Posts Tagged ‘ English choral music ’

4th Sunday of Lent 2014 Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521): Maria plena virtutate

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March 30, 2014

Of all Fayrfax's works his meditation on the Passion "Maria plena virtute" (Mary full of virtue) is the one that I find the most moving.

markfromireland

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Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): Behold, thou hast made my days

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March 3, 2014

Orlando Gibbons' setting of verses 5-7 and 12-13 from Psalm 39. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Edward Elgar (1857-1934): The Apostles, Op 49 – Prologue: The Spirit of the Lord

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November 30, 2013

Elgar statue Great Malvern The Apostles was the first of Elgar's two Biblical oratorios to be completed and received its first performance at Birmingham Town Hall on October 14th 1903 it tells of Jesus calling the Apostles, his teaching them and his betrayal and the ascension. Four years later its Prologue was extracted by the music publishing firm Novello and printed as part of their famous series of choruses for use in churches. It's a composite text which Elgar compiled from a variety of Biblical sources and, as you might expect from a prologue, it introduces many of  the themes and motifs to be found in the oratorio. This thematic diversity is one of the reasons why it's not necessarily the easiest piece of music in the world to sing when sung well however it's a very worthwhile piece of music in its own right. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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

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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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