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St Machar Cathedral

St Machar’s Cathedral   Music for May 2022.

As we progress through the season of Easter, so the music will reflect the joyousness of the season. The Introits during this month will be taken from The St Machar Songbook – a commission from the American composer Sarah Rimkus, who was a former Choral Scholar at the Cathedral. The texts are taken from the Office for St Machar as printed in the first printed book in Scotland - the Aberdeen Breviary - compiled by Bishop Elphinstone, founder of the University of Aberdeen, and a former Bishop here at the Cathedral. Each of the four pieces takes the form of a canon, where the initial voice is answered by its own repetition. Other music is taken from our usual wide range of historical periods, with Tudor music by Byrd and Mudd, romantic music by Stanford and Fauré, and a motet written specially for us by Philip Moore, formerly the Director of Music and Organist of York Minster.

The organ music this month is based on the works of Antonio de Cabezon – the leading Spanish composer, whose works are not so well known as they perhaps might be.  He was a major figure in his time - royal court organist and chamber musician to Isabella of Portugal, the wife of Emperor, Charles V. When the Emperor named his son Philip as regent, Cabezon became Organist to his Chapel and travelled widely, visiting England in 1554, for the marriage of Philip and Mary Tudor. His works remain significant, and some judge, superior, to many other contemporary keyboard composers.  A contemporary poet, Aloso de Morales, described his music as: ’the sweetest harmony of the spheres [which] uplifted the souls to heavenly heights.’

1. Sunday May 1

Music before the Service:  Tiento del primer tono                                A. de Cabezon (1510-1566)

I: Praise, O ye servants of the Lord:                                                  Sarah Rimkus (b.1990)

A: Jubilate (Service in B flat)                                                             C.V.Stanford (1852-1924)

Music for Contemplation: Verso 1 del 8o Tono de Magnificat                 A. de Cabezon

Music after the Service: Obra de 8o Tono, medio registro,                    Anon (17th.cent)

Mano izquierda


2. Sunday May 8.

Music before the Service:    Tiento del cuarto tono                              A.de Cabezon (1510-66)

I: Blessed is the one                                                                        Sarah Rimkus (b.1990)
A: Let thy merciful ears, O Lord                                                        T. Mudd (fl.1577-1590)

Music for Contemplation: Verso 2 del 8oTono de Magnificat                  A.de Cabezon

Music after the Service: Con moto maestoso (Sonata 3)                      F.B.Mendelssohn (1809=47)


3. Sunday May 15

Music before the Service: Tiento dal quinto tono                                 A. de Cabezon (1510-66)

I: Make a joyful noise                                                                       Sarah Rimkus (b1990)

A: Cantique de Jean Racine                                                               G.Fauré (1845-1924)

Music for Contemplation: Verso 3 del 8o Tono de Magnificat                 A. de Cabezon

Music at the end of the Service: Tiento de medio registro de                F.C de Arauxo (c.1572-1654)

Baxon de 1o Tono


4. Sunday May 22

Music before the Service: Tiento del sexto tono                                  A.de Cabezon (1510-66)

I: Lord, who shall abide                                                                    Sarah Rimkus (b.1990)

A: Put thou thy trust in the Lord                                                       Philip Moore(.1943)

Music for Contemplation: Verso 4 del 8o Tono de Magnificat                 A.de Cabezon

Music after the Service: Registro baixo do 1o Tono                              S.A de Heredia (1561-1627)


5. Sunday May 29

Music before the Service: Tiento del Quinto tono                                  A.de Cabezon (1510-66)

I: God be merciful unto us                                                                 Sarah Rimkus (b.1990)

A: Kyrie (Mass in Four parts)                                                             W.Byrd (1540-1623)

Music for Contemplation: Verso 5 del 8o Tono de Magnificat                  A.de Cabezon

Music for Communion: Agnus Dei                                                       W.Byrd.

Music after the Service: Tiento sobre Cum Sancto Spiritu                      A.de Cabezon.


(RBW 27.4.2022)