Posts Tagged ‘ English choral music ’

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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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): If ye love me

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October 3, 2013

Edward VI 150x190 Although his sympathies were firmly Catholic Tallis wrote anthems for the reformed rites prescribed by Edward VI's  First Prayer Book of 1549. Edward who Like all the Tudors was fond of music was an ardent Protestant. His government required church music to support the Anglican church's exhortations to Godly living and to enchance the greater emphasis on scripture, preaching, and teaching. Out went intricately layered polyphony music in Latin and in came simpler and more readily comprehensible structures such as this beautiful four-part miniature in two sections. The stunningly clear and beautiful performance of it that you'll find below is sung by The Cardinall's Musick conducted by Andrew Carwood. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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

Forthcoming Posts

  • Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): ‘Drop, drop, slow tears’
  • 6th Sunday of Lent 2014: Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross Op 51

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