Posts Tagged ‘ English choral music ’

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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Walter Lambe (±1450 – ±1500): Nesciens Mater

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September 30, 2014

The clearest possible indication of how important Lambe was considerered to be by his contemporaries lies in the fact that so many of his compositions were collected in the Eton Choirbook. His five part (SATTB) setting of the Marian antiphon Nesciens Mater uses the chant as its cantus firmus but surrounds it with what Harry Christophers describes as 'an incandescent tracery of voices, echoing if you like the Perpendicular architecture of Henry VI’s Eton'.  It's a lovely piece of work that gives me pleasure every time I hear it. It's some of the most beautiful polyphony I know of, I particularly admire the cadences at the end. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Jonathan Battishill (1738-1801): O Lord, look down from heaven

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August 30, 2014

Battishill started his musical career as a choirboy at St Paul's which developed after his voice changed into a fine tenor, but it was his ability as an organ player and his prodigious musical memory that really impressed his contemporaries. He had hoped for a position at St. Paul's as organist but a tendency to excessive consumption of alcohol – particularly after his wife eloped to Dublin with an actor, put paid to that hope. He retained nevertheless a close connection to St. Paul's where he is buried. His anthem O Lord, look down from heaven takes its text fron Isaiah 64 and was most likely composed with the acoustic of St Paul's in mind it's a curiously old-fashioned piece that reminds many quite strongly of Elizabethan era music.http://saturdaychorale.com/2014/08/30/jonathan-battishill-1738-1801-o-lord-look-down-from-heaven/ Enjoy :-).

mfi

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