Blue Heron undertakes a 5-CD recording project of Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks
Blue Heron has undertaken a recording project of international musical significance: a five-disc series of Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks – a glorious collection of music from the golden age of English church music by the greatest composers working in England c. 1510-1540.
Copied in 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral, the Peterhouse partbooks are the largest and most important extant source of English sacred music from before the Reformation, but the repertoire has gone largely unsung, unheard, and unregarded due to the disappearance, centuries ago, of one of the five partbooks and parts of another. This situation has now been remedied by the English musicologist Nick Sandon, who has devoted the greatest part of his professional life to the Peterhouse music and has published brilliant and idiomatic reconstructions of nearly all of the incomplete music, which includes otherwise unknown masses, Magnificats, and votive antiphons by justly celebrated figures such as Hugh Aston, Nicholas Ludford, Thomas Tallis, and John Taverner, as well as superb works by virtually forgotten composers such as Richard Pygott, Robert Jones, and John Mason.
Blue Heron has been involved with the Peterhouse repertoire since its founding in 1999 and is deeply steeped in the particularities of its richly melismatic style. The ensemble is thus ideally suited to act as an ambassador on behalf of this wonderful music, and Dr. Sandon has joined Blue Heron as an advisor to the project.
The 5-CD set will surely help restore the Peterhouse repertoire to the central position in music history and in concert life that it merits. Blue Heron's first release in the series met with international acclaim. Volume 2 will be released in spring 2012 and the remaining three CDs will be issued over the next few years.
This is an expensive and ambitious undertaking and we are creating a special fund that will support the entire 5-CD project. Those interested in contributing to the fund should contact John Yannis to discuss our plans.