Posts Tagged ‘ Cantus Firmus ’

Feature: Johannes Ockeghem (1410-1497) – Missa L’homme armé

February 19, 2014

Clerks Group 325x302 captionedIn common with other composers of his era Johannes Ockeghem (1410-1497) composed a setting of the Mass using the catchy popular song L'homme armé (The armed man) as a cantus firmus underpinning the structure. Unlike many of his contemporaries in Ockeghem's setting you can clearly hear it right throughout the work. In the playlist below you can hear it sung first in a version by Robert Mouton, combined with a rondeau Il sera pour vous which was one of its earliest polyphonic settings. Followed by the Mass. I particularly love how in the Agnus Dei it appears, oh so slowly, in the bass, taken down to low G to stunning effect. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Robert Parsons (c1535-1572): Peccantem me quotidie

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November 4, 2013

AllSaintsChurchSturtoncaptioned

We don't know all that much about Robert Parsons although as he was an assistant to Richard Bower, Master of the Children Choristers of the Chapel Royal until 1561 it seems likely that he started his musical career as a choir boy. He was appointed Gentleman of the Chapel Royal on 17 October 1563 and in 1567 was granted a Crown lease for twenty-one years on three rectories near Lincoln (‘Sturton, Randbie and Staynton’) and may have taught William Byrd who succeeded to his post as Gentleman of the Chapel Royal following Parsons' death by drowning near Newark-on-Trent. Not much of his music survives nine pieces in Latin, two Services in English, two anthems in English, a few secular songs and even fewer instrumental pieces including five In nomines. It seems to me to be likely that Parsons wasn't active as a composer during the reign of Edward VI. 'Peccantem me quotidie' the work featured in this post to my mind dates very clearly from Mary's reign because Parsons designed its structure to  conform to the liturgical needs of the Sarum rite. The music itself which dramatically underscores the fervency of the text makes me wish that more of his compositions had survived. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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The Marian Music of Tomás Luis de Victoria Part 15: Missa De Beata Maria Virgine

October 8, 2013
This entry is part 15 of 15 in the series Introducing The Marian Music of Tomás Luis de Victoria

Morales Madonna and Child 02-In this, the final posting in my series of fifteen exploring de Victoria's Marian music I deal with his setting of the Mass 'Missa De Beata Maria Virgine'. Victoria's 'Missa De Beata Maria Virgine' (Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary) was first published by Angelo Gardano in Venice in 1576 and then again by his brother Alessandro in Rome in 1583. It's one of Victoria's paraphrase Masses (a paraphrase Mass is a Mass based on plainsong). In this case the plainsong(s) in question is the twelfth-century Gregorian plainsong Mass IX, 'Cum iubilo' - which was the Mass designated for Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Credo I. Obviously enough Victoria builds upon plainsong throughout the Mass but what's unusual about this Mass is how he did it. Which is is that he based the separate movements of the Mass on different plainsong melodies, and sometimes on different modes. When a composer sets a Mass in this way the result is what's called a 'non-cyclic' Mass.

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Robert Parsons (c1535-1572): Peccantem me quotidie

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June 27, 2012

Post deleted because of technical problems with player. Go here for corrected version of posting: http://saturdaychorale.com/2013/11/04/robert-parsons-c1535-1572-peccantem-me-quotidie-2/

markfromireland

Sunday Playlist: John Taverner: Missa O Michael

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March 4, 2012

In this the third and final posting in my series on Taverner's six-part festal Masses I discuss his 'Missa O Michael'. Like his other festal masses it gets its name from its cantus firmus, which in this case is the respond 'Archangeli Michaelis interventione'  which was appointed to be sung before Mass on the feast of St Michael in Monte Tumba (16 October) when this fell on a Sunday. (It's worth your while listening to 'Archangeli Michaelis interventione' which you'll find in the highlight box.)

Click the player below to listen to 'Archangeli Michaelis interventione'

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Text: Archangeli Michaelis interventione suffulti: te, Domine, deprecamur ut quos honore prosequimur, contingamus et mente.

Translation: Supported by the intervention of the Archangel Michael: we pray to you, O Lord, that we may touch in thought those whom we attend with honour.

It's probably an early work and given that the feast of St Michael in Monte Tumba fell on a Sunday 1513 and 1519 it was most likely composed in one or other of those two years.  Hugh Benham panned it in his biography of Taverner "John Taverner: his life and music - Hugh Benham" saying that it was 'distinctly inferior', and so 'different from the rest of Taverner’s music for there to be doubts about its authenticity’.

I have to say that not only do I disagree with Benham, but that I'm puzzled as to how he arrived at the conclusion that it was 'distinctly inferior'. Granted it's not on the same scale as Taverner's other two six-part festal Masses, Gloria tibi Trinitas and Corona spinea but Missa O Michael is sufficiently impressive in its own right that it should be judged on its own terms. Furthermore Benham isn't comparing like with like. If you're going to compare 'Missa O Michael' with anything then what you need to compare it with is the music by Taverner's contemporaries – particularly the younger ones, found in the Eton Choirbook.

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  • Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): ‘Drop, drop, slow tears’
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