Josquin Des Prez (±1450-1521): O virgo virginium

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November 15, 2014

I've written about the great 'O' antiphons frequently, or to be more precise I've written about seven of them. These are the seven antiphons that are sung in the week before Christmas starting with 'O Sapientia' and concluding ón December 23rd with 'O Emmanuel'  most people think that these seven antiphons – the 'Great Antiphons' as they are often referred to are the only antiphons for this time, but  this is wrong in fact there are other antiphons which are proper to this week as the list below which I take from Guéranger shows:

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Franz Schubert: "Die Forelle" – boy soprano David Cizner 9 years old

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November 14, 2014

Cizner Forelle ThumbI've been following David Cizner's career for a while. He's a very talented singer in this performance recorded when he was all of nine years old he sings "Die Forelle". He takes it a bit faster than I'd normally like but in this case I don't think it detracts – very precise and clear diction too. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Quam pulchri sunt gressus tui

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November 13, 2014

Quam pulchri sunt gressus tui is the twenty fifty in the series of motets based upon the Song of Songs first published by Palestrina in 1584. The eroticism of the text – the Song of Songs is after all love poetry of a desert people,  no doubt helped account for its popularity with the public. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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William Cowper (1731–1800): O for a closer walk with God — Boys Air Choir

2
November 12, 2014

BlueBird-Cover

Cowper's much loved hymn sung here by the BAC in their Blue Bird album dating from 2000. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam

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November 11, 2014

De Lassus' four-part setting of the first verses of Psalm 55 is unusual precisely because it is a four-part setting. Less than a quarter of his surviving motets are for four parts. It's a lovely piece very supplicatory in tone as you might expect from Psalm 55. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Felice Anerio (±1560-1614): Christus factus est

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November 10, 2014

There are only two people who have ever held the post of composer to the Papal choir one of them was Palestrina and the other was Felice Anerio. Christus factus est is a perfect example of why his fellow musicians held him in such esteem. Its text is from the Epistle to the Philippians and it was intended to be sung as the gradual on Passion Sunday, it's a beautifully simple homophonic work that eschews modality and ornamentation in favour of a simple but oh so effective directness. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Sunday Concert: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Mass in C minor (The Great) KV 427

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November 9, 2014

w a mozart 170x140 When Mozart's fiancée Constance Weber fell seriously ill in 1783 Mozart swore to God that if she recovered he would compose a major Mass to give thanks. When she recovered Mozart started to compose the Mass but for some reason or another he never completed it. He wrote the the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus and parts of the Credo but not the remainder of the Mass. Notwithstanding the fact that it's incomplete it's a major – and wonderful, piece of music with a distinctly operatic tinge.

I really don't know where to start in listing its highpoints if I had to pick just one section of it I suppose it would have to be the adagio passage for chorus in the Gloria 'Gratias agimus tibi propter gloriam tuam' (We give thanks to you for your great glory), but then if I did that I'd miss the serenely beautiful soprano duet at 'Domine deus, rex celestis' (Lord God, heavenly King), and that's just from the Gloria. Far better to just revel in the whole thing. It's performed below at a concert given on Friday October 24th 2014  by the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century with soloists Ilse Eerens [soprano], Rosanne van Sandwijk [mezzosoprano], Ben Heijnen [tenor], and Pierre-Guy Le Gall White [bas] conducted by Daniel Reuss.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Drakie Quintet "The Big Five" – Drakensberg Boys Choir Ensemble

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November 8, 2014

A group of very talented Drakies showing what they can do. They clearly enjoyed themselves greatly — Puts a grin on my face every time I watch it. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Philip Stopford (Arr): For Mary Mother

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November 7, 2014

A new piece from one of my favourite English composers of choral music is an event I always enjoy.

For Mary Mother Of Our Lord, arranged Philip Stopford. Sung by Ecclesium

Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Lord Blessed be thy name

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November 6, 2014

Tallis 180 x 1501641 was a momentous year in English and Irish history during that year Strafford the King's right hand man was impeached by Parliament, tried, and executed. Archbishop Laud was imprisoned, Parliament passed The Triennial Act,  there was a major Irish Uprising,  and Parliament issued The Grand Remonstrance.  Less momentous perhaps but no less important from a musical standpoint John Barnard published the sole collection of liturgical music to be published in England in the eighty years between 1560s and the Civil War.  The 'First Book of Selected Church Musick' as it was called contained only compositions from composers who who were no longer living and whose works represented the Elizabethan and Jacobean repertory of English cathedrals and major parish churches. Amongst this repertory were four English contrafcta by Tallis of which Blessed be thy name — a contrafactum of Mihi autem nimis, is one. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Descendi in hortum meum

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November 5, 2014

Pomegranate in Bud

Descendi in hortum meum (I went down into my garden) is the twenty-fourth in the se­ries of twenty-nine motets based upon Song of Songs pub­lished by Palestrina to meet the de­mand for music to be sung at the meet­ings of the many re­ligi­ous groups, ord­ers, and sodalit­ies spring­ing up during the re­ligi­ous re­viv­al then tak­ing place in Italy . Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Edgar Bainton (1880–1956): And I Saw A New Heaven

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November 4, 2014

Bainton Edgar Bainton (1880–1956) is best known as a composer of church music and is a somewhat neglected composer in England he studied under Stanford at the Royal College of Music and starting in 1901  first a teacher and then from 1912 principal at Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Conservatoire.  In 1914 he travelled to Bayreuth for the festival when World War I broke out the German authorities arrested and interned him for the duration of the war as "a male enemy alien of military age"  at Ruhleben, near Berlin.

When the war ended he returned to his post in Newcastle. He spent much of his time touring Commonwealth countries and in 1934 he and his family moved to Australia where he took up a posting as director of the New South Wales State Conservatorium in Sydney. He's best remembered in Australia as a composer of operas and for introducing music by composers such as   Bax, Debussy, Delius, Sibelius, and Walton. His music of which 'And I Saw A New Heaven' is typical is in a late-romantic idiom and shows none of the folk influences of many of his contemporaries such as Vaughan Williams. It's probably the best known of his works, he composed it in 1938 and it's now firmly ensconced in the repertoire including such notable occasions as the Memorial Service for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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