Posts Tagged ‘ Harry Christophers ’

Pelham Humfrey (±1648 —1 674): By the waters of Babylon

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January 16, 2015

Pelham Humfrey started his career as one of the 'forwardest & brightest' boys recruited for the Chapel Royal by  Henry Cooke who had been ordered by Charles II to restore English Church Music to its former glory. He was probably a Londoner but nobody really knows all that much about his origins. What we do know is that 'forward and bright' really only begins to describe his musical talent who already had written several anthems by the time his voice broke aged sixteen. Aged sixteen he was sent to Paris on full pay for two years to study music and on his return proved himself to be a master musician and composer who succeeded to the post of royal choirmaster when Cooke died in 1672. Sadly he only outlived his old master by two years but in that two years he produced some remarkably fine music including By the waters of Babylon. It's a symphony anthem – one of fourteen that he composed, and clearly demonstrates his skill at crafting musical structures in in which the vocal and instrumental components are organically linked, rather than just tacked together which had been the norm up to then. It's a somewhat unusual symphony anthem in that it opens with a short prelude rather than the full symphony which appears as a dance measure towards the end. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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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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