Queen of Hearts (2024)


Queen of Hearts addresses and reflects on queens spiritual (the Virgin Mary) and temporal (Mary Tudor and Anne Boleyn, among others) in a programme of music largely of the sixteenth century, but spiced with two short works from the twenty-first.

Category: Tags: , , , , ,


We are delighted to present our ninth album, Queen of Hearts (2024) which will be released on Friday 28 June 2024 and is now available to pre-order.

Queen of Hearts

About the CD Over the past few years, it has been a joy to delve further into the rich tapestry of musical works that inspired our earlier album Josquin’s legacy. Choosing the repertoire for a recording is a particularly exciting challenge, requiring careful selection of a handful of pieces that weave together to create a compelling story.

Josquin’s legacy explored the cross-currents of texts and the movement of ‘Oltremontani’ composers (from the Franco-Flemish School who came ‘over the Alps’ to northern Italy) as they travelled around Renaissance Europe. As we developed our concert programmes for performance, a new thread emerged: music that connected the queenly courts of Europe. There are several fantastic and beautifully illuminated sources containing music written for these courts, and many of them are preserved in the United Kingdom.

On this album, we explore music that venerates the Virgin Mary—the ‘regina caelorum’—and that memorializes her terrestrial counterparts, highlighting the interwoven lives of Anne of Brittany, Margaret of Austria, and—in England—Anne Boleyn and Mary Tudor. We feature works which build new upon old, in particular a number of motet-chansons where sacred Latin texts are presented alongside contemporary courtly concerns in the vernacular. Just as medieval Catholic liturgy appropriated the Song of Songs to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary, motet-chansons allowed court composers to work Song of Songs texts into secular music for the court, blurring the distinction between heavenly and earthly queens.

The concluding piece in our programme is the remarkable Ego flos campi by Clemens non Papa, composed for seven voices. Recording this work was a poignant moment for the ensemble, as it was the last track we recorded with our outgoing bass, Samuel Mitchell, who has been with us for seven years. It was wonderful to have Alasdair Austin with us to complete the line-up. We have thoroughly enjoyed putting together this collection, and our particular thanks go to Guy James for his work researching and preparing editions of the music. I hope we have captured something of the intrigue and excitement we feel when singing this repertoire, and look forward to how this programme might develop in the coming years. Owain Park © 2024


Sub tuum praesidium  Antoine Brumel 

Praeter rerum seriem  Josquin des Prez

Plaine d’ennuy / Anima mea  Loyset Compère

Mille regretz  Josquin des Prez

Sicut lilium inter spinas  Antoine Brumel 

Secretz regretz  Pierre de La Rue

Quis dabit oculis?  Constanzo Festa 

Prière pour Marie  Owain Park 

Du tout plongiet / Fors seulement  Antoine Brumel 

Ista est speciosa  Antonius Divitis 

Tota pulchra es  Jean Mouton

Salve regina  Jean L’héritier

Plaisir n’ai plus Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade

De tous regretz  Jean Mouton

Fors seulement  Antoine de Févin

Consommo la vita mia  Johannes Prioris

Tous les regretz  Nicolas Gombert

Ego flos campi a 7  Jacobus Clemens non Papa