Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Giovanni Bottesini (1821 - 1889) - Messa da Requiem



... Like other Italian musicians of the time, Bottesini also wrote a number of sacred works, the most significant of which is his Requiem, the form of the Catholic Mass which had recently inspired masterworks from Mozart, Berlioz, Cherubini, Cimarosa and Verdi. While over the centuries there had been many settings of the Requiem, or Mass for the Dead, in the Romantic era the genre moved away from its liturgical roots somewhat to reflect instead the symphonic and operatic trends of the day, resulting in versions written on a grand scale for large forces.

Bottesini's Requiem was composed in early 1877 in response to the death of his brother Luigi. It was first performed in the Capuchin chapel in Cairo, Bottesini then being musical director of the city's Italian opera company. A large audience thronged to hear it and gave the performance a warm reception. It also earned an enthusiastic review from the correspondent of the Gazzetta Musicale di Milano.

The first complete performance took place at Turin's Teatro Regio on 2 th March 1880, but was not well attended - not only was it Holy Week, but the theatre was not known for staging sacred works. One year later, however, the requiem won a silver medal at the National Music Expo in Milan.

All in all, the Requiem is a work rich in harmonic interest and is beautifully constructed both in terms of counterpoint and the overall quality of its choral and orchestral writing ...

The CD was released by NAXOS, 2013, (DDD), 8.572994

Soprano: Marta Mathéu
Mezzo-Soprano; Gemma Coma-Alabert
Tenor: Agustín Prunell-Friend
Baritone: Enric Martínez-Castignani

Joyful Company of Singers, LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, Conductor: Thomas Martin

Track List:

01. Introit and Kyrie - Requiem aeternam (9'20'')
02. Sequence - Dies Irae (6'25'')
03 Quid sum miser (5'12'')
04 Quaerens me (4'07'')
05 Ingemisco (4'52'')
06 Confutatis (4'23'')
07 Lacrymosa (5'08'')
08 Domine Iesu (4'41'')
09 Sanctus (1'38'')
10 Benedictus (2'56'')
11 Agnus Dei (3'40'')
12 Requiem aeternam (5'01'')
13 Libera me (4'47'')
14 Dies illa (4'14'')

Recorded at Henry Wood Hall, London, UK, from 15th to 16th February, 2012.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Carl Maria von Weber - Missa Sancta no. 2 in G Major (Jubilation Mass 1819) (1786-1826) with Offertory "In Die Solemnitatis"


Full title of the Mass: Missa Sancta Quatuor Vocibus Constans, Pleno Et Solemni Choro Celebranda

The autograph of Weber's E flat major Mass, dedicated to the Archbishop of Salzburg and discovered only in 1925, provides early evidence of the fact that Weber was a born dramatist. He produced this astonishing proof of his talent when he was fifteen, and many years would pass before he followed it up with the two settings of the Ordinarium Missae he wrote in Dresden.

Given to appending the words Soli Dei Gloria to most of his major scores in accordance with an old tradition, Carl Maria von Weber saw in the writing of his Jubelmesse for the King of Saxony (Missa Sancta no. 2, opus 76) in Dresden in 1818 more than just the fulfilment of an official duty. "When you hear my Mass, think fondly of me, for it came from the very depths of my heart and is the best I can give." One passage in a letter to his Berlin friend Hinrich Lichtenstein it to be taken altogether literally. Weber wrote that he composed his Masses overcome by the "most profound sense of the immensity of the thing".

The golden wedding of the royal couple was celebrated in Dresden on MArch 17, 1819, a festive event that explains the name Jubelmesse (Jubilation Mass). Weber himself was hardly in a jubilant mood whilst writing it however. Indeed, the unfair treatment he was receiving at the hands of his superior and competitor Francesco Morlacchi, Kapellmeister at the Italian Opera in Dresden, adversely affected his already bad state of health.

It should be mentioned that the Dresden Hofkirche produced what was tantamount to an absolute "caterwaul", as Weber put it, whenever the often fast-modulating sacred music of Luigi Cherubini and Beethoven was performed there. In a sense, therefore, the architect Gaetano Chiaveri indirectly exerted influence on the style of Weber's two Masses, for the composer was at pains to tailor them to the church's acoustics by keeping them comparatively simple and songful.

