Music Notes The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3.html Tue, 24 Oct 2017 09:25:30 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb L'Après-midi d'un Faune (The Afternoon of a Faun) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/22304-lapres-midi-dun-faune-the-afternoon-of-a-faun.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/22304-lapres-midi-dun-faune-the-afternoon-of-a-faun.html L'Après-midi d'un Faune (The Afternoon of a Faun)

Stéphane Mallarmé's eclogue “L'Après-midi d'un Faune” ("The Afternoon of a Faun") was published in 1876. Debussy first set a poem by Mallarmé to music in 1884, at the age of 22. Three years later, the young composer joined the circle of poets and artists who met at Mallarmé's house every Tuesday night for discussions and companionship. Thus he was thoroughly familiar with the poet's style before he began work on his prelude to "The Afternoon of a Faun" in 1892.

Debussy - The Afternoon of a Faun

Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) was one of the greatest innovators in the history of French poetry. His works, which abound in complex symbols and images, seek to represent states of mind rather than ideas, express moods rather than tell stories.

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Stéphane Mallarmé

 

This poem is about a faun who awakes in the mist of forest nymphs. The first-person narrator is a faun, a mythological creature who is half man and half goat. The faun lives in the woods, near a river surrounded by reedy marshes; he is daydreaming about nymphs who may be real or mere figments of his imagination. The faun's desire is filtered through the vagueness of its object as he recalls past dreams, which emerge from the shadows only to recede into the darkness again.

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Faun (& nymph)

 

Debussy pondered the poetic source material for many years. “The Afternoon of a Faun” deals with a faun’s erotic fantasies inspired by nymphs (“Was it a dream I loved?”). The classical setting and overt sexuality of the text made it a touchstone for debates over the future of literature. Debussy’s tastes made him susceptible to the poem’s allure, for he had already begun setting similar texts by Baudelaire and Maeterlinck when work on the Prelude commenced in 1892. At first, he planned a full accompaniment to each moment of the poem, perhaps even a mini staged drama. But by the time of completion, he had wisely settled on a “very free illustration of the beautiful poem of Mallarmé.”

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Claude Debussy, 1884

 

The iconic opening theme outlines a descending tritone from C-sharp to G natural using solo flute. Uncertain tonal implications are given new light when the theme subsequently receives a harmonic foundation in a seventh chord on D. Above shimmering glissandi in harp and pulsating chromatic motion in the winds, the flute arabesques become gradually more ornate, more seductive.

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Main theme, flute solo

 

The flute’s theme, recurring throughout the work, though it is not intended as a literal translation of the poem. The line progresses throughout the piece and its metamorphoses account for the Prelude’s richness of texture and harmony.

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Nijinsky as Faun

 

Debussy closes the first section in B major and then moves into a more agitated episode culminating in soaring strings. Tonal color, built from radiant mixtures of whole-tone and pentatonic elements, turns gently to A flat major. The next scene, (a pas de deux in Nijinsky’s choreographed version,) suggests the faun embracing a nymph. Its poignant union of rapture and longing centers on the tritone-related chord progression. Debussy’s lines undulate and swell, rise and recede. At the last part of the dance, he calms the rampant sensuality down to a violin solo leading seamlessly to a reprise of the opening theme. Almost the entire final three minutes are needed to cool off from the heat of passionate embraces. At the last, Debussy’s faun strikes a languorous pose in serene E major.

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The afternoon ..., flute score

 

About his composition Debussy wrote: “The music of this prelude is a very free illustration of Mallarmé’s beautiful poem. By no means does it claim to be a synthesis of it. Rather there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal Nature.”

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Claude Debussy

 

Paul Valéry reported that Mallarmé himself was unhappy with his poem being used as the basis for music: “He believed that his own music was sufficient, and that even with the best intentions in the world, it was a veritable crime as far as poetry was concerned to juxtapose poetry and music, even if it were the finest music there is.”

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Stéphane Mallarmé

 

However, Maurice Dumesnil states in his biography of Debussy that Mallarmé was enchanted by Debussy’s composition, citing a short letter from Mallarmé to Debussy that read: “I have just come out of the concert, deeply moved. The marvel! Your illustration of the Afternoon of a Faun, which presents a dissonance with my text only by going much further, really, into nostalgia and into light, with finesse, with sensuality, with richness. I press your hand admiringly, Debussy. Yours, Mallarmé.”

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Stéphane Mallarmé as Faun

 

Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun” signaled a new era in compositional style and intent, even though that new style was not to everyone’s liking. Some saw it as a liberation from the weighty textures and Teutonic mythology that Wagnerism had spread over much European music. Debussy was leaner and more evocative. Others thought it did not go nearly far enough in that direction; the Prelude’s dreamy use of non-tonal pitch collections effused a world of shadows and perfume when a harsh dose of bright reality was needed.

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Afternoon of Faun by Levy-Dhurmer

 

Two aspects of Debussy's style bear special mention here: his use of chromaticism and his handling of orchestral color. Chromaticism had been one of the main musical means to express sensuality at least since Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, a work that exerted a decisive influence on the young Debussy. But Debussy's use of chromaticism is more subdued and less goal-oriented than Wagner's. His instrumentation, much more restricted than Wagner's (no brass except horns, no percussion except the soft-toned antique cymbals) causes us to perceive the faun's sensuality at a certain remove. Mallarmé referred to the faun's syrinx as an "instrument des fuites" (translated as "elusive instrument"; literally, perhaps, "instrument of evasion"); with his novel rhythmic and harmonic language, Debussy managed to render that elusive/evasive quality of the faun's self-expression.

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Claude Debussy, 1893

 

It was first performed in Paris on 22 December 1894, conducted by Gustave Doret. The flute solo was played by Georges Barrère.

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Afternoon of Faun

 

Stephane Mallarmé - L'après-midi d'un faune (Églogue)

 

Le Faune:
Ces nymphes, je les veux perpétuer.
Si clair,
Leur incarnat léger, qu'il voltige dans l'air
Assoupi de sommeils touffus.

