Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Wipe away my sins, O Lord

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October 31, 2014

When the First Book of Common Prayer was introduced on Whitsunday, 9 June 1549 the need for a repertory of service music in the vernacular became urgent. One way of plugging the gap was to make use of what is known as a contrafactum (plural contrafacta) of which this is one.

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Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Magnificat Sexti toni

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October 30, 2014

Victoria published no less than eighteen Magnificat settings which range from sumptuous polychoral antiphonal works such as this triple choir (SATB + SSABar + SATB) setting to the restrained and elegant four-part setting. I mention the four part setting because both the opening verse and 'Deposuit potentes' are taken directly from that setting which was published in 1581. It's sung below by The Sixteen. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Quae est ista quae progreditur

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October 29, 2014

Who is she who comes forth
like the rising dawn,
fair as the moon and bright as the sun,
terrible as an army in full array?

The twenty-third in the series of motets based upon the Song of Songs Quae est ista quae progreditur it's typical of  Counter-Reformation Marian fervour in its depiction of the Virgin as Our Lady of Victory. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Edvard Grieg (1843-1907): Kveldssang for Blakken (Goodnight Song for Dobbin)

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October 28, 2014

This is one of the seven settings of poems from the school anthology by Nordahl Rolfsen that Grieg began to compose towards the end of July 1984.  It's a lovely little thing (as indeed are all the Children’s Songs, Op. 61) which retains its popularity with children and adults alike to this day. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Cristóbal de Morales (±1500 –1553): Regina caeli laetare

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October 27, 2014

Cristóbal de Morales wrote at least two settings of this that I know of and up to five are attributed to him. He uses the plainsong Marian antiphon to derive the melody and spices it up considerably by having the second soprano and second alto sing in canon. It's a lovely piece that to my mind should be sung year round.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Sunday Concert: Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904) ): Mass in D major, Op.86 – Live YouTube

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October 26, 2014

Dvorak's Requiem is powerful, lyrical, and dramatic to my mind it should be at least as well-known as those of  Berlioz, Brahms, Mozart, or Verdi. He wrote it at the behest of his friend and patron Josef Hlavka in 1887 for the consecration of a new chapel at Castle Luzany in Western Bohemia. It's a beautiful work very clearly arranged with lovely melodic and harmonic themes in which Dvorak somehow managed to combine old church modes and modern approaches to harmony. Really only Dvorak could have done it.  The original score was for solos, choir and organ and Dvorak completed the work within three months but for some reason neither his publisher (Simrock) nor Novello published it in this form, publication had to wait until 1893 when Novello published the orchestral version of 1892 which you can hear below. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 – 1611): Surrexit Pastor Bonus

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October 25, 2014

Tomás Luis de Victoria's  six-part Paschal motet Surrexit Pastor bonus is a favourite of mine. It's sung below by La Grande Chapelle. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Crux Fidelis

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October 24, 2014

Crux Fidelis is by Saint Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (c530-c609) it's part of his hymn beginning Pange lingua ('Sing, my tongue'). It's sung on Good Friday during the Adoration of the Cross, during Holy Week, and on feasts of the Cross. It's sung below by I Cantori della Resurrezione directed by Antonio Sanna. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Non vos relinquam (SSATB)

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October 23, 2014

Non vos relinquam is one of the motets from the 1607 Gradualia. It's a five-part setting (SSATB) whose simple and flowing style conceals some very complex counterpoint. Whenever I listen to it I marvel at how Byrd wove the alleluias into the fabric of the piece and how he manages to portray the Apostles' mixed feelings of sadness at Christ's departure coupled with their joy at the knowledge of their salvation. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Wednesday Earwig – Drakensberg Boys Choir: Let the River Run

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October 22, 2014

Celebrating 4000 Facebook likes!
Let the River Run as recorded on our campus in 2012 - music and lyrics by Carly Simon.

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William, Monk of Stratford: Magnificat a 4

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October 21, 2014

I can tell you almost nothing about William Stratford he's described in the Eton Choirbook as 'monachus Stratfordiae' which means he must have been a a monk of the Cistercian abbey of Stratford-atte-Bowe in what is now East London. His  four-part setting of the Magnificat is one of the very few settings in the Eton Choirbook to have survived in its entirety as you might expect it's written in the florid style of the late 15th century.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Robert Carver (fl 1484– 1567): O bone Jesu

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October 20, 2014

Robert Carver (or Carvor) was an Augustinian monk whose compositions are the source of the Carvor Choir book. He was evidently musically very ambitious, as you can hear from his nineteen part motet  O bone Jesu (SSSAATTTTTTTTTTTBBB). It's a very assured piece of music that illustrates in a quite spectacular manner how the English fondness for full sonorities was shared by their Scots brethren it also presents a technical challenge equalled only by Tallis' Spem in Alium   Enjoy :-).

mfi

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