The Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch
552 West End Avenue New York
United States
Saturday, November 11, 2017

John Bradley, Conductor


Christmas at the Court of Henry VIII

Missa Tecum Principium – Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521)


Time:              8 pm

Pre-Concert Lecture at 7 pm


Tickets:           $30 – General Admission

                        $20 – Students, Seniors & Early Music America (EMA) Members

For tickets and more information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/christmas-at-the-court-of-henry-viii-tickets-36592925425  

OR call 917-838-4636


To launch their 23rd Season, Polyhymnia, one of New York’s leading early music choirs, will sing the music of Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521). Court Christmases were among the most splendid seasonal celebrations, and one of the few times a year that Henry VIII would have had a hand in the liturgical and musical planning of the many masses and offices. In the early years of his reign, before the Reformation, the compositions of court composer and royal favorite Robert Fayrfax would have figured prominently in the elegant and elaborate liturgies of the royal chapel. Judging from the unusual number of surviving sources, his music was available to a large number of other religious institutions as well, making him one of the most widely performed composers of his day. The early years of the 16th century are those of the young, handsome, and vital Henry, who by all accounts was happily married to Katherine of Aragon. The court was resplendent and sumptuously artistic, with Henry the living embodiment of the Renaissance Man. Robert Fayrfax was the youngest of the composers who contributed to the Eton Choirbook and was representative of the new style of composition that culminated with the glorious music of John Taverner and the inimitable Thomas Tallis.  Fayrfax’s music is intensely spiritual, and the perfect musical complement to the glorious architecture of the chapels, churches, and cathedrals for which it was composed. The concert will also include the antiphon Eterne laudis lilium, composed for Henry’s mother Elizabeth of York, and hauntingly beautiful liturgical chant from the Sarum Graduale.

About the Ensemble:

Founded in 1994, Polyhymnia creates vibrant, historically informed performances of music from the courts and cathedrals of the Renaissance world. Working with museums and libraries, liturgical historians and educational institutions, Polyhymnia preserves and revives masterworks of the choral literature composed in Europe and the Americas between the years 1450 and 1650. Since 2000, Artistic Director John Bradley has been preparing original editions of music for the ensemble in repertoire including numerous modern premiers of works which have remained unperformed since the 16th century.

Polyhymnia’s three concerts are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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