The English Renaissance anthem Christ rising again is a valuable addition to the study of sacred English music during the first one hundred years of the English Reformation (c. 1530s-c.1630s) and provides insight into the theological and musical perspective of English reformers, humanists, and composers. The text of Christ rising again is the only anthem text that was set by the following prominent composers active during the English Reformation: John Sheppard (c.1515-1563), Christopher Tye (c.1505-1573), Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), William Byrd (c.1540-1623), and Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656), as well as an unfinished setting by Thomas Weelkes (c.1576-1623) as well as complete settings by less prominent English composers. The anthem's text and musical settings are analyzed in terms of their place within the liturgical services of the Church of England, context within the ceremonies surrounding the Easter sepulchre, theological interpretation of the scriptural passages that comprise the anthem's text by Renaissance humanists and theologians, and performance forces available to composers. This study found that the anthem was an integral part of the Easter sepulchre procession during the first English version of the Easter Matins service found in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Its function later changed as the sepulchre procession was eliminated from the 1552 revised version of the Book of Common Prayer and the anthem was moved to later within the Easter Morning Prayer service. Analysis of various commentaries and interpretations by contemporary theologians and humanists who influenced the English Reformation is provided to demonstrate the interpretation and meaning associated with specific musical settings by various composers. Finally, an examination of Renaissance English performing forces is provided, particularly centered on the institutions of the Chapel Royal and Lincoln Cathedral, both significant institutions that employed prominent English composers during the examined era.
- Christ rising again: context, function, and analysis of an English anthem