Bonus Sunday Earwig: Beatles Medley – Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal – Live, August 16th 2014.

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August 17, 2014

The Beatles as you've never heard them. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Sunday Concert: "Viva Vivaldi!" – Cecilia Bartoli & "Il Giardino Armonico – YouTube

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August 17, 2014

cecilia bartoli 700x316 captioned

Viva Vivaldi! with Cecilia Bartoli

Cecilia Bartoli's all-Vivaldi sell-out concert performances with the Italian period instrument ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, at Paris's Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, brought together the talents of today's most celebrated mezzo-soprano and an outstandingly creative group of musicians. Included are arias from Vivaldi's operas and pasticcios L'Olimpiade, Tito Manlio, Ottone in Villa, Gloria, Juditha Triumphans, Farnace, Bajazet and La Fida Ninfa. The repertoire displays Bartoli's breathtaking virtuosity in arias demanding a phenomenal range of vocal expression.
Cecilia Bartoli (born June 4, 1966 in Rome) is an Italian mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist. She is best known for her interpretation of the music of Mozart and Rossini, as well as for her performances of lesser-known Baroque and classical music. She is known for having the versatility to play both soprano and mezzo roles, and is sometimes considered a soprano with a low tessitura. Bartoli's coloratura skill has earned her the title the Queen of Agility." –Wikipedia

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Kearsney College Choir: World Choir Games 2014, Riga

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August 16, 2014

Kearnsey College Choir are another wonderful South African Choir whose fortunes I follow with keen interest, I was delighted when they won gold at this year's World Choir Games in Riga. Delighted but not surprised – they're very good at what they do. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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William Mundy (±1529-1591): Vox Patris caelestis

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August 15, 2014

Mundy composed Vox Patris caelestis (The voice of the heavenly Father) during Queen Mary's reign (1553–1558) we can date it to these five years first because Mundy was too young to have written it during Henry VIII's reign, secondly its text which is a Marian paean based upon the Song of Songs would have been unacceptable both to Edward VI and Elizabeth I as protestant monarchs as would the musical style. It probably wouldn't have been all that acceptable to Mary's fellow Catholic monarchs either, it's musical style is very English and Mundy who clearly liked to compose on a gigantic scale is far more concerned with letting his melodies spread their wings than with textual clarity. His structure is aimed at achieving this melodic breadth. You can hear this in the way the solos build and increase in intensity Mundy wanted it to be spectacular and so it is he took most spectacular voice combination available to him two trebles, two means and two basses and heightens the musical firework again and again until at last we come to conclusive 'Veni, veni, veni: caelesti gloria coronaberis. Amen'. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Beatus vir RV795

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August 14, 2014

vivaldi sketch captioned 150x180You'll sometimes read people making a fuss about the fact that the Ryom Verzeichnis Number for this the third and last of Vivaldi's surviving settings of Psalm 111 (112 in modern translations) is an inversion of RV597 another setting of the Psalm and one to which it is closely related. In fact the inversion is entirely happenstance and the various numerological paroxysms into which these enthusiasts throw themselves are really rather ridiculous. It's one of a group of Psalms that Vivaldi composed for performance at the Pietà on Easter 1739 and is based upon a now lost setting of the Psalm. It's written in a galant style and calls for the alto to sing 'pseudo bass' you can hear this particularly clearly in the terzet 'In memoria aeterna' where the second contralto double the instrumental bass at precisely one octave above. Between that terzet and the writing of the 'Peccator videbit'.  It's a lovely piece of music that features some very innovative part-writing and a fascinating glimpse of an aging Vivaldi's determination to keep his musical style fresh and up-to-date. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Surge, propera, amica mea

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August 13, 2014

While I was researching this posting I came across this performance of Surge, propera, amica mea (Rise up, make haste, my love,) given by the Spanish choir Coro Musicalia at a concert given on May 20th 2012 at the Iglesia de El Salvador, Valladolid. I was impressed and enjoyed it greatly, I hope that you will too.

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Lullaby ‘My sweet little baby’

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August 12, 2014

When he published Psalms, Sonets, and songs of Sadnes and Pietie in 1588 Byrd wrote that he hoped it would 'perswade everyone to learne how to sing' all of the songs in the 1588 book are very distinctive in their concentration on a beautiful sound, on harnessing the expressive power of the human voice. They're all pieces that repay frequent listening or as Byrd put it "a song that is well and artificially made cannot be well perceived nor understood at the first hearing, but the oftener you shall heare it, the better cause of liking you will discover" I've long since lost count of how many times I've listened to this performance of the Winter Lullaby, an early work that shows Byrd's consummate mastery of that most difficult art, writing a good tune. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Herbert Howells (1892–1983): Regina caeli

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August 11, 2014

This is the third four 'Anthems of the Blessed Virgin Mary' that Howells composed for the choir of Westminster Cathedral in 1916. For  some strange reason they were never published during his lifetime and only came to light in 1988 when the manusicript copy was rediscovered. I've not yet managed to hear it sung in Westminster but it's clearly written for that Cathedral's acoustic. It's set for double choir and is overflowing with joy throughout from the opening fanfare to the cliimactic 'resurrexit sicut dixit' to the gentle ending. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Missa ‘rorate coeli desuper’ in G major (Hob. XXII:3)

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August 10, 2014

This is an early work - a very early work, in fact it's entirely possible that it dates from the 1740s when Haydn was a choirboy at the Hofkapelle and was a compositional exercise undertaken jointly with his teacher Reutter. It's a short setting of the Mass based upon 'Rorate coeli desuper' which is the for the fourth Sunday in Advent. Advent at that time in Austia was similar to Lent in that the music accompanying the Mass (and Vespers) was severely reduced in scope. Like his 'Kleine Orgelmesse' Haydn makes use of polytextuality - the technique in which several clauses of the lenghtier texts in the Mass are sung simultaneously to achieve brevity. The accompaniment is also minimal, two violins and continuo. So a short, and early work, possibly written as an exercise, juvenilia then? Yes, juvenilia, but accomplished and skilled juvenilia that's well worth listening even if only once. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Wesley: Praise the Lord, O My Soul — Choir of York Minster

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August 9, 2014

The Choir of York Minster, under the direction of Robert Sharpe and accompanied by David Pipe, offer a live recording of Samuel Sebastian Wesley's 1861 anthem 'Praise the Lord, My Soul' at the 16, July 2014 service of Choral Evensong.

Wesley's large-scale anthem for choir and organ, which concludes with the oft-excerpted 'Lead Me, Lord,' incorporates the words of Psalms 103, 3, 5, 12, 7, 8, and 4 into four movements of meditation on the hope and trust of the Psalmist in his God. It features solos for trebles, alto, tenor, and bass, here presented beautifully by Minster choristers and songmen whom I do not currently know how to credit.

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Léo Delibes (1836–1891): O Salutaris Hostia

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August 8, 2014

Delibes wrote nearly all his music for the theatre but he did write some religious music too.  His Messe Brève (about which I plan on writing later on this month) is a thing of beauty that's all too rarely performed. To whet your appetite here's his setting of the Communion motet O Salutaris Hostia. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Gloria Patri RV602a

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August 7, 2014

A short but very lovely piece today. It's the reworked Gloria for Laudate pueri (RV602), dating from some time between 1725 and 1739. It features some wonderful obbligato writing for flute and a charming soprano solo. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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