Posts Tagged ‘ Religious Music ’

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Duo ubera tua

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November 20, 2014

Thy breasts are like two fawns, roes that are twins.
Thy nose is as a tower of ivory.
Thine eyes are like the pools in Hesebon,
which are at the Gate of the Daughter of the Multitude.
Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon
that looks towards Damascus.
Thy head is like Carmel, and the hair of thy head
is as royal purple braided in strands.

This is the twenty-sixth in the series of twenty-nine motets based upon the Song of Songs that Palestrina first published in 1584. Each motet is carefully contrived to singable by a wide range of groups and it is this, coupled with the beauty and eroticism of the text that accounted for their wild popularity. They took Italy by storm going through no  less than eleven reprints in short order. I've always felt that Duo ubera tua is particularly beautiful. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Quam pulchri sunt gressus tui

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November 13, 2014

Quam pulchri sunt gressus tui is the twenty fifty in the series of motets based upon the Song of Songs first published by Palestrina in 1584. The eroticism of the text – the Song of Songs is after all love poetry of a desert people,  no doubt helped account for its popularity with the public. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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

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