Aimai-je un rêve ?
Mon doute, amas de nuit ancienne, s'achève
En maint rameau subtil, qui, demeuré les vrais
Bois mêmes, prouve, hélas ! que bien seul je m'offrais
Pour triomphe la faute idéale de roses.

Réfléchissons...
ou si les femmes dont tu gloses
Figurent un souhait de tes sens fabuleux !
Faune, l'illusion s'échappe des yeux bleus
Et froids, comme une source en pleurs, de la plus chaste :
Mais, l'autre tout soupirs, dis-tu qu'elle contraste
Comme brise du jour chaude dans ta toison ?
Que non ! par l'immobile et lasse pâmoison
Suffoquant de chaleurs le matin frais s'il lutte,
Ne murmure point d'eau que ne verse ma flûte
Au bosquet arrosé d'accords ; et le seul vent
Hors des deux tuyaux prompt à s'exhaler avant
Qu'il disperse le son dans une pluie aride,
C'est, à l'horizon pas remué d'une ride
Le visible et serein souffle artificiel
De l'inspiration, qui regagne le ciel.

O bords siciliens d'un calme marécage
Qu'à l'envi de soleils ma vanité saccage
Tacite sous les fleurs d'étincelles, Contez
« Que je coupais ici les creux roseaux domptés
« Par le talent ; quand, sur l'or glauque de lointaines
« Verdures dédiant leur vigne à des fontaines,
« Ondoie une blancheur animale au repos :
« Et qu'au prélude lent où naissent les pipeaux
« Ce vol de cygnes, non ! de naïades se sauve
« Ou plonge... »

Inerte, tout brûle dans l'heure fauve
Sans marquer par quel art ensemble détala
Trop d'hymen souhaité de qui cherche le la :
Alors m'éveillerai-je à la ferveur première,
Droit et seul, sous un flot antique de lumière,
Lys ! et l'un de vous tous pour l'ingénuité.

Autre que ce doux rien par leur lèvre ébruité,
Le baiser, qui tout bas des perfides assure,
Mon sein, vierge de preuve, atteste une morsure
Mystérieuse, due à quelque auguste dent ;
Mais, bast ! arcane tel élut pour confident
Le jonc vaste et jumeau dont sous l'azur on joue :
Qui, détournant à soi le trouble de la joue,
Rêve, dans un solo long, que nous amusions
La beauté d'alentour par des confusions
Fausses entre elle-même et notre chant crédule ;
Et de faire aussi haut que l'amour se module
Évanouir du songe ordinaire de dos
Ou de flanc pur suivis avec mes regards clos,
Une sonore, vaine et monotone ligne.

Tâche donc, instrument des fuites, ô maligne
Syrinx, de refleurir aux lacs où tu m'attends !
Moi, de ma rumeur fier, je vais parler longtemps
Des déesses ; et par d'idolâtres peintures
A leur ombre enlever encore des ceintures :
Ainsi, quand des raisins j'ai sucé la clarté,
Pour bannir un regret par ma feinte écarté,
Rieur, j'élève au ciel d'été la grappe vide
Et, soufflant dans ses peaux lumineuses, avide
D'ivresse, jusqu'au soir je regarde au travers.

O nymphes, regonflons des souvenirs divers.
« Mon œil, trouant le joncs, dardait chaque encolure
« Immortelle, qui noie en l'onde sa brûlure
« Avec un cri de rage au ciel de la forêt ;
« Et le splendide bain de cheveux disparaît
« Dans les clartés et les frissons, ô pierreries !
« J'accours ; quand, à mes pieds, s'entrejoignent (meurtries
« De la langueur goûtée à ce mal d'être deux)
« Des dormeuses parmi leurs seuls bras hasardeux ;
« Je les ravis, sans les désenlacer, et vole
« A ce massif, haï par l'ombrage frivole,
« De roses tarissant tout parfum au soleil,
« Où notre ébat au jour consumé soit pareil. »

Je t'adore, courroux des vierges, ô délice
Farouche du sacré fardeau nu qui se glisse
Pour fuir ma lèvre en feu buvant, comme un éclair
Tressaille ! la frayeur secrète de la chair :
Des pieds de l'inhumaine au cœur de la timide
Qui délaisse à la fois une innocence, humide
De larmes folles ou de moins tristes vapeurs.

« Mon crime, c'est d'avoir, gai de vaincre ces peurs
« Traîtresses, divisé la touffe échevelée
« De baisers que les dieux gardaient si bien mêlée :
« Car, à peine j'allais cacher un rire ardent
« Sous les replis heureux d'une seule (gardant
« Par un doigt simple, afin que sa candeur de plume
« Se teignît à l'émoi de sa sœur qui s'allume,
« La petite, naïve et ne rougissant pas : )
« Que de mes bras, défaits par de vagues trépas,
« Cette proie, à jamais ingrate se délivre
« Sans pitié du sanglot dont j'étais encore ivre. »

Tant pis ! vers le bonheur d'autres m'entraîneront
Par leur tresse nouée aux cornes de mon front :
Tu sais, ma passion, que, pourpre et déjà mûre,
Chaque grenade éclate et d'abeilles murmure ;
Et notre sang, épris de qui le va saisir,
Coule pour tout l'essaim éternel du désir.
A l'heure où ce bois d'or et de cendres se teinte
Une fête s'exalte en la feuillée éteinte :
Etna ! c'est parmi toi visité de Vénus
Sur ta lave posant tes talons ingénus,
Quand tonne une somme triste ou s'épuise la flamme.
Je tiens la reine !

O sûr châtiment...
Non, mais l'âme
De paroles vacante et ce corps alourdi
Tard succombent au fier silence de midi :
Sans plus il faut dormir en l'oubli du blasphème,
Sur le sable altéré gisant et comme j'aime
Ouvrir ma bouche à l'astre efficace des vins !
Couple, adieu ; je vais voir l'ombre que tu devins.

