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Henry Purcell (1659-1695): O consider my adversity Z32

October 4, 2013

Purcell stamp UK 150x150 Purcell seems to have composed the verse anthem 'O consider my adversity (Z32)' relatively late in his career. It takes its text from eight verses of Psalm 119 setting them mostly for solo trio. It's a surprisingly large-scale work that Purcell starts by having each voice sing the opening phrase over a descending continuo line and using a dropping interval at 'consider' to create an appropriately imploring mood. The trio's voices move closer together at 'For I do not forget thy law' which creates a bell-like set of suspensions between the two tenors. This mood is changed by the bass' calling upon God to 'Avenge thou my cause' which call rises through the voices and leads to a triple-time section in which the psalmist calls on God to 'quicken me according to thy word'. Health, the second tenor informs us, 'is far from the ungodly' (if you listen closely while pondering this you can hear how Purceell uses elements of the opening continuo to underly this part of the anthem) the mood here is pitying rather than angry and is followed by a far more lively trio starting at 'Great is thy mercy, O Lord' the trio call up God to quicken them both homphonically and in in imitation before the choir interject asserting that God's mercy is great and repeating the plea that God inspire and animate them.

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): If ye love me

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October 3, 2013

Edward VI 150x190 Although his sympathies were firmly Catholic Tallis wrote anthems for the reformed rites prescribed by Edward VI's  First Prayer Book of 1549. Edward who Like all the Tudors was fond of music was an ardent Protestant. His government required church music to support the Anglican church's exhortations to Godly living and to enchance the greater emphasis on scripture, preaching, and teaching. Out went intricately layered polyphony music in Latin and in came simpler and more readily comprehensible structures such as this beautiful four-part miniature in two sections. The stunningly clear and beautiful performance of it that you'll find below is sung by The Cardinall's Musick conducted by Andrew Carwood. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Camerata Sings Howard Skempton’s "Rise up, my love" (complete) – YouTube

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October 2, 2013

Howard Skempton 150x215 Captioned Right Float Howard Skempton composed his setting of 'Rise up, my love' in July 2002 for the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir who first performed it  in September 2002 under their conductor Paul Hillier in Tallinn. It consists of four short movements each of which corresponds to a passage from the Song of Songs and each of which is in a different metre in response to the stresses within the texts:

  • The first is for mixed voices and has a delightfully simple flowing movement.
  • The second is for the basses singing towards the bottom of their register over a single sustained note from the tenors.
  • The third is in four-part close harmony and is sung by the sopranos and altos.
  • The fourth returns to mixed voices and is characterised by slow almost viscous chords.
  • It's sung below by the well-known Danish choir Kammerkoret CAMERATA (CAMERATA chamber choir) under their conductor Martin Nagashima Toft at a concert given in Bregninge church,  on September 24th, 2011. Enjoy :-)

    markfromireland

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    The Marian Music of Tomás Luis de Victoria Part 14: Ne Timeas Maria

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    October 1, 2013

    Madonna with the Child (Luis de Morales circa 1520-1586) Victoria first published Ne timeas, Maria in 1572, and reprinted several times. It's an antiphon for the Second Vespers of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It's a beautiful piece of music that's long been a favourite of mine and which bears very different interpretations. One of these is a 'chamber version' sung by counter-tenor David Sagstume of the Capella de Ministrers, that over the years I've come to love. Enjoy :-).

    markfromireland

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    Claudin de Sermisy (±1490-1562): Tant que vivrai – Lumina Vocal Ensemble – YouTube

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    September 30, 2013

    Why not start the week with a beautiful love song?

    mfi

    Tant que vivrai by Claudin de Sermisy (1490?-1562), a French composer of the Renaissance period. This is a beautiful love song, ideal for weddings and celebrations.
    Live performance by Lumina Vocal Ensemble, Musical Director Anna Pope.

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