Sunday Concert: Mozart Symphony No 36, Brahms Symphony No 2 – Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Carlos Kleiber

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September 28, 2014

Carlos Kleiber conducting the the Vienna Philharmonic in a concert dating (I believe) to  October 7th 1991 October 6th 1991. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Lieder Ohne Worte I, Op. 19 – 1. № In E

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September 27, 2014

Mendelssohn's flowing and lyrical 'Lieder Ohne Worte'  (Songs without words) are a neglected delight that I often turn to for musical relaxation. I'll be posting a few more of them over the next few weeks but here's the first one to get us started. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672): Surrexit pastor bonus, SWV469

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September 26, 2014

When Schütz was appointed Kapellmeister at the court in Dresden in 1617 he set to work composing music to be performed at all the civic and religious occasions of the court. One of the pieces he composed was this SATB Easter motet 'Surrexit pastor bonus' (The Good Shepherd is risen) the text of which is a responsory for the second day of Easter. It's a cheerful and optimistic piece that bubbles over with joy. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Laudate pueri RV602

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September 25, 2014

This is Vivaldi composing music on a grand scale for performance during Vespers at the Pietà. Each verse is a separate movement which is linked to the others by the device of treating a verse – in this case the second one, as a refrain. In some ways I find it a strange work full of contrasts. There's the bright and almost naive second verse which sets overall tone for the piece. But against that we have the deep melancholy of 'Excelsus super omnes' which is the musical and emotional heart of the work and which uses the form of a siciliana to express desperation instead of the rustic vigour one might expect from a siciliana. The fourth and fifth verses are strophed, that is Vivaldi paraphrases but without repeating his setting of the fourth verse in the fifth. These are followed by the dramatic sixth movement 'Suscitans a terra …' in which the two soprano soloists vie with each other to describe the scene. The final part of the Psalm itself 'Ut collocet eum …' is a simple rustic dance of the type Vivaldi made much use of in the first decade of the eighteenth century. Once the Psalm ends we have the doxology, at the time this was composed it was traditional to introduce a somewhat showy solo Vivaldi obeys the tradition but evidently determined to go one step better makes the solo a double solo consisting of the second soprano and the heretofore silent oboe. The singer's voice and the intstrument's music combine and intertwine almost as though we were listening to a chamber duet, Vivaldi ends this 'duet' with a cadenza towards the end of the final ritornello which he clearly wrote with the intention of showing off what the oboe was capable of. He ends the doxology in traditional style by quoting the music of the first movement. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Dilectus meus descendit

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September 24, 2014

Dilectus meus descendit (My beloved has gone down) is the twenty-first in the series of Palestrina's chamber motets which draw upon the sensual language and imagery of  The Song of Songs. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676): Laetatus sum

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September 23, 2014

During the 1650s Cavalli  was at the height both of his fame and his creative powers, and had reached his career's apex. This was the decade in which he published no less than fourteen of his thirty-two surviving operas and it was the decade in which he published the Musiche sacre (1656).  The Musiche sacre of 1656 is a collection of music – of musical components, for satisfying the liturgical requirements of a wide range of feast days. Such portmanteau publications were fairly common during the seventeenth century but Cavalli's is a particularly comprehensive example of the genre. His setting of Laetatus sum, Psalm 121 (Psalm 122 in protestant bibles) would have been intended to be sung as the gradual proper on the fourth Sunday of Lent but could also be sung during second Vespers on many of the Feasts devoted to the Blessed Virgin and for both Vespers on most feasts of female saints. It's a lovely piece for alto, tenor, and bass voices with five instruments that's very operatic in conception and structure. As you listen you can hear the somewhat lenghty solo passage being passed from one soloist to another. Each soloist sings one verse over the bass line (it's the same bass line – Cavalli maintains it to provide continuity) giving us what is fact an operatic strophic aria of the type introduced by Monteverdi in his opera Orfeo.  Cavalli added a further operatic touch by including a lively ritornello based upon the alto solo's opening notes.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas A. Walmisley (1814–1856): Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis – Kampen Boys Choir – YouTube

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September 22, 2014

Walmisley's early display of musical talent led his organist father to send him to Thomas Attwood for lessons in composition. Aged sixteen he was appointed organist of Croydon Parish Church where he came to the notice of Thomas Miller who sponsored him to the combined organistships of Trinity and St John's Colleges, Cambridge. His progress was  astoundingly rapid Walmisley was appointed to the chair of music, while still an undergraduate aged only 22 years old. In 1838 he took the BA degree and became a full member of Trinity College. He took the MA in 1841 and in 1848 presented himself for the degree of MusD. He was something of a musical pioneer who prophesied that Bach's music would be recognised as the supreme accomplishment of a musical genius long before Bach's music was well-known in England. By all accounts he was a brilliant organist and choir trainer under whose guidance the joint choir of Trinity and St John's became known as one of the best in England.  Together with S.S Wesley he was responsible for undoing the effect of generations of neblect upon the standard of British Cathedral music. Unfortunately he was prone to depression from which he sought relief in wine his death at the relatively young age of forty was probably caused by alcoholism. Much of his music is now lost but that which survives is well worth listening particularly when sung by a talented choir such as the invariably excellent Kampen Boys Choir. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Opening concert Utrecht Early Music Festival, 2014: Collegium 1704 – YouTube

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September 21, 2014

When I think of Collegium 1704 what springs to mind immediately is their wonderful work making Zelenka's music better known. They've got rather more than just one string to their bow however as their performance of music by Fux, Tuma and Zelenka at Utrecht's 2014 Utrecht Early Music Festival opening concert demonstrates. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Alleluia (World Premiere) – Salt Lake Vocal Artists – YouTube

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September 20, 2014

The Salt Lake Vocal Artists give the world premiere performance of "Alleluia" by Jake Runestad live in concert on February 21, 2014 in the Granada Theater, under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred. This concert was part of the Western Division conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in Santa Barbara California at which the Salt Lake Vocal Artists were invited to perform.

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Sebastián de Vivanco (1551-1622): O Rex gloriae

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September 19, 2014

This setting of O Rex gloriae by Vivanco would have been sung as the Antiphon to the Magnificat for Second Vespers at Ascension. It's a double-choir motet and was published in  1610 in Salamanca as part of a collection of his motets. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Nisi Dominus RV803

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September 18, 2014

This recently rediscovered work was described by Michael Talbot in his notes to it as Vivaldi's 'swan song' for the Pietà. It's glorious and as Talbot's description of it certainly can't be bettered by me I reproduce it below. So without further ado enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Caput eius aurum optimum

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September 17, 2014

Caput eius aurum optimum (His head is as the finest gold) is the twentieth in the series of motets written to be sung in devotional gatherings of the kind popular in Italy as a result of the religious revival spearheaded by St. Phlip Neri in Rome in the 1560s and 1570s.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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