Posts Tagged ‘ Monastery Choirs ’

Leo Delibes (1836–1891): Messe Brève (Missa Brevis) – Escolania del Escorial

September 5, 2014

Most people when they think of Delibes think either his operas - Lakme with it's renowned flower duet and bell song being the most famous, and perhaps also his choruses, and well ... ... ... that's it. But in fact that's not it, or not entirely it, he also wrote some religious music including this setting of the Mass. It's beautiful and as a piece of music its quality speaks for itself. In fact I've never understood why recordings of it are so hard to get.

You can hear the influence of Delibes' love of music for the theatre in the dramatic and lively Kyrie and Gloria but it's his Sanctus which is downright angelic, the hushed and serene O Salutaris, and the reverential Agnus Dei which really make this Mass special. It's a lovely piece that lives up to its name - it really is short around fifteen minutes with lovely flowing lines and a gentle lyricism that's fairly easily attainable by most choirs. All of this makes it a fairly popular part of the choral repertoire - there are some very nice performances here on YouTube, but for some strange reason there are very few recordings of the Mass in its entirety available commercially. Enjoy :-).

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John Rutter – A Clare Benediction – Choir of Escolania del Escorial

September 1, 2014


John Rutter's beautiful "Clare Benediction" has been sung by so many choirs that it's difficult to choose between them but amongst the many performances I've heard this one by the boys of the Escolania del Escorial must surely rank as one of the best ever. Enjoy :-).


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Georg Friedrich Handel (1685 – 1759): Lascia ch’io pianga – Escolania de Montserrat

August 23, 2014

It's easy to understand why Handel re-used this piece of music again and again – it's quite simply beautiful. It began its life as a dance piece in Almira (1705) and was reworked by him two years later as the aria Lascia la spina in Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno before recycling it again in 1711 for his enormously successful opera Rinaldo. It's been popular ever since and is firmly ensconced in concert repertoire. It's sung below in a more than creditable performance by ten years old Eduard Boadas accompanied by Pau Tolosa who is thirteen both of whom are choristers at the Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat and attend its famous music school the Escolania de Montserrat. Enjoy :-).


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Tomás Luis de Victoria (±1548–1611): Domine non sum dignus – Escolania Escorial

June 2, 2014

The boys of the  Escolania Escorial singing Tomás Luis de Victoria's Domine non sum dignus. Enjoy :-).


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Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990): Psalm 23 – Escolania de Montserrat

January 25, 2014

In 1965 the Very Reverend Walter Hussey, Dean of Chichester, approached Bernstein and asked him to compose a work for the 1965 Chichester Three Choirs Festival Festival, Bernstein who was on Sabbatical at the time accepted the commission and wrote about it in an article – much of it in verse, published in the New York Times of October 24th 1965:

Of time to think as a pure musician
and ponder the art of composition.
For hours on end I brooded and mused
on materiae musicae, used and abused;
On aspects of unconventionality,
Over the death in our time of tonality,
Over the fads of Dada and Chance,
The serial strictures, the dearth of romance,
‘Perspective in Music’ the new terminology,
Pieces called ‘Cycles’ and ‘Sines’ and ‘Parameters’—
Titles too beat for these homely tetrameters;
Pieces for nattering, clucking sopranos
With squadrons of vibraphones, fleets of pianos
played with the forearms, the fists and the palms
—And then I came up with the Chichester Psalms.
These psalms are a simple and modest affair,
Tonal and tuneful and somewhat square,
Certain to sicken a stout John Cager
With its tonics and triads in E flat major.
But there it stands the result of my pondering,
Two long months of avant-garde wandering—
My youngest child, old-fashioned and sweet.
And he stands on his own two tonal feet.

You'll find Psalm 23 sung by the talented boys of the Escolania de Montserrat – soloist; Joan Rovira. Enjoy :-).


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