Posts Tagged ‘ English choral music ’

Feature: Kampen Boys Choir — Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in A C.V. Stanford

2
November 27, 2013

Kampen choristers getting ready for a concert

One of the advantages of YouTube is that you can come across some very good choirs of whose existence you would otherwise be unaware. One such is the Dutch choir the Kampen Boys Choir about whose excellent performance of Farrant's 'Lord, for Thy tender mercy’s sake' I wrote about last January (see: Richard Farrant (1530 – 1580): Lord, for Thy tender mercy’s sake – Kampen Boys Choir – YouTube).  At the time I intended to write a further posting introducing them and their singing but I'm only now getting around to it. The Kampen Boys Choir were founded in September 2002 and consists of sixteen boys (trebles) and twelve men (countertenors, tenors and basses). Their repertoire is mostly taken from the English choral tradition but they also undertake tours outside of the Netherlands as well as collaborating with other Dutch choirs for example by participating in the performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion given by the Dutch Bach Society. They're an excellent choir whose clear well-paced singing I've greatly enjoyed listening to I'm sure you will too.

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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Henry Purcell (1659-1695): O praise the Lord, all ye heathen

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October 25, 2013

Henry Purcell We don't know exactly when Purcell composed this short verse anthem but it must have been before December 1681 because it's one of the anthems copied out in the York 'Gostling' partbooks by Stephen Bing and Bing died during the month of December 1681. It's quite an Italianate piece written for two tenors with minimal participation by the choir.

It starts with a joyful triple time section in which the soloists conduct a dialogue during which they respond to each other's calls for the entire world to praise the Lord. The next section features a dropping line at 'merciful kindness' while Purcell portrays the 'truth of the Lord' that 'endureth forever' with a single sustained note in both voices. A vigorous choral Alleluia follows which in turn is followed by Gloria in which the soloists again engage in an animated musical dialogue. The anthem end with the choir reprising their vigorous Alleluias. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Geoffey Burgon (1941-2010): A Prayer to the Trinity, ‘Almighty God, Father of Heaven’

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October 15, 2013

Geoffey Burgon's wonderful "A Prayer to the Trinity, 'Almighty God, Father of Heaven' " demonstrates yet again his affinity for old English texts, in this a Fifteenth century prayer to the Blessed Trinity. It's a wonderfully gentle and affectionate piece that I come back to often. A quick note of some of the words you'll hear:

  • Rood = Cross
  • Stevene = voice
  • par amor = for love

Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Southwell Minster Choir: On Jordan’s Bank – YouTube

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October 9, 2013

Sung by The Southwell Minster Choir, for Radio 3.

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