Harmonies of heaven and earth

A concert of music for voices performed by luminatus vocal ensemble

Harmonies of heaven and earth

Harmonies of heaven and earth

Cipriano de Rore (1515-1565) Ad te levavi oculos meos

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603) Kyrie Missa Ad te levavi oculos meos

Pedro de Cristo (1545-1618) O Magnum Mysterium

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603) Gloria Missa Ad te levavi oculos meos

Ippolito Baccusi (1550-1609) Salve regina

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603) Benedictus and Sanctus Missa Ad te levavi oculos meos

Sebastian de Vivanco (1551-1622) O Domine Jesu Christe

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603) Agnus Dei Missa Ad te levavi oculos meos

Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623) ‘O Lord arise’

William Byrd (1540-1623) Ave Maria

Melissa Dunphy (b1980) Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for St Paul’s Burlingame

Ghislaine Reece-Trapp (b1992) ‘Mass for the mystery of faith’

Eleanor Daley (b1955) ‘O ye who taste that love is sweet’


The Bach St John Passion

The St John Passion was written during Bach’s first year as director of church music in Leipzig and first performed in 1724, at Good Friday vespers at the St Nicholas Church.

The piece falls into two halves, probably intended to flank a sermon. The libretto narrates the story of the passion as told in the St John gospel. The emotional impact is enhanced by a series of arias which reflect on the story. A series of chorales and choruses add to the drama,

Bach revised the piece in 1725, 1730, and 1749, adding several movements, and some of this material subsequently appeared in the St Matthew Passion.

The travels and music of Tiburtio Massaino


Massaino was probably born in Cremona around 1550. Little else is known about the Massaino family, except that he had a brother named Luke, head of the Venetian soldiers in Crete. Massaino entered the Augustinian order of the Aelongsian Eremitani, probably in the Piacenza convent of Santa Lorenzo at a young age and by 1571 was in Rome, in charge of the musicorum praefectus in Santa Maria del Popolo. Massaino appears to have met Paolo Orsini in Venice, as well as two other Augustinian musicians, Ludovico Zacconi and Ippolito Baccusi. In 1579 he was commissioned to curate a collection of madrigals to celebrate the wedding of Bianca Capello and Francesco de’ Medici. This included pieces by Massaino, as well as Claudio Merulo, Baldassarre Donati, Orazio Vecchi, Philippe de Monte and Alessandro Striggio. In the following years the Massaino worked in the Venetian Republic and then the Duchy of Milan at Lodi. In 1580 he produced a second book of the Sacri cantus quinque paribus vocibus. During the middle of 1585 he was given a three year contract as master of the chapel of the cathedral of Salò. The contract, however, was dissolved in advance, and Massaino temporarily went to Constantinople.

In mid-1587 he published a third book of madrigals for five voices and the Secundus liber missarum quinque vocibus. He then seems to have worked in Salzburg as a cantor and master of chapel music at the court of Archduke Ferdinand II. Massaino was accused of having attempted to attract singers from Innsbruck to Salzburg and, in October 1591, was also accused of sodomy and given a prison sentence. Massaino travelled to Prague where he met, amongst others, Philippe de Monte and dedicated to him the Liber primus cantionum ecclesiasticarum. He subsequently appears to have struggled to find a permanent job and returned to Italy, where he worked in Cremona. In the years 1598-99 he was a choirmaster in Piacenza. Around 1600 he took on a similar assignment at the cathedral of Lodi, but after 1609 there is no news of his location.

In his lifetime Massaino travelled very widely and published thirty four musical collections, a large number compared to contemporary composers. He came into contact with a wide range of music, and this is reflected within a music which extended towards an early Baroque style. He wrote numerous sacred pieces, as well as a large collection of madrigals and two sets of canzonas. The O Beata Virgo Maria is a setting of a text which uses a sermon of Fulbert of Chartres. It has six distinct sections, which utilise a range of vocal forces.

New CD released February 2024

Our new CD, O Beata Virgo Maria, features previously unrecorded music by Tiburtio Massaino, Francesco Guerrero, Cecilia McDowall, Melissa Dunphy and Kerensa Briggs.

Much of the repertoire has a Marian theme and includes a setting of O Beata Virgo Maria by Massaino. This is in six sections, with shifts in vocal forces, texture and style. It is based on an original text by Fulbert of Chartres. You can see a glimpse of the first section here:

You can purchase the CD here.