Features

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

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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.

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Feature: Jean Mouton (before 1459-1522): Factum est silentium in caelo

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September 29, 2013

Anne of Brittany arms captioned 325x325Jean Mouton (before 1459–1522) is another one of those renaissance master-musicians whose music receives far less attention than his influence on his contemporaries and subequent generations would suggest. He was born near Samer in the Pas-de-Calais the first record of him is as a chorister in Nesle in 1477 rising to maître de chapelle in 1483, his career consisted of  a variety of posts in provincial cathedrals until 1502 when he joined the chapel of Anne of Brittany

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Feature: John Taverner (±1490-1545): Leroy Kyrie

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August 21, 2013

old hall 325x175 The name of Taverner's setting of the Kyrie known as the 'Leroy Kyrie' which you'll also see written as 'Kyrie Le Roy ' is generally believed to a reference to 'Roy Henry', either Henry IV or – more likely, Henry V to whom some musical works are attributed in the Old Hall Manuscript. Simply by virtue of having been composed it's quite an unusual piece of music for pre-Reformation English sacred music because in England at that time liturgical practice was dominated by usage of the Sarum Rite and Sarum usage was for the Kyrie to be 'troped'. (Troping a text in this context means inserting extra texts into an original – such as the Kyrie, to make it relevant to a particular Saint or Feast – mfi). Because the Kyrie was troped English composers didn't bother to set it because whatever they composed would be replaced with whatever was considered to be appropriate locally for that particular day in the Church's year.

Taverner based the Kyrie Le Roy on a 'square' – a Kyrie melody used at Lady Mass and has woved some remarkably beautiful and involved polyphony around this cantus firmus which he's assigned to the top part supported by the lower voices' polyphony. The alternatim in in this performance come from the Sarum Kyrie Cunctipotens. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Feature: John Taverner (±1490-1545): Missa Sine Nomine (The Meane Mass)

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July 24, 2013

Musician Angel Christ Church Oxford This setting of the Mass by Taverner is known by two names the 'Missa Sine Nomine' (literally 'Mass without a Name') and the 'Meane' Mass both of which names may require a little explanation. A 'Missa Sine Nomine' is setting setting of the Ordinary of the Mass that does not have a cantus firmus. In other word it's an entirely original composition that uses no pre-existing musical source material. Masses that did use pre-existing musical source material were named after it a good example being of course Taverner's setting of the Mass called the 'Westron Wynde' Mass after the (distinctly secular) song whose tune it makes use of repeatedly. A 'Meane' Mass, which you'll sometimes see incorrectly written as a 'Mean' Mass is a polyphonic Mass in which the highest voice scored is 'Altus' – a lower range boy soprano. There's no part scored for treble.

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Documentary: Angelic Voices : The Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral – YouTube

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July 7, 2013

It's been quite a while since I posted a documentary. This one which was first broadcast by the BBC on March 25th 2012 is excellent and gives a good insight into the working lives of these talented young musicians. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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