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markfromireland

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Magnificat quarti toni

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November 21, 2013

imagePhilippe de Monte is probably best known in the English speaking world for his friendship with William Byrd and the extraordinary exchange of motets between them (de Monte: Super flumina Babylonis; Byrd: Quomodo cantabimus) in which de Monte expressed his anxiety for his friend and Byrd expressed his determination to carry on. But it's for the music he composed over the thirty five years that he served the Hapsburgs as Kapellmeister that he best deserves to  be known.  This source of this setting of the Magnificat – one of a set of eight written in the eight liturgical tones, is a manuscript dating from 1602 but they were almost certainly composed befrore that year. I suspect they were written for particular Marian feasts such as the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin (21 November). The motet's texture is often homophonic, with tenor and bass singing using that form of Gregorian psalm tone based on triads called 'falsobordone' (which is incidentally the root of Anglican chant). It's sung below by Cinquecento. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Paul Basler (b. 1963): Gloria from Missa Kenya – Cape Town Youth Choir

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November 20, 2013

Cape Town Youth Choir (formerly Pro Cantu): "Gloria from Missa Kenya"
Conductor: Leon Starker
Composer: Paul Basler (b. 1963)
Soloist: Jacob Buys
Performed at Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium, Cape Town (16th July 2013) in a joint concert with the Whiffenpoofs of Yale
Gloria from Missa Kenya
Paul Basler (b. 1963)
Classical World Fusion
Paul Basler is an American composer and horn player. His compositions have been performed worldwide and been very well received. He is well known for his horn playing and has premiered over 200 works written for him. He worked as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Music at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993-1994 during which time he was greatly influenced by Kenyan music and as a result composed his Missa Kenya in 1995 for SATB chorus, piano and obbligato horn. The Gloria does not require horn or piano but makes use of upbeat syncopated rhythms in the voice parts and percussion which drives a compound rhythm throughout.

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Jean Mouton (before 1459-1522): Ave Maria … benedicta tu

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November 19, 2013

Tallis Scholars 325x230 captionedDespite the fact that his musical language was quite unique Jean Mouton's contemporaries routinely compared him with Josquin (for a brief biography of Mouton see my posting of September 29, 2013 - mfi) . His music is always a thing of beauty with a sweetness of tone and with clear melodic lines that conceals considerable mathematical and musical complexity. If I was going to compare him to anybody I think it would be to Ockeghem rather than Josquin and even then the comparison only goes so far as his melodic lines are shorter and one can always hear everything clearly. On balance it's better to avoid comparisons and simply say that the man's music is unique. His short, four-part motet Ave Maria … benedicta tu has a crystaline beauty that I come back to again and again. It's sung below by the Tallis Scholars who navigate its canon by inversion with aplomb. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Manuel Arenzana (fl Puebla, 1791–1821): Quem terra pontus sidera – YouTube

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November 18, 2013

One of the YouTube channels I keep an eye is that run by Enrique Guerrero who when he's not lecturing on the topic is busily engaged in uploading videos of Viceregal and Colonial music such as this one. This video is the first verse of Quem terra pontus sidera [aethera] by Manuel Arenzana who was maestro de capilla at Puebla Cathedral from 1792 to 1821. I suppose if you wanted evidence thatthe choir at Puebla was well-financed Arenzana's liturgical music is it – every single liturgical piece he ever composed is not only very large scale but also has orchestral accompaniment. Put simply he had access to plenty of resources and wasn't shy about using them. His music which can be very charming is characterised by lyrical melodies, elaborate instrumental figurations, contrasted tempi and dynamics.  As well as his liturgical and religious music he composed musical comedias and zarzuelas and was listed by the Diario de México as being an 'outstanding composer'. There was plainly a lot of cross-over in his music. You'll hear all the features I listed above in this setting of Quem terra pontus sidera [aethera] in fact it's downright operatic. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Sunday Concert: Nigel Kennedy Concert BBC Proms 2012

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November 17, 2013

I wonder if there's any classical music fan of my age (on this side of the Atlantic at any rate) who doesn't have at least one Nigel Kennedy recording in their collection? If you don't know his playing try tracking down a recording of him playing  Elgar's Violin Concerto, or him playing Jazz, or the famous recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which went as high as number three on the U.K. pop charts and went on to sell well over a million copies. But before you do that enjoy this compilation from the BBC's proms which gives a good musical portrait of the man and his astonishingly broad repertoire. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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