Posts Tagged ‘ Choral Music ’

Sunday Concert: Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Mass No.6 – Harnoncourt – RCO(2004Live) – YouTube

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March 17, 2013

Schubert composed sacred music throughout his life but due to his turbulent relationship with the Catholic Church few of them were performed during his lifetime perhaps this also accounts for their comparative neglect since his death. This is a great pity as there's some wonderful music amongst his six numbered Masses particularly in this Mass Mass No. 6 in E flat major, D950 and in the Deutsche Messe, D872 to say nothing of his gem-like shorter settings. This particular recording of the live performance of  the Mass No. 6 in E flat major given by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt dates from 2004 . Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Habemus Papam! – Tu Es Petrus – Peter Philips (±1560-1628)

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March 14, 2013

On the day that we learn of the election of a new Pope what could be more appropriate than Peter Philips' motet "Tu Es Petrus" ("You are Peter") from his 1613 Cantiones sacrae?

markfromireland

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Feature: Giovanni Pergolesi (1710-1736): Magnificat – The Atlanta Boy Choir; YouTube

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March 6, 2013

Screenshot Atlanta Boy Choir concert December 17th 2010

Perhaps it's ungracious to start by saying that like many I consider the attribution of this setting of the Magnificat to Pergolesi to be more than somewhat dubious. I think on stylistic grounds that it's far more likely to have been composed by Pergolesi's teacher Francesco Durante (1684-1755). In a way it's not desperately important who composed it as this particular setting of the Magnificat has a wonderfully expressive simplicity that, when it's well sung, sounds as though it's very easy to sing but is in fact a very demanding piece of music for soloists, choir, and orchestra alike.

The superb quality of The Atlanta Boy Choir's performance in the video below gives no indication of the difficulties of the piece. The accompaniment which can often be overwhelmed by the chorus has been given its proper weight, the soloists are more than up to their task, and the choir respond magnificently to the text and to Fletcher Wolfe's conducting. If I have a quibble – and it is a quibble, I would have liked the tempo to be just a touch slower. But otherwise this is one of the best performances of the piece I've ever heard. Kudos to the Atlanta Boy Choir and their Alumni Men's Choir both for the performance and for making it on available on YouTube. The music video, performer information, text and translations all below the fold. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (±1590-1664): Salve Regina – The Sixteen

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February 28, 2013

Madonna and child in glory Padilla Cathedral The young priest and composer Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla had a glittering career in front of him in Spain. Born in Málaga, around 1590 and trained in that city's cathedral as a musician by Francisco Vásquez he held posts as maestro de capilla at the cathedrals of  Jerez de la Frontera where the cathedral authorities were so pleased by him that they granted him an extra 6000 reales per annum. He left that posting to take up the post of maestro de capilla at Cádiz Cathedral on 17 March 1616 where he remained for about six years.

Exactly when he left left his prestigious and well-paid post in Cádiz for Mexico can't be determined from the extant records  but it was sometime before the autumn of 1622 for on October 11 of that year he was appointed as cantor and assistant maestro at Puebla Cathedral with an annual salary of 500 pesos. Puebla was the second city of this incredibly wealthy province of the Spanish empire and as you might expect de Padilla was well paid for his services with an annual salary of 500 pesos,  together with another 100 pesos a year for recruiting and training new choir members and an extra 40 pesos per annum for composing the villancico-like sacred songs known as chanzonetas.

Puebla Cathedral which was already being called 'The eight wonder of the world' because of it's stunningly beautiful and sumptuous interior  had one of the finest musical establishments in all of the Spanish Americas, a musical establishment that already was certainly on a par with the best in Europe. Only the best would do, and Padilla's posting was no sinecure. That rose to the challenge can be seen throughout his music but particularly in his Salve Regina which you can hear below performed by The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers. It is a beautiful setting of this the greatest of the Marian antiphons, and I think that he must have been inspired both by the text and its subject and the setting in which it was to be performed. There's a sonority and variety of texture to this setting which is quite ravishing while the way in which he uses the double choir technique to exploit the possibilities of the short supplicatory and exclamatory phrases in the text is remarkably effective. Thus for example, at 'Ad te suspiramus …' de Padilla has the four voices mourning and weeping making full use of accidentals and daringly colourful harmonies to stimulate the desired response from the congregation, he managed to do this while simultaneously satisfying his patrons' desire for conservative polyphony and his desire to make full use AMDG of the sound world and compositional modes of the seventeenth century. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (±1590-1664): Stabat Mater – The Sixteen

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February 27, 2013

domepueblacathedralJuan Gutiérrez de Padilla (±1590-1664) was born in the Andulasian city of Málaga, around 1590. He was accepted as a choirboy for the Catedral de Santa María de la Encarnación in the city where he was trained as a chorister, musician, and composer by Francisco Vásquez. He was a talented musician whose reputation quickly spread and who received lucrative offers of employment from prestigious cathedrals. By 1613 he'd accepted a post  as  maestro de capilla at the cathedral in Jérez de la Frontera followed by  several years again as maestro de capilla at the cathedral in Cádiz.  Musical historians don't know when exactly he travelled to Mexico or what inducements he was offered to forsake a glittering career in Spain but they must have been substantial what we do know is that he's recorded in the archives of Puebla's Catedral Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción  as a singer and assistant maestro by 1622 and as maestro de capilla by 1629. He remained as maestro de capilla at the cathedral until his death in 1664. The musical culture he would have encountered at Puebla was rich and varied with works by Palestrina, Morales, Guerrero, Navarro, Victoria, A. Lobo, Rogier, Ghersem, Vivanco all featuring in the choir's repertoire. Nor were the efforts of Mexican composers ignored, the works of Pedro Bermúdez  and Gaspar Fernandez both of whom were amongst de Padilla's predecessors at Puebla feature prominently in the cathedral's musical collections.

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