Posts Tagged ‘ English Choirs ’

Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam

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November 11, 2014

De Lassus' four-part setting of the first verses of Psalm 55 is unusual precisely because it is a four-part setting. Less than a quarter of his surviving motets are for four parts. It's a lovely piece very supplicatory in tone as you might expect from Psalm 55. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Lord Blessed be thy name

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November 6, 2014

Tallis 180 x 1501641 was a momentous year in English and Irish history during that year Strafford the King's right hand man was impeached by Parliament, tried, and executed. Archbishop Laud was imprisoned, Parliament passed The Triennial Act,  there was a major Irish Uprising,  and Parliament issued The Grand Remonstrance.  Less momentous perhaps but no less important from a musical standpoint John Barnard published the sole collection of liturgical music to be published in England in the eighty years between 1560s and the Civil War.  The 'First Book of Selected Church Musick' as it was called contained only compositions from composers who who were no longer living and whose works represented the Elizabethan and Jacobean repertory of English cathedrals and major parish churches. Amongst this repertory were four English contrafcta by Tallis of which Blessed be thy name — a contrafactum of Mihi autem nimis, is one. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Edgar Bainton (1880–1956): And I Saw A New Heaven

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November 4, 2014

Bainton Edgar Bainton (1880–1956) is best known as a composer of church music and is a somewhat neglected composer in England he studied under Stanford at the Royal College of Music and starting in 1901  first a teacher and then from 1912 principal at Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Conservatoire.  In 1914 he travelled to Bayreuth for the festival when World War I broke out the German authorities arrested and interned him for the duration of the war as "a male enemy alien of military age"  at Ruhleben, near Berlin.

When the war ended he returned to his post in Newcastle. He spent much of his time touring Commonwealth countries and in 1934 he and his family moved to Australia where he took up a posting as director of the New South Wales State Conservatorium in Sydney. He's best remembered in Australia as a composer of operas and for introducing music by composers such as   Bax, Debussy, Delius, Sibelius, and Walton. His music of which 'And I Saw A New Heaven' is typical is in a late-romantic idiom and shows none of the folk influences of many of his contemporaries such as Vaughan Williams. It's probably the best known of his works, he composed it in 1938 and it's now firmly ensconced in the repertoire including such notable occasions as the Memorial Service for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Thomas Weelkes (1576–1623): Hosanna to the Son of David

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November 1, 2014

This is a remarkably powerful piece of music that confirms were such a confirmation necessary that Weelkes was an outstandingly talented composer. It's an evocation of Matthew 21:9 in which the Evangelist depicts the crowd's reaction to Christ's entry into Jerusalem. You can hear their enthusiasm which Weelkes underscores by repeating their initial cry of welcome and aclamation "Hosanna" twice during the anthem. It's a stunning piece of music which must have thrilled its Stuart era audience whenever they heard it. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Non vos relinquam (SSATB)

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October 23, 2014

Non vos relinquam is one of the motets from the 1607 Gradualia. It's a five-part setting (SSATB) whose simple and flowing style conceals some very complex counterpoint. Whenever I listen to it I marvel at how Byrd wove the alleluias into the fabric of the piece and how he manages to portray the Apostles' mixed feelings of sadness at Christ's departure coupled with their joy at the knowledge of their salvation. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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