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05 April 2007 @ 05:41 pm

I thought I'd check and see if anyone has added to Cantus Firmus recently..... nope.   So since nothing is happening here, would anymind mind if I shut up shop here?


13 February 2007 @ 08:41 pm

In an attempt to stimulate some comments, I thought I'd post this video clip I discovered on YouTube of The Tallis Scholars giving a live performance of Nunc Dimittis by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1524?-1594).

Let me know what you think...

Paul x
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Palestrina (of course!)
11 February 2007 @ 12:17 am
Well I have to admit I'm really encouraged to find that people are actually signing up to this community!  Thank you!  I did wonder just how many others might be interested in what is, after all, music which very old, has no instruments and is almost never sung in English.

So, to get the ball rolling, I thought I'd throw in my personal favourite CD of the moment. 

It's 'Officium', performed by The Hilliard Ensemble (see sidebar) and Jan Garbarek on saxophones.  Yes, saxophones.  When this album first came out it received a mixed reception. The 'purists' said 'how dare they spoil such beautiful music with something so course as a saxophone', whilst others (including me) thought 'what an inspired idea - bringing together the ancient and modern sounds in one album'.  Having said that I love the combination of Renaissance music and sax, my favourite track is track 8.  It's the second of three versions of 'Parce mihi domine' by Christobal de Morales (c1500-1553). The other two include solos from Jan Garbarek; this second one is just the voices and it is exquisitely beautiful.  You know, those sounds which almost seem to reveal a glimpse of the divine. 

I think it's a great CD to unwind to.  A glass of wine, some candles.... parfait!

Anyway, that's my entry.  How about sharing your own favourite(s)? 


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07 February 2007 @ 03:45 pm

My first real taste of vocal music from the Renaissance period was when I signed up to a classical music club (the kind where  you get 6 CDs as a free introductory offer, as long as you promise to buy 2 or 3 more CDs every year).  Amongst the 6 I selected for free was one of music by Josquin de Prez [1450 or 1455 – 1521];  it featured two of his Masses based on the 'L'Homme Arme' melody - the '(L')homme armé' super voces musicales  and the '(L')homme armé' sexti toni. These were performed on the recording by the Tallis Scholars directed  by Peter Phillips [available at Amazon].

As soon as I started listing I was captivated! Here was music which didn't rely on thick textures, or bright colours, or fast running scales to impress.  This was music which was written to worship and glorify God - music composed solely for spiritual purposes.  Being a Mass it was all in Latin, but this made it all the more easier to listen to.  The text did not get in the way of enjoying the musical strands weaving in and out.  This was music for which the term 'mellifluous' was invented!  It was this which started me on the journey which would take in recordings of music by Tallis, Byrd, Gesualdo and Hildegard of Bingen, as well as music by John Taverner and Arvo Part.

Josquin des Prez - 1611 woodcut of Josquin des Prez, 
copied from a now-lost oil painting done during his lifetime

I hope you'll feel welcome to join this community and share your own love of sacred vocal music from the six centuries between 1000 and 1600.  I'm still a stranger here in many ways and I'm sure there are many masterpieces I have yet to be introduced to!



Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Current Music: josquin des prez