DOWNLOAD: Track 1 Kyrie from Jubilation Mass (VBR 176kbit/sec WMA)


The CD was released by Capriccio, 2002, (DDD). Capriccio 67001.

Soprano: Anke Hoffmann
Contralto: Mechthild Georg
Tenor: Andreas Wagner
Bass: Yoo-Chang Nah

WDR Rundfunkchor Köln, WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln, Conductor: Helmuth Froschauer

Track List:
  1. Kyrie (3'58")
  2. Gloria (4'59")
  3. Credo (6'14")
  4. Offertorium (2'38")
  5. Sanctus (1'10")
  6. Hosanna (0'59"9
  7. Benedictus (2'11")
  8. Hosanna (0'58")
  9. Agnus Dei (1'38")
  10. Dona nobis pacem (1'46")

Monday, 9 November 2009

Zbigniew Preisner - Lacrimosa (Day Of Tears) from "Requiem for my friend"

Here you can download the wonderful track Lacrimosa - Day of tears by Zbigniew Preisner.

For all those who face a "Day in Tears".

download: Track17 Lacrimosa - Day of tears (Lame mp3 - 227kbit/sec, VBR)

For further information: www.preisner.com and post May 2009 Preisner/Requiem for my friend.

Latin Text & rhyming Translation:

Lacrimosa Dies Illa (That Day Of Tears And Mourning)
Qua Resurget Ex Favilla (From The Dust Of Earth Returning)
Judicandus Homo Reus (Man For Judgement Must Prepare Him)
Huic Ergo Parce, Deus (Spare, O God, In Mercy Spare Him)
Pie Jesu Domine (Lord, All Pitying, Jesu Blest)
Dona Eis Requiem (Grant Them Thine Eternal Rest)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759) - The Dettingen Te Deum/The Dettingen Anthem

To celebrate the victory won by the combined Austrian and British armies over the French at Dettingen in Lower Franconia on 27 June 1743, George Friedrich Händel - who had been court composer in London since 1723 - composed a festive Te Deum and the Anthem The King shall rejoice. These works were completed during July/August, and on 27 November, after at least three public rehearsals, they were performed at St. James's Palace in the presence of King George II. An official victory celebration which may originally have been planned for St. Paul's Cathedral did not take place; nevertheless during later years the Dettingen Te Deum received many large-scale performances.

The Hymn "Te Deum Laudamus" has its appointed place in the daily office of Matins in the Roman Catholic Church, and - To English words - in the Morning Service of the Anglican Church. SInce the century the Te Deum has also often figured in state services of celebration and thanksgiving.


For such an occasion, St. Cecilia's Day in 1694, Henry Prucell wrote a festive Te Deum and Jubilate, and these settings were widely used until 1713, when they were partially supplanted by Händel's Te Deum and Jubilate written to celebrate the Peace of Utrecht. This Utrecht Te Deum was, in turn, superseded in 1743 by Händel's Dettingen Te Deum. All three settings have, however, continued to be used on St. Cecilia's Day and on other occasions such as the Festival Service of the Songs of the Clergy.

The text of the anthem The King shall rejoice was chosen from verses of Psalms 20 and 21, its first section corresponding to the first coronation anthem which Händel had composed in 1727. The psalmist's words are followed by an Alleluia. The second section, His honour is great, shows in such features as its prelude in the trio sonata style and bravura violin figuration the extent to which the 18th-century anthem had absorbed concertante elements from the Baroque cantata. The works concludes with a choral fugue. The lively principal subject is joined at the words Alleluia by a second subject, with a prominent downward leap of a seventh, of a kind vera often to be met with in Baroque music. Sufficient to mention here the chorus And with his stripes in Messiah. Händel used this entire number, with the same words, as the concluding chorus of his oratorio Joseph and his Brethren (1744).

The CD was released by Archiv Produktion, 1984, (DDD). 410647-2.

