BBC Documentary: David Starkey’s MUSIC & MONARCHY 1. Crown & Choir

0
January 4, 2015

Dr David Starkey reveals how the story of British music was shaped by its monarchy. In this first episode he begins with kings who were also composers - Henry V and Henry VIII - and the golden age of English music they presided over. He discovers how the military and religious ambitions of England's monarchy made its music the envy of Europe - and then brought it to the brink of destruction - and why British music still owes a huge debt to Queen Elizabeth I.

Featuring specially recorded music performances from King's College Cambridge, Canterbury Cathedral and Eton College, and early music ensemble Alamire; and the music of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, John Dunstable and John Dowland.

Dr Starkey reveals why Henry V took a choir with him to the Battle of Agincourt, and hears the music the king wrote to keep God on-side in his crusade against the French - rarely performed in the centuries since, and now sung by the choir at Canterbury Cathedral. He visits Eton College, founded by Henry VI, where today's choristers sing from a hand-illuminated choir-book which would have been used by their 16th-century predecessors; King's College, Cambridge, built by successive generations of monarchs and still world-famous for its choir; and the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, where Henry VIII and Elizabeth I heard works created especially for their worship by some of the greatest composers in British history.

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

The St. Philips Boy’s Choir (Libera) – Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord

0
January 3, 2015

Before they were known as Libera the boys of the St. Philips Boys Choir were called "Angel Voices" and Libera to this day is a subset of the St. Philips Boys Choir. As the St. Philips Boys Choir they recorded several albums amongst the pieces they recorded was David Evans' hymn "Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord" the soloists were Oliver Putland and Daren Geraghty. Enjoy :-).

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Teach Me, O Lord

0
January 2, 2015

It must have been an agonising experience for Byrd to see his hopes for the five-year English Catholic renaissance of 1553–58 dashed with the death of Queen Mary. A devout, and stubborn Catholic he was to live the remainder of his life under protestant monarchs. Fortunately for him, and for us, he managed the difficult and dangerous balancing act of remaining a faithful and practising Catholic while simultaneously rising to be a pillar of the Elizabethan musical establishment. Having Elizabeth as his protector undoubtedly helped! It may seem strange that such a devout Catholic produced such beautiful music for protestant services and "Teach me, O Lord" a setting of verses from Psalm 119 is very beautiful.

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Meta

Pages

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): A New Year Carol — Platinum Boys’ Choir

0
January 1, 2015

This performance by Platinum Boys' Choir of 'A New Year Carol' by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) a great demonstration of what a group of enthusiastic and dedicated children can achieve as a choir. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

markfromireland :-) Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Walking In The Air — Boys Air Choir

0
December 31, 2014

There've been lots of cover versions of this but few of them as good as the Boys Air Choir and if you've never seen "The Snowman" or would like to see it again yes I have embedded the full film below. Enjoy :-).

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Concert de Noël des Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal (version intégrale)

0
December 30, 2014

I hadn't actually realised that this had been uploaded and stumbled across it by happy accident while I was looking for something else. The Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal are a superb choir whose singing I love. I hope as the year winds down you manage to find the time to listen – it's just under 40 minutes, enjoy :-).

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Search the site by typing into the box

Click any of these tags to see a list of postings on that topic

Christopher Tye (±1505 – 1573): While shepherds watched

0
December 29, 2014

The lyrics to this greatly loved carol are a paraphrase of Luke 2:8-14 by Nahum Tate an Anglo-Irish playwright and poet who spent most of his life in England. The tune –"Winchester Old" is a common-meter psalm tune arranged by George Kirbye from Tye's Acts of the Apostles which was published in Este's The Whole Book of Psalmes in 1592. In his day Tye – whose strong protestant leanings coupled with superb musical talent earned him the post of music tutor to Edward VI was famous and highly influential. Not many of his works have survived but those that have are well worth listening to. Enjoy :-).

