William Byrd (±1539-1623): Deus venerunt gentes

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June 30, 2014

Byrd's five-part (ATTBB) motet was first published in Cantiones sacrae I in 1589. It's a response to the execution of Edmund Campion and his companions in 1581. It's rarely performed now partly because it's the longest of his imitative motets, partly because it's a beast to sing, and partly because (very unusually for Byrd) it doesn't offer much in the way of musical interest. Worth listening to nevertheless if only to hear how he uses double imitation. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Sunday Concert: West Side Story – Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra

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June 29, 2014

Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story conducted by Gustavo Dudamel performed by the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra

Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672): Uppsala Magnificat SWV 468

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June 28, 2014

Heinrich Schütz's Latin setting of the Magnificat was one of a number of works discovered in the music collection in Uppsala University's library it's scored for four soloists, two four voice choruses, two violins, three trombones and continuo  and reflects Schütz' studies in Italy. It's clearly influenced by Monteverdi's Magnificat setting in the 1610 Vespers but it's far more continuous and structurally integrated than Monteverdi's piece. It's very "Venetian" with wonderful harmonies and shows Schütz' complete and confident mastery of writing both for brass and polychoral writing. His teacher Giovanni Gabrieli would surely have been proud. You'll find it below performed by the remarkably talented young French ensemble la Chapelle Rhénane. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Herbert Howells (1892–1983): Exultate Deo Sing we merrily unto God our strength

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June 27, 2014

Howells' anthem Exultate Deo was commissioned in 1974 for the enthronement service of the new Bishop of Lincoln and received its first performance on 18 January 1975 in Lincoln Cathedral during the enthronement ceremony for the Right Reverend Simon Wilton Phipps. The text is from a number of different psalms and it's Howells at his exuberant and celebratory best. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Gloria RV589

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June 26, 2014

I wrote about Vivaldi's better-known setting of the Gloria RV589 on August 21, 2011 in my posting dealing with the Thomanerchor's superb performance of the piece and if you're not familiar with that performance it's well worth your while listening to (see: Sunday Playlist: Glorious Gloria | Saturday Chorale).

Vival­di pro­bab­ly com­posed his Gloria in D RV589 in 1715 for the girls' choir of the Os­pedale della Pietà a Venetian orphanage for girls. When I wrote about "Laudamus Te" back on July 31st 2011 I com­men­ted that the Vival­di's com­posi­tion "gives us an idea of how skill­ful the young sing­ers at the Os­pedale della Pietà girls orphanage in Venice for whom Vival­di wrote the piece must have been". Vival­di who spent most of his care­er at the Os­pedale and com­posed vast quan­tit­ies of chor­al and in­strument­al music for its char­ges was sur­e­ly well aware of the pride it took in the mus­ical educa­tion the Os­pedale della Pietà gave the girls under its care and the qual­ity of its orchestra and choir.

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Fasciculus myrrhae dilectus meus

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June 25, 2014

Fasciculus myrrhae dilectus meus (A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me) is the seventh in the series of twenty-nine motets composed by Palestrina for performance by diverse groups in Rome and Italy. Like all these motets it's a form of vocal chamber music whose five parts could be sung by groups with slender musical ressources. It was this flexibility that allowed Palestrina (and his publishers) to ride the wave of religous fervour then sweeping Italy and to become quite wealthy from the sales. This particular motet has always been one of my favourites in the series. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Alleluia. Ora pro nobis

1
June 24, 2014

Tallis' Alleluia. Ora pro nobis for four voices is a fairly early composition. It's a liturgical text intended to be sung during the the celebration of a Lady Mass (Lady Masses were daily celebrations of the Mass that used texts relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary) on Tuesdays between Pentecost and Advent. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Pierre Tabart (1645–1716): Magnificat

7
June 23, 2014

Pierre Tabart is one of those composers whose surviving music is such that I really wish we know more about him and that more of his music survived. As it is there are only six of works that are known to have survived and we owe their survival to Sébastien de Brossard who preserved them in his collection. Tabart was born in Chinon the son of a local tanner and Anne Gaultier, he joined the choir of the Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours aged nine and studied music under Burgault he must have been a talented pupil for he rose to be maître de musique at the cathedrals of Orléans (until about 1683) and Senlis (1683–9). He was considered for the position of sous-maître at the Chapelle Royale in 1683 but was unsuccessful taking up instead the position of maître de musique at Meaux Cathedral. Despite their proximity to the court all of these posts were considered to be provincial and Tabart never made it into the charmed inner circle of composers favoured by the court. This is a shame for if he had become a court favourite more of his music which is highly sophisticated has very elaborate and well worked out counterpoint and which demands considerable virtuosity from those who sing it would surely have survived. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Vaughan Williams – A Sea Symphony – Proms 2013 – BBC Symphony Orchestra

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June 22, 2014

Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Proms Youth Choir and soloists Sally Matthews & Roderick Williams for Vaughan Williams 'A Sea Symphony'

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Eric Whitacre: Fly to Paradise – Drakensberg Boys Choir – Live in concert 11 June 2014

2
June 21, 2014

By popular demand - Fly to Paradise!

As performed by the Drakensberg Boys Choir on Wednesday 11 June 2014 - Live in concert.

Conducted by: Charlotte Botha

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Nicolas Gombert (±1495-c1560): Media vita in morte sumus

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June 20, 2014

Gombert was born in Flanders sometime between 1495 and 1500. Not all that much is known about his life he became a singer in the court chapel of Emperor Charles V in 1526 and was granted benefices in Courtrai and Béthune by the Emperor who also made him Master of the Children of the Chapel. In 1538 disaster struck – Gombert was accused and found guilty of having raped a choirboy he was sentenced to the galleys but was later pardoned, he moved to Tournai where he was a prebend and died there around 1560. Quite a lot of his music survives including eleven Masses, a separate Credo, eight Magnificat settings, and more than one hundred and sixty motets of which more than a quarter are Marian, his surviving secular music consists of eighty chansons and a few other secular pieces.

His setting of the eleventh century Lenten text Media vita in morte sumus (In the midst of life we are in death) was first published in Venice in 1539 in a volume of six-part motets. It's a very good example of his work and shows the skill and care he put into his work. Its polyphony follows the chant quite closely but it's far from being plain. It's a richly textured piece for six voices characterised by flowing imitations that overlap one another giving the singers little respite. He obviously liked the melody because he used it and his treatment of it in this motet again as the basis for his five-voice Missa de Media vita. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Gloria in excelsis Deo RV588

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June 19, 2014

This is the less well-known setting of the two settings of the Gloria by Vivaldi. It's a wonderful piece of music that deserves to be far better known and I've often wondered why it's so neglected as it's packed full of musical delights such as its second choral movement 'Et in terra pax' whose relaxed chromatic choral inflections are very special. Then there's the startling change of enharmonic in 'Gratias agimus tibi', and the oboe obbligato in the 'Domine Deus, agnus Dei', and the way in which during the contralto aria 'Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris' Vivaldi has a pair of solo violas accompany a pair of solo violins in a way that's almost chamber music. Each movement has something that distinguishes it making it a piece of music that I come back to again and again. it's performed below by the Belgian Alegría Muzikaal Ensemble  under Mannu Wuyts  in a concert given at St.-Carolus Borromeus church, Antwerp,  in March of last year. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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