When David Heard – Weelkes

I love the compositions of Thomas Weelkes. He must have been a real pain to be around, because he could do so much as a composer.

Today he is remembered as the most prolific anglican composer of his time, but his repertoire is steadily falling into obscurity as some of the theology behind his texts loses appeal. The difficulties associated with 6 part polyphony aside, Weelkes is just not being performed as often. This is a shame, he wrote some of the best music we have on some texts. In particular Hosanna to the Son of David, When David Heard, I Heard a Voice, and Lord, to thee I make my moan, are all really fine compositions.

This piece you’re going to hear is considered one of his best, but there are compositional elements from Give the King thy Judgements and A Remembrance of my friend Thomas Morley in there. It was quite common back then to repeat yourself once in a long while. There are plenty of examples of that in Lassus, Victoria, and (cough cough) Bach.

So this composition was on my bucket list of years but chances were rare i would ever get to perform it, so I was thrilled when I got to do this. The choir you are listening to is the Elora Festival Singers, one of Canada’s best, that I was lucky enough to conduct for a whole week in January this year as part of the conductors symposium of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. What a unique experience that was.

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