Patrick Douglas, composer

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Patrick Douglas: In convertendo
edited by Gordon Munro
An attractive motet setting for five voices (SA(orT)TTB) of Psalm 126 by a little-known Scottish composer of the mid sixteenth century. Patrick Douglas may have been a student at St Andrew’s University and later held a prebend of St Gile’s collegiate church, Edinburgh, c. 1556.


Patrick Douglas, "priste, scott borne", was active during the mid sixteenth century. He may well be the "Sir Patrik Dowglas" who held a prebend of St Giles’s Collegiate Church, Edinburgh, in 1556-7 and again in 1567; and was possibly a student at St Salvator’s College in St Andrews (c. 1533-4).

The motet In convertendo, a setting of Psalm 126 for five voices, is the only work by Douglas which survives complete. The only other work known to be by him is a seven-part instrumental Miserere. Both pieces are recorded in English manuscripts of the late sixteenth century, suggesting Douglas, like Robert Johnson before him, fled Calvinist Scotland during the late 1560s. There was certainly no place within the Reformed Church for Latin polyphony such as In convertendo. The motet was doubtless sung at high-church establishments in England, possibly the Chapel Royal, where the source (the Baldwin Partbooks) seems to have been compiled. At any rate, In convertendo was a well-known work in its day, and was admired enough to have been transcribed at least twice for viols. The finely wrought imitation throughout the motet points to a composer of considerable skill; and Douglas was evidently highly regarded by his contemporaries, as the Baldwin Partbooks attribute to him the composition of a motet, Ubi est Abel, which is in fact by the Continental master Orlando di Lasso.

Other references to Patrick Douglas may place the composer in Paris around 1584, and at the Scots monastery in Ratisbon (Regensburg) in 1597.

lyrics
In convertendo Dominus captivitatem Sion,
facti sumus sicut consolati.
Tunc repletum est gaudio os nostrum,
et lingua nostra exultatione: tunc dicet inter gentes,
Magnificavit Dominus facere cum eis.
Magnificavit Dominus facere nobiscum;
facti sumus laetantes.

Convertere, Domine, captivitatem nostram,
sicur torrens in Austro.
Qui reminant in lacrimis,
in exultatione metent.
Euntes ibant et fiebant,
mittentes semina sua,
venientes autem venient cum exuhaüone,
portantes manipulos suos.

 

Sources


Sources for this article include:
•  University of Glasgow Chapel Choir

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018