Altus: Christopher Tipping (Te Deum, Anthem)
Bass: Stephen Varcoe (Te Deum)
Tenor: Harry Christophers (Te Deum)
Bass: Michael Pearce (Te Deum, Anthem)

Choir Of Westminster Abbey, The English Concert, Conductor: Simon Preston

Track List:
  1. We praise Thee, O God (4'09)
  2. All the earth doth worship Thee (2'35")
  3. To Thee all Angels cry aloud (2'17")
  4. To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim (3'11)
  5. The glorious company of apostles (1'36")
  6. Thine honourable, true, and only Son (0'39")
  7. Thou art the King of Glory (2'35")
  8. When thou tookest upon Thee (3'36")
  9. When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death (0'27")
  10. Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven (1'35")
  11. Thou sittest at the right hand of God (3'40")
  12. (Adagio) (0'40")
  13. We therefore pray Thee (1'30")
  14. Make them to be number'd (1'42")
  15. Day by day we magnify Thee (1'23")
  16. And we worship Thy name (2'03")
  17. Vouchsafe, O Lord (2'20")
  18. O Lord, in Thee have I trusted (3'46")
  19. The Dettingen Anthem: The King shall rejoice (2'14")
  20. His honour is great (4'17")
  21. Thou shalt give him everlasting felicity (2'28")
  22. And why ? Because the King putteth his trust in the Lord (2'58")
  23. We will rejoice in Thy salvation (2'15")

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Paco Pena - Misa Flamenca


The Flamenco Mass adapts melodic and rhythmic nuances from the flamenco heritage to the texts of the Liturgy which are in turn transcribed into rhyming songs with simple, direct language. It is introduced by a siguiriya.

Heard in the open spaces of the street or the public square the siguiriya sounds like a song of the Islamic muezzin. It is a particularly fitiing comparison in the context of this Flamenco Mass, and a close association can be made with the 'call to prayer' that used to fly through the air from the minarets of the mosques of Córdoba, Málaga and Granada in broken and wavering guttural voices, rough-edged and strong, with melancholic turns that later, in flamenco, become an expression of suffering. The voice of the muezzin or the pealing of church bells, both represent the call to a universal rite, one which in times past would have seemed appropriate within the enironment of an Andalucían mosque, where Moslems, Christian and Jews once prayed together.

The CD was released by Nimbus Record, 1991, (DDD). NI 5288.

Flamenco Singers: La Susi, Rafael Montilla "El Chaparro", Dieguito, Antonio Suarez "Guadiana"
Guitarists: Paco Pena, Tito Losada, José Losada, Diego Losada
Percussion: José Losada, César Victoriano

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fileds, Chorus conducted by: Laszlo Heltay

Track List:
  1. Canto De Entrada: El Chaparro (3'50")
  2. Canto Penitencial - Tientos (3'01")
  3. Kyrie - Granainas: El Chaparro (3'05")
  4. Gloria - Fandangos: Dieguito, Guardiana (4'15")
  5. Credo - Peteneras - Jaleos: La Susi, Dieguito (8'12")
  6. Santo - Tanguillos: Dieguito (2'55")
  7. Padre Nuestro - Martinete: El Chaparro (3'20)
  8. Cordero De Dios - Bulerìas (4'03")
  9. Canto Eucaristico Y Despedida (8'14")

Friday, 23 October 2009

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) - Te Deum, Opus 22

Berlioz's Te Deum is the most mature of his great 'architectural' works, following the Requiem (1837) and Symphonie funèbre et triomphale (1840). It was completed in 1849, but its origins are earlier; it is probably the crystallization of a long-standing intention to write a militaristic piece in celebration of the great Napoleon, planned in the early 1830s.

The conception was precisely enough formed for Berlioz to announce it, in a catalogue dated 1846, as an 'unpublished work', for 'two choruses and large orchestra'. It was ready in plenty of time for the second Empire, but 'Napoléon le petit' consistently ignored the greatest composer of his realm, and the ideal occasion, his Coronation, passed it by.

The Te Deum had to wait until 1855 for the only complete performance Berlioz heard. The splendid setting was the Paris church of St. Eustache; the more prosaic excuse the opening of the Industrial Exhibition.

At the 1855 performance, which was a huge success (except financially), there were 950 performers, Berlioz told Liszt it was colossal, Babylonian, Ninivite.

