William Byrd (±1539-1623): Nunc Dimittis from the Great Service

0
August 25, 2014

Byrd's settings for the Great Service took Anglican music forward from its hesitant and somewhat experimental phase into somewhat more splendid territory. He probably wrote the Magnificat (about which I wrote last Friday see: William Byrd (±1539-1623): Magnificat from the Great Service | Saturday Chorale) and the Nunc Dimittis last it's beautiful music which manages to obey the requirement that the text should be set clearly while making use of juxtaposition and contrast to great dramatic effect. It's been described as the 'finest unaccompanied setting of the Service in the entire repertory of English church music' I have to say I agree. Enjoy :-)-

mfi

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

Sunday Concert: Jessye Norman & Kathleen Battle – Spirituals in Concert – Complete – Youtube

0
August 24, 2014

The by now legendary concert with James Levine conducting and Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle singing solos. It's a very hard-to-get-hold-of recording, and believe me I've tried. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685 – 1759): Lascia ch’io pianga – Escolania de Montserrat

0
August 23, 2014

It's easy to understand why Handel re-used this piece of music again and again – it's quite simply beautiful. It began its life as a dance piece in Almira (1705) and was reworked by him two years later as the aria Lascia la spina in Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno before recycling it again in 1711 for his enormously successful opera Rinaldo. It's been popular ever since and is firmly ensconced in concert repertoire. It's sung below in a more than creditable performance by ten years old Eduard Boadas accompanied by Pau Tolosa who is thirteen both of whom are choristers at the Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat and attend its famous music school the Escolania de Montserrat. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Meta

Pages

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Magnificat from the Great Service

2
August 22, 2014

byrd_signature_01_small Although he was a devout Catholic Byrd nevertheless produced music for his royal protector's church. Not very much of it to be sure and none of it was published under his name,  people sometimes assume that because he believed so strongly that the Anglican church was in error that the music he produced for its services must necessarily be somehow lesser than the music he produced for his fellow Catholics and their persecuted church. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the Magnificat from the Great Service testifies.

It's a relatively late work that must date from the last years of the century and both its musical breadth and its lavish ten-part structure (SAATBSAATB)  makes me think that he wrote it for the Chapel Royal.  He pays musical homage to the previous generation's canticle settings  but handles them in a far more imaginative and sophisticated way. There's a lot of juxtaposition and contrast which Byrd exploits to dramatic effect. The effect is both sonorous and beautiful I cannot help but think that Elizabeth would have been very pleased with him. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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

Vivaldi Vespro per la Sacra Vergine Les Agremens, L G Alarcon

0
August 21, 2014

Because good music is like good chocolate sometimes one piece isn't enough. That's why. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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

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

0
August 20, 2014

Palestrina's set of motets based upon the song of songs was wildly popular not least because their emotional range was such that depending on how the group singing a particulat motet chose to sing it whether to emphasise the intimate, and sensual side of the motets or as you can hear below to stress their public, sacred and motet-like nature. 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

Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676): Magnificat A Sei Voci

0
August 19, 2014

Cavalli was born in Crema in February 1602 the son of Giovanni Battista Caletti Bruni, who at that time was maestro di cappella in Crema's Cathedral. He had a particularly beautiful voice, so much so that Federigo Cavalli, the chief magistrate of the city and one of Venice's foremost aristocrats took the then fourteen-year old boy with him to Venice promising that not only would he be fed and paid but that Monteverdi himself would be his music teacher (Cavalli changed his name from Bruni to Cavalli in gratitude). His musical career is best described as one of steady progression rather than a meteoric rise, his fame spread and his compositional technique matured, and Cavalli rose steadily through the ranks of the musical profession until he was so well-thought-of that when Monteverdi died it was Cavalli who was hailed as his successor as the most important musical force in The Serene Republic.

He composed this six-part setting of the Magnificat in 1650 to complete the posthumous edition of the Messa a Quattro voci e Salmi published in memory of his mentor, maestro, and friend Claudio Monteverdi.

It's a very good example of what for lack of a better term I'll call post-Monteverdi Venetian. Its structure is highly sectionalised and it's marked by a wonderfully light 'concertato misto' approach. Indeed 'misto' (mixed) describes it precisely, and Cavalli handling of this variation is deft and masterful, there are  solos, duets, trios, embellishments to the vocal line, and some verse taut and tersely written tutti that provide both punctuation and relief.

Enjoy :-)

mfi

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

Gonzalo Martinez de Bizcargui (fl 1490-1538): Salve Regina

0
August 18, 2014

Gonzalo Martinez de Bizcargui was born at Azkoitia in the province of Gipuzkoa, in northern Spain's Basque Country, only one of his works - the setting of the Salve that you can hear here is known to have survived. In his time his musical theories were quite influential and he rose from a singer in Burgos Cathedral's capilla to be Bishop's chaplain and subsequently chaplain to the Chapel of the Visitation. He published two treatises:

1. Arte de canto llano y contrapunto e canto de órgano.
2. Intonationes nuevamente corrigidas porel mesmo Gonzalo Martínez de Bizcargui, según uso de los modernos.

His Salve Regina for four voices is preserved in Burgos. It's a transitional piece with its roots in late Spanish late medieval music but looking forward to the dawning renaissance. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

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

0
August 17, 2014

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

mfi

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

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

0
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

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

Kearsney College Choir: World Choir Games 2014, Riga

0
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

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

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

0
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

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

Special Pages