Blog Archives

markfromireland

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): A Midsummer Nights Dream (Complete Ballet)

0
June 1, 2014

Continuing the Shakespearean theme …

Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): Three Shakespeare Songs – No 3: Over hill, over dale

0
May 31, 2014

The last of Vaughan Williams' Three Shakespeare Songs – Over hill, over dale, is in complete contrast to its fellows. Its text is from from Act II, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream and it's as nimble, and flighty, a piece as Puck himself, I can't help thinking that Shakespeare would have thoroughly approved. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): Three Shakespeare Songs – No 2: The cloud-capp’d towers

0
May 30, 2014

The second of Vaughan Williams' Three Shakespeare Songs is a setting of Prospero's great speech from Act IV, Scene 1 of The Tempest. The Cloud-capp'd towers' opening chords give the impression of floating in the air as Vaughan Williams invokes Shakespeare's imagery of towers, palaces, temples and 'the great globe itself'. All of this is in the service of bringing home to us our ephemerality marvellously portrayed by the chordal procession at 'We are such stuff as dreams are made on'. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Dixit Dominus RV 595

0
May 29, 2014

This magnificent setting of Psalm 110 (Vulgate 109) was only rediscovered as a set of locally copied separate parts in the late 1960s in the National Library in Prague. It was almost certainly composed for the Pietà some time before 1717 and I think it very likely that it was amongst the works taken back to Bohemia by Balthasar Knapp on behalf of his master Count Kinsky. Dixit Dominus is the first of the five Psalms sung at Vespers on Sundays or feast days which is why there are so many settings of it and why those settings tend to be a bit extravagant. The opening chorus' pointillism is accentuated by some very incisive rythmic writing and word-painting. The second movement as you might expect from Vivaldi is a slow chorus in B minor that at its climax has some of the most affecting harmonies Vivaldi  ever wrote.  The third and fourth movements are both very lively and feature the novel instrumentation that's the hallmark of much that he wrote for the Pietà. The fifth movement (Juravit Dominus …) is somewhat severe but nonetheless very effective – the way in which the alto acts as a cantor and the other three voices as a responding chorus is really quite remarkable. This is followed by the first soprano singing solo of how the Lord sitting at the Psalmist's right hand will strike his enemies down, which in turn leads to an invocation of the last trumpet in the 'Judicabit'. This gives way to an appropriately choppy 'implebit ruinas' followed by a marvellously lyrical alto solo that's complemented by the unison violins musical portrayal of lapping a brook's waters. The doxology starts with a choral terzet for alto, tenor and bass, that always reminds me of bel canto – it's a great example of Vivaldi borrowing and improving another composer's work in this case it's a paraphrase of the opening section of Lotti's Inganni dell' umanità, this terzet leads to the 'Sicut era …' which is an abridged restatement of the work's opening movement. The work closes with a triumphant – and triumphalist, fugue which is an expansives rescoring of the Laudate pueri Dominum, RVAnh.29, dating from 1690. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Nigra sum sed formosa

0
May 28, 2014

This is the third of the motets composed by Palestina for publication by the Roman printer Alessandro Gardano in 1584 in the  Motettorum Quinque Vocibus LIBER QUARTUS. As with all of these motets it's a form of vocal chamber music written in such a way that it could be performed by a wide variety of groups – such as the mixed voices you can hear in the excellent performance by Magnificat below . Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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

Archives

Special Pages