Stabat Mater — Plainsong — Coro de Cámara Abadía

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April 27, 2015

Stabat Mater Dolorosa performed here as plainsong by the Coro de Cámara Abadía

mfi
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Franz Schubert – Sonata in B-flat major D 960 – Severin von Eckardstein – Live Concert

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April 26, 2015

Severin von Eckardstein's performance of Schubert's  Sonata in B-flat major D  960, and Impromptu opus 90 nr 3,  at the Young Pianist Festival, Amsterdam November 15th 2013. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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William Walton – Magnificat & Nunc dimittis (Chichester Service)

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April 25, 2015

The choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, directed by Stephen Layton singing Walton Walton's settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. Walton set them in 1974 in response to a commission from Walter Hussey, Dean of Chichester Cathedral, in celebration of Chichester Cathedral's 900th anniversary. Hence the name "Chichester Service". Walton said that he had difficulty being inspired by these texts but whatever those difficulties were he overcame them in these settings which are full  of energy and which have some very dramatic moments such as the astounding entry of the choir at 'To be a light'.

mfi

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Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Missa Sancta Maria à 4 Voci da Capella (Mass of Thanksgiving) – Cantores Musicæ Antiquæ, Live performance

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April 24, 2015

salute interior

Monteverdi's 'Mass of Thanksgiving' or Solemn Mass for the Feast of Sancta Maria della Salute to give it its formal title was specially composed for performance on 21 November 1631 during the ceremonial Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Mark's Basilica held to give thanks for Venice's delivery from the ravages of the plague.  It's a gloriously rich and expressive piece of music written in the Stile Antico packed with variation and musical interest. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Der Friede sei mit dir BWV 158

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April 23, 2015

bach signature This is one of Bach's earlier cantatas – it was written in Weimar for the third day of Easter and is the shortest of Bach's cantatas. Julian Mincham (see: The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach - Chapter 70 BWV 158) is of the opinion that it's "almost certainly incomplete" but I'm not so sure about that. You can argue it either way but the completeness of the melodies and the motives that link the movements incline me to the idea that it's complete. Complete or not it's a lovely piece of music very tender and satisfying and with enchanting solo writing for the piccolo violin the instrument  which Bach seems to have preferred for violin solos. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Christopher Tye (±1505 — before 15 March 1573): Miserere mei, Deus

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April 22, 2015

I think it likely that Tye's setting of the Miserere ( Psalm 51 (50) ) dates from the reign of Mary Tudor rather than that of either of her siblings. During Mary I's reign the place held by votive antiphons in her father's time was taken by Latin psalm settings. These settings of the Vulgate psalm texts were, consciously, a link with the pre-reformation past in that they retained the traditional antiphon structure. The idea was to reassure English Catholics that although the effects of the Reformation couldn't be completely undone that Mary took seriously her task of mitigating the damage caused by her father and brother to the Church, its Liturgy, and its music. As you can hear below Tye's setting is in two halves, one in triple and one in duple time, with Tye using blocks of reduced and then full texture to achieve the desired impressive effect.

mfi

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Miserere dominum (troped Kyrie ): The Winchester Troper

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April 21, 2015

On Easter Sunday 1043 Edward the Confessor was crowned during Mass in Winchester Cathedral the music sung during that Mass has come down to in the book known as 'the Winchester Troper' which now resides in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College Cambridge (MS 473). The book consists of chant which went beyond the standard Gregorian repertory which began to be composed for use in the English usage as a result of the reforms to English liturgical usage initiated by Bishops Dunstan (of Glastonbury and Canterbury), Oswald (of Worcester and York), and Æthelwold (of Abingdon and Winchester). Of these three reformers Bishop Æthelwold was the strictest and most radical. He dismissed the clergy of Winchester Cathedral who had been responsible for celebrating The Liturgy and replaced them with  Benedictine monks. His intention was that they would supplement the standard Gregorian Chant with new types of composition to the greater glory of God.

Æthelwold's reforms succeeded brilliantly the monks he appointed to Winchester concentrated their creative efforts on several different types of music:

  • Tropes which incorporate new passages into existing chants.
  • Sequences which consisted of entirely new songs comprised of structured prose and melody.
  • Melody alone, sung after the Alleluia at Mass.
  • Polyphonic enhancements of existing chants.

It's arguable that Æthelwold's reforms represent the birth of distinctively English Church music. The troped Kyrie (Miserere domine) which you can hear below is – so far as I know, the only polyphonic proper troped English Kyrie to have survived the ravages of more than nine centuries.

mfi

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Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Beata viscera, Magnificat a 4

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April 20, 2015

Monteverdi composed several settings of the Magnificat. In this four-part alternatim setting which was published in the 1640 Selva morale et spirituale he incorporated the chant as a cantus firmus that links the plainchant and polyphonic verses. Framed in this case by the Marian Communion Antiphon Beata Viscera.

mfi

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Mahler: Symphony No. 5 Gergiev · World Orchestra for Peace · BBC Proms 2010

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April 19, 2015

This was the second part of a thrilling concert consisting of the fourth and fifth symphonies. If you want the whole thing you'll find the performance of the fourth symphony on YouTube here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agP_zCTn5c4 there's a good review on Bachtrack by Simon Birch here - Prom 26: Valery Gergiev conducts the World Orchestra for Peace. So without further ado ….

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Les Petits Chanteurs de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly: – MESSIAH – Rejoice

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April 18, 2015

The fast major-key beginning and end of this lovely soprano aria from Messiah require a singer capable of virtuosic singing while the slow minor-key middle section requires the singer to be expressive and meditative. In short it's difficult to sing. Rémi B of the Petits Chanteurs de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly under Simon Polgar sings it really rather well in this video of a live performance given in May 2006. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736): Confitebor Tibi Domine

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April 17, 2015

Pergolesi's setting of Psalm 110 performed here by  Melodi Cantores, Orchestra Barocca Harmonicus Concentus, directed by Elena Sartori. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): An filius non est Dei, BuxWV 6

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April 16, 2015

An filius non est Dei (Is He not truly God’s own Son?) is a Passiontide cantata if you trace the text Buxtehude used back to its origins you'll find it comes from the Medieval hymn Salve mundi salutare  – also known as the Rhythmica oratio, which is the Passiontide poem that Buxtehude used in his cantata cycle Membra Jesu nostri, BuxWV 75. There's another link to that cantata cycle in the way that Buxtehude evokes the Passiontide atmosphere using strings (three violas da gamba and continuo). His poignant use of harmonies and the sharp key of B minor denote the pain of the Crucifixion while the sighing figures of the vocal strophes and the tremolos that end each ritornello add to mood of pious melancholy.

mfi

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