Gombert's In illo tempore: loquente Jesu is a six-part unaccompanied study in intricate part-writing, with sinuous stepwise motion and persistent imitative entries. The optimism of the text, taken from the Gospel of Luke, is reflected in the music of this buoyant motet, and the dashes of harmonic colour, unexpected cadences, and elaborate textures make this highly rewarding counterpoint to sing.
Francis Steele was born in Liverpool, the son of a docker. Christ's Hospital School nurtured his early musical interests, and while at Magdalen College, Oxford, he studied with David Wulstan and Dr Bernard Rose, two remarkable mentors who combined scholarship with performance. This influence pervaded a singing career spanning nearly three decades, during which Francis sang with and furnished editions for the foremost British ensembles. Travelling and performing extensively, he has developed an intimate practical knowledge of Renaissance repertoire, and his main concern is an imaginative fidelity to musical and verbal text. Francis now lives at La Maison Verte in southern France, where he runs courses advocating this approach; he also coaches groups throughout Europe and in the USA.