Vivaldi – Lauda Jerusalem – Alessandrini

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,…

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

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…

John Sheppard (±1515-1558): Haste Thee O God (attr.)

Compared to that other Tudor-era composers Sheppard’s music is still relatively little known and infrequently performed which is perhaps why this recording of Haste the, O God, a setting of Psalm 70 generally attributed to Sheppard is the first ever recording of it. It’s also been attributed to Tye but it sounds more like Sheppard…

Robert White (±1538-1574): Ad te levavi oculos meos

Maxima musarum nostrarum gloria White Tu peris aeternum sed tua musa manet. White, thou glorious leader of our art has died But thy muse lives on in eternity. (Robert Dow’s lament on the death of Robert White in the London plague outbreak of 1574). Robert White was born into a well-to-do family with many connections…

Edward Elgar (1857-1934): Great is the Lord Op 67

Elgar started ‘Great is the Lord’ in 1910 it’s an adaptation of Psalm 47 and is fairly popular now but at the time he was composing it, perhaps because there was no patron to commission it in sight, it was doubtful that Elgar would even complete it. It took him two years working in fits…

Arvo Pärt (b1935): De Profundis

Pärt’s setting of Psalm 130 dates from 1980 and is dedicated to Gottfried von Einem. It’s set for male voices and organ with bass drum.  It’s the first piece of Pärt’s music I ever heard and to me, it still epitomises much of his music which seems so spare and simple when you look at…

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Exsultate Deo

This is one of my favourites amongst Palestrina’s motets. It’s a five-part setting (SAATB) of the first three verses of Psalm 81. It’s  a bright celebratory piece of music full of word-painting to depict the musical instruments mentioned in the text. Whenever people try to tell me that Palestrina’s music is dull, cold, and lifeless,…

Psalm 23 (Bay Psalm Book): American Boy Choir

The Bay Psalm book is probably unknown to my readers on this side of the Atlantic, and, I suspect, to many in America, and so a little history before listening to the music is appropriate. In 1640 the Massachusetts Bay Colony published the Bay Psalm Book (it was printed by Stephen Daye in the house…

Juan de Anchieta (1462-1523): Beatus Vir

Juan de Anchieta was born near Azpeitia in the Basque country, he was the scion of an aristocratic family related by marriage to the Loyola family. It seems likely that he studied music at Salamanca but his career didn’t really begin until February 6th 1489 when he was appointed as a singer in Queen Isabella’s…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Tribulatio proxima est

Byrd’s penitential motet Tribulatio proxima est (Tribulation is near ) was published in the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591 and takes its text from Psalms 21 and 69 respectively. As you might expect of Byrd the music serves to portray the text so we have a strong outcry at the plea for justice (vindica me), twisted…

Hans Leo Hassler (1562-1612): Ad Dominum

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…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Da mihi auxilium

This six-part (SAATTB) motet with divided tenors and baritones was published in Canciones Sacræ (1575). Its text is taken from Psalm 107 and is a plea to God for respite and aid in times of tribulation. It’s quite similar in style to Domine secundum actum meum they’re both Aeolian, there’s the same voices, and those…