There were originally two instrumental movements. Berlioz omitted the 'Prelude' to 'Dignare Domine' before 1855. The 'Marche for the presentation of flags' which follows the 'Judex Crederis' in the score is more suited to military pageantry than modern oratorio-like performance.

'Judex Crederis' is surely Berlioz's most colossal movement, a fugue with entries rising a semitone, ambiguous in key, magnificently developed, and alternating with a tender prayer (Salvum Fac Populum) which settles into an impressive ostinato. The vision of Judgement seems more terrible at every reprise, but finally confidence in redemption is restored and the movement ends in a blaze of light.


The CD was released by Deutsche Grammophone, P 1982, (Digital Recording). Deutsche Grammophon 410696-2.

Tenor: Francisco Araiza

London Symphony Chorus, London Philharmonic Choir, Wooburn Singers, St. Alban's School Choir, Haberdasher's School Choir, The Southend Boys's Choir, Desborough School Choir, The Choir of Forest School Winnersh, The Choirboys of High Wycombe Parish Church

European Community Youth Orchestra

Conductor: Claudio Abbado

Track List:
  1. Te Deum (Hymne) (7'23")
  2. Tibi Omnes (Hymne) (9'20")
  3. Dignare (Prière) (7'09")
  4. Christe, Rex Gloriae (Hymne) (5'17")
  5. Te Ergo Quaesumus (Prière) (7'00")
  6. Judex Crederis (Hymne et Prière) (10'29")

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Samuel Barber (1910-1981) - Prayers of Kierkegaard, Opus 30


In 1953 Barber turned to the writings of the nineteenth-century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, whose works he had long known and studied. When Barber accepted Koussevitzky's comission, Kierkegaard's religious views, presaging modern existentialism, were very much in the spirit of the times, Barber remarked: "His name was practically unknown in our country until the late 1930s, even though a Kierekgaard renaissance had been in full swing in Europe during the previous quarter of a century. Then in the decade after 1936 almost entire body of his writings appeared here. American readers soon became aware of Kierkegaard as a major literary figure and an exciting but enigmatic intellectual force. Interest in him was further stimulated after World War II by reports about his influence upon the leading Existentialists. Indeed the contemporary philosophers, Satre, Jaspers and Heidegger, have all paid tribute to the 'autumnal man'. Thus Kierkegaard's thought bacame a great force in our religious life even as it had become in Europe. It became the father of both the 'crisis theology' in Protestantism as well as of 'atheistic' Existentialism."

Barber selected prayers interpolated through Kierkegaard's writings and sermons written between 1847 and 1855. The music is rich and varied, beginning with a single thread of chant-like melody, that gives way to the full orchestra and chorus. A slow prayer for soprano solo over a square accompaniment - like the gentle rocking music from Knoxville: Summer of 1915 - also grows into music of contrapuntal richness. At the climax the orchestra continues alone with an almost savage intensity, then dissolves into a final broad chorale. The Prayers of Kierkegaard is one of the chief glories of Barber in his prime.

The CD was released by Koch International Classics, 1991, (DDD). Koch 3-7125-2H1.

Soprano: Sarah Reese
Baritone: Dale Duesing

The Chicago Symphony Chorus, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Conductor: Andrew Schenk

Track List:

Prayers of Kierkegaard, Opus 30 for Soprano Solo and Orchestra, with incidental Tenor Solo, Alto Solo Ad Libitum
  1. O Thou who art unchangeable (grave and remote) (5'15")
  2. Lord Jesus Christ who suffer'd (andante con moto tranquillo) (3'14")
  3. Father in Heaven ( un poco mosso) (5'17")
  4. Allegro molto (1'56")
  5. Father in Heaven! (quietly) (3'34")
The Lovers (World Premiere Recording)
  1. Body of a Woman (4'39")
  2. Little girl, brown girl (2'00")
  3. In the hot depth of this summer (2'44")
  4. Close your eyes (4'05")
  5. The Fortunate Isles (3'32")
  6. Sometimes (0'38")
  7. We have lost even this twilight (3'41")
  8. Tonight I can write (5'38")
  9. Cemetery of kisses (4'44")