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Author Topic: Sweet singing in the choir: a choral miscellany  (Read 1617 times)
JK
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« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2019, 05:47:30 AM »

Schubert's masses are all quite lovely, and it's always interesting to hear about other musician's processes.  My mother is a professional accompanist and has done similar things for singers to help them learn parts.  While I think reading music is something most people can learn to do with concerted practice, the fact is it's just hard for a lot of people and I think anything that facilitates playing and performing is great.

They say these things are best done when young. Logically I suppose, my friend has been exempted from doing the sight-reading tests all her colleagues have to do now and again. The conductor and the adjudication committee are evidently impressed enough with her singing voice to overlook her "handicap"!

Unlike your mother, my training as a pianist (with an uninspiring if well-meaning teacher) fizzled out when I discovered pop music! But I know where all the notes are. Tongue I find it very satisfying to use whatever talents I have in that direction to help others.   

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I was fortunate enough to sing Schubert's Mass in C last year for Easter Sunday, which was really delightful.

I'm not at all familiar with Schubert's choral music so I'll give that a listen too. I hope you can convince your church to found a mixed amateur choir. It's clear you miss singing in a choir. 
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2019, 12:45:38 PM »

On the subject of performances during church services, my wife and I took a trip to Vienna in late 2011. We try to attend at least one musical event during each holiday. Of course as tourists we were continually being encouraged to go to "chocolate box" Mozart concerts specially put on for visitors. Instead, we attended a church service that included a complete performance of Mozart's Requiem. It was the best and most moving performance of that work we'd ever heard! 

While in Vienna we came across a plaque at the site of the house (since destroyed) where, sadly, Antonio Vivaldi spent his final months in poverty (now occupied, ironically, by a chic establishment specializing in Sachertorte.)



After the encouragement of the past few days (thank you!) I find myself happily exploring Handel, Bach and Buxtehude. As for Vivaldi, I seem to have dealt with him at a single stroke. Having been sick to the back teeth of hearing his Four Seasons--it's ubiquitous on Dutch classical radio--I was overjoyed to discover this stunning (and respectful) "recomposition" of the work by Max Richter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oYWfJuMGMA

It may not be to everyone's taste but it's one of my go-to listens whenever I need cheering up. I think it's utterly sublime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recomposed_by_Max_Richter:_Vivaldi_–_The_Four_Seasons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Vivaldi
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« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2019, 09:32:49 PM »

I used to hate Vivaldi but have since come back a little ways.

I'm glad you're enjoying Handel, Bach, and Buxtehude.

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JK
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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2019, 04:01:52 AM »

I used to hate Vivaldi but have since come back a little ways.

I'm glad you're enjoying Handel, Bach, and Buxtehude.

Ah, so I see it's not just me. Of the early Italians, Gabrieli is much more my cup of tea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn8KXlQeZcM

And indeed, a new world of music has opened up to me!

(I'm still following your Handel overtures project. So are others, I'm glad to see.)

This post reads like a poem! LOL
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« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2019, 11:14:02 AM »

I used to hate Vivaldi but have since come back a little ways.

I'm glad you're enjoying Handel, Bach, and Buxtehude.

Ah, so I see it's not just me. Of the early Italians, Gabrieli is much more my cup of tea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn8KXlQeZcM

And indeed, a new world of music has opened up to me!

(I'm still following your Handel overtures project. So are others, I'm glad to see.)

This post reads like a poem! LOL


Vivaldi just....wrote too much music.  I can't help but love his Gloria, though, and always tear up when I watch the documentary about the Pietà women and hear the female basses singing the bass parts.

I also can't help, as a mandolinist, loving his Mandolin Concerto in C, which of course I'm always asked if I can play.  (Yes.)
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« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2019, 11:56:49 AM »

Vivaldi just....wrote too much music.  I can't help but love his Gloria, though, and always tear up when I watch the documentary about the Pietà women and hear the female basses singing the bass parts.

My soprano's choir has sung this!! I'd forgotten about that. You mean such as here at 7:45?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZaJth1WxGQ

That's a low A at the end. So this was written for the girls (by then young women I suppose) at the orphanage where V was director of music? It certainly plays on the emotions, that's for sure...  

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I also can't help, as a mandolinist, loving his Mandolin Concerto in C, which of course I'm always asked if I can play.  (Yes.)

Now this I must hear! Do you have a favourite version on YouTube? If not, I'll give this one a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-utT-BD0obk

I see I'm going to be with the Baroque for a while yet. Wink
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« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2019, 01:05:27 PM »

Vivaldi just....wrote too much music.  I can't help but love his Gloria, though, and always tear up when I watch the documentary about the Pietà women and hear the female basses singing the bass parts.

My soprano's choir has sung this!! I'd forgotten about that. You mean such as here at 7:45?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZaJth1WxGQ

That's a low A at the end. So this was written for the girls (by then young women I suppose) at the orphanage where V was director of music? It certainly plays on the emotions, that's for sure...  

