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Our Lady: Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks (2011)

Byrd Ensemble, directed by Markdavin Obenza


Released October 2011

iTunes, Spotify

CD Booklet (PDF)




Markdavin Obenza, director


1. William Pasche (fl. early 16th c.) – MAGNIFICAT (15:27)*

2. John Merbecke (c.1510-1585) – AVE DEI PATRIS FILIA* (13:58)

3. Nicholas Ludford (c.1485-1557) – SALVE REGINA (16:11)* ​

4. Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585) – AVE ROSA SINE SPINIS (10:49)


*World-premiere recording, although there exists another recording of Merbecke's Ave dei patris filia reconstructed by David Skinner)



The Peterhouse Partbooks, a set of partbooks copied around 1540 belonging to Peterhouse, Cambridge, is one of the most important sources of English Latin church music leading up to the Reformation.


Dr. Nick Sandon has spent a large part of his life reconstructing music from the Peterhouse Partbooks. This album contains music from this beloved collection. Dr. Sandon has meticulously reconstructed the tenor parts in tracks 1-3 and has supplied some of the soprano part in track 4 with precision and artistry in order to provide us a sense of the sound world and the expressive writing of Pasche, Merbecke, Ludford and Tallis in the early 16th century.


THE BYRD ENSEMBLE is a Seattle-based vocal ensemble specializing in the performance of chamber vocal music. Since 2003, the ensemble has performed medieval, renaissance, baroque and modern music across the United States. Described as “pure and radiant” (Gramophone), “immensely impressive” (Early Music Review), and “rich, full-voiced, and perfectly blended” (Early Music America), the ensemble is garnering international acclaim for its recordings of renaissance vocal music. The Byrd Ensemble is an Artist-in-Residence at Seattle’s first Episcopal parish, Trinity Parish Church (established 1865), where the group presents their subscription series. The Byrd Ensemble is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The group’s creative efforts are led by Markdavin Obenza.

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MARKDAVIN OBENZA is a Seattle native and has been active in the local music scene since he was a boy Soprano in the Northwest Boychoir in the early 1990s. His love and dedication to early music and chamber vocal music emerged while singing as a countertenor for the Compline Choir at St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Tudor Choir in 2000. He per