Pacific Boychoir Academy Ave Maria à 4 Giovanni da Palestrina St. Hedwig Stuttgart 11.7.15 – YouTube

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August 8, 2015

The boys of the Pacific Boychoir Academy conducted by Kevin Fox singing Palestrina's four-part setting of Ave Maria at a concert given on July 11th 2015 at St. Hedwig Stuttgart. Enjoy :-)
mfi Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Levemus corda

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August 7, 2015

Byrd's five-part (ATTBB) setting of Lamentations 3: 41-2 from the 1591 Cantiones. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Josquin Des Prez (±1450 – 1521): Planxit autem David

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August 6, 2015

Josquin Signature 180x143 This is one of those pieces of music whose purpose and context are a mystery to us. The text is a slightly modified version of the biblical verses (2 Samuel 1: 17-27) in which David laments Saul and Jonathan so there's no discernible liturgical connection. If it's not liturgical then, given the nature of the text and Josquin's intense musical response to it some kind of political event, such as the death of a politically important male was most likely the cause of Josquin's motet not least because Josquin binds the four movements together by regularly quoting the Gregorian reciting-tone for the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Structurally it's also  a bit of a puzzle because while its in four movements those four movements must follow one after another to reflect the seamless nature of the text, so the structure is very unitary despite it being in four parts. None of these puzzles should distract us from the fact that it's very beautiful. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Johannes Flamingus (fl 1565–73): Cibavit eos

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August 5, 2015

There's very little information available about this Flemish composer he's known to have been active in Leiden and was among the copyists who produced the Leiden choirbooks in which some of his works including this setting of Introit for Corpus Christi can be found. His entry in Grove concludes by describing him as "an uneven composer, but at his best his music is very fine indeed". 'Very fine indeed' seems to me to be a good description of this four-part setting of Cibavit eos, the introit for the Feast of Corpus Christi. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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John Blow (1649-1708): Let thy hand be strengthened

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August 4, 2015
The Coronation Procession of King James II and Queen Mary of Modena.  	"The Kings Herbwoman & her 6 Maids, wh Baskets of Sweet Herbs, strewing the way. / The Deans Beadle of Westmr. / The high Constable of Westminster. / A Fife. / + Drums. / The Drum Major."

The Coronation Procession of King James II and Queen Mary of Modena.
"The Kings Herbwoman & her 6 Maids, wh Baskets of Sweet Herbs, strewing the way. / The Deans Beadle of Westmr. / The high Constable of Westminster. / A Fife. / + Drums. / The Drum Major."

James II and his Queen Mary of Modena were crowned in Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1685, St George’s Day. Blow's four-part (SATB) setting of the coronation anthem Let thy hand be strengthened would have been sung by the scholars of Westminster School to greet the arrival of the Queen after the Vivats. It's sung below by the Western Illinois University Singers conducted by Dr. James Stegall at concert given at Wesley Methodist Church, Macomb, on March 19th 2013 as part of a Restoration Cathedral Music symposium. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585)(attrib): Out from the deep

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August 3, 2015

Tallis 180 x 150Tallis was one of the composers who composed some of the earliest English anthems. Tallis is generally reckoned to have composed around forty but that's a more than somewhat misleading figure as quite a few of his English compositions are straightforward contrafacta of Latin compositions. There are also several anthems which are no believed to have been misattributed amongst which this setting of Psalm 130 Out from the deep (De Profundis) which may in fact be by William Parsons. Its text is from a metrical version of Psalm 130 and it's in the ABB format (i.e. two sections, the second of which is repeated) used by many Edwardian and early Elizabethan anthem composers. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783): Requiem in E-flat major [Dresdner Kammerchor-Dresdner Barockorchester]

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August 2, 2015

Hasse was very famous, popular, and influential, during his lifetime but his works aren't often performed today. His music is very Italianate as indeed was his private life – he married an Italian prima donna and they moved to Italy during his later years. He wrote a vast amount of music including this delightful Requiem in E-flat major. Delightful? A requiem? Well, yes, I can't think of any other word to describe it. It's a very attractive more than somewhat operatic piece of music and when I say 'operatic' I really mean it, it's so operatic that it includes places where the soloist can improvise cadenzas – which they do with considerable flair in this recording. The Dies Irae reminds me of something from the Mozart Requiem, but then strikes out for pastures new, the Lacrymosa does likewise while the Recordare is a long florid soprano aria. The entire piece is like this true it has a few solemn moments but taken as a whole it's operatic and very cheerful indeed in places it's downright bouncy. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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John Dunstable (± 1390-1453): Beata Dei genitrix

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August 1, 2015

The English guise they wear with grace
They follow Dunstable aright,
And thereby have they learned apace
To make their music gay and bright.

English composers had considerable influence in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance perhaps the most influential was Dunstable of whom Martin le Franc wrote that Guillaume Du Fay and Gilles Binchois, "took of the English manner, and followed Dunstable, whereby wondrous pleasure makes their music joyous and famous". (I wrote about Dunstable's significance here John Dunstable (± 1390-1453): Magnificat | Saturday Chorale - mfi). So closely did Du Fay and Binchois follow Dunstable that sometimes his music music was attributed to them as occurred with this setting of the Marian intercessionary motet Beata Dei genitrix (Blessed Mother of God) which for a long time was believed to be by Binchois. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Henry Purcell (1659-1695): How Happy the Lovers

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July 31, 2015

Purcell Closterman Small This chorus is from Act IV the semi-opera King Arthur, or The British Worthy (1691) the libretto was by John Dryden. It's a wonderfully sensual and rich piece of  music into which Purcell wove tutti, solos, male and female voices, and duets. It's very French you can hear that Lully's Passacaille d’Armide impressed Purcell. During Act IV siren try to tempt Arthur into a stream but fail. A group of nymphs and sylvans then appears and 'sing and dance the following song, all with Branches in their Hands'. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Arvo Pärt (b1935): Veni, Creator

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July 30, 2015

Arvo Pärt Captioned SmallVeni, Creator Spiritus attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856) is one of the Church's most famous hymns. As well as at Vespers it's used at any ceremony at which the Holy Spirit is invoked such as Confirmation, Pentecost, and ordination. Pärt's setting of the first and fourth verses of the hymn was first performed in Fulda Cathedral in September 2006 1 and evokes the "mood of stillness" typical of many of Pärt's choral compositions. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Hymn – Lord of all hopefulness (St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, 2015) – YouTube

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July 29, 2015

The Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral directed by Andrew Carwood performing Joyce Torrens' hymn 'Lord of all hopefulness' at the service of commemoration to mark the tenth anniversary of the July 7th terrorist bombings in London.

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

Francisco Guerrero ( 1528 – 1599): Prudentes virgines

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July 28, 2015

Francisco Guerrero's five-part motet Prudentes virgines (wise virgins) sets a text based on the Gospel parable of the ten virgins (the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins) it was first published in Venice in 1570.  Guerrero was greatly admired by his contemporaries not least Alonso Lobo who based his Missa Prudentes virgines upon Guerrero's motet. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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