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I also can't help, as a mandolinist, loving his Mandolin Concerto in C, which of course I'm always asked if I can play.  (Yes.)

Now this I must hear! Do you have a favourite version on YouTube? If not, I'll give this one a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-utT-BD0obk

I see I'm going to be with the Baroque for a while yet. Wink

That is my favourite actually, with Rolf.
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JK
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« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2019, 03:35:55 PM »

Vivaldi just....wrote too much music.  I can't help but love his Gloria, though, and always tear up when I watch the documentary about the Pietà women and hear the female basses singing the bass parts.

My soprano's choir has sung this!! I'd forgotten about that. You mean such as here at 7:45?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZaJth1WxGQ

That's a low A at the end. So this was written for the girls (by then young women I suppose) at the orphanage where V was director of music? It certainly plays on the emotions, that's for sure...  

Quote
I also can't help, as a mandolinist, loving his Mandolin Concerto in C, which of course I'm always asked if I can play.  (Yes.)

Now this I must hear! Do you have a favourite version on YouTube? If not, I'll give this one a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-utT-BD0obk

I see I'm going to be with the Baroque for a while yet. Wink

That is my favourite actually, with Rolf.

Perfect!
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« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2019, 03:28:50 AM »

I heard this sumptuous piece on UK radio this morning. Eric Whitacre's Sleep My Child almost has the same emotional impact on me as Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium (almost). Either work should be capable of soothing the most troubled soul.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTFWxx7DjSs

https://ericwhitacre.com/music-catalog/sleep-my-child
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« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2019, 01:35:28 PM »

I've taken the liberty of diverting this conversation to the choral topic...

If anyone would have suggested even a fortnight ago that I'd be sold on music by Handel, Bach and Buxtehude I would have laughed in their face. You have a lot to answer for, JH.

Just now, I sat through "In Dulce Jubilo" without budging, just taking it all in: the string echoes of the vocal trio, the abundance of thirds in the upper voices, those cut-off chords at the end... It was sublime.

And then there was "Herzlich tut mich verlangen", which got the same degree of attention. I searched for a bit and discovered that the angelic voice is that of the German soprano Gerlinde Sämann:



Scandalous as it may seem, I used to look down on Ton Koopman and his choice of music but now I shall never regard him in the same light again. Another Buxtehude treasure-house to explore!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerlinde_Sämann
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« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2019, 03:53:43 PM »

I've taken the liberty of diverting this conversation to the choral topic...

If anyone would have suggested even a fortnight ago that I'd be sold on music by Handel, Bach and Buxtehude I would have laughed in their face. You have a lot to answer for, JH.

Just now, I sat through "In Dulce Jubilo" without budging, just taking it all in: the string echoes of the vocal trio, the abundance of thirds in the upper voices, those cut-off chords at the end... It was sublime.

And then there was "Herzlich tut mich verlangen", which got the same degree of attention. I searched for a bit and discovered that the angelic voice is that of the German soprano Gerlinde Sämann:



Scandalous as it may seem, I used to look down on Ton Koopman and his choice of music but now I shall never regard him in the same light again. Another Buxtehude treasure-house to explore!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerlinde_Sämann

I'm very pleased to evangelisiere for my German baroque friends Bach, Handel, and Buxtehude!  They mean a lot to me.

Isn't Gerlinde wonderful?  Miraculous voice.
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« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2019, 04:00:24 PM »

Our Mass setting for mass yesterday was Nico Muhly's "Bright Mass with Canons" which had its moments, to be sure, but ultimately was not a success.  There were a number of passages for sort of...warbling alto soloists during which I caught many parishioners giving each other quizzical, offended glances.  Nevertheless, I applaud our music director's interest in trying contemporary masses.

On the flip-side, the motet for the morning was "O Quam Gloriosam" by Victoria from the 1570s.  Lovely motet by an absolute master of sacred music.  Has that thick Spanish sound relying on deeply felt earnestness rather than virtuosic ornament (not that I don't love virtuosic ornament.)
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« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2019, 02:32:13 AM »

Our Mass setting for mass yesterday was Nico Muhly's "Bright Mass with Canons" which had its moments, to be sure, but ultimately was not a success.  There were a number of passages for sort of...warbling alto soloists during which I caught many parishioners giving each other quizzical, offended glances.  Nevertheless, I applaud our music director's interest in trying contemporary masses.

On the flip-side, the motet for the morning was "O Quam Gloriosam" by Victoria from the 1570s.  Lovely motet by an absolute master of sacred music.  Has that thick Spanish sound relying on deeply felt earnestness rather than virtuosic ornament (not that I don't love virtuosic ornament.)

Interesting that you bring up this combination of modern and ancient in one sitting, so to speak. Back in April we attended a concert by the RIAS Kammerchor at our principal local church that alternated sections from Victoria's Officium Defunctorum with selections from a modern work, Bernat Vivancos's Requiem. Surprisingly, it worked--it helped that the Vivancos work (getting its first performance in NL) was a success!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gccy1tP-ApM

An equally impressive performance we attended two months earlier in the same church was of Morales's Missa Pro Defunctis a 5, sung by Cinquecento. I get what you mean about that thick Spanish sound.

