Thomas Weelkes (1576–1623): The Ape, The Monkey and The Baboon

Weelkes was best known to contemporaries as a madrigalist and published several volumes. The  Ape, the monkey and the baboon was one of his last compositions and was published in 1608 in Ayeres or Phantasticke Spirites for Three Voices. It’s surprisingly difficult to find good recordings of it but this performance by The Alley Barbers…

Hieronymus Praetorius (1560-1629): In dulci Jublio

Hieronymus Praetorius was born in 1560 in Hamburg where his father Jacob was organist at the Jacobikirche, when his father died  Hieronymus became organist, holding the post for the rest of his life. He was quite a daring composer for his time and I sometimes wonder how the congregations reacted the first time they heard…

Maurice Duruflé (1902—1986): In Paradisum

At some point I’ll have to find the time write about and post Duruflé’s setting of the Requiem in its entirety,  but until I find the time to do that I’ll content myself with sharing his serenely beautiful setting of In Paradisum with which he ends the Mass. Enjoy :-). mfi

Ola Gjeilo: Sanctus

Born in 1978 in Norway Ola Gjeilo moved to the USA when he was 23 to study composition at New York’s Juilliard School and has lived in the USA ever since. He composed this dense and richly textured setting of the Sanctus for the Uranienborg Vokalensemble shortly after he graduated in 2006. Enjoy :-). markfromireland

Vytautas Miškinis ( born 1954 ): Angelis suis Deus

The Lithuanian composer and conductor Vytautas Miškinis composed this slightly adapted setting of Psalm 90’s as a fortieth birthday present for Stephen Layton. It’s a beautifully well-written and particularly pleasing miniature with a marvellous  sense of quiet joy. Enjoy :-). markfromireland

Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825–1889): O Saviour Of The World – Choir of King’s College Cambridge, Easter 2014

Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley’s  (1825–1889) music is largely unknown today. Ousely was born into the upper echelons of Victorian Britain’s ruling class, his father was Ambassador to Russia, the Dukes of York and Wellington were his godfathers, he was a musically precocious child who composed his first opera at the tender age of eight.…

Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Timor et tremor

De Lassus’ six-part motet Timor et tremor is a complex and rewarding piece in which De Lassus trys – I think successfully, to portray musically emotional insecurity. Its use of disjunction makes it a beast to sing at all let alone to sing well which is why I greatly admire this performance of it by…

Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988): What love is this of thine

I’m a bit ambivalent about Leighton’s music. Sometimes his emphasis on lyrical melody hits the spot precisely but sometimes it leaves me cold. His setting of the Puritan clergyman Edward Taylor’s poem What love is this of thine with it’s calm opening and closing framing some quite dramatic singing seems to me to work very…

Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum

De Lassus’ seven-part setting of Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum (Psalm 134 Behold now, praise the Lord) sung below by the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, conducted by  Andrew Nethsingha accompanied by His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts is notable for its rich textures. De Lassus exploited to the full the opportunity to devise vocal combinations…

Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986): Notre Père

Duruflé was a traditionalist and opposed the Second Vatican Council’s decision in 1963 to require the use of the vernacular in the Liturgy. Despite this in 1978 he composed this setting of the Lord’s Prayer for the choir at Saint-Étienne. It’s a short and very simple setting using straightforward homophony whose sense of quiet devotion…