Wesley: Praise the Lord, O My Soul — Choir of York Minster

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August 9, 2014

The Choir of York Minster, under the direction of Robert Sharpe and accompanied by David Pipe, offer a live recording of Samuel Sebastian Wesley's 1861 anthem 'Praise the Lord, My Soul' at the 16, July 2014 service of Choral Evensong.

Wesley's large-scale anthem for choir and organ, which concludes with the oft-excerpted 'Lead Me, Lord,' incorporates the words of Psalms 103, 3, 5, 12, 7, 8, and 4 into four movements of meditation on the hope and trust of the Psalmist in his God. It features solos for trebles, alto, tenor, and bass, here presented beautifully by Minster choristers and songmen whom I do not currently know how to credit.

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Léo Delibes (1836–1891): O Salutaris Hostia

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August 8, 2014

Delibes wrote nearly all his music for the theatre but he did write some religious music too.  His Messe Brève (about which I plan on writing later on this month) is a thing of beauty that's all too rarely performed. To whet your appetite here's his setting of the Communion motet O Salutaris Hostia. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Gloria Patri RV602a

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August 7, 2014

A short but very lovely piece today. It's the reworked Gloria for Laudate pueri (RV602), dating from some time between 1725 and 1739. It features some wonderful obbligato writing for flute and a charming soprano solo. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Vox dilecti mei

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August 6, 2014

Vox dilecti mei is the fourteenth of Palestrina's motets based upon the Song of Songs. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Richard Davy (±1465-1538): Salve Regina

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August 5, 2014

Davy was one of the first of the new generation of English composers who flourished under the Tudors. His setting of the Salve is free-composed throughout making no reference to the chant. It's very distinctly English and quite unlike anything that his contemporaries in Italy, France or theLow Countries would have composed.  There's a sweetness there, a depth of feeling, that's quite unique, it's not easy music to sing and the fact that Davy could compose music of this scale and quality is the clearest possible indication that English choirboys were expected to achieve a high level of professional virtuosity to sing music that tested their powers of concentration and their command of vocal technique as never before. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Libera: We Are The Lost

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August 4, 2014

As part of the BBC commemoration of the centenary of World War 1, Libera travelled to France and Belgium in May to film a special 'Songs of Praise' programme.

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Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904): Piano Quintet No. 2 Op. 81 – Ilya Itin Et Al, Miami International Piano Festival

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August 3, 2014

Dvořák 150x190 captionedWhat do you think of when you think of Dvořák's music? Nearly everybody thinks first of his grand scale music his Ninth Symphony, his Cello Concerto, his Violin Concerto and of course the Slavonic Dances. If you're me his Mass in D Major, Op. 86, his setting of the Stabat Mater, and his Tu Trinitatis unitas are the first that spring to mind followed closely by some of his wonderful songs. Now all of these are wonderful pieces of music that well and truly merit their status but some of Dvořák's most profound, beautiful, and deeply satisying work is to be found in his chamber music of which he wrote a great deal. Whenever I think of his chamber music the first piece that springs to mind is the Piano Quintet Op.81. which to me is the jewel in Dvořák's crown. If ever I were to be confined on Roy Plomley's infamous desert island out would go all the works I've mentioned above in favour of the piece of music you can  hear below his Piano Quintet No. 2 Op. 81. It is to my mind one of the greatest chamber works ever written, and yet it's surprisingly little known.

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Joint Concert Drakensberg Boys Choir and Chicago Children’s Choir – I Need You to Survive

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August 2, 2014

Oh my.

mfi

As performed live on Thursday 26 June 2014 - the Drakensberg Boys Choir and Chicago Children's Choir performing I need You to Survive.
Conducted by: Josephine Lee of the Chicago Children's Choir

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Ēriks Ešenvalds (b1977): O Salutaris Hostia – KSCI Choral Scholars

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August 1, 2014

Ešenvalds' setting of Aquinas' Hymn to the Blessed Sacrament for the feast of Corpus Christi is a piece that really made me sit up and pay attention when I first heard how he makes the two soprano soloists weave and intertwine like birds on a summer day in the air above the "ground" of the choral parts. It's a perfect showcase for what a good small choir can do – as in this excellent performance by KSCI Choral Scholars directed by Chris Munce. Really they deserve high praise, particularly as they've only been around for five years. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Cur sagittas, cur tela RV637

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July 31, 2014

This is another one of Vivaldi's short solo motets intended to be performed before major choral items  in the Mass or at Vespers. Vivaldi pioneered these introduzioni during his first period of sacred vocal music composition at the Pietà and devoted considerable effort to extend their use. Like many of his sacred music compositions Cur sagittas, cur tela is connected to the feast of St Lawrence Martyr and seems to have been composed for divided forces sometime during the late 1720s to early 1730s for some institution other than the Pietà.

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Laeva eius sub capite meo

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July 30, 2014

Laeva eius sub capite meo (His left hand is under my head) the thirteenth in the set of twenty-nine motets based upon the Song of Songs is a striking and strikingly sensual piece of music – it's sacred music certainly but like so many of these motets it makes a lot of use of word-painting to match the sesuous text.  Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Salve Regina

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July 29, 2014

Haydn's setting of the Salve Regina in E major (Hob. XXIIIb:1) is an early work. He wrote it in 1771 as a response to surviving a life-threatening illness the year before, an early work then and scored for very modest forces but that doesn't mean it's not a major piece of music in Haydn's opus. It is, in fact I'd go so far as to say that it's his first major work it marks the start of a new more professional approach to composition that Haydn learnt at the hands of Nicola Porpora. It's scored for soprano soloist, SATB choir, organ, and strings sans violas  in typically Austrian style. It's a lovely piece of work which makes a consistently effective use of contrasts between very elaborate – indeed operatic, writing for the soloist and chordal writing for the choir it's an interesting and enjoyable piece of music throughout but for me Haydn saved the best wine for last – the pianissimo ending is to my mind some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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