protestant ethic of uncomplicated music for churches throughout the realm, but for her private enjoyment she commissioned Latin works in a far richer style.

Program Notes


An Introduction to Before Bach

Before Bach
This performance is part of Before Bach, and Early Music Vocal.

Part of