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Claude Debussy

 

The Afternoon of a Faun (English translation)

The Faun:
These nymphs, I would perpetuate them.
So bright
Their crimson flesh that hovers there, light
In the air drowsy with dense slumbers.
Did I love a dream?
My doubt, mass of ancient night, ends extreme
In many a subtle branch, that remaining the true
Woods themselves, proves, alas, that I too
Offered myself, alone, as triumph, the false ideal of roses.
Let’s see….
or if those women you note
Reflect your fabulous senses’ desire!
Faun, illusion escapes from the blue eye,
Cold, like a fount of tears, of the most chaste:
But the other, she, all sighs, contrasts you say
Like a breeze of day warm on your fleece?
No! Through the swoon, heavy and motionless
Stifling with heat the cool morning’s struggles
No water, but that which my flute pours, murmurs
To the grove sprinkled with melodies: and the sole breeze
Out of the twin pipes, quick to breathe
Before it scatters the sound in an arid rain,
Is unstirred by any wrinkle of the horizon,
The visible breath, artificial and serene,
Of inspiration returning to heights unseen.
 
O Sicilian shores of a marshy calm
My vanity plunders vying with the sun,
Silent beneath scintillating flowers, 

RELATE
‘That I was cutting hollow reeds here tamed
By talent: when, on the green gold of distant
Verdure offering its vine to the fountains,
An animal whiteness undulates to rest:
And as a slow prelude in which the pipes exist
This flight of swans, no, of Naiads cower
Or plunge…’

Inert, all things burn in the tawny hour
Not seeing by what art there fled away together
Too much of hymen desired by one who seeks there
The natural A: then I’ll wake to the primal fever
Erect, alone, beneath the ancient flood, light’s power,
Lily! And the one among you all for artlessness.
Other than this sweet nothing shown by their lip, the kiss
That softly gives assurance of treachery,
My breast, virgin of proof, reveals the mystery
Of the bite from some illustrious tooth planted;
Let that go! Such the arcane chose for confidant,
The great twin reed we play under the azure ceiling,
That turning towards itself the cheek’s quivering,
Dreams, in a long solo, so we might amuse
The beauties round about by false notes that confuse
Between itself and our credulous singing;
And create as far as love can, modulating,
The vanishing, from the common dream of pure flank
Or back followed by my shuttered glances,
Of a sonorous, empty and monotonous line.
 
Try then, instrument of flights, O malign
Syrinx by the lake where you await me, to flower again!
I, proud of my murmur, intend to speak at length
Of goddesses: and with idolatrous paintings
Remove again from shadow their waists’ bindings:
So that when I’ve sucked the grapes’ brightness
To banish a regret done away with by my pretence,
Laughing, I raise the emptied stem to the summer’s sky
And breathing into those luminous skins, then I,
Desiring drunkenness, gaze through them till evening.
O nymphs, let’s rise again with many memories.

‘My eye, piercing the reeds, speared each immortal
Neck that drowns its burning in the water
With a cry of rage towards the forest sky;
And the splendid bath of hair slipped by
In brightness and shuddering, O jewels!
I rush there: when, at my feet, entwine (bruised
By the languor tasted in their being-two’s evil)
Girls sleeping in each other’s arms’ sole peril:
I seize them without untangling them and run
To this bank of roses wasting in the sun
All perfume, hated by the frivolous shade
Where our frolic should be like a vanished day.’

I adore you, wrath of virgins, O shy
Delight of the nude sacred burden that glides
Away to flee my fiery lip, drinking
The secret terrors of the flesh like quivering
Lightning: from the feet of the heartless one
To the heart of the timid, in a moment abandoned
By innocence wet with wild tears or less sad vapours.

‘Happy at conquering these treacherous fears
My crime’s to have parted the dishevelled tangle
Of kisses that the gods kept so well mingled:
For I’d scarcely begun to hide an ardent laugh
In one girl’s happy depths (holding back
With only a finger, so that her feathery candour
Might be tinted by the passion of her burning sister,
The little one, naïve and not even blushing)
Than from my arms, undone by vague dying,
This prey, forever ungrateful, frees itself and is gone,
Not pitying the sob with which I was still drunk.’

No matter! Others will lead me towards happiness
By the horns on my brow knotted with many a tress:
You know, my passion, how ripe and purple already
Every pomegranate bursts, murmuring with the bees:
And our blood, enamoured of what will seize it,
Flows for all the eternal swarm of desire yet.
At the hour when this wood with gold and ashes heaves
A feast’s excited among the extinguished leaves:
Etna! It’s on your slopes, visited by Venus
Setting in your lava her heels so artless,
When a sad slumber thunders where the flame burns low.
I hold the queen!
O certain punishment…
No, but the soul
Void of words, and this heavy body,
Succumb to noon’s proud silence slowly:
With no more ado, forgetting blasphemy, I
Must sleep, lying on the thirsty sand, and as I
Love, open my mouth to wine’s true constellation!

Farewell to you, both: I go to see the shadow you have become.

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Stéphane Mallarmé by Manet, 1876

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Tue, 26 Sep 2017 15:48:29 +0000
Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Te Deum http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/21873-marc-antoine-charpentier-te-deum.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/21873-marc-antoine-charpentier-te-deum.html Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Te Deum

Perhaps no piece of music evokes more pungently our image of the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, than the well-loved ‘Prelude’ to Marc-Antoine Charpentier's ‘To Deum.’ Yet, though Louis may at some time have heard this setting of the canticle, it was not in fact written for the court at all but, in all probability, for one of the Paris churches with which Charpentier was at one time associated. It is one of the ironies of music history that Marc-Antoine Charpentier never held formal ties to the royal court of France. Nevertheless he became most famous for this “Te Deum H.146 in D,” which was written in celebration of a military victory by King Louis XIV.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Te Deum

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) had no formal links with the court, where Lully’s music held sway. But he did have limited contact with the court, mainly through relatives of the king. Charpentier worked as house composer to Marie de Lorraine, duchesse de Guise, who was known familiarly as "Mlle de Guise.”

