Celebrated Tudor music to be performed in fine north Norfolk church

Salle Church

Salle Church, water colour by Gerard Stamp. Pictured: Supplied by Alison Young

It has been called the finest historic church in Norfolk, and one of the best in Britain.

And the 15th-century church of St Peter & St Paul in Salle, near Aylsham, will soon resound to anthems from the golden age of Elizabethan and Jacobean church music.

The William Byrd Choir, which is an ensemble of young London-based professional singers specialising in the music of the late Renaissance, will perform there at 6pm on Saturday, July 22.

Their director Gavin Turner has organised a number of musical events in North Norfolk in recent years.

The choir’s programme of Elizabethan and Jacobean church music will be drawn from the English cathedral repertoire in what was a golden age of Anglican church music.

As well as anthems by Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Weelkes and Thomas Tomkins, the concert includes the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis of William Byrd’s Great Service.

The church dates to sometime between 1400 and 1450, and was financed by wealthy wool merchants.

Anne Boleyn has long been associated with the church. Legend suggests that after her death at the Tower of London Anne Boleyn’s body was exhumed and taken to be buried at midnight at Salle next to her grandfather Geoffrey, and even that her ghost has been seen to walk at Salle on May 19, the anniversary of her death in 1536.

Tickets can be pre-booked at the Norwich Theatre Royal box-office, 01603 630000, or at www.williambyrdchoir.com

in association with




Orlando Gibbons Project

In November 2016, celebrating Fretwork’s 30th anniversary, a project of major importance will bring together leading vocal and instrumental performers in the field of early 17th century music, to record a CD of what is widely acknowledged to be some of the finest repertoire in all English sacred music: the consort verse anthems of Orlando Gibbons.

The ‘verse anthem’ is a huge repertoire in itself, a form originating in the later 16th century and continuing into the 18th, and Gibbons stands unquestionably at the peak of it.

His consort anthems will be recorded for the first time in their entirety, accompanied by the early brass ensemble His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, the consort of viols Fretwork and sung by Magdalena Consort of voices: Julia Doyle, Catherine King, Eleanor Minney, Charles Daniels, Jeremy Budd, Samuel Boden, Nicholas Todd, Greg Skidmore, Simon Gallear, Will Gaunt and its director Peter Harvey.

Famous pieces such as This is the record of John and Behold, thou hast made my days have for many a particular resonance due to their association with Evensong in Oxbridge chapels and cathedral naves, and the suave sonority for which their choirs are internationally renowned. But in this project we aim to take a radical approach, following the instruction of contemporary writers such as Morley and Caccini to place the communication of meaning at the forefront, and seeking to rediscover the dramatic essence of the verse anthem, that made it arguably the most effective musical creation of the English Reformation.

In contrast to the familiar Anglican sound of choir and organ, we use the colour of consort instruments and the incisive clarity of specialist singers to reveal the extraordinary rhetorical and poetic power of this music, as it might have been heard in the Chapel Royal and the private domestic chapels of early 17th century England.

The full programme of this project, including preparatory performances prior to the recording, is as follows:

  • Concert at Stour Music Festival, June 25 2016
  • Concert at Early Music Instruments Exhibition, Blackheath, November 10 2016
  • Concert in International Viols Festival, Royal College of Music, November 15 2016
  • Recording, St George’s Chesterton, Cambridge, November 17-19 2016
  • Workshop for choral scholars, Cambridge University Faculty of Music, November 20-21 (under discussion)
  • Publication of presentation score by Fretwork Publishing for project subscribers


For further information, please write to the project organiser
Bill Hunt, 16 Teddington Park Road, Teddington, Middx TW11 8ND
tel. 07717 474263; email: Bill Hunt at Fretwork

Orlando Gibbons Project

Fretwork Consort of Viols www.fretwork.co.uk;

Fretwork Publishing www.fretworkpublishing.co.uk

His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts www.hmsc.co.uk

Magdalena Consort www.magdalenaconsort.com
His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts (HMSC Ltd) is a charity registered in England and Wales (no. 1114376)

in association with