Features

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

4
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

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

Documentary: British Shanties and Sea Songs – Gareth Malone

0
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

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

Feature: Mouton & Morales — Quæramus cum pastoribus

0
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:

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

Feature: Kampen Boys Choir — Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in A C.V. Stanford

2
November 27, 2013

Kampen choristers getting ready for a concert

One of the advantages of YouTube is that you can come across some very good choirs of whose existence you would otherwise be unaware. One such is the Dutch choir the Kampen Boys Choir about whose excellent performance of Farrant's 'Lord, for Thy tender mercy’s sake' I wrote about last January (see: Richard Farrant (1530 – 1580): Lord, for Thy tender mercy’s sake – Kampen Boys Choir – YouTube).  At the time I intended to write a further posting introducing them and their singing but I'm only now getting around to it. The Kampen Boys Choir were founded in September 2002 and consists of sixteen boys (trebles) and twelve men (countertenors, tenors and basses). Their repertoire is mostly taken from the English choral tradition but they also undertake tours outside of the Netherlands as well as collaborating with other Dutch choirs for example by participating in the performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion given by the Dutch Bach Society. They're an excellent choir whose clear well-paced singing I've greatly enjoyed listening to I'm sure you will too.

markfromireland

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

Feature: Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548 – 1611): Missa pro defunctis a 4

2
October 21, 2013

If you search for de Victoria's Masses or you survey the literature dealing with his music you could easily assume that he only ever wrote one Requiem - the one dating from 1605, in fact he wrote two and the 1605 composition owes a very heavy debt to the 1583 one. Whenever I tell people this it almost always comes as a great surprise to them which in turn surprises me.

Tomás Luis de Victoria was a Catholic priest a product of the counter-reformation as it unfolded in Spain. If there is one man whose music epitomises the counter-reformation de Victoria is that man. His illustrious predecessors Francisco Guerrero and Cristóbal de Morales had made notable contributions to the genre, a genre which had been a well-established part of Spanish religious culture since at least the latter part of the Middle Ages. It's not surprising that Victoria wrote more than one setting of the Requiem or the Missa pro defunctis to give it its proper title on the contrary it would have been astonishing if de Victoria had not made the composition of a Missa pro defunctis one of his earliest compositional tasks.

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

Archives

Special Pages