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Nicolas Gombert (±1495-±1560): Musae Jovis

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February 3, 2016

Nicolas Gombert's  "Deploration on the death of Josquin Desprez" is a motet-chanson set in the Phrygian mode. You may sometimes see it referred to as an Ars combinatoria composition which means quite simply that a secular text is combined with a Latin cantus firmus sung by one of the tenor voices in long drawn out notes. In this case the cantus firmus is supplied by the Good Friday response "Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, dolores inferni circumdederent me" (Laments of death have surrounded me, pains of hell have surrounded me)  Gombert takes this theme and weaves some very elaborate counterpoint around it as the singers lament Josquin's passing and the injustice of death.  This use of the cantus firmus which Gombert transposes down beginning on E rather than F is a very explicit homage to Josquin who used exactly this technique in his own homage to a deceased composer Nymphes des bois the homage is all the more marked because Gombert very rarely employed the cantus firmus technique. The intent is very clear rendering homage to a master mourned by all but the style is definitely Gombert's own the counterpoint woven around the cantus firmus is far less formal than something Josquin might have written and ebbs and flows far more – thereby maintaining both musical interest and a somewhat meditative tone. It concludes with some triple time writing marking Josquin's transposition to the heavens. Enjoy :-).

mfi.

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Down To The River To Pray – Trinity College Chorale (2010)

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February 2, 2016

Trinity College an all boys school in Perth, Western Australia performing an arrangement on Down To The River To Pray by P Lawson (King Singers) at Presentation Night. Conducted by Doctor Robert Braham.

This is a slightly unusual rendition of the Negro Spiritual – not an arrangement I'd heard before but it captured my full attention and admiration immediately. I've added the lyrics below the video. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Ēriks Ešenvalds (b1977): Only in sleep

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February 1, 2016

Only in sleep was written in 2010 for the University of Louisville Collegiate Chorale and Cardinal Singers. Sara Teasdale’s nostalgic vision of childhood re-experienced through dreams is expressed in simple verse in regular metre, and Ešenvalds matches this in music of regular four-bar phrases. But infinitely subtle are the chord voicings; a change from humming to vocalise to spotlight a phrase here, or internal doublings to highlight a particular line in the texture there—all serve to sustain the freshness, and the soaring descants are achingly expressive. The soprano soloist heard at the opening returns at the close, lost in reverie, as her musing, florid arabesques float over one last pair of chordal oscillations, winding down to nothing.
from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2015

Enjoy :-).

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Feature: Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody Reinterpreted – Royal Academy of Music & Trinity Choir

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January 31, 2016

Queen B&W

When I read this in  Rolling Stone I was intrigued and hied me off to YouTube as fast as I could:

Queen are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their seminal track "Bohemian Rhapsody" with reinterpretations of the song performed by the Trinity Boys Choir and a string quartet comprising students from the Royal Academy of Music.

Unsurprisingly, the operatic rock opus makes fitting fodder for the Trinity choir. The group's deft harmonies shine as they maneuver through the meticulous vocal interplay of the song's famous midsection before nailing the final, lofty, "For me!"

The Behn Quartet's rendition is equally impressive, especially for an instrumental interpretation of a song rooted in Freddie Mercury's astonishing vocals. Arranged by Royal Academy of Music composition alum Charlie Piper, the quartet — which features final year students Kate Oswin, Alicia Berendse, Lydia Abell and Ghislaine McMullin — channels Mercury's playfulness and melodrama into a sweeping performance as grand as the original.

Read in full: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/queen-post-bohemian-rhapsody-covers-by-choir-string-quartet-20151222#ixzz3yG21xfCY

If ever there's a song that deserves its iconic status Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is surely it, it's a superbly written piece of music, that tells a story and uses many musical techniques that greatly enhanced Queen's a capella singing. It's no wonder that there are so many cover versions of it. Both the choral and string quartet versions that you'll find below are superb and borh are superbly performed. Both, perhaps, are quite a bit different to what you're expecting. They're accompanied by videos in which boys of the Trinity School Choir and the young women of the Behn Quartet and Charlie piper discuss the song and their performances of it. Enjoy  :-).

mfi

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The Georgia Boy Choir & Beijing Children’s Choir – What A Wonderful World

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January 30, 2016

The Georgia Boy Choir singing What A Wonderful World performed during an international concert tour together with the Beijing Children’s Choir, by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, arranged by David R. White. This performance was recorded on May 27, 2015 during the GBC China Tour in Beijing, China, at the Forbidden City Concert Hall.

Enjoy :-).

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

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