Posts Tagged ‘ Baroque choral music ’

Andreas Hammerschmidt (1612-1675): Sonata super: Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren

0
February 19, 2015

Hammerschmidt was an organist and composer who survived the hardships caused by the Thirty Years War to become a wealthy and successful man admired and respected by his contemporaries – Schütz and Rist both wrote poems lauding him and his music. He was a prolific composer mostly of sacred vocal and choral music publishing more than 400 such works in 14 collections. Most of his works are concertatos and he himself classified his works as either motets, concertos or arias. There's a strong Italianate tinge to much of  his music which as he never travelled to Italy I suspect he got from Schütz. That being said it would be a mistake to write him off as "school of" his music may have been influenced by the Italians and by Schütz but he was a vigorous and original composer with a distinctive musical voice of his own. The present work his Sonata super: Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren is very Italianate it could be inspired by Schütz but I think it more likely that it takes its inspiration directly from Monteverdi's Sonata sopra Sancta Maria ora pro nobis. Whichever is the case it's a beautiful setting of the first two verses Johann Gramann's hymn paraphrasing Psalm 102  (103) in its own right. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Sunday Concert: Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644–1704) : Missa Alleluia – Ars Antiqua Austria – YouTube

0
February 8, 2015

I can think of no higher praise than to say that Biber's sacred compositions are at least as wonderful as his works for violin. As a virtuoso violinist and composer for the instrument his rich colourful music has assured him a permanent place in the Pantheon but it's only fairly recently that attention has turned to his work as a composer of sacred music and instrumental ensemble music. Biber who was the  most highly honoured violin virtuoso of his time spent a fair bit of his career as a violinist at the Salzburg court but he also stood out as a composer and in 1684 he was appointed Kapellmeister which position he held for remaining twenty years of his life composing Masses, and other sacred music as well as some operas. Salzburg as you might expect of a wealthy and politically important Imperial city was an important cultural centre whose patrons of the arts could afford and expected nothing but the best. Musically the city rivalled and perhaps even surpassed Venice in its appreciation of good music. Venetian composers had pioneered polychorality but Salzburger composers such as Biber took up the technique with élan. All of his Masses whether they're a cappella masses or huge concerted works for solo and ripieno voices with large instrumental accompaniment are distinguished by his superb vocal writing, his use of a sometimes bewildering array musical instruments, very strict counterpoint,  and often spectacular variations written over a basso ostinato. If I had to nominate a composer who epitomises the combination of discipline and exuberance that was Salzburger Baroque Biber's strong sense of late 17th-century tone-colour both vocal and orchestral would undoubtedly make him my choice. All of these characteristics are wonderfully on display in the performance of his Missa Alleluia performed by Ars Antiqua Austria conducted by Gunar Letzbor at a concert given as part of last year's Utrecht Early Music Festival at the Vredenburg Tivoli. The singing, playing and conducting are all superb, so perhaps it's somewhat invidious to single out the three trebles and alto from the St. Florianer Sängerknaben but their singing is so good and their performance so consummately professional that really I feel that the three trebles Josef Pascal Aur, Simon Paul Bernhard, and Daniel Mandel, together with their alto colleague Alois Mühlbacher deserve particular mention. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Balduin Hoyou (±1547–1594): Aus Tiefer Not

0
January 17, 2015

Hoyou was a Flemish born composer who spent most of his career in Germany, he was born in Liège either in 1547 or in 1548. I don't know where he got his first musical training – presumably in Liège, by 1563 he had been a choirboy for several years in the  Württemberg Hofkapelle at Stuttgart. His voice broke in that when he would have been fifteen and for many choristers that would have been the end of their careers.  But Hoyoul must have been well thought of and showed considerable musical potential because the then Kapellmeister Philipp Weber, persuaded the Duke to pay for him to study with de Lassus at Munich in 1564–5. He returned to Wurtemburg aged seventeen and immediately took up a post that combined the duties of singing as alto and as a composer. The Duke must have been pleased with his efforts because there are numerous records of payments to him and in 1589 following the death of Ludwig Daser appointed him as Kapellmeister. Of all his works his chorale based German motets are perhaps the best known, they're lively and fresh workings of the Chorales with very full harmonics and a rich contrapuntal style as you can hear below in his SATTB setting of Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir (Psalm 130). Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Pelham Humfrey (±1648 —1 674): By the waters of Babylon

2
January 16, 2015

Pelham Humfrey started his career as one of the 'forwardest & brightest' boys recruited for the Chapel Royal by  Henry Cooke who had been ordered by Charles II to restore English Church Music to its former glory. He was probably a Londoner but nobody really knows all that much about his origins. What we do know is that 'forward and bright' really only begins to describe his musical talent who already had written several anthems by the time his voice broke aged sixteen. Aged sixteen he was sent to Paris on full pay for two years to study music and on his return proved himself to be a master musician and composer who succeeded to the post of royal choirmaster when Cooke died in 1672. Sadly he only outlived his old master by two years but in that two years he produced some remarkably fine music including By the waters of Babylon. It's a symphony anthem – one of fourteen that he composed, and clearly demonstrates his skill at crafting musical structures in in which the vocal and instrumental components are organically linked, rather than just tacked together which had been the norm up to then. It's a somewhat unusual symphony anthem in that it opens with a short prelude rather than the full symphony which appears as a dance measure towards the end. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Giovanni Rovetta (1596-1668): Beatus Vir

0
January 12, 2015

'For the composition of the music and as master of the chapel, from among so many who could be found in Venice, Signor Rueti was chosen, and expressly ordered to assemble as many singers and instrumentalists as could be found in
the city, in order to satisfy the magnificent projects of His Excellency, who desired the choicest and most solemn music that could be found.'

When Seigneur Hamelot de la Houssaye the French Ambassador to Venice in 1638 wanted to commission music to celebrate the birth of the future Louis XIV naturally only the best would do and the best was 'Signor Rueti'  (Giovanni Rovetta). At that time Rovetta was held in such esteem by his contemporaries that he had been appointed twelve years previously as vice maestro di cappella at San Marco. Rovetta started his career as a chorister and worked his way up through the ranks until he was appointed as Maestro Claudio Monteverdi's principal deputy at the remarkably young age of thirty. (He succeeded Monteverdi as Maestro in 1644 a position he retained until his death). For Rovetta the Ambassador's commission must have seemed like manna from Heaven as it gave him the opportunity of publishing a collection of his music – an important step in his careeer that he had not yet taken. This was published in 1639 and included inter alia Rovetta's Messa, e salmi concertati, op.4, the 'solennissima Messa' of 1638, twelve vesper psalms and the Magnificat you can hear below. It's definitely a 'magnificent project' being in eight parts and scored for soloists, chorus and instruments, I'm sure the ambassador was more than content with this wonderful example of the concertato style Vespers Psalm, with its alternation of solos, duets, choral tutti and instrumental ritornellos. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

Archives

Special Pages