Posts Tagged ‘ Psalms ’

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Laudate Dominum RV606

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April 24, 2014

Vivaldi's powerful and concise setting of Psalm 116 (117 in Protestant bibles) for choir and strings is one of my favourites. It dates from his 'first' period at the Pietà because it's so short – there're only two verses plus the Lesser Doxology Vivaldi had to find a way of making it musically interesting. He solved the problem by reversing the usual order of priorities all of the melodic and rhythmic interest in the piece lies in the violin part with its short archiform motif that appears and reappears in some variation or another in literally every bar. The result is a magnificent piece of music for unison violins with vocal accompaniment. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Domine ad adiuvandum RV593

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April 10, 2014

This is one of the most perfect pieces of music that Vivaldi ever wrote.  The text is half a verse from Psalm 69 (70) as a response to the versicle with which Vespers begins 'Deus in adjutorium meum intende'. It's one of a group of large-scale double choir works that Vivaldi wrote during the 1720s. It's a brilliantly antiphonal piece of music in which Vivaldi exploits the antiphonal potential of setting a double choir against the orchestra to the hilt. The second movement, an ecstatic Gloria in E minor is followed by a doxology in which the choirs unite in a fugue that have several subjects and counter-subjects. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Cristóbal de Morales (±1500-1553): Beati omnes qui timent Dominum

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April 5, 2014

The first time I heard this I had to check who it was by. It certainly didn't sound like something by Cristóbal de Morales to me. This piece is downright cheerful and de Morales' music is generally somewhat more … severe. It's a delightfully sunny piece who six-part structure is occasionally punctuated by bursts of something that closely resembles, but isn't quite, homophony. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Psalm 143 — Penitential Psalm No 7

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March 16, 2014

The seventh and final Penitential Psalm (Psalm 143) set by de Lassus was intended to sung on Lauds on Good Friday and Compline in the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. It's a beautiful piece of music – technically very demanding to sing as de Lassus makes use of a full range of musical techniques there's some wonderful word-painting and I really like his use of syncopation for example at 'turbatum est cor meum' and 'velociter exaudi me, Domine'. There's a wonderfully effective piece of writing at 'velociter exaudi me, Domine; defecit spiritus meus'  (hear me speedily, O Lord; my spirit faileth) which begins after a rest in all parts, ends on an unstressed beat and is followed by a written-in bar’s rest in all parts you almost see the Psalmist being forced to pause because his spirits are failing him. The doxology starts with a strong clear Gloria and ends very sonorously.

markfromireland

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Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Psalm 102 — Penitential Psalm No 5

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March 14, 2014

Psalm 102 is one of the longest and was to be sung on the feast of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed. Its length meant that de Lassus had to make use of all the techniques at his command to sustain both interest and momentum. While the technicalities are important what really sets this Psalm setting apart in a series of Psalm setting that are one of the jewel of Renaissance polyphony is de Lassus' wonderful use of word-painting.  I'll give just a few examples:

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