Posts Tagged ‘ Motets ’

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Quam pulchra es, et quam decora

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November 26, 2014

How beautiful art thou, and how comely,
my dearest, in delights!
Thy stature is like to a palm tree
and thy breasts to clusters of fruit.
I said: I will go up into the palm tree
and I will take hold of the fruit thereof.
And thy breasts also shall be as the clusters of the vine;
and the odour of thy mouth like apples.

Quam pulchra es, et quam decora (How beautiful art thou, and how comely)  is one of the last of the series of twenty-nine motets written by Palestrina as a sort of vocal chamber music that could be performed by a wide variety of groups. They were fabulously popular going through no less than eleven reprints in a number of years. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Duo ubera tua

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November 20, 2014

Thy breasts are like two fawns, roes that are twins.
Thy nose is as a tower of ivory.
Thine eyes are like the pools in Hesebon,
which are at the Gate of the Daughter of the Multitude.
Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon
that looks towards Damascus.
Thy head is like Carmel, and the hair of thy head
is as royal purple braided in strands.

This is the twenty-sixth in the series of twenty-nine motets based upon the Song of Songs that Palestrina first published in 1584. Each motet is carefully contrived to singable by a wide range of groups and it is this, coupled with the beauty and eroticism of the text that accounted for their wild popularity. They took Italy by storm going through no  less than eleven reprints in short order. I've always felt that Duo ubera tua is particularly beautiful. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Quam pulchri sunt gressus tui

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November 13, 2014

Quam pulchri sunt gressus tui is the twenty fifty in the series of motets based upon the Song of Songs first published by Palestrina in 1584. The eroticism of the text – the Song of Songs is after all love poetry of a desert people,  no doubt helped account for its popularity with the public. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam

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November 11, 2014

De Lassus' four-part setting of the first verses of Psalm 55 is unusual precisely because it is a four-part setting. Less than a quarter of his surviving motets are for four parts. It's a lovely piece very supplicatory in tone as you might expect from Psalm 55. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Lord Blessed be thy name

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November 6, 2014

Tallis 180 x 1501641 was a momentous year in English and Irish history during that year Strafford the King's right hand man was impeached by Parliament, tried, and executed. Archbishop Laud was imprisoned, Parliament passed The Triennial Act,  there was a major Irish Uprising,  and Parliament issued The Grand Remonstrance.  Less momentous perhaps but no less important from a musical standpoint John Barnard published the sole collection of liturgical music to be published in England in the eighty years between 1560s and the Civil War.  The 'First Book of Selected Church Musick' as it was called contained only compositions from composers who who were no longer living and whose works represented the Elizabethan and Jacobean repertory of English cathedrals and major parish churches. Amongst this repertory were four English contrafcta by Tallis of which Blessed be thy name — a contrafactum of Mihi autem nimis, is one. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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