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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Domine quando veneris

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July 18, 2014

Palestrina's beautiful four-part (SATB) setting of the Matins Responsory from Office of the Dead is a hauntingly beautiful, heartfelt piece of music that never fails to move me. Enjoy :-). 

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Beatus vir RV598

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July 17, 2014

Beatus vir RV598 is the second of Vivaldi's two settings of Psalm 111 (112) based upon a now lost original that have survived (I wrote about the other one last week see: Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Beatus vir RV597 | Saturday Chorale). It's a setting in B flat major and it's something of an oddity because he set it for one coro in being, in a single movement,  but requiring both choir and soloists. This particular disposition of his musical forces makes it unique amongst his surviving sacred works. He must have written it for the Pietà during his first period there (1713–1719) so it's relatively early and he had to overcome several problems to do it not the least of which is the lenght of the text. He solved the problem by writing it as a massively expanded instrumental concerto. There are no less than twenty-five clearly distinguishable sections either ritornelli or episodes and he wanders all over the scale too there are six keys as well as the tonic. It's quite an engenious piece who but a supremely talented composer such as Vivaldi could pull off the trick of having the choir and the three soloist act both singly and in combination as though they were soloists in an instrumental concerto? It's a wonderful piece of music not as well known as RV598 but very well worth your while listening to. Keep your ear out for the six note underpinning cadential phrase – it's a lovely little thing. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Sicut lilium inter spinas

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July 16, 2014
This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Palestrina - Canticum Canticorum Salomonis (Song of Songs)

berniniecstasy

Sicut lilium inter spinas (As the lily among the thorns) is the eleventh in the series of twenty-nine motets composed by Palestrina as a sort of vocal chamber music for performance by groups looking for music to be sung during private non-liturgical devotional meetings. The demand was high both because of the religious revival sweeping Italy but also because Palestrina's music like Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Theresa, and indeed much else of the religious art of the period tapped into a deep vein of sensuality. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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William Child (1606-1697): O praise the Lord

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July 15, 2014

William Child is largely forgotten today and when musicologists do discuss his music they tend to dismiss it as unimaginative and utilitarian. I very much doubt though that that is what his contemporaries and his successors, who included Blow and Purcell thought. We may today be grateful for our rich inheritance of music from Blow, Purcell, but it was Child who laid the groundwork for them by singledhandedly producing a vast output of church music for the Anglican church as it struggled to make a new start and re-establish its traditions after the 1660 restoration of the monarchy. His music served as a model for the first generation of Restoration composers and both Blow and Purcell thought sufficiently highly of his music to transcribe it and develop it further  for example by developing the aria-recitative structure which much of his music anticipates. His importance then is as a model but not only as a model, granted he wasn't a genius but even the most run-of-the-mill of his compositions are eminently listenable to and at his best his music shows both vitality and sensitivity to the the texts he was setting. I think it unfair to dismiss his music as nothing more than a way-point between Gibbons and Blow it's more accurate to see him as the first Restoration composer as the man who paved the way for Blow and Purcell. His anthem 'O Praise the Lord', a setting of the first four verses of Psalm 135, was 'Composed Upon the Restauration of the Church And Royall Family in 1660' and marks the start of the climb to greatness of English church music as it recovered from the devastation wrought upon it by the Puritans.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Philip Stopford: Do not be afraid — Choir of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

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July 14, 2014

It's been a while since I posted any music by Philip Stopford. I like his music a lot, I think he's one of the most talented composers of choral music in the Britain today and greatly enjoyed listening to this anthem. So without further ado:

David Poulter and the Choir of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral perform Philip Stopford's anthem Do Not Be Afraid in Liverpool Cathedral

Enjoy :-) - mfi

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