Posts Tagged ‘ American Choirs ’

St. Patrick’s Day 2014: The Wind that Shakes the Barley – 2010 Oregon All-State Choir

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March 17, 2014

This is a ballad I learnt when I was a schoolboy and enjoy singing to this day.  It was written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836–1883) a poet and professor of literature from Glenosheen, County Limerick. The song's viewpoint is that of a young man from Wexford about to sacrifice himself for Ireland in the 1798 rebellion against the British occupation regime.  If you've seen Ken Loach's  film 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' about our War of Independence (1919–1922) and the Civil War (1922–1923) you'll probably remember this ballad from fairly early on in the film. It's also been recorded by both Loreena McKennitt, and Lisa Gerrard both of them very good – I doubt you'll have much trouble finding videos of them singing it on YouTube, but this excellent choral version of it  – which has particularly effective brief solos, deserves to be far far better known than it is.

Happy St. Patrick's day.

markfromireland

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Alan Ridout (1934-96): O Flame of Love So Living

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February 24, 2014

Alan Ridout 180x225 captioned Alan Ridout was closely associated with Canterbury Cathedral and its choir. He was born in Kent in 1934, studied at the RCSM under Gordon Jacob and Howells. His music isn't either played or sung as much as it deserves but is worth seeking out if you enjoy modern English choral and organ music.  His very dynamic setting of the an English translation of St. John of The Cross' poem Llama de Amor Viva is performed below by the St. Louis Chamber Chorus conducted by Philip Barnes. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – 2008 TMEA All-State Mixed Choir

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February 15, 2014

The 2008 TMEA All-State Mixed Choir
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Mack Wilberg
Directed by Craig Jessop

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Hermes Coelho: Pater Noster – Kantorei Choral Ensemble

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February 1, 2014

Hermes Coelho Hermes Coelho is a Brazilian composer and conductor who started his musical studies at at the Conservatório Musical Heitor Villa Lobos, in São Paulo and went on to receive his Masters and Doctorate in conducting from the Campinas State University. He's perhaps best known as a conductor both of orchestras such as the Orquestra Sinfônica de Americana and a host of Brazilian choirs such as the  Coral do Clube Alto dos Pinheiros,  the Canto Coral Exsultate, and the Coral Ars Musicalis, Campinas. He's not only a conductor he's also a composer whose work is both fresh and interesting. You can hear his setting of the Pater Noster (The Lord's Prayer) performed live by Kantorei Choral Ensemble under their Artistic Director Chris Munce below. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Feature: Joseph Gabriel Rheinberger (1839-1901): Mass for double choir in E flat ‘Cantus Missae’ Op 109

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January 22, 2014

rheinberger 150x150Of all the compositions by Joseph Rheinberger (1839-1901) I suppose it's his Mass for double choir in E flat 'Cantus Missae' Op 109 that's the most famous. He wrote it in 1878 and dedicated to Pope Leo XIII who rewarded him for it with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Saint Gregory. He wrote it specifically as a musical rebuttal to the doctrines of the Cecilian movement — a reformist movement whose aim was to reform nineteenth century Catholic liturgical music by eliminating most of the innovations of the preceding two centuries and returning to the guidelines and practices set forth by the Council of Trent.

Rheinberger had at first been attracted by this movement but came to regret his involvement with the Cecilians and wrote this Mass as his repudiation of them. It's Rheinberger's musical sigh of relief at having thrown off the shackles of Cecilian doctrine and expression of delight in his new-found musical freedom and flexibility. His writing in this Mass is very antiphonal and is in clear lineal descent from Venetian cori spezzati (spaced choirs) music of the late Renaissance. This doesn't mean that it's a re-write of something that might have been written for St. Mark's by Monteverdi or Gabrielli or one of the seemingly innumerable minor Venetian composers. For a start there's  a heavy sprinkling of Bach's and Mendelssohn's inspiration throughout the piece to say nothing of Rheinberger's own highly original and gloriously unpredictable inventiveness. You'd think from reading the forgoing that it's a complete Tivoli of a composition but in fact it's a triumph of beautifully clear and very moving choral writing. Rheinberger starts with a spacious and expansive Kyrie and then goes on to show what he can do.

There aren't many composers who would dare to make the Gloria and the Credo the heart of their settings but this is precisely what Rheinberger does.  He maintains interest throughout his almost completely syllabic setting these notoriously long texts by some ingenious word-painting – have a listen to what he does at  'et incarnatus est', 'descendit' and 'ascendit' in the Credo and you'll hear what I mean. He follows this double tour de force with a Sanctus of ethereal beauty and a Benedictus that leads us through a gentle and stately dance. The Mass concludes with an Agnus Dei whose contrasts and modulations end with an extended  'dona nobis pacem' that is symphonic both in inspiration and scope.  Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Forthcoming Posts

  • Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): ‘Drop, drop, slow tears’
  • 6th Sunday of Lent 2014: Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross Op 51

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