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Feast Of The Holy Innocents 2014: Coventry Carol

0
December 28, 2014

On the 28th of December The Feast of The Holy Innocents is celebrated. It's the day when The Church remembers the children murdered by order of King Herod who had been made aware of a prophecy that a new born boy born in Bethlehem would become King of the Jews. Fearing overthrow Herod tried to thwart the prophecy by ordering his soldiers to massacre every male infant under the age of two living in Bethlehem. Mass murder of children as an act of political expediency. Christmas has become a time when we the lucky people of the rich countries eat, drink, and consume to excess forgetting (if we ever knew) that Christ started his life as the refugee son of impoverished parents and narrowly escaped with his life, and forgetting (if we ever knew) the children slaughtered so that a politician could hang on to power. There is nothing new about atrocities targeting children. Our ancestors who lived in far more violent and savage times than we do did not forget the children of Bethlehem as the many depictions of The Massacre of The Innocents in painting, religious dramas, and music can testify. Musically the best known of these is the Coventry Carol which gets its name from the fact that it was part of the religious dramas enacted in Coventry from Medieval times until they were finally suppressed by Elizabeth I as part of her enforcing religious conformity. The text's author and date are both unknown but it was already very old when it was written down by Robert Croo in 1534. The oldest known printing of the melody was in 1591. it's traditionally sung a capella as here, whem it was perfomed as part of the the pageant, the carol would have been sung by three actors representing three women of Bethlehem, who entered on stage with their children and sang immediately after Joseph had been warned by an angel to flee with his family to Egypt. The carol's melody dates from Croo's time but like the text's author its composer is unknown. 

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

J.S. Bach – Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

0
December 28, 2014

Sir John Eliot Gardiner chose to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in his own inimitable style: with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists he undertook an extended concert tour to perform the composer's entire known output of sacred cantatas at churches and concert halls all over Europe. The tour began at the Herderkirche in Weimar, where on 23rd and 27th December 1999 all six parts of the Christmas Oratorio were performed and recorded.

Bach's "Oratorio Performed Musically During the Holy Christmas Season in Both Principal Churches in Leipzig" - as the inscription on the printed libretto states - was written at the end of the year 1734/35. The "oratorio" is in fact a grouping of six cantatas and Bach intended the individual works to be performed on six separate feast days between Christmas and Epiphany. But in calling the piece an oratorio, is it possible that Bach perhaps intended a complete performance at a later date? This is unlikely. As the celebreated Bach scholar Albert Schweitzer wisely remarks, there is little to be gained by performing the entire oratorio in a single evening, since "the weary listener would be in no state to appreciate the beauty of the second part." A more plausible theory, perhaps, is that it was easier to sell a compilation of cantatas rather than individual copies. But Bach's real motives will probably remain hidden.

Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

O Magnum Mysterium – Ola Gjeilo – Sofia Vokalensemble, Sergej Bolkhovets violin

0
December 27, 2014

Yesterday I posted Byrd's setting of this well-loved Christmas text. Modern composers continue to set it so  today let us enjoy Ola Gjeilo's atmospheric and powerfully beautiful setting sung below by the Sofia Vokalensemble, the violin solos were taken by Sergej Bolkhovets. Enjoy :-).

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

William Byrd (±1539-1623): O magnum misterium

0
December 26, 2014

William Byrd captioned 150x220px O magnum misterium is Byrd's SATB setting of this much-loved text. He published it in the 1607 Gradualia, it's a lovely piece of music in which he conveys his sense of awe and wonder at The Nativity. In the performance below the Cambridge Singers have included Beata Virgo, which although it's a separate motet, followed O magnum misterium  immediately in the liturgy and so was often treated as part of the same piece of music. As with O magnum misterium Byrd wrote very simple and tender music to express the feelings caused by the text amongst the English Catholic community in Elizabethan England. Enjoy :-) .

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Puer natus est nobis

0
December 25, 2014

Puer natus est nobis
Et filius datus est nobis
Cuius imperium super humerum eius
Et vocabitur nomen eius
Magni consilii Angelus

Cantate Domino canticum novum
Quia mirabilia fecit

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
in secula seculorum. Amen. 
 
Introit for the Mass of Christmas Day

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Special Pages