Stabat Mater – Plainchant {Taverner Choir}

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February 27, 2015

Taverner Choir conducted by Andrew Parrott

Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672): Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott SWV447

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February 26, 2015

Right throughout the seventeenth century German church music in general and the the cantata in particular was heavily dependent upon Italy for inspiration. At the start of the century Heinrich Schütz and Michael Praetorius were greatly impressed by Venetian polychoral music and transmitted their enthusiasm to their fellow Germans, so complete was the penetration of the Italian model of German musical consciousness that long after the Italians abandoned it polychoral music continued to be popular with German congregations and German composers continued to produce it to satisfy demand. However during the 1620s and '30s a new Italian style swept through Germany, like the polychoral style it originated at the Dresden court and like the polychoral its principal originator was Heinrich Schütz. 

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Felix es, sacra Virgo

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February 25, 2015

Byrd published this beautiful setting of the Alleluia at Mass for the Nativity of the Virgin  in 1605 in the first volume of Gradualia. He had a very specific agenda which was to set music for "the principal Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary" together with antiphons and hymns to her.  It's a beautifully flowing celebratory piece of music perhaps reflecting Byrd's more hopeful circumstances and his determination to provide beautiful music for his fellow recusants on a scale appropriate to their new circumstances. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Knut Nystedt (1915 – 2014): Kumm süsser Tod – Les Petits Chanteurs de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly

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February 24, 2015

The choristers of Les Petits Chanteurs de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly conducted by François Polgár singing the late Knut Nystedt's setting of  Kumm süsser Tod at a concert given at the Church of Sainte-Marguerite Le Vésinet on the eight of this month. I've always loved this piece of music. I love how Nystedt uses multiple choirs and layers of overlapping harmonies  to create the impression of music moving through time and space. It's a very difficult piece to get right but when a choir does manage it the effect is stunning. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Dresdner Kreuzchor (Febr. 13, 2015) Oskar Wermann, Vater Unser

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February 23, 2015

Frauenkirche:
Gedenkgottesdienst zur Bombardierung Dresdens vor 70 Jahren.
Memorial service because the bombing of Dresden 70 years ago.
Oskar Wermann, op. 23, Nr. 2, Motette für zwei vierstimmige Chöre

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Choral Vespers | Westminster Cathedral | 8th October 2014

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February 22, 2015

BBC Radio 3 Choral Vespers from Westminster Cathedral, 8th October 2014

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Ode To The Treble Clef – MusicK8.com

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February 21, 2015

Bill Belongia has animated this fun '50s rock ballad by Karl Hitzemann, the lyrics of which tell your singers that the treble clef is an old-fashioned "G" and that it curls around the "G" line on the music staff. It also states the names for the line notes and the space notes when the treble clef is in its "cozy spot." (Music K-8, Vol, 18, No. 3)

In a word "irresistible". Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726): Sacris Solemnis

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February 20, 2015

Zipoli was an Italian Jesuit who hailed originally from Prato. He was one several excellent musicians recruited by the order for their missions to the New World. He entered the Society of Jesus, in the middle of 1716 and on April 5th 1717, he left as a member of an expedition organized by the Jesuits, to the Río de la Plata. On his arrival in Buenos Aires he was sent to the Jesuit monastery in Córdoba where he continued his theological studies, and composed music which was distributed by messenger throughout the Jesuit missions in particular the 30 villages that were part of the Reductions. His career was very short – he died of Tuberculosis on January 2nd 1726 but during those eight years he composed a huge amount of music little of which has survived until our time because of the destruction of Jesuit materials during the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767.  His setting for soloists, chorus, violin & continuo of St. Thomas Aquinas' hymn Sacris Solemnis is a delightfully clear somewhat operatic setting of the hymn in which soloists and choir alternate. You can hear below performed wonderfully well by Affetti Musicali and the Boys Choir of Cordoba conducted by Gabriel Garrido. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Andreas Hammerschmidt (1612-1675): Sonata super: Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren

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February 19, 2015

Hammerschmidt was an organist and composer who survived the hardships caused by the Thirty Years War to become a wealthy and successful man admired and respected by his contemporaries – Schütz and Rist both wrote poems lauding him and his music. He was a prolific composer mostly of sacred vocal and choral music publishing more than 400 such works in 14 collections. Most of his works are concertatos and he himself classified his works as either motets, concertos or arias. There's a strong Italianate tinge to much of  his music which as he never travelled to Italy I suspect he got from Schütz. That being said it would be a mistake to write him off as "school of" his music may have been influenced by the Italians and by Schütz but he was a vigorous and original composer with a distinctive musical voice of his own. The present work his Sonata super: Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren is very Italianate it could be inspired by Schütz but I think it more likely that it takes its inspiration directly from Monteverdi's Sonata sopra Sancta Maria ora pro nobis. Whichever is the case it's a beautiful setting of the first two verses Johann Gramann's hymn paraphrasing Psalm 102  (103) in its own right. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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John Taverner (±1490—1545): O splendor gloriae

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February 18, 2015

Taverner's Jesus antiphon O splendor gloriae probably dates from Taverner's later years in Boston and was most likely a commission from the Boston Guild of Corpus Christi, to Taverner he belonged. It's composed on a very grand scale but the scale in no way detracts from the clarity of its texture. Taverner made heavy use of imitation when he was writing it and also  made use of repetition in the latter part of the piece. In doing so he was further laying the groundwork for English sacred music to move away from the abstract melismatic style that still prevailed towards a more modern direct expressiveness that reflected the text. It represents a move away from medievalism to a renaissance sensibility. All of this is within a very English structure that exploits the high tessitura treble to maximum effect. If ever there was a work that testifies to the extraordinarily high standards of pre-reformation English choristers that Taverner and his fellow composers could take for granted this is it. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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James MacMillan (b1959): Miserere

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February 17, 2015

James MacMillan's glorious setting of  Psalm 50 (51)or The Miserere as it's more often called was commissioned by the Flanders Festival Antwerp for the 2009 Laus Polyphoniae Festival and received its first performance at a concert given in the Carolus-Borromeuskerk, Antwerp, by The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers. It's an eight part setting and while it does make some allusions to Allegri's setting its scope is far far greater than that of Allegri's work. The more I hear it the more I like it and I can't make up my mind what aspect of the work I like and admire more. Whether it's the opening homophony for the lower voices or the way in which MacMillan contrasts that homophony with the lengthy improvisatio or how he uses the chant or the magnificent climax I find all of them stunningly good. I hope you'll enjoy listening as much as I do.

mfi

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PhilipStopford: My servant shall be healed – Premiere

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February 16, 2015

Premiere performance of My Servant Shall Be Healed, November 1, 2014, Grace Cathedral San Francisco, The Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys and the Pacific Boychoir Academy, Oakland, CA, under the direction of Kevin Fox, Vocal Score: Philip WJ Stopford, Lyrics Arranged by Paul Anthony Martin, OStJ,, Petaluma CA, Commissioned by the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem Priory in the United States of America for the Fifty-Fourth Service of Rededication; a choral meditation on the mission of the Order of St John and reflection of the cross.

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