Posts Tagged ‘ Harry Christophers ’

All hail to the days (Drive the cold winter away)

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December 13, 2014

From about 1600 a carol to "Drive the cold winter away). Well it is getting to be that time of year. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Walter Lambe (±1450 – ±1500): Stella cæli

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December 9, 2014

Lambe's contemporaries considered him to  be an important composer his music is heavily represented in the Eton Choirbook we don't know much about his career he's most likely the Walter Lambe who was elected scholar of Eton College on 8 July 1467, and who moved to Arundel to take up a clerkship in the collegiate church of the Holy Trinity in 1476. We do know that he was made clerk of the choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor, on 5 January 1479 and that following the death of the incumbent from plague that he was promoted to informator. His antiphon Stella cæli a request that the Virgin intervene to stop the ravages of the plague most likely was during this year.  Like much of his music it's very florid with a strong forward motion that's an interesting mix of the old and the new. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Magnificat Sexti toni

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October 30, 2014

Victoria published no less than eighteen Magnificat settings which range from sumptuous polychoral antiphonal works such as this triple choir (SATB + SSABar + SATB) setting to the restrained and elegant four-part setting. I mention the four part setting because both the opening verse and 'Deposuit potentes' are taken directly from that setting which was published in 1581. It's sung below by The Sixteen. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Richard Davy (±1465-1538): Salve Regina

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August 5, 2014

Davy was one of the first of the new generation of English composers who flourished under the Tudors. His setting of the Salve is free-composed throughout making no reference to the chant. It's very distinctly English and quite unlike anything that his contemporaries in Italy, France or theLow Countries would have composed.  There's a sweetness there, a depth of feeling, that's quite unique, it's not easy music to sing and the fact that Davy could compose music of this scale and quality is the clearest possible indication that English choirboys were expected to achieve a high level of professional virtuosity to sing music that tested their powers of concentration and their command of vocal technique as never before. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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John Blow (1649 – 1708): I will hearken

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July 7, 2014

The collapse of the Puritan regime and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy under Charles II in 1660 meant an immediate change in the style of government. Charles' government immediate priority was restoring those institutions of state that the Puritans had destroyed and that included the Chapel Royal which had been a vital centre of English musical life.  Cooke – Charles' first choirmaster had a difficult task because the tradition of training choirboys had been destroyed but he did have benefit of being able to ride a wave of pent-up creative energy. Blow was a chorister at at Newark Parish Church when Cooke conscripted him into Chapel Royal's choir thirteen years later Blow was appointed as as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal a post he held for nearly thirty five years combining it with a very successful career as a composer.

His setting of verses 8-12 of psalm 85 is one two dozen symphony anthems that he composed for the Chapel Royal.  It's a contemplative and quite intimate piece that uses short ritornellos that develop naturally from the vocal material rather than a main symphony. Blow chose to have the instruments accompany the voices instead of alternating with them and it is this innovation which accounts for the piece's pleasing richness and the seamlessness of its texture. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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