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier

 

It is not quite certain for which event the Te Deum was written, but it seems likely it was the victory at Steinkerque in August 1692; François Couperin refers to this event in his “Sonata La Steinkerque.” The choice of the key of D major is highly appropriate: the German theorist Johann Mattheson links this key to 'military things'. Charpentier considered the key D-major as ‘bright and very warlike’.

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Louis XIV - Sun King

 

The composition is scored for five soloists (SSATB) and choir (SATB), accompanied with an instrumental ensemble of 2 nonspecified recorders or flutes, 2 oboes, 2 trumpets (second trumpet in unison with timpani), timpani, 2 violins, 2 violas ("haute-contres de violon" and "tailles de violon") and basso continuo.

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Te Deum (Versailles)

 

The composition consists of the following parts:

    Prelude (Marche en rondeau)
    Te Deum laudamus (bass solo)
    Te aeternum Patrem (chorus and SSAT solo)
    Pleni sunt caeli et terra (chorus)
    Te per orbem terrarum (trio, ATB)
    Tu devicto mortis aculeo (chorus, bass solo)
    Te ergo quaesumus (soprano solo)
    Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis (chorus)
    Dignare, Domine (duo, SB)
    Fiat misericordia tua (trio, SSB)
    In te, Domine, speravi (chorus with ATB trio)

 

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier

 

This Te Deum may reflect the pomp and circumstance which one expects from such a composition. There is also a close connection between text and music. The triple "Sanctus" causes the use of three solo voices and so does the reference to the Trinity in the fifth section (Te per orbem terrarum). "Pleni sunt coeli" (Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of Thy glory) is obviously set for the tutti. The intimate prayer "Te ergo quaesumus" (We therefore pray Thee) is given to a solo soprano.

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Te Deum

 

The text contains strong contrasts: for instance, a passage about the Last Judgement is followed by prayers for God’s mercy. These contrasts are fully exploited by the composer, both in the scoring and the affetti. Contrasts in music were something Charpentier was specifically interested in: ‘the very diversity is what creates perfection’. There can't be any doubt that what we see here is the influence of his teacher, Giacomo Carissimi, who was especially famous for his oratorios which had a strongly dramatic character.

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Maurice Andre plays Prelude to Te Deum

 

The opening track Prelude (notably the trumpet and drum fanfare) is instantly recognizable, but once past that the present-day association gives way to the sense of historical occasion. In addition to trumpets and drums (which return in three further movements), Charpentier used other colourful instruments.

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Prelude to Te Deum

 

After the work's rediscovery in 1953 by the musicologist Carl de Nys, the instrumental prelude, “Marche en rondeau,” was chosen in 1954 as the theme music preceding the broadcasts of the European Broadcasting Union. After over sixty years of use notably before EBU programs such as the popular Eurovision Song Contest and Jeux Sans Frontières, the prelude, as arranged by Guy Lambert and directed by Louis Martini, has become Charpentier's best-known work.

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Eurovison (European Broadcasting Union)

 

 

Charpentier – Te Deum Prelude (Chapelle Royale de Versailles)

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Mon, 03 Jul 2017 15:54:35 +0000
Brockes Passion (by Stölzel) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/21402-brockes-passion-by-stoelzel.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/21402-brockes-passion-by-stoelzel.html Brockes Passion (by Stölzel)

The Brockes-Passion can be considered the archetype of the German Passion oratorio. As such, it served as a model and source of inspiration for famous later masterpieces, enjoying uninterrupted popularity throughout the 18th century when no less than 11 composers, including Handel and Telemann, set it to music. The superb version by Reinhard Keiser fellow citizen of Brockes in Hamburg, is the first (1712). Four at that time known settings, by Keiser, Telemann, Händel and Mattheson, were performed over four evenings in 1719, 1722, 1723, and 1730.

Brockes Passion (by Stölzel)

The German poet, Barthold Heinrich Brockes, was an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach. He was born in Hamburg in 1680 and lived to 1747. Although we should call his specifically poetic works "minor", Brockes was an accomplished and influential figure in pre-Enlightenment Germany: he translated Alexander Pope and James Thomson's "Seasons". From a literary standpoint Brockes's most important and, indeed, voluminous work—nine sturdy volumes—is his “Irdisches Vergnugen in Gott” ( ''Earthly Contentment in God''). For many eighteenth-Century composers, however, the importance of Brockes as a writer lay in his Passion oratorio libretto, “Der fur die Sunden der Welt gemarterte und sterbende Jesus” ( ''Jesus martyred and dying for the wickedness of the world'').

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Barthold Heinrich Brockes

 

In Brockes' version of a passion, a tenor Evangelist narrates, in recitative passages, events from all four Gospels' accounts of Jesus' suffering and death. Persons of the Gospel story (Jesus, Peter, Pilate, etc.) have dialogue passages, also in recitative; a chorus sings passages depicting the declamation of crowds; and poetic texts, sometimes in the form of arias, sometimes that of chorales (hymn-like short choral pieces), reflect on the events. Some of the arias are for the persons of the Passion, Jesus himself, Peter, etc., but Mary the mother of Jesus, who does not appear in the Gospel accounts of the Passion, also has a singing part, and fictitious "characters", The Daughter of Zion, four solo Believing Souls, and A Chorus of Believing Souls, also observe and comment.

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Barthold Heinrich Brockes

 

Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1749) was a prolific composer of stage works, oratorios, masses, cantatas, and various instrumental works, little of his output has survived ; for example, only 12 of his 85 known secular cantatas, and fragments from only 10 of his 442 sacred cantatas, are extant. At least 18 orchestral suites and over 90 vocal serenatas are completely lost. Part of this is due to the fact that his music quickly became unfashionable after his death.

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Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel

 

Although highly regarded prior to the Neapolitan conquest of north European opera, in modern times Stölzel was known until quite recently from a handful of works, primarily the aria "Bist du bei mir", often mistakenly attributed to J.S. Bach, and a concerto for six trumpets. Regarding "Bist du bei mir", there is nothing in the few other recorded works by Stölzel.

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Brockes-Passion, 1712

 

That the Brockes-Passion was able to survive is something that we owe to a fortunate series of circumstances. Stölzel sent a copy of the passion to Sonderhausen, presumably in 1735. After several performances at the court there (such as is indicated by the parts, some of which have come down to us in multiple copies), it was stored away with numerous other compositions by him in a container. The container ended up behind the organ, and soon nobody remembered that it was there. It was not until 1870 that the court organist Heinrich Frankenberger and the later Bach biographer Philipp Spitta rediscovered it. Another hundred years would go by before a musicologist would take a closer look at Stölzel. Fritz Hennenberg's dissertation of 1965 includes a catalogue of Stölzel's cantatas and makes some remarks about the passion.

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Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel

 

In 1996 Ludger Rémy undertook a closer examination of the sources and did some research into the background of the Gotha passion performances. After some 250 years the passion was performed again for the first time in 1997.

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Brockes-Passion, 1716

 

In the personal foreword to his recording of Stölzel's Brockes-Passion (CPO, 1998), Ludger Rémy writes: "When I read the first pages of the score manuscript from Sondershausen, I was overcome by all sorts of emotions and felt no little shock. Here was a work that had been lying dormant for over 250 years, and it had an inner strength and power to it that have continued to hold me under their spell ever since then. Incredible music...and after reading it I was a changed man.

Ever since then I hove regarded the Brockes Passion by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel as one of the most moving and genuinely human pieces of music that I have ever performed or had the good fortune to hear, and I reckon Stölzel among the truly great masters of the Central German Baroque, one who is perhaps even superior to most other composers of those times in his effect on heart and soul. I believe that the helpless silence and perplexity of humanity in face of the unchangingness of existence has only rarely found such eloquent expression in music."

 

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Ludger Rémy

 

The conductor Ludger Rémy uses a first-rate period-instrument small ensemble, good chamber choir and a superb roster of vocal soloists; some of them are familiar from recordings of Bach's vocal works. Among them are soprano Dorothee Mields, with angelic voice and dramatic expression, the earthier and no-less impressive soprano Constanze Backes, the native-sounding strong-voiced counter-tenor Henning Voss, the tenors Knut Schoch (who sang the lion's share of tenor parts in Leusink's Bach cantata cycle) as the Evangelist, and Andreas Post in most of the arias, and the dignified, authoritative and reliable as ever Klaus Mertens (who sang all the bass parts in Koopman's Bach cantata cycle) as Jesus.

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Stölzel - Brockes-Passion, album

 

There is the only one recording of Stölzel's Brockes-Passion. Why has not any other conductor took upon himself recording this work since 1997 ?

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Rubens - The Crucified Christ

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Tue, 04 Apr 2017 21:21:38 +0000
Largo Al Factotum from The Barber of Seville http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/20995-largo-al-factotum-from-the-barber-of-seville.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/20995-largo-al-factotum-from-the-barber-of-seville.html Largo Al Factotum from The Barber of Seville

Young Count Almaviva is in love with Rosina, ward of the cantankerous Dr. Bartolo. With the help of some local musicians, he serenades her outside her balcony window (“Ecco ridente”), but she does not appear. Despairing, he dismisses the band. Just as they disperse, he hears someone approaching and hides. It is Figaro, barber and factotum extraordinaire, who will take on any job as long as he is well paid (“Largo al factotum”). Having recognized Figaro, Almaviva emerges from hiding and lays out his problem. The Count is in luck, for Figaro is frequently employed in Bartolo’s house as barber, wigmaker, surgeon, pharmacist, herbalist, veterinarian—in short, as jack-of-all-trades.

Largo Al Factotum

Rossini was composing an opera based on the first play of Beaumarchais famous trilogy of plays: Le Barbier de Séville, Le Marriage de Figaro, and La Mère Coupable. Twenty years earlier, Mozart had composed his opera The Marriage of Figaro, and comparisons between ‘Barber’ and ‘Figaro’ continue to this day. Furthermore, there was an earlier “Barbiere de Siviglia”,composed by Giovanni Paisello in 1776.

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Beaumarchais - Le Barbier de Séville, 1776

 

Like many great composers, Gioachino Rossini demonstrated musical genius at a young age. His first opera was produced when he was only 18. His first big hit was “Tancredi” in 1813 when he was 21, followed by ‘Barber’ at age 23. Quite possibly that “The Barber of Seville” was the fastest opera ever written. It is said that Rossini composed ‘Barber’ in 13 days. In any case, as it was commissioned by Duke Cesarini, the impresario of the Teatro Argentina, on December 26, 1815, it had to have been written between that day and its première on February 5, 1816, only 40 days later.

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Young Gioachino Rossini

 

Everybody know Rossini’s aria. Figaro is one of the most widely recognized opera characters and his aria “ Largo al factotum” has, no doubt, been the aria used most in cartoons. For some people, their one and only opera reference may come from this aria!

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Largo al factotum, score

 

Factotum - an employee who does all kinds of work. Figaro, in’Largo al factotum del città’ (Make way for the factotum of the city), explains his ability to do everything for everybody in the opera, if not in the entire city of Seville.

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Tito Gobbi - Largo al factotum

 

Typically, Figaro sings this aria alone onstage at the first entrance of the title character; the repeated "Figaro"s before the final patter section. Due to the constant singing of triplets in 6/8 meter at an allegro vivace tempo, the piece is often noted as one of the most difficult baritone arias to perform. This, along with the tongue-twisting nature of some of the lines, insisting on Italian superlatives (always ending in "-issimo"), have made it a pièce de résistance in which a skilled baritone has the chance to highlight all of his qualities.

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Mario del Monaco - Largo al factotum

 

“The Barber of Seville” is almost 200 years old but is perpetually young. “Largo al factotum” is so familiar that it’s hard to imagine how new and different from anything before it must have seemed to audiences in the second decade of the 19th century.

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Gioachino Rossini

 

Largo al factotum (Italian)


Largo al factotum della città.
Presto a bottega che l'alba è già.
Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere
per un barbiere di qualità! di qualità!
	
Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, bravissimo!
Fortunatissimo per verità!

Pronto a far tutto,
la notte e il giorno
sempre d'intorno in giro sta.
Miglior cuccagna per un barbiere,
vita più nobile, no, non si da.
	
Rasori e pettini
lancette e forbici,
al mio comando
tutto qui sta.
V'è la risorsa,
poi, del mestiere
colla donnetta... col cavaliere...
	
Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono,
donne, ragazzi, vecchi, fanciulle:
Qua la parrucca... Presto la barba...
Qua la sanguigna...
Presto il biglietto...
Qua la parrucca, presto la barba,
Presto il biglietto, ehi!
	
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!, ecc.
Ahimè, che furia!
Ahimè, che folla!
Uno alla volta, per carità!
Ehi, Figaro! Son qua.
Figaro qua, Figaro là,
Figaro su, Figaro giù.
	
Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine:
sono il factotum della città.
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;
a te fortuna non mancherà.

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Placido Domingo - Largo al factotum

 

Largo al factotum (English translation)


Make way for the factotum of the city,
Hurrying to his shop for it's already dawn.
Ah, what a fine life, what fine pleasure
For a barber of quality!

Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, bravissimo!
Most fortunate indeed!

Ready to do everything
Night and day,
Always on the move.
A cushier fate for a barber,
A more noble life, is not to be had.

Razors and combs,
Lancets and scissors,
At my command
Everything's there.
Here are the tools
Of my trade
With the ladies...with the gentlemen...

Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me,
Ladies, young lads, old men, young girls:
Here is the wig... The beard is ready...
Here are the leeches...
The note is ready...
Here is the wig, the beard is ready,
The note is ready, hey!

Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!, etc.
Dear me, what frenzy!
Dear me, what a crowd!
One at a time, for pity's sake!
Hey, Figaro! I'm here.
Figaro here, Figaro there,
Figaro up, Figaro down.

Swifter and swifter, I'm like a thunderbolt:
I'm the factotum of the city.
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo,
You'll never lack for luck!

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Gioachino Rossini

 

 

Largo Al Factotum from The Barber of Seville (Andre Rieu)

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:42:20 +0000
The Grand Sonata – Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B Minor http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/20598-the-grand-sonata--liszts-piano-sonata-in-b-minor.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/20598-the-grand-sonata--liszts-piano-sonata-in-b-minor.html The Grand Sonata – Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B Minor

What we can never deny is that Liszt and Chopin were the two that totally changed the piano technique, and we would not be wrong to say that not such an important advancement in piano technique has been made since what they did. Starting from the technique of using a coin on the wrist and then developing their études (either by Chopin or Liszt), it seems one of the big gaps ever jumped in the history of art.

 

The Liszt Sonata in B Minor. The name causes pianists to tremble, perhaps even fall off their piano benches. Liszt's powerful masterpiece is difficult to understand, and even more devilishly difficult to play. The roughly 30 minute piece is one of Franz Liszt's greatest achievements. It really sums up Liszt as a composer: forceful, unforgiving storms of sound, wild cadenzas and soul-stirring melodies.

 

Liszt - Piano Sonata in B Minor

It is likely that Liszt derived the idea of thematic transformation as a unifying process from Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy,” a work which he himself transcribed for piano and orchestra in 1851. Schubert’s themes run through all four movements of the fantasy in varied forms. The four movements are played without a break, and outline a symmetrical key scheme— C, E, A flat, C. This kind of formal plan held a strong attraction for Liszt, and many of the works of his Weimar period follow this model, besides the Piano Sonata in B Minor also the first piano concerto is another example.

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Franz Liszt

 

The sonata in B minor is possibly the best exponent of Liszt´s mastery in piano and in composition. Indeed a pinnacle, a monument, in the history of piano and of music in general, not only for his improvements in the technique but also for the revolutionary conception of the piece itself. The big scales, chords and succession of octaves must not be seen as a mere adornment since they not only give stress but give together a sensation of orchestral sound in the piano. Apart form the mere piano technique, the composer followed the path of changing the sonata form, a path formerly opened by Beethoven, to turn it into one big movement, as in his symphonic poems.

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Schubert-Liszt – Wanderer Fantasy (Brendel)

 

But in reality the whole work is tightly constructed from the music of the sonata's introduction. From that introduction he develops, first, three striking and powerful themes, then a passage sounding like a religious chorale. The final main section not only demands the utmost in piano technique to deal with its prestissimo tempo, but also employs elements of all the themes which have been spun out of the opening. Ultimately, in an eloquent concluding Andante, Liszt returns to the earliest versions of the main musical material and recedes into silence. Full of Romantic fire and spontaneity as the sonata may be, it also fits, depending on how one listens to it, into either the pattern of a single sonata-allegro-form movement (with exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda), or the four-movement structure of a traditional sonata (opening movement, slow movement, scherzo, and finale). Thus this work remains an enduring masterpiece even in the estimation of those listeners who tend to find Liszt's music overblown. In the Sonata in B minor, Liszt, the great radical, connected himself convincingly with the sonata tradition.

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Franz Liszt

 

The sonata was published in the spring of 1854 and dedicated to Robert Schumann. Liszt meant this as a reciprocal gesture to Schumann in response to his being the dedicatee of the latter’s Fantasy in C major (1839), a work that Liszt described as sublime. However, Schumann never knew of the B Minor Sonata’s existence since by the time a copy of the newly published work arrived at the Schumann’s home in May, 1854, Schumann was already at the asylum at Endenich.

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Clara and Robert Schumann

 

Clara Schumann, venerated as the leading woman pianist of the time, despised it, writing in her diary that "it is a blind noise.... It really is too awful." Unfortunately, Clara’s opinion was not atypical. During this period, and especially in this part of Germany, Liszt was often treated to an unkind dismissal by the musical society. When the work received its première performance, in Berlin, on January 22, 1857, nearly four years after its composition, it provoked a minor scandal among the conservative critics, from which it recovered with difficulty. Rarely did such great music get off to a less promising start.

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Franz Liszt

 

In 1855 Liszt's pupil Karl Klindworth gave Richard Wagner a private recital in London. The next day, Wagner wrote to the composer, "Dearest Franz, You were with me, the sonata is beautiful beyond compare; great, sweet, deep and noble, sublime as you are yourself."

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Richard Wagner

 

For the next two years, Liszt's brilliant pupil Hans Bülow prepared the technically arduous composition under Liszt's guidance. Bülow would give the world premiere on Jan. 27, 1857, in Berlin. It was a unique evening, also being the first public hearing of Bülow's friend Carl Bechstein's first concert grand. The piano received accolades from the audience, but the critics crushed the sonata. How, they asked, could Liszt show such disrespect for the time-honored multimovement classical sonata? One critic called it "an invitation to hissing and stamping."

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Carl Bechstein

 

In 1880, 23 years after its premiere, London would officially hear it, and Saint-Saëns performed it in Paris the same year. Bülow unveiled it in Vienna in 1881, where it was still controversial. The dreaded critic of Wagner and Liszt, Eduard Hanslick, cried in print, "whoever has heard that, and finds it beautiful, is beyond help." Yet by the turn of the century it was receiving frequent performances in Europe. During the 1920s Rachmaninoff played it often.

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Hans Bülow

 

Vladimir Horowitz created a sensation with the sonata at his 1928 Carnegie hall debut. When, four years later, Horowitz made his now legendary recording of the B Minor Sonata, pianists world-wide made haste to learn it. The piece subsequently became an indispensable part of the repertoires of Argerich, Barenboim, Brendel, Gilels, Pollini and many others, all of whom have recorded it.

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Vladimir Horowitz - Carnegie Hall 1928, poster

 

Franz Liszt once said, "My sole ambition as a composer is to hurl my javelin into the infinite space of the future." Indeed, though as both performer and composer he was one of the potent forces of Romanticism, Liszt's impact on modernism—on composers such as Ravel, Scriabin and Schönberg—was considerable. Ferruccio Busoni proclaimed, "We are all descended from him radically."

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Liszt – Sonata in B Minor. Vladimir Horowitz 1932

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Tue, 01 Nov 2016 15:07:22 +0000
Leos Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata" http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/20189-leos-janaceks-string-quartet-no-1-qkreutzer-sonataq-.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/20189-leos-janaceks-string-quartet-no-1-qkreutzer-sonataq-.html Leos Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata"

What links Tolstoy, Beethoven, a virtuoso violinist and a young, married Czech woman? The inspiration for the elderly Janacek's string quartets. Beethoven's heroic sonata for violin and piano, Tolstoy's dark and disturbing novella, and Leos Janacek's intensely descriptive and often frenetic first string quartet are all linked by the same name: the Kreutzer Sonata. Rodolphe Kreutzer, a French violin virtuoso who ignored Beethoven's dedication and never performed the original sonata (apparently declaring it unplayable), is known today for a book of useful violin studies, but primarily for these three great works that bear his name, and whose value he could have barely imagined.

Leos Janacek - String Quartet No. 1, ‘Kreutzer Sonata’

In Tolstoy's 1889 novella, a woman who is trapped in a loveless marriage plays Beethoven's sonata with a dashing violinist, and seems carried away by the music's passion. Her husband, plagued by jealous fantasies, cuts short a business trip and comes home unexpectedly, well after midnight. He finds her together with the violinist in the dining room, fully clothed but involved in an intimate conversation. Convinced she has betrayed him, he kills her in a fit of jealous rage. Since Tolstoy narrates this tale through the husband's obsessive and bitter point of view, we never know for sure what has happened between the unnamed wife and her sonata partner.

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Leo Tolstoy

 

Janacek's string quartets were borne from his love for Kamila Stösslova. In 1917, the 63 year old composer fell in love with a 25 year old woman. Though the infatuation was one-sided, and he was well aware of it, she became his inspiring Muse. They lived in different cities and were both married, but carried on written correspondence.

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Leos Janacek

 

“As obsessed as he was with Kamila, Janacek was obsessed with short musical ideas that could convey maximum emotional impact in the fewest possible notes" says commentator Rob Kapilow.

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Kamila Stösslova, portrait

 

The First String Quartet, composed swiftly in autumn 1923, uses Leo Tolstoy's short story “The Kreutzer Sonata” as its primary source material. "I was imagining a poor woman, tormented and run down, just like the one the Russian writer Tolstoy describes in his Kreutzer Sonata", Janacek confided in one of his letters to Kamila. Janacek was attracted by the novella's dramatic urgency and emotional extremes, and he succeeded in rendering its narrative arc in a compelling series of musical events.

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Rodolphe Kreutzer

 

Leos Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1, "Kreutzer Sonata", was written in a very short space of time, between 13 and 28 October 1923, at a time of great creative concentration. The work was revised by the composer in the autograph from 30 October to 7 November 1923.

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Janacek with wife

 

The work as a whole seems to be constructed by the juxtaposition of melodic and rhythmic fragments. The melancholy first movement, with its opening rising motif, sets the tone of the work. The narrator is recounting to us a tale told to him by a stranger on a train. The second movement scherzo, a rather grim one at that, is again composed of fragments; a polka-like theme, a tremolo passage played sul ponticello (at the bridge), and a motif somewhat related to the theme from Beethoven that will be featured in the following movement. The third movement actually quotes the second, slow theme from the first movement of Beethoven’s work, first heard in measure 8. Its distortion and obsessive repetition suggest that we are hearing it through the ears of the jealous husband. In the fourth movement, we hear a reprise of the rising motif from the first movement in the low strings, as well as a theme played by the first violin marked "like in tears". In this movement the drama is brought to its terrible end.

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Janacek with Kamila Stosslova

 

Janacek once wrote: "I maintain that a pure musical note means nothing unless it is pinned down in life, blood and locale; otherwise, it is a worthless toy." Reading through Janacek's letters, Rob Kapilow says there are hints that the composer was aware of his own fictionalized love affair. Yet the fiction must have been incredibly real, driving him to compose piece after piece."Maybe in the areas of inspiration, the distinction between fiction and reality is unimportant," Kapilow says. "In any case, we should all be as lucky and creative with our fictions as Janacek was with his."

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Leos Janacek

 

The work was premiered by the Bohemian Quartet at a concert in Prague on Oct. 17, 1924. It then received a performance at the International Society for Contemporary Music Festival in Venice in 1925, followed two years later by its U.S. premiere in New York.

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The Kreutzer Sonata

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Sun, 14 Aug 2016 11:03:59 +0000
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047 http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/19797-bach-brandenburg-concerto-no-2-in-f-major-bwv-1047.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/19797-bach-brandenburg-concerto-no-2-in-f-major-bwv-1047.html Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047

Everyone who knows the Second Brandenburg Concerto thinks: 'Oh great, a Baroque trumpet concerto!' Hence: Baroque trumpet, physical power, high tones, sound – and everything else is secondary. But that's just what it is not: Bach wrote a concerto for four different but equal instruments: trumpet, recorder, oboe, violin. The art was to create a dialogue among these four instruments, and this is obviously only posible when the trumpet plays as softly as the recorder and the recorder as loud as the trumpet. (Nikolaus Harnoncourt)

Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047

Although they are often discussed, recorded, and published as a collection, the six concertos encompassing the so-called Brandenburg Concertos were not written all at once, nor for the same ensemble. Scholars suspect that Nos. 1, 3, and 6 may have been written much earlier than the others, perhaps dating from Bach's Weimar period (1708-1717), while 2, 4, and 5 most likely came from Cöthen. Bach later put the six concertos together and dedicated them to the Margrave of Brandenburg Christian Ludwig, hoping to get a new job out of it. (He did not.) In fact, the only commonality among the six is the use of a three-movement, fast-slow-fast design; this indicates that the Brandenburg Concerti were based on Italian concerto format. Beyond that, they have nothing in common, and, in fact, among the six, there is as much variety as you can find in any six works by Bach.

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Margrave Christian Ludwig

 

Because King Frederick William I of Prussia was not a significant patron of the arts, Christian Ludwig seems to have lacked the musicians in his Berlin ensemble to perform the concertos. The full score was left unused in the Margrave's library until his death in 1734, when it was sold for 24 groschen of silver. The autograph manuscript of the concertos was only rediscovered in the archives of Brandenburg by Siegfried Wilhelm Dehn in 1849; the concertos were first published in the following year.

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Siegfried Wilhelm Dehn

 

The Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 may have been one of the last to be written, and it certainly seems like a special-occasion piece. It's a concerto featuring four prominent instruments -- trumpet, recorder (flute), oboe, and violin -- against a foundation of strings and continuo. The writing is virtuosic and brilliant; the high trumpet part, in particular, brings many fine players to grief.

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Brandenburg Concerto No.2, sheet

 

This is an example of a common orchestral genre of the Baroque known as the concerto grosso. (The same is true for Brandenburg Concerto No. 5). A concerto grosso utilizes two ensembles, one large and one small. The large one is called the ripieno or tutti; this includes the orchestra. A group of soloists comprise the smaller group, entitled the concertino (meaning little concerto group). The number of soloists and instruments used was entirely up to the composer to decide.

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Freiburg Barockorchester plays Brandenburg Concerto No. 2

 

The trumpet part is very virtuosic, written to employ a style of playing known as clarino playing, in which the trumpeter played in the highest range of the instrument, and used quickly-changing lip pressure to change the pitch of the instrument. Nikolaus Harnoncourt (famous conductor) says: "The trumpet which we use is a natural trumpet, i.e. there are no technical means such as valves and keys. The player has to do everything on his own. How was it played in Bach's time? I think that there were exceptional talents on specific instruments back then just as today. And we know that there was a phenomenal trumpet player in Bach's day who could play everything an octave higher. Bach must have had such a trumpet player at his disposal, since the level of difficulty of this piece is unusual for its time."

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Piccolo Trumpet

 

Parts:
1.    [no tempo indication] (usually performed at Allegro)
2.    Andante
3.    Allegro assai

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Orchestra Mozart plays Brandenburg Concerto No. 2

 

The trumpet part is still considered one of the most difficult in the entire repertoire, and was originally written for a clarino (natural trumpet) specialist. The clarino does not play in the second movement, as is common practice in baroque era concerti. This is due to its construction, which allows it to play only in major keys. Because concerti often move to a minor key in the second movement, concerti that include the instrument in their first movement and are from the period before the valved trumpet was commonly used usually exclude the trumpet from the second movement.

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Clarino

 

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 provides an excellent example of Bach's use of a ritornello. Bach was an unofficial student of the composer Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), whose works he copied by hand (the best way to get copies of music in those days) and sometimes restored. One of the hallmarks of Vivaldi's style is his use of orchestral ritornellos, not just in his concertos (as in the concerto Spring from The Four Seasons), but sometimes in his sacred music (as in the first movement of his famous Gloria). Vivaldi typically began his concertos with a full statement of the orchestral ritornello (sometimes even two full statements), then in between solo passages, he would bring the ritornello back again, though often each subsequent appