Posts Tagged ‘ Christmas ’

Petits Chanteurs de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly: Entre le bœuf et l’âne gris

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December 30, 2013

This charming 13th Century Carol is – so far as I know, the oldest French carol still sung today. It's performed below by the Petits Chanteurs de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly under their director François Polgár. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Hieronymus Praetorius (1560-1629): Gaudete omnes

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December 30, 2013

PrevitaliNativityThumb As you might guess from its name 'Gaudete omnes' (All people, rejoice) is a cheerful and optimistic Christmas motet. Dating from 1599 it's an example of Praetorius' compositional virtuosity that mixes six-voice imitative polyphony with a madrigalian voice-exchange and homophonic writing. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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

Feature: Mouton & Morales — Quæramus cum pastoribus

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December 29, 2013

stomer-adorationofshepherds Mouton's beautiful Christmastide motet 'Quæramus cum pastoribus' – the name comes from its first line 'Quæramus cum pastoribus verbum incarnatum' (Let us, with the shepherds, seek the incarnate word) was a wildly popular piece of music that spread like wildfire throughout Catholic Christendom, there are copies of it to be found in churches and cathedrals ranging from the Sistine Chapel to Guatemalan frontier missions. Nor was this popularity confined to the public,  Mouton's fellow composers greatly admired it and used as the basis both for parody Masses (Morales and Willaert) and for motets  (Crecquillon, Pedro de Cristo and Giovanni Croce). It's not hard to see why it was so popular and influential it's a bright and airy piece of music set for a four-part choir and its dialogues are a brilliant mix of very tightly written polyphony into which Mouton injected very rich musical variety and some memorably tuneful writing.  It's easy to see why Cristóbal de Morales based a Mass upon it and what a Mass! The 'Missa Quæramus cum pastoribus'  is a wonderfully expansive and sumptuous piece of music in which de Morales takes Mouton's original and transforms it into something that is entirely original and quite wonderful. Let's start with the motet:

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Sebastian Knüpfer (1633-1676): Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her

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December 27, 2013

Thomaskirche Leipzig Ceiling Detail When we hear the word Thomaskantor we tend to think either of the current incumbent or of J.S. Bach the most famous musician to hold the office. While this is entirely understandable it's also a mistake as to do so is to ignore the many fine musicians who have held the position in an unbroken line from Georg Rhau, to Bach to Biller. If you focus just on the incumbents from Seth Calvisius up to Johann Sebastian Bach you have such brilliant musicians as Johann Hermann Schein, Tobias Michael, Sebastian Knüpfer, Johann Schelle and Johann Kuhnau.  These were the men who shaped much of what we now know as 'German Baroque' and during their lifetimes their fame extended far beyond Leipzig's boundaries. Today's posting explores a Christmas concerto by one of these men –  Sebastian Knüpfer (1633-1676), who held the post of Thomaskantor for nineteen years between 1657 and 1676. More than anyone else it was Knüpfer who restored Leipzig's status as a city of music to the pre-emininent status it had enjoyed before the ravages of the Thirty Years war. It was Knüpfer who set the standard against which Schelle, Kuhnau, and Bach were measured.

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Lolay, lolay. Als I lay on Yoleis night

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December 26, 2013

Bondone-Nativity One of the most beautiful medieval Christmas songs that I know of is 'Lolay, lolay. Als I lay on Yoleis night'.

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