Posts Tagged ‘ Cantus Firmus ’

Matthaeus Pipelare ( ±1450 – ±1515): Missa L’homme Armé

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June 21, 2015

Matthaeus Pipelare was a southern Netherlandish composer who flourished in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. I can tell you almost nothing about his life because the only thing about him that is known for certain is that he was active in Antwerp but left there in the spring of 1498 until about 1 May 1500 to take up the prestigious and well-paid post of Master of the Choristers for the Confraternity of Our Lady at the Cathedral of St. John in 's-Hertogenbosch. Not much of his work survives but that which does survive is widespread being found in no less than sixty sources located in libraries from Russia to Spain to Italy. It's of such superb quality and so engaging for performer and listener alike that it's easy to see why his contemporaries ranked him alongside Josquin, la Rue, Brumel, and Isaac.

The Missa ‘L'homme armé’ which you can hear below is in some ways quite typical of Flemish musical writing of the time in its complexity, sonority, and extensive use of lower voices including what we now call basso profundo. It's scored for Altus (high tenor), baritone, bass, and basso profundo and makes extensive use of its cantus firmus "L'homme Armé"which Pipelar makes use of throughout the Mass starting in the Kyrie where it appears in all the voices. It's a technically very demanding work clearly intended for performance by a top-class professional choir in which syncopation, faux-bourdon, canonical writing, imitation, homophony, and polyphony all make their appearance. Notwithstanding its musical variety Pipelare's Missa "L'homme Armé" has a tightly integrated feel and a considerable sense of forward motion I'm not surprised it wound up as part of the Sistine Chapel's repertoire. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Veni Creator Spiritus

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June 10, 2015

Veni Creator Spiritus (Come Creator Spirit) is a hymn prescribed for second Vespers on Whit Sunday it's very old dating to at least the eight century and is attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856) and is now sung at Vespers, Pentecost, Dedication of  Churches and Chapels, Confirmation, Ordination of priests and bishops and any other liturgical occasion on which the Holy Spirit is solemnly invoked. Victoria's four-part setting was published by Zanetti in Rome in 1581. It's an alternatim setting that begins with the chant melody and which uses the slightly decorated  and augmented chant melody as a cantus firmus in the polyphonic sections. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Josquin Des Prez (±1450 1521): Missa Pange Lingua

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May 31, 2015

Josquin Signature 180x143 Josquin's Mass setting Missa Pange Lingua is based upon the melody of Pange Lingua, Aquinas's adaptation of Venantius Fortunatus' hymn for Corpus Christi. It's a remarkable piece of music, composed when Josquin was at the height of his power. It's both a cantus firmus Mass and a paraphrase setting, cantus firmus because Josquin uses the Pange Lingua chant as the basis for each movement and paraphrase because he uses Pange Lingua's melody in each of the Mass' sections.

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Pange Lingua

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May 28, 2015

Pange Lingua or Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium to give it its full title is a hymn by Aquinas written for the Feast of Corpus Christi  that is also sung during Holy Thursday. When the last two stanza are sung separately at the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament it is called Tantum Ergo. It's been both set and used as a cantus firmus by many composers not least among them Josquin whose much admired Missa Pange Lingua uses it extensively. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Feature: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Missa Veni Sponsa Christi

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May 10, 2015

Palestrina's four-part setting of the Mass Missa Veni sponsa Christi, for 4 voices was published in 1599 in Venice in the Missarum liber nonus. It is, as the name would lead you to expect, based upon a setting of Veni sponsa Christi which was the Magnificat antiphon prescribed to be sung at Second Vespers from the Common of Virgins. Palestrina composed a really rather beautiful four-part (SATB) motet for this antiphon in which he published in 'Motecta festorum totius anni cum communi sanctorum quaternis vocibus' in 1563. I  wrote about this motet in October 2013, and you'll get far more enjoyment from this Mass if you first listen to the motet and read about it which you can do on the following posting on my site: http://saturdaychorale.com/2013/10/22/giovanni-pierluigi-da-palestrina-1525-1594-veni-sponsa-chisti-antiphon-and-motet/.

It's not surprising that Palestrina composed a setting of this motet, if you take a look at the page for Veni Sponsa Christi on CPDL you'll see that they've listed a lot of settings of it  both from composers who pre-date him and his contemporaries (see: http://www3.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Veni_sponsa_Christi ).  Nor is  surprising that Palestrina used his motet as the basis for a Mass setting. Marian Motets and Marian Masses were in heavy demand in counter-reformation Italy and Palestrina's contemporaries particularly admired his skill as a composer of beautiful motets. Palestrina wound up a wealthy man and a large part of the reason for that is that he gave his audience what he knew they wanted. Like the motet it's a very dense piece of writing into which Palestrina crams as much musical material as he possibly can while retaining the graciousness and poise for which his music is famous. For the purposes of this video I've included the antiphon at the start of the video so that you can hear the cantus firmus, the text and translation are below. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

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