Cambridge's male-voice early music ensemble

Music for the Renaissance Popes: Tickets Available!

Our next concert will be conducted by the legendary conductor Andrew Parrott and feature glorious sacred music from Renaissance Rome. It will take place on Saturday, 23 Sep 2023 at Jesus College Chapel.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c1525-1594) was the greatest composer of late 16th century Rome. He was choirmaster at the Basilica of St John Lateran (the Pope’s cathedral) in the late 1550s when Francesco Soriano (c1548-1621) sang there as a choirboy. Soriano himself went on to a very successful musical career in Rome, becoming maestro at Santa Maria Maggiore, then St John Lateran, and finally at the newly-completed St Peter’s Basilica.

Soriano was also one of the most prominent composers in Rome after Palestrina’s death, and in 1609 published a double-choir arrangement of Palestrina’s most famous work, the 6-voice Missa Papae Marcelli, updating the harmony to a more modern, early baroque style – a version of the mass that is very different to what we normally hear today.

In this concert we will perform Soriano’s version of the Missa Papae Marcelli, framed by the chant for the Feast of St Marcellus. The programme also includes a stunning, rarely-heard triple-choir hymn by Palestrina, and finishes with his most famous motet, Tu es Petrus.

Andrew Parrott is the founder and director of the Taverner Consort, Choir and Players who have recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. He has made over 60 recordings with the Taverners, and throughout his career has been one of the leading lights in the world of historically-informed performance practice. He has recently launched a major book, The Pursuit of Musick, a lavishly-illustrated compendium of musical source material.