Posts Tagged ‘ Motets ’

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924): When Mary Thro’ the Garden Went

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April 11, 2015

Standford Sketch 150x200 Stanford's wonderful four-part (SATB) motet  'When Mary Thro' the Garden Went' sets a text by Mary E. Coleridge. When I was planning this week's postings I was confident there'd be lots of good live performances of it on YouTube, "that'll larn me" to coin a phrase. There are a few performances of it on YouTube but the only one that I actually liked is the live performance that you can hear below given by Temple University Recital Choir. I hope you'll enjoy hearing it as much as I did.  The text to Coleridge's poem is below the video. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Alonso Lobo (1555-1617): O quam suavis est, Domine

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April 7, 2015

During his lifetime Alonso Lobo was respected as the equal of  Tomás Luis de Victoria his music was very widespread being found in collections all over Catholic Christendom from the Sistine Chapel to the New World. He published his six-part motet O quam suavis est, Domine in 1607.  Its text is the antiphon for the Feast of Corpus Christi and consists of through-composed polyphony in which each of the six voices can clearly be heard particularly towards the end when each voice climbs gently through its fellows. The effect is one of sweetness and warmth almost madrigalian in its impact. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Miserere nostri

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March 30, 2015

Miserere nostri is unusual amongst Tallis' motets in being set for more than five parts and in following a continental double canon model rather than an English model. It's for six voices with a seventh (tenor) voice making an appearance once for harmonic reasons.

mfi

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Hans Leo Hassler (1562-1612): Ad Dominum

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March 28, 2015

Hassler was very influential in his day both Bach (O Haput voll Blut und Wunde) and Schütz (Psalmen Davids) quoted his music. The son of a stonecutter and part time musician in Nuremburg he was sent to Venice to study music and composition. In Venice he came under the influence of the Gabrieli's  studying under Andrea Gabrieli he stayed in Venice for eighteen months and returned to Germany taking up a position in Augsburg  as chamber organist to Octavian Fugger II. Word of this talented musician and composer spread  the Landgrave of Hesse tried to "poach" him from the Fuggers while the emperor granted him a potentially very lucrative patent to copyright his works. When Fugger died in 1600 the town council tried to keep him in Augsburg by making him the town's musical director but Hassler returned to his home town a year later to take up a similar posting, in 1607 he travelled to Ulm where he married severing all ties to Nuremburg. In 1608 Christian II of Saxony commissioned a composition from him and then appointed Hassler to his staff, he continued as a member of the Saxon court rising quickly to Kapellmeister until his death in 1612.

Musically Hassler was both conservative and ecumenical, ecumenical in that although he himself was a protestant he was quite happy to compose for both the Catholic and Lutheran churches and conservative in that he never wrote a piece that used that hallmark of baroque music the basso continuo  confining his religious compositions to the polyphonic idiom that had been at its height fifty years earlier not only that but you'll often hear the cantus firmus as a motif in every part of his composition. Having said that he was musically conservative I had better qualify that statement somewhat by saying that it was his religious music that was so conservative, he wrote a considerable quantity of secular music such as madrigals, instrumental works, and dance songs, in all of which genres he allowed himself to be somewhat more free-handed. His motet Ad Dominum cum tribularer (In my distress I cried unto the Lord) which takes its texts from the opening verses of Psalm 120  is another exception to the conservatism rule. It's very chromatic with none of the traditional diatonic harmonies, and as you listen you can hear what he was trying to do – to make his music match the text to portray both tribulation (cum tribularer) and its cause a deceitful tongue (lingua dolosa).

mfi

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Attr. John IV, King of Portugal (1604–56): Crux Fidelis

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March 24, 2015

Crux Fidelis is the eight verse of the hymn beginning Pange lingua ('Sing, my tongue') by Saint Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (c530-c609). It's sung on Good Friday during the Adoration of the Cross, during Holy Week, and during feasts of the Church honouring The Cross. This setting which was first published in Paris in 1843–5 in an eleven-volume collection of 'musique ancienne' is ascribed a date of 1615 and attributed to John IV, King of Portugal. This attribution is unlikely to put it  mildly as he was born in 1604 and nowhere is there any mention of him as being a child-prodigy. The attribution is also highly dubious on stylistic grounds, it's a lovely piece of music and one of my favourite polyphonic settings, but its highly chromatic tonality makes it very unlikely that it was composed during the seventeenth century at all, let alone during its fifteenth year. It's more like something that Lizst in a fit of conscious archaism would have written than a product of any Renaissance composer let alone a composer from the Iberian peninsula. What a pity that the publishers of 'musique ancienne'  felt that instead of accepting and publishing it on its own terms – as a wonderful piece of polyphonic writing,  that they had to assign it an entirely spurious heritage.

mfi

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