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Isn't Gerlinde wonderful?  Miraculous voice.

Yes indeed. I've since found a few more things sung by her as part of Ton Koopman's massive Buxtehude project (I've linked one below). In fact I've bookmarked everything I could find from TK's Opera Omnia II. Wonderful stuff so far. And... tomorrow I can pick up the book you recommended!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY_pHvznZ2o
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 03:27:45 AM by JK » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2019, 01:33:28 AM »

After hearing this brief jewel on the radio this morning, I was astonished to learn that it was by Debussy. I had no idea he'd written music for a cappella choir. It seems this was the sum total, which does make you wonder why. Still, a great upllifting start to the day!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vacub5Wi-UA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trois_Chansons_(Debussy)
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« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2019, 05:58:47 AM »

I keep forgetting about Purcell. We have this great LP of his music (see image below), including the sublime "Rejoice in the Lord Alway". This is the version from that LP:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42m_S29uLLU

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« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2019, 03:28:42 AM »

I've always loved Holst's big choral work The Hymn of Jesus. (For some reason it reminds me of illustrations by William Blake.) It's one of many reasons why Gustav H was much more than The Planets. Sorry about the four-page description!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIiU2OxfWsQ

http://www.gustavholst.info/journal/article-001.php?chapter=1
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« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2019, 02:40:56 AM »

Elgar had always been there somewhere on my musical horizon but he came a lot closer when we visited his birthplace in Worcestershire some ten years ago (and bought a CD of lighter works and a tea towel). That combined with my recent interest in choral music makes his oratorios a much more interesting proposition these days. This is part two, "By the Wayside", from The Apostles. It was the first piece I heard on UK radio this morning before attending to the boiled eggs. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZXaY5Ngujk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Apostles_(Elgar)
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« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2019, 06:18:58 PM »

After hearing this brief jewel on the radio this morning, I was astonished to learn that it was by Debussy. I had no idea he'd written music for a cappella choir. It seems this was the sum total, which does make you wonder why. Still, a great upllifting start to the day!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vacub5Wi-UA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trois_Chansons_(Debussy)

You wonder if some composers just wake up one day and think, "oh, maybe I'll try writing something different today"
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« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2019, 06:24:36 PM »

I keep forgetting about Purcell. We have this great LP of his music (see image below), including the sublime "Rejoice in the Lord Alway". This is the version from that LP:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42m_S29uLLU



My introduction to Purcell was through Britten's variations on the theme from Abdelazer (as I'm sure it was for many others.) . I like Purcell, but he has not grasped me in the loving bonds of enrapturement like some of his contemporaries.

That said, I love this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rWVaFO01No

Thou Tun'st This World, with Susan Hamilton's staggeringly pure vocal.  Frankly, I'd kill a man to have that voice.
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« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2019, 06:27:15 PM »

Elgar had always been there somewhere on my musical horizon but he came a lot closer when we visited his birthplace in Worcestershire some ten years ago (and bought a CD of lighter works and a tea towel). That combined with my recent interest in choral music makes his oratorios a much more interesting proposition these days. This is part two, "By the Wayside", from The Apostles. It was the first piece I heard on UK radio this morning before attending to the boiled eggs. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZXaY5Ngujk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Apostles_(Elgar)

Both Holst and Elgar have been growing on me, especially as I get a better sense of their place as English composers, and their importance to that most hallowed of countries.  We had lots of nice Elgar organ music today, but nothing choral (Today)
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« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2019, 06:28:59 PM »

Really was special to experience Fauré's requiem liturgically this morning as part of a full solemn requiem mass.

It really is, as it's been called, over the composer's light protests, a death lullaby.  I would not mind, as I fade away from this world, for this work to be what I hear last before giving up the ghost.
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« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2019, 07:35:10 PM »

Yes!
To hear Pie Jesu - for me it must be sung by a big soprano to get the clear tone .

In Paradisum - I agree, that would be great music to hear when leaving this world for the next. It's like angels singing , don't be afraid...
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« Reply #47 on: November 10, 2019, 08:09:27 PM »

Yes!
To hear Pie Jesu - for me it must be sung by a big soprano to get the clear tone .

In Paradisum - I agree, that would be great music to hear when leaving this world for the next. It's like angels singing , don't be afraid...

Our Pie Jesu was handled nicely by one of our boy trebles this morning.  Not a big soprano, but certainly a pure one.
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« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2019, 08:37:47 PM »

Ha, oh my, I meant BOY soprano! Crazy autocorrect!  Grin
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« Reply #49 on: November 10, 2019, 09:49:31 PM »

Ha, oh my, I meant BOY soprano! Crazy autocorrect!  Grin

Haha, I kinda thought that's what you meant--although it is interesting to imagine a Wagnerian giving it a go...
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