Posts Tagged ‘ Religious Music ’

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Deficit in dolore

0
January 26, 2015

Byrd's AATTB motet Deficit in dolore (Wasted in grief) takes its text from the psalms and free text he published it in the 1589 Cantiones sacrae. Like much in that book Byrd selected and arranged the texts to describe personal suffering before expressing hope. 

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Teach Me, O Lord

0
January 2, 2015

It must have been an agonising experience for Byrd to see his hopes for the five-year English Catholic renaissance of 1553–58 dashed with the death of Queen Mary. A devout, and stubborn Catholic he was to live the remainder of his life under protestant monarchs. Fortunately for him, and for us, he managed the difficult and dangerous balancing act of remaining a faithful and practising Catholic while simultaneously rising to be a pillar of the Elizabethan musical establishment. Having Elizabeth as his protector undoubtedly helped! It may seem strange that such a devout Catholic produced such beautiful music for protestant services and "Teach me, O Lord" a setting of verses from Psalm 119 is very beautiful.

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Veni, dilecte mi

0
December 10, 2014

pomegranate blossoms

Come, my beloved; let us go forth
into the fields, let us abide in the villages.
Let us arise and go early to the vineyards,
let us see if the vines flourish,
if the blossom be ready to bring forth fruits,
if the pomegranates are in flower.
There will I give thee my breasts.

The desert love poetry that is the Song of Songs is filled with eroticism and longing. In this the last of the twenty-nine motets based upon the Song of Songs Veni, dilecti me (Come my beloved …) the positively pants with the poet's desire to be with their beloved. The imagery of fruitfulness and lust combine to unforgettable effect, no wonder the Church authorities of Palestrina's time refused to let these poems to be set in Italian allowing them only to be set in Latin. Palestrina's settings of these poems manage to express the poet's longing in a restrained and elegant style while leaving no doubt about the subject matter. No wonder they went through eleven printings in a very short time. It's the last in the set of twenty-nine I hope you've enjoyed this series and its music. As always, enjoy :-)

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Guttur tuum sicut vinum optimum

0
December 3, 2014

Thy throat is like the finest wine,
worthy for my beloved to drink
and for his lips and teeth to savour.
I to my love and he doth turn to me.

The last few of the twenty-nine motets based upon the Song of Songs such as Guttur tuum sicut vinum optimum (Thy throat is like the finest wine), have texts which are unabashedly erotic. This sensual and sexual aspect of the text was why the Church authorities insisted that they be set and sung only in Latin and not in Italian. I find myself suspecting that this attempt to stifle the love song aspect of the Song of Songs at least in part accounts for why Palestrina's settings sold like hotcakes. Enjoy :-)

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Quam pulchra es, et quam decora

0
November 26, 2014

How beautiful art thou, and how comely,
my dearest, in delights!
Thy stature is like to a palm tree
and thy breasts to clusters of fruit.
I said: I will go up into the palm tree
and I will take hold of the fruit thereof.
And thy breasts also shall be as the clusters of the vine;
and the odour of thy mouth like apples.

Quam pulchra es, et quam decora (How beautiful art thou, and how comely)  is one of the last of the series of twenty-nine motets written by Palestrina as a sort of vocal chamber music that could be performed by a wide variety of groups. They were fabulously popular going through no less than eleven reprints in a number of years. Enjoy :-)

mfi

Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Archives

Special Pages