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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Howard Harold Hanson (1896 – 1981): Symphony No.1 in E-minor, Op.22 “Nordic”

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October 19, 2014

Howard Hanson's music was very popular with American audiences perhaps because he wrote in such an unabashedly romantic style he was quite strongly influence by Sibelius but he himself also said that both Palestrina and Bach were also amongst his musical heroes whom he strove to emulate. His symphonies are wonderful the first of these the "Nordic" Symphony  dates from his time in Rome studying under Ottorino Respighi, whose  influence on Hanson's music can be heard here.  The fact that it's an early work shouldn't put you off it's well worth your while and serves as a good introduction to Hanson's symphonies. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Annual Holiday 2014

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October 5, 2014

After more than thirteen hundred posts it's time for a short break so I am taking a two weeks holiday from writing here. The next posting on Saturday Chorale will be published on Sunday October 19th 2014.

I look forward to seeing you then.

mfi

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Drakensberg Boys Choir: Amavolovolo (Joint Performance) – 27 August 2014

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October 4, 2014

The boys of the Drakensberg Boys Choir, together with the Kärntner Landesjugendchor and the proTON Vokalensemble performing Amavolovolo live in concert on Wednesday 27 August 2014. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Christopher Hogwood (10 September 1941 – 24 September 2014)

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October 3, 2014

With the death of Christopher Hogwood, conductor, musicologist, keyboard player and founder of the Academy of Ancient Music, aged 73 one of this era's musical giants has passed away. It's almost impossible to overstate how influential he was as a champion and exponent of early-music. He was the presiding genius of the Academy of Ancient Music which he founded in 1973 and oversaw its rise as of the premier orchestras of our age. He fulfilled his dream of creating a professional and dedicated group of musicians who would be at the forefront of the period-instrument movement. While most people thought of him as a conductor and while it's very easy to find recordings of him conducting the AAM his role as a lecturer and researcher is less well known. Fortunately for us he recorded several series of lectures for Gresham COllege and these are available both on YouTube and from Gresham College free of charge. My own very small tribute to him is to direct you these lectures and to ask that you pray for his soul.

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): In turbato mare irato RV627

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October 2, 2014

This is one of four pieces of Vivaldi's sacred music sent to the court at Dresden it's a very old fashioned piece that uses the old baroque operatic metaphor of ships buffeted by stormy seas, looking for shelter in this case with the aid of the 'Star of The Sea' – the  stella maris, one the Virgin Mary's titles of honour.  It's a surprisingly difficult piece to perform well – it needs a soprano soloist with presence and control, but it also needs the various parts of accompaniment to come through clearly without swamping either each other or the soloist. Happily for us in the performance you'll find below Dominique Labelle and the Voices of Music manage to achieve precisely this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did – their notes are well worth reading too.

mfi

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