Posts Tagged ‘ Psalms ’

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Sing Joyfully – Merbecke Choir

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January 2, 2016

A performance by the Merbecke Choir at Southwark Cathedral from July 2014, directed by Huw Morgan.

Byrd sets verses from Psalm 81:

Sing joyfully to God our strength; sing loud unto the God of Jacob!
Take the song, bring forth the timbrel, the pleasant harp, and the viol.
Blow the trumpet in the new moon, even in the time appointed, and at our feast day.
For this is a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.

www.merbecke.org.uk

www.huwmorgantheorgan.co.uk

Byrd composed surprisingly few anthems, Sing Joyfully is arguably his best, it's certainly his most popular. It's got a somewhat madrigalian feel to it, listen to what he does at "Blow the trumpet in the new moon" and you'll hear what I mean. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Vivaldi – Lauda Jerusalem – Alessandrini

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November 25, 2015

I wrote about this setting of Psalm 147 as part of my series of postings dealing with Vivaldi's religious music. Here's my description from that posting:

This single-movement sett­ing of the Lauda, Jerusalem (RV609) dates from some­time dur­ing the 1720s. Vival­di set it for two choirs each of which had a sop­rano sol­o­ist, four parts, and str­ing ac­compani­ment and at some point – per­haps in 1739 when he was en­gaged in sup­ply­ing new works to the Pietà he added the names of four of the Pietà's choir­girls to the manu­script. It's a good ex­am­ple of his con­cer­tos in­fluen­ced his church music as with its al­ter­nat­ing fully scored and lig­ht­ly scored sec­tions, and inter-passage epi­sodes based on re­cur­rent materi­al it fol­lows the ritonel­lo form very close­ly. The highlight of the piece for me is its doxology it's based on an an­onym­ous Lauda, Jerusalem which Vival­di had in his col­lec­tion and whenev­er I hear it I wish I knew who the com­pos­er was so that I could track down other works of his. Whoev­er he was, he was good. Enjoy :-).

See: Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Lauda, Jerusalem RV609 | Saturday Chorale

The performance I used to illustrate the piece was the Gritton/Milne/King's Consort one – it's a performance I greatly enjoy but this taut and thrilling performance by the Concerto Italiano conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini with solos by Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano) and  Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) is well worth your while listening to if only for the purposes of comparison. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Blessed are those that be undefiled

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October 23, 2015

This is an English setting of verses 1 – 6 of Psalm 119 (Vulgate 118). The translation is Myles Coverdale's translation of 1535 and is headed  'Beati immaculati' (Blessed are those that be undefiled) in the Ludlow Parish Church  manuscript partbook. Between that, the fact that it's scored for TrSATB, and the way in Tallis has divided the longer notes into shorter repeated ones I think it's pretty certain that this is a contrafactum1 of a Latin setting of the Psalm by Tallis that has not survived the ravages of time. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): Herren, vår Gud

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October 9, 2015
Photo: Interior Tyska Kyrkan (Old German Church), Stockholm, Düben in whose collection Herren, vår Gud is found was organist at the German Church and at court. It seems more than likely that it was he who commissioned the piece for use at both locales.

Photo: Interior Tyska Kyrkan (Old German Church), Stockholm, Düben in whose collection Herren, vår Gud is found was organist at the German Church and at court. It seems more than likely that it was he who commissioned the piece for use at both locales.

This is one of the only two Swedish texted works by Buxtehude to have survived (I wrote about the other one at the start of September, see Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): Att du Jesu vill mig höra | Saturday Chorale – mfi). The text of Herren, vår Gud (The Lord Our God) is a poetic paraphrasis of Psalm 20 and the melody can be found in Den Svenska psalmboken Koralbok, published in 1697. I don't know who it was composed for but I think it most likely that it was composed for Düben who was the organist at the German Church in Stockholm for use both at court and at the church. Nor do I know where the melody actually comes from however it could have been a pre-existing melody or it could be of Buxtehude's own devising because while the Swedish psalter was published in 1697 Buxtehude's composition predates it by at least ten years.

Musically it's a very typically Buxtehudian piece that starts with a tremolo of repeated eight notes to denote sorrow and with a body consisting of a  concertato chorale in which he combines the instrumental elements of the concerto with the four-part harmonisations of the Swedish Lutheran hymnbook. He ends with a cheerfully bouncy Amen signifying the congregation's confidence that their prayer has been heard. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Laetatus sum-Jerusalem quae aedificatur (Caldara) Robin Johannsen – YouTube

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October 5, 2015

Jeffrey runs a superb YouTube channel that's very clearly a labour of love. If you haven't already explored it I urge you to do so by following the link to his channel below. I can't think of a better way of starting the week than with his latest offering. Enjoy :-)

mfi

From the psalm setting Laetatus sum (Psalm 122) by Antonio Caldara (1670-1736)

Robin Johannsen (soprano) Academia Montis Regalis with Alessandro de Marchi, conductor

TEXT/TRANSLATION: Jerusalem, quae aedificatur ut civitas: cujus participatio ejus in idipsum. Jerusalem is built as a city: that is at unity in itself.

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