Another top-notch session

I don’t know about you, but every session of PDtP seems to me to be just a bit better than the last.

Perhaps it’s because we are getting used to singing with one another, or maybe it’s simply because we are drinking ever increasing amounts of beer. Whatever the reason, I’m just glad that we all enjoy PDtP in all its strange glory.

Highlights for me were the Josquin Allegez Moy, along with the L’Héritier Nigra sum and the Jacquet de Mantua Veni dilecte mi, though special mention must also go to the diri-dontastic Lassus Matona mia cara; use the comments box below to let me know which numbers stood out for you.

Thanks again to all who came and I hope to see you at the next session.

Speaking of which:

Please sign up here (it really helps me to plan the set-list if you do!) and don’t forget to tell your friends. It will be our last session of the season as we’ll be taking a break over the summer so let’s make it the best one yet!



Double-check your sheet music for PDtP 10

Hi all

Might be worth double-checking that you have all the sheet music for tonight’s session and that it has all downloaded intact.

I made a later addition of Morley’s April Is in My Mistress’s Face as it’s a nice little ice-breaker but you may have missed this if you grabbed the sheet music early on; here’s the direct link if you need it.

See you all later.


Some of the delights that await you at Monday’s PDtP

Hope you are looking forward to Monday’s PDtP; don’t forget that in addition to the amazing music, real ale is only £3 a pint!

Some highlights on the set-list front

If there was one number that you could taken even a brief look at beforehand, then it should be this one, not so much for the notes but the words:

(If you don’t speak Italian then you can spare yourself a shock by not looking up a translation of the scandalous text.)


Another slightly bawdy number with a couple of tricky bits is this one:

However, I am sure we will busk our way through it as we usually do.


We don’t often get to sing French music at PDtP, perhaps as a result of Anthony G. Petti’s notes in The French School for 4 Voices (Chester Motets Series): ‘The plain fact is that there is a dearth of really good [French] composers with a large output in this field [sacred motets]’

What a way to sell a book of French sacred motets!

However, even Petti acknowledges the greatness of Jean L’Héritier, which is amply illustrated in this motet:

Note that we will experiment with some musica ficta on the night with this one; your sheet music highlights some notes to be sharpened, which should result in some glorious false relations!


A slightly longer but utterly sublime piece is this extended chanson by Matthaeus Pipelare, a contemporary of Josquin’s.

It’s hypnotically beautiful and spell-binding in its simplicity; really looking forward to singing this one. (Altos, you’ll be singing Tenor 1.)


Other highlights for me are 2 more Song of Songs motets, one by another Frenchman, Jacquet de Mantua, and the other by another Josquin peer, Noel Bauldeweyn.

Neither has a handy youtube video to listen to but here are the midi files in case they are of use:

Jacquet de Mantua – Veni, dilecte mi

Bauldeweyn – Quam pulchra es


Two final notes: in the 5 part motets (Nigra sum & Veni in hortum meum), Baritones/1st Basses will sing the Tenor II/Quintus line, and we will try to do Josquin’s Allegez Moy (my favourite chanson by the master) if we get enough men on the night – so make sure you bring as many singer friends as possible!


See you Monday.


Sheet music for PDtP 10 is here

It gives me tremendous pleasure to unveil the sheet music for next Monday’s PDtP.

In keeping with our theme of love, you’ll find on the secular side some madrigals and chansons (some baser than others) and in the motet corner, settings of verses from the Song of Songs, that beguiling mixture of the sacred and erotic from ancient times.

I’ll be highlighting a few of the numbers in the coming days but in the meantime, don’t forget to sign up here and please invite your friends.




Any PDtP regulars up for a bit of madrigal singing in an honest-to-goodness Tudor house?

Hi all

Just wondering if any of you would be willing & able to do me a HUGE favour by singing a short set of some of the madrigals from our English special at a private event in the lovely setting of Sutton House in Hackney on Thursday May 28th, within a time-slot of 5pm to 7pm.

Involves doing no more than a couple of 15/20 minute sets, followed by a few drinks and a look around the beautiful Tudor house.

Would also need to do a 90 minute rehearsal in SE1 next weekend, exact day/time to be determined, light refreshments to be provided!

Need a couple of singers for each voice so if you are up for it, please drop me a line via the form below.

Please indicate your voice; would also be grateful if you could let me know any days/times you wouldn’t be available for the rehearsal on the Bank Holiday weekend.

Many thanks!


Another great PDtP session notched up

What a lovely, lovely time I had at Monday’s Polyphony Down the Pub. Thanks to all who came and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

It was great to see so many new faces among the familiar ones and I hope that we will see you again at future sessions.

Highlights for me were BWV 4 – such harmonisation! – and the final run of the Palestrina Super flumina Babylonis; I don’t think we’ve ever sung a motet better.

Thanks too to those of you who stayed back to share your thoughts on PDtP; it’s good to know that we are on the right track in terms of format and repertoire.

Next session details will be published here soon but in the meantime, here’s the Bach chorale that I mentioned on the night.

It might be a just a little too intricate for us to try at PDtP but I would recommend that you have a look at the score (pp 22 & 23 of this file) and marvel at how this miniature masterpiece is put together.

There’s not a duff line it in – every part is exquisitely constructed (and, like BWV 4, there’s another of those monumental interrupted cadences in the penultimate phrase).

For me, it’s like looking at an orrery and getting lost in the beauty of the planets’ movements, alignments and interactions; I could never tire of examining it.

Anyway, enough flim-flammery – thanks again and see you next time.



Take a trip down PDtP Memory Lane

As you will have found out from reading this post, PDtP 9 will be largely made up of music from previous sessions.

These are some of the numbers that have made an appearance; which ones would you like to see pop up again at PDtP 9?

Use the comment field below to let us know…

Victoria: O decus apostolicum

Palestrina: Ave Maria a 4

Lassus: In monte Oliveti (we have never actually sung this all the way to the end!)

Morales: Kyrie from Missa Mille Regretz

Parsons: Peccantem me quotidie

Palestrina: Super flumina babylonis

Morley: My bonny lass she smileth

Casulana: Morir non puo il mio cuore

If Polyphony Down the Pub were a TV series…

…then PDtP 9 would be a ‘clip show‘; i.e. a re-cap of many of your favourite numbers from previous sessions.*

I’d love to claim that this is by design – some of the absolute belters that we’ve sung deserve a second airing, of course – but it’s actually down to the fact that I have run out of time to research new numbers.

Over the coming days I’ll post reminders of some of the great numbers that may be making a reappearance so feel free to drop a comment highlighting any that you would really, really like to be on the set-list.

In the meantime, don’t forget too to sign up to PDtP 9 here as this will help me figure out if we can do any of those double-chorus numbers.



*If it were a TV series then I bet it would have a really cool opening title sequence as well, with explosions and helicopters and beautiful people sipping cocktails at a Los Angeles pool party, all to the soundtrack of My Bonny Lass She Smileth.