Posts Tagged ‘ Monastery Choirs ’

Miguel López (1669 – 1723): Salve Regina – Escolania de Montserrat

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May 5, 2015

Miguel López was born in Villarroya de la Sierra, Aragon in 1669 and entered the Escolanía de Montserrat as a choirboy  aged nine. He became a Benedictine novice in 1684 and a full member of the order in 1686. The Benedictines sent him to their monastery of S Martín, Madrid for seven years between 1689 and 1696 where he combined his duties as monastery organist with studying theology at Salamanca. His confrères must have been impressed by his musical skills because he was twice made choirmaster at Montserrat first for six years between 1699 and 1705 and then again for a three year period between  1715 and 1718. On 25 February 1722 he was appointed manager of the house at Alcañiz belonging to Montserrat but died within months of the appointment. He wrote devotional villancicos for church festivals that ranged from solos with continuo to larger combinations as well as liturgical pieces which tend to be somewhat polychoral compositions in which the instrumental piece(s) are one choir amongst many. His setting of the Salve which you can hear below is quite typical of his music it's pleasant and undramatic if somewhat austere in style relying on alternating points of imitation and antiphonal effects to provide musical interest and forward motion. The performance below by the always superb Escolania de Montserrat was given at a conventual Mass on April 1st 2012. enjoy :-).

mfi

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Escolania de Montserrat: El cant dels ocells

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December 22, 2014

Lluís Travesset is the soloist of this performance of  the much-loved Catalan Christmas song and lullaby El cant dels ocells (Song of the birds) at a concert given at Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome, in 2012. It's a charming piece that like the the beautiful old Castilian carol "Brincan y bailan" ("They jump and dance") about which I wrote here back in 2011 (see: Escolanía del Escorial – Brincan y bailan – (Traditional Castilian Carol) | Saturday Chorale) tells of nature's joy at learning of the birth of Jesus Christ in a stable in Bethlehem.  Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Escolania de Montserrat: El Rossinyol (Washington Concert)

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December 2, 2014

El Rossinyol is a lovely old Catalan folk-song in which a bride laments her marriage to a shepherd and asks the Nightingale to send her love to her mother but not her father who married her off. It's sung below by the boys of the always superb Escolania de Montserrat. The soloist was Eduard Boadas and the concert was given at Strathmore Music Centre (Maryland - USA) on March 16th 2014 as part of the Escolania's 2014 USA tour. This video has very kindly been made available by Montserrat Gorina-Ysern. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

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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 :-).
mfi

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

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September 1, 2014

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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 :-).

mfi

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