Radio Interview 11/5/13

Radio Interview 11/5/13

CamFM: The Classical Hour

Hosted by Alan Bowman & Alice Buckley

Hear Xann talk about where/how she got started, what inspires her, what she’s up to now and and exciting sneak peek of Concanenda’s forthcoming album, Bright Shadows!


Agnus Dei [Missa Puer Natus Est]


Agnus Dei [Missa Puer Natus Est]

by Thomas Tallis

Sung by Stile Antico 

Listen Here:


What To Listen For:

1:22 – the gentle movement of the high soprano voice

4:10 – the build up to the ending of this section, you can really feel the pull to the end of the phrase. With a slight swell, the effect (at 4:41) is glorious. Tallis allows us a moment to feel that we are apart of the unified ‘us’ in the text.

6:14 –  qui tollis peccata, is layered elegantly by the sopranos passing back and forth between the two voice parts.

6:42 – the voices of the choir soften to prepare for the slight build up at 7:01.

7:55 – final surge of volume to bring us to our final arrival point: ‘pacem’. And a sense of conclusiveness and calm is acheived in the clarity of their last chord.

[Latin] Text:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.


Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

Lamb of God, you who take away the sings of the world, grant us peace. 


Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 1585) is an English composer, renown for his expertise in early English church music.

He is most recognized for his position in the Royal court from 1543, under the reign of King Henry VIII, through to Tallis’s death in 1585 under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, as composer in residence and Gentleman of the Chapel Royal.

His talents are highly renown for his adaptive compositional style to the musical and religious demands of his commissioner, which in the time of the House of Tudor was a most impressive feat, given the struggle of The Church of England between Protestantism and Catholicism. He was also teacher to a likewise respected composer: William Byrd.

The Puer natus est Mass SSAATBB composed by Tallis and subsequently reconstructed and edited by Sally Dunkley and David Wulstan.

Most Notable Works:

Spem in Alium

Te Deum

If Ye Love Me

O Sacrum Convivium



Stile Antico




The Story So Far . . .

Living in Cambridge and studying the MMus course has placed me at the centre of a whirlwind of choral music. There’s the option of an evensong every night, the pick of some of the world’s best choirs, a gold mine of beautiful, unique chapels and engaging people full of enthusiasm, creativity and experience. And for those of you who know me well, you’ll know that this is my kind of heaven … (a Xannsta’s Paradise?)

But it didn’t feel like enough to just soak it all in without giving anything back. I put on a one-off Christmas concert in Trinity College Chapel at the end of November (because that’s when Christmas is celebrated in Cambridge!). The project grew from there. I was convinced that there was real potential in the atmosphere we’d created and spent most of December formulating a plan for a new choir: Concanenda.

It took a lot of work. Take, for example, the name. You’d think it’d be simple – but no. We took a roomful of frustrated academics: me, a Classicist, a Literature student, a Law graduate and… a Chemical Engineer. Four hours, twenty tacos and a raspberry cheesecake later, we’d come up with “Concanenda”, meaning, in Latin, “what must be sung together.” Step one, complete.

From there everything else fell into place. Three months later, we’ve got ourselves an album full of exciting contemporary choral music, including two commissioned pieces, and I can’t wait for you to hear it. Watch this space for weekly blog posts filled with resources, album updates and choral shenanigans!

Love, Xann