Posts Tagged ‘ Motets ’

André Campra (1660–1744): Salve Regina

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February 14, 2015

Campra's setting of the Salve is one of his Petits Motets its style is very strongly reminiscent of an Italian cantata there's the very expressive writing, the vocal repetition, the melismatic writing, and the presence of some quite florid passages. I think the opening with its expressive silences and the lovely melismas that can be heard, for example, on 'Salve' and 'lachrimarum vale' are particularly fine. I also like how this expressiveness is combined with his use of a very French formal musical rhetoric for example when he breaks up both the melody and the bass line to express the 'sighs' at 'Ad te suspiramus' the combination of Italianate expressiveness and Gallic formalism works surprisingly well – but don't take my word for it, listen  to the performance of it by Raphaële Kennedy and make up your own mind. As always enjoy :-).

mfi

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Jacobus Clemens non Papa (±1510 – ± 1555): Tristitia obsedit me

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January 29, 2015

Girolamo SavonarolaThe text of this motet Tristitia obsedit me is based on Savanarola's unfinished meditation on Psalm 31. Savanarola ran foul of the Pope and Florence's rulers, was arrested, tortured, and condemned to death. While awaiting execution he composed two meditations on the Psalms. Infelix Ego a meditation on Psalm 51 and this one which Savanarola didn't manage to finish. Both were published after his death and their affirmation of faith following torture and in the face of imminent death along with his other writings were hugely influential throughout Europe.  In his setting Clemens non Papa took  Savanarola's text and condensed and conflated it to create a motet with two distinct sections. The first deals with Savanarola's despair while the second treats of his return to faith and hope and his appeal to God for mercy and forgiveness. Even allowing for the changes he made it must have been a difficult task to set the text but Clemens non Papa succeeded brilliantly by making heavy use of closely spaced imitative repetition to produce a vivid and remarkably fervent piece of music. The effect on his contemporaries – who would have been well aware of the text's religious and political import, must have been stunning. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Deficit in dolore

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January 26, 2015

Byrd's AATTB motet Deficit in dolore (Wasted in grief) takes its text from the psalms and free text he published it in the 1589 Cantiones sacrae. Like much in that book Byrd selected and arranged the texts to describe personal suffering before expressing hope. 

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Dum complerentur

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January 20, 2015

Palestrina 180x179 captioned Palestrina first published his six-part (SAATTB) Pentecostal motet Dum complerentur in 1589 in the Liber primus motettorum. It's a musical depiction of the 'rushing wind' that filled the house in which the Apostles were hiding when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. It's very cleverly done he uses the Alleluias that mark the end of sections in the text to cue the musical figure whose vigorous forward flow depicts the wind. If you take a look at the score you'll see that it's very densely written with each phrase having it's own motif this makes it quite difficult to sing but the effect is oh so beautiful when the choir succeeds in pulling it off as you can hear below. Enjoy.

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Peccantem me quotidie

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January 15, 2015

Byrd's five-part (SATTB) setting of the seventh respond at the matins for the dead is a surprisingly old-fashioned piece of writing that harkens back to Fayrfax, Cornysh, and Ludford. It's a little surprising that Byrd selected such an old-fashioned style as he along with his contemporaries was busy exploring the possibilities offered by the mean vocal range. Old-fashioned but nevertheless very beautiful and a glorious example of what Byrd could do when he put his mind to it. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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