Features

Mozart Documentary – The Genius of Mozart 2/3 "A Passion for the Stage" – YouTube

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February 9, 2014

The second in this documentary trilogy from the BBC If you missed it the first part is here Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Mozart Documentary – The Genius of Mozart 1/3 "Miracle of Nature"

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February 2, 2014

The story begins with the composer's father Leopold with whom Mozart conducted a passionate and tortured correspondence. It is Leopold who knows Mozart's secrets. And there is another voice: that of the music itself. Music is the key to unlocking the emotions of Mozart, starting in this film with the great piano works. Without this key, how can we ever understand the emotions that gave birth to some of the most beautiful sounds the world has ever heard? The first great phase of Mozart's brief life was that of the travelling child prodigy - gifted as a performer and writer of music - who grew into the genius who, working within the restrictions of his time, began to rewrite the musical rules.But there was another facet to Mozart - the adult thinker aware of the bigger picture, passionately attached to the progressive values of the Enlightenment - impressively well-read, a speaker of most European languages (even a little English), an Austrian Catholic, a Freemason and above all a composer at the height of his formidable powers, determined to succeed in the most difficult and lucrative area of all - Opera. Towards the end of his life, Mozart mastered the language of instrumental and orchestral writing - and how both love and loss provoked in him an extraordinary burst of creativity. This was essentially crystallised in three ambitious works that changed the future course of music: his last, great trilogy of symphonies - numbers 39, 40 and 41 - which he wrote in six short weeks. Written by BBC.

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Feature: Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474) — Mass in honour of St. Anthony Abbot

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January 17, 2014

Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474) His contemporaries considered Dufay to be the leading composer of his time. He was born in Cambrai sometime during the last few years of the 14th centuryand received his first musical training in the Cathedral there. His subsequent career reads like list of the great of and powerful of his day involving as it did service as a musician to the Malatesta family, the Papal choir, the d'Estes of Ferrara and the Dukes of Savoy. His last years were spent back home in Cambrai where he had been granted a sinecure as canon of the cathedral.

He's typical of the school of musicians often referred to as the 'Burgundians' or 'First Netherlands School' who flourished under the Dukes of Burgundy and who married Dunstable's sweetness to continental rigour thereby setting the predominant musical style of the Renaissance. He wrote a considerable amount of Church music including a Mass based on that most popular cantus firmus L'homme armé, a Mass based on his own secular ballade Se la face ay pale, a Mass based on his own setting of the great Marian antiphon Ave regina caelorum, and this Mass the Missa Sancti Anthonii Viennensis/Abbatis or Mass in honour of  St. Anthony Abbot the patron saint of monasteries and of monks whose feast day falls on January 17th.

Mass for St Anthony Abbot

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Documentary: British Shanties and Sea Songs – Gareth Malone

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January 12, 2014

In this unmissable documentary from the Beeb Gareth Malone who's best known for his work with choirs goes exploring an unfamiliar aspect of British musical history. Enjoy :-).
markfromireland

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Feature: Mouton & Morales — Quæramus cum pastoribus

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December 29, 2013

stomer-adorationofshepherds Mouton's beautiful Christmastide motet 'Quæramus cum pastoribus' – the name comes from its first line 'Quæramus cum pastoribus verbum incarnatum' (Let us, with the shepherds, seek the incarnate word) was a wildly popular piece of music that spread like wildfire throughout Catholic Christendom, there are copies of it to be found in churches and cathedrals ranging from the Sistine Chapel to Guatemalan frontier missions. Nor was this popularity confined to the public,  Mouton's fellow composers greatly admired it and used as the basis both for parody Masses (Morales and Willaert) and for motets  (Crecquillon, Pedro de Cristo and Giovanni Croce). It's not hard to see why it was so popular and influential it's a bright and airy piece of music set for a four-part choir and its dialogues are a brilliant mix of very tightly written polyphony into which Mouton injected very rich musical variety and some memorably tuneful writing.  It's easy to see why Cristóbal de Morales based a Mass upon it and what a Mass! The 'Missa Quæramus cum pastoribus'  is a wonderfully expansive and sumptuous piece of music in which de Morales takes Mouton's original and transforms it into something that is entirely original and quite wonderful. Let's start with the motet:

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