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Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924): When Mary Thro’ the Garden Went

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April 11, 2015

Standford Sketch 150x200 Stanford's wonderful four-part (SATB) motet  'When Mary Thro' the Garden Went' sets a text by Mary E. Coleridge. When I was planning this week's postings I was confident there'd be lots of good live performances of it on YouTube, "that'll larn me" to coin a phrase. There are a few performances of it on YouTube but the only one that I actually liked is the live performance that you can hear below given by Temple University Recital Choir. I hope you'll enjoy hearing it as much as I did.  The text to Coleridge's poem is below the video. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Peter Philips (1560-1628): Regina Caeli laetare

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April 10, 2015

The Regina Caeli is one of four Marian antiphons traditionally said or sung after compline. It is said throughout Eastertide –  the fifty day period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, and during that period can be said in place of the Angelus. Philips'  setting while it is for two choirs is more Roman than Venetian in its style it was a moderately conservative piece for its time eschewing the extremes of dissonance and chromaticism that were so popular amongst the Italian avant garde. Instead Philips made use of highly coloured and expressive harmonies and confined his use of contrapuntal imitation to the antiphon's opening bars. Philips as a loyal Catholic who had fled his native England in order to freely practice his faith was determined that his music would uphold and glorify the teachings of the Church particularly the one which held that any sung texts should be clearly discernible. I think he succeeded very well the text being sung is clear and is clearly illustrated, so despite the various compositional tricks that he employed such as contrasts between long and short notes and the passing of phrases from one side to the other, the congregation could easily follow and absorb the text and its musical illustration. It's a joyous piece sung at a joyful time the effect on his listeners isn't recorded but it have been almost like listening to a madrigal. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697): Erstanden ist der heilige Christ

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April 9, 2015

stadkirchehusum

Bruhns was a member of one of those musical dynasties so common in the Baroque era. His grandfather was a lutenist at the ducal court at Gottorf and to the town council of Lübeck. His three sons Friedrich Nicolaus, Paul and Peter all followed their father into the profession of music. Paul the middle son studied under Tunder and secured a position as organist in Schwabstedt he had two sons Nicolaus and Georg. Both were musically very talented and were sent by their father to live and study at Lübeck under their uncle Peter as teenagers. Nicolaus also studied under Buxtehude who evidently regarded him with some affection and who wrote a glowing reference for him when he applied for a job as a composer and virtuoso violinist in Copenhagen. He remained at Copenhagen for a few years and imbibed Italianate music style from the Italians working there. In March 1689 he was unanimously appointed to the position of organist to Husum Stadtkirche  and was promptly the subject of attempt to woo him away from that post to Kiel. The Husum authorities were determined to hang on to him however which they did by voting him a generous salary increase. He remained at Husum until his death at the age of thirty two when was succeeded by his brother Georg.  So far as I know only twelve of his vocal works have survived but his influence was out of all proportion to the scant number of his works that have survived. His Italian solo cantatas brought the form to previously unscaled heights and his three sacred madrigal cantatas, (Hemmt eure Trähnenfluht, Muss nicht der Mensch and O werter heilger Geist) are thought by some to be a direct link between mid-Baroque German music and that of Bach. His chorale concerto Erstanden ist der heilige Christ is the only such in his surviving output but is typical of Bruhns' work in that even though he makes use of a popular Lutheran hymn he makes no use whatsoever of the chorale. It's a cheerful piece with some lovely harmonies and counterpoint in which you can hear Buxtehude's teaching both in the sung and the instrumental parts. Enjoy :).

mfi

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

Wednesday Earwig: Simon and Garfunkel Medley – Naturally 7

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April 8, 2015

N7 perform a staple in their repertoire; The Simon & Garfunkel Medley (Sounds of Silence/Scarborough Fair/April Come She Will).

Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Alonso Lobo (1555-1617): O quam suavis est, Domine

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April 7, 2015

During his lifetime Alonso Lobo was respected as the equal of  Tomás Luis de Victoria his music was very widespread being found in collections all over Catholic Christendom from the Sistine Chapel to the New World. He published his six-part motet O quam suavis est, Domine in 1607.  Its text is the antiphon for the Feast of Corpus Christi and consists of through-composed polyphony in which each of the six voices can clearly be heard particularly towards the end when each voice climbs gently through its fellows. The effect is one of sweetness and warmth almost madrigalian in its impact. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

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