Cristóbal de Morales (±1500 –1553): Clamabat autem mulier Chananea

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June 30, 2015

This Lenten motet which tells the story of the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman whose daughter was possessed is unusual amongst de Morales' motets in that it's a narrative. It's a five-part (SSATB) setting that pays close attention to the dialogue and action of the text. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Qui sequitur me

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June 29, 2015

De Lassus' motet Qui sequitur me (He that followeth me) sets the text of John 8:12 for two voices. He reflects the text by using close imitation between the two voices at varying intervals to provide a tightly woven polyphonic structure. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904): Piano Quartet No. 2 in E flat, Op. 87- Janine Jansen & Friends – IKFU 2015 – Live Concert HD

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June 28, 2015

Sometimes there's a happy synchronicity and this weekend is one such there's an excellent exposition of this piece by Stephen Johnson as part of  BBC Radio 3's 'Discovering Music' series. It' still available for on-line listening and well worth your while. You can hear it here: ▶ BBC Radio 3 - Discovering Music, Dvorak: Piano Quartet No. 2 and I urge you to do so while it's still available before proceeding to the quartet itself. I love this quartet from it's brisk – almost brusque, statement of the opening theme to the way in which Dvořák progresses to rapidly combining and interweaving themes into different but always congruent textures. There's a wonderful balance throughout between Dvořák's lyricism, brisk forward movement, and passion all combined with an intriguing exploration of folk elements.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Libera in America: Sanctus – YouTube

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June 27, 2015

Another video from Libera's American tour this one published on 24 Jun 2015 is of their classic "Sanctus". Enjoy :-).
mfi Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Psalms 126 & 127 (Westminster Cathedral Choir, 2014) – YouTube

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June 26, 2015

Choral Vespers from Westminster Cathedral, 8th October 2014 Psalms 126 & 127 (Plainsong)

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Francisco de Peñalosa (±1470-1528): Sancta Maria

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June 25, 2015

Francisco de Peñalosa's setting of the Magnificat Antiphon for First Vespers on Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary is quite typical of his motets in that it's entirely free of borrowed material and is very concerned  expressing the text this very humanist approach represented a decisive break with the past and Peñalosa exploited the compositional freedom to the full. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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John Mason (±1480 – 1548): Vae nobis miseris

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June 24, 2015

Mason was was awarded the BMus at Oxford in February 1509 and was ordained as a priest at around that time. He held the post of informator choristarum (Instructor of the Choristers of the chapel) at Magdalen College, for a fifteen month period from March 1509 until June 1510 but left to take up other posts awarded to him by influential patrons amongst them Cardinal Thomas Wolsey whom he served for a time as chaplain. He acquired various livings but in 1523 he took up one of the two Mortimer chantries in Chichester Cathedral. This was a lucrative posting in the gift of the King and it seems likely that he was given the appointment to aid the then Bishop of Chichester's efforts to enlarge and improve the cathedral choir. After a spell at Chichester he took up a post in Hereford Cathedral in 1525 where he seems to have remained for the rest of his life being appointed the cathedral's treasurer in 1545.

His antiphon Vae nobis miseris (Woe to us wretches) is a Jesus antiphon in other words it's an antiphon meant to be sung after compline in order to foster devotion amongst the laity to Jesus and his passion. These Jesus antiphons became more and more popular in England during the reign of Henry VIII as the cult of the Virgin declined. It's quite a large scale work and surprisingly modern in many respects somewhere between Fayrfax and Taverner. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Matthaeus Pipelare ( ±1450 — ±1515): Salve Regina

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June 23, 2015

Pipelare's setting of the Salve is an alternatim setting in which only the even-numbered verses are set. I think it must be a relatively early work because of its rhythmic use of syncopated short notes it's a surprisingly varied setting that makes use of the old-fashioned technique of varying dense imitative writing with multipart passages. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Libera: Voca me – YouTube

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June 22, 2015

From a live concert recording made at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC in the USA

Enjoy :-)
mfi Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Matthaeus Pipelare ( ±1450 – ±1515): Missa L’homme Armé

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June 21, 2015

Matthaeus Pipelare was a southern Netherlandish composer who flourished in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. I can tell you almost nothing about his life because the only thing about him that is known for certain is that he was active in Antwerp but left there in the spring of 1498 until about 1 May 1500 to take up the prestigious and well-paid post of Master of the Choristers for the Confraternity of Our Lady at the Cathedral of St. John in 's-Hertogenbosch. Not much of his work survives but that which does survive is widespread being found in no less than sixty sources located in libraries from Russia to Spain to Italy. It's of such superb quality and so engaging for performer and listener alike that it's easy to see why his contemporaries ranked him alongside Josquin, la Rue, Brumel, and Isaac.

The Missa ‘L'homme armé’ which you can hear below is in some ways quite typical of Flemish musical writing of the time in its complexity, sonority, and extensive use of lower voices including what we now call basso profundo. It's scored for Altus (high tenor), baritone, bass, and basso profundo and makes extensive use of its cantus firmus "L'homme Armé"which Pipelar makes use of throughout the Mass starting in the Kyrie where it appears in all the voices. It's a technically very demanding work clearly intended for performance by a top-class professional choir in which syncopation, faux-bourdon, canonical writing, imitation, homophony, and polyphony all make their appearance. Notwithstanding its musical variety Pipelare's Missa "L'homme Armé" has a tightly integrated feel and a considerable sense of forward motion I'm not surprised it wound up as part of the Sistine Chapel's repertoire. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Veni Creator Spiritus

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June 20, 2015

This hymn is very old being generally held to have been composed by Rabanus Maurus in the ninth century. It's the hymn prescribed for second Vespers on Whit Sunday and is also used at any ritual invoking the Holy Spirit such as ordinations and consecrations. Palestrina's setting was published in 1589 by Angelo Gardano1 it's a four-part setting (SATB) with the exception the doxology which is SATTB. It's an alternatim setting – verses of chant and polyphony alternate, the polyphony is particularly beautiful, I've never understood why it's not far better known. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Derelinquat impius

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June 19, 2015

Derelinquat impius (May the unrighteous) takes its text from Isaiah and was the fifth Respond at Matins on the First Sunday in Lent. Andrew Carwood describes it as "surprising and unsettling because of the peregrinations of the opening bars" with some "eyebrow-raising melodic moments".  But surely that was the entire point? Tallis rarely, very rarely, engaged in word-painting but surely if ever there was a text that justified him engaging in it then Isaiah 55–7 is that text. The melody is wayward it wanders, and each voice enters at a surprising note all of this depicting the sinner's inability to find his way and his need to revertatur ad Dominum (turn again to the Lord). Tallis varies the texture and introduces some "special effects" such as the leap upward at misericors to represent the heart's leap of joy at the prospect of God's mercy. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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