Posts Tagged ‘ Motets ’

Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Timor et tremor

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April 15, 2014

De Lassus' six-part motet Timor et tremor is a complex and rewarding piece in which De Lassus trys – I think successfully, to portray musically emotional insecurity. Its use of disjunction makes it a beast to sing at all let alone to sing well which is why I greatly admire this performance of it by The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, under their conductor Andrew Nethsingha.

markfromireland

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): O God, the proud are risen against me

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April 14, 2014

In his note to this wonderfully imposing six-part anthem Peter Phillips speculates that it echoes the sentiment felt by Queen Elizabeth I 'when faced with the Northern Rebellion of 1569, or the Babington plot to assassinate her in 1586'. Maybe so but somehow I doubt it, I think it far more likely that it's an example of Byrd crying to God against the persecution of his faith by Ekizabeth's government. Whatever the truth of the matter it's a glorious piece of music that's gloriously well sung below by the Tallis Scholars. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Absterge Domine

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April 7, 2014

Absterge Domine was one of Tallis' greatest hits. It's one of his 'devotional' Elizabethan Latin motets (i.e. its text is non-liturgical,) and despite the fact that it was intended for private use it appears in no less than four contrafacta as well as in the 1575 Cantiones Sacrae. It's deeply penitential with short sections some of which Tallis repeats to heighten the dramatic effect. In fact it's a very dramatic piece of music that rises and falls and uses the minor and major modes to increase the musical – and emotional, impact.

markfromireland

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Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650): Sitivit anima mea

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April 4, 2014

A native of Fronteira Cardoso was sent to Évora 'to study Grammar and the art of Music' under Father Cosme Delgado and Father Manuel Mendes once he had reached the age of nine. He must have greatly pleased his teachers because his career is one of rapid progression from prestigious post to prestigious post including that of music teacher to the future King João IV. His motet Sitivit anima mea (My soul thirsts) was published in 1625 in a collection of Masses. It's written in a contrapuntal style that shows Palestrina's influence mixed with a very personal – and profound, sense of harmony.

markfromireland

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Thomas Weelkes (1576–1623): Laboravi in gemitu meo

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April 1, 2014

Until fairly recently music scholars believed that this setting of the sixth verse from Psalm six was was Weelkes' only Latin motet. It's a penitential motet whose structure owes much to Thomas Morley's setting of the same text. Thus you can hear several motifs in each phrase of the text. The result is an impressively expansive piece of music that makes very telling use of dissonance. It's sung to great effect below by the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum directed by Benjamin Nicholas.

markfromireland

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