Ēriks Ešenvalds (b1977): Only in sleep

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February 1, 2016

Only in sleep was written in 2010 for the University of Louisville Collegiate Chorale and Cardinal Singers. Sara Teasdale’s nostalgic vision of childhood re-experienced through dreams is expressed in simple verse in regular metre, and Ešenvalds matches this in music of regular four-bar phrases. But infinitely subtle are the chord voicings; a change from humming to vocalise to spotlight a phrase here, or internal doublings to highlight a particular line in the texture there—all serve to sustain the freshness, and the soaring descants are achingly expressive. The soprano soloist heard at the opening returns at the close, lost in reverie, as her musing, florid arabesques float over one last pair of chordal oscillations, winding down to nothing.
from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2015

Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Feature: Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody Reinterpreted – Royal Academy of Music & Trinity Choir

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January 31, 2016

Queen B&W

When I read this in  Rolling Stone I was intrigued and hied me off to YouTube as fast as I could:

Queen are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their seminal track "Bohemian Rhapsody" with reinterpretations of the song performed by the Trinity Boys Choir and a string quartet comprising students from the Royal Academy of Music.

Unsurprisingly, the operatic rock opus makes fitting fodder for the Trinity choir. The group's deft harmonies shine as they maneuver through the meticulous vocal interplay of the song's famous midsection before nailing the final, lofty, "For me!"

The Behn Quartet's rendition is equally impressive, especially for an instrumental interpretation of a song rooted in Freddie Mercury's astonishing vocals. Arranged by Royal Academy of Music composition alum Charlie Piper, the quartet — which features final year students Kate Oswin, Alicia Berendse, Lydia Abell and Ghislaine McMullin — channels Mercury's playfulness and melodrama into a sweeping performance as grand as the original.

Read in full: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/queen-post-bohemian-rhapsody-covers-by-choir-string-quartet-20151222#ixzz3yG21xfCY

If ever there's a song that deserves its iconic status Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is surely it, it's a superbly written piece of music, that tells a story and uses many musical techniques that greatly enhanced Queen's a capella singing. It's no wonder that there are so many cover versions of it. Both the choral and string quartet versions that you'll find below are superb and borh are superbly performed. Both, perhaps, are quite a bit different to what you're expecting. They're accompanied by videos in which boys of the Trinity School Choir and the young women of the Behn Quartet and Charlie piper discuss the song and their performances of it. Enjoy  :-).

mfi

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The Georgia Boy Choir & Beijing Children’s Choir – What A Wonderful World

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January 30, 2016

The Georgia Boy Choir singing What A Wonderful World performed during an international concert tour together with the Beijing Children’s Choir, by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, arranged by David R. White. This performance was recorded on May 27, 2015 during the GBC China Tour in Beijing, China, at the Forbidden City Concert Hall.

Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): With all our hearts

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January 29, 2016

Tallis 180 x 150This motet suitable for Trinity is a contrafactum of  Tallis' first setting of Salvator mundi it was clearly popular with Tallis' contemporaries (and indeed the succeeding generation) as it was very widespread during the reigns both of Elizabeth I and James I. I have to say I feel that in places the English text isn't quite the perfect fit with the music as the original Latin, but doesn't detract in the slightest from the beauty of Tallis' wonderfully dense counterpoint. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Francisco de Peñalosa (±1470-1528): Nigra sum, sed formosa

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January 28, 2016

Renaissance composers were very taken with the possibilities of setting texts from the Song of Songs and de Peñalosa was no exception. This three-part setting of Nigra Sum is to mind some of his most beautiful work.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Bob Chilcott (b1955): Catch a falling star – Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, New Zealand

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January 27, 2016

John Donne clearly had not had a good experience in love as is made clear in his poem Catch a falling star. This piece was written for Worldsong, a festival of children’s choirs hosted by Robyn Lana and the Cincinnati Children’s Chorus.
Bob Chilcott

I like Donne's poetry and think that Chilcott's three-part (SSA + piano accompaniment) setting serves the text very well. It's a tender and expressive piece of music full of rich harmonies and with considerable variation in texture all shot through with beautiful wistful melodies. This is a lovely performance of it by a choir that's new to me. I've put the poem's text below the video so that you can follow along. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Cristóbal de Morales (c1500-1553): Regina caeli a 6 (motet)

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January 26, 2016

Cristóbal de Morales composed several settings of Regina Caeli, this one is a six-part setting (SSAATB) that takes the chant's melody and subjects it to canonical treatment with a canon between the second soprano and second alto parts. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Consurgit Christus – Escolania del Escorial

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January 25, 2016

Coro Escolania del Escorial

This Paschal motet takes its text from a verse of the sixth century Ambrosian hymn Ad coenam Agni providi (The Lamb's High Banquet We Await). The hymn or verses of it are normally sung at Vespers between Easter Sunday and the Feast of the Ascension it's sung here by the boys of the Escolania del Escorial enjoy :-).

mfi

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Sunday Concert: Gala Concert 450 Years Sächsische Staatskapelle (1998)

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January 24, 2016

My cup runneth over just look at the programme for this wonderful concert:

  • Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto per l'orchestra di Dresda (G. Sinopoli & Sächsische Staatskapelle)
  • Carl Maria von Weber - Jubel Ouverture, Op. 59 (Giuseppe Sinopoli & Sächsische Staatskapelle)
  • Richard Wagner - Ouverture to Rienzi (Giuseppe Sinopoli & Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden)
  • Richard Strauss - An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64 (Giuseppe Sinopoli & Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden)

Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Genesis Sixteen – Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Magnificat a 5

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January 23, 2016

I introduced Genesis Sixteen – the free choral music training scheme run by The Sixteen for young singers back in November of last year (see: An introduction to Genesis Sixteen | Saturday Chorale – mfi).  This is them singing Tallis' Magnficat for 5 voices during choral evensong on  15th July 2015, they handle it with great aplomb. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Nunc Dimittis – Huw Morgan (2015)

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January 22, 2016

A setting of the Nunc Dimittis (Luke 2: 29-32) in English by Huw Morgan. Sung here by the Merbecke Choir of Southwark Cathedral.
This work is published by Firehead Editions: http://fireheadeditions.com/downloads...
Photograph of Muckross Abbey, Ireland, by the composer.
www.huwmorgantheorgan.com
www.merbecke.org.uk

Enjoy :-).

mfi

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John Blow (1649-1708): Salvator mundi, salva nos

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January 21, 2016

John Blow portrait captioned small Many things changed drastically in England once the Puritan government fell and the monarchy under Charles II was restored. Among the things that changed was that Church music was suddenly allowable again. Among the things that didn't change was the fact that Latin texts remained distinctly non grata in Anglican churches. This didn't stop Purcell and Blow1 from composing a few pieces of sacred music in Latin most likely for performance in private. One of these motets is Blow's setting of Salvator mundi, salva nos (O saviour of the world, save us,) which takes its text from the Office of the Visitation of the Sick.

It's a wonderfully vivid and responsive piece of music – Blow went to very considerable lengths indeed to match his music to the text, in particular his "dramatic use of the tonally distant B major chord toward the end of the first section" to which he added suspensions, chromaticism, and inversion of pedal points to further achieve the desired effects. The result is surprisingly modern sounding and perhaps in part because of that despite its original private intent it's now firmly ensconced in the repertoires of Anglican cathedral and college choirs.

Enjoy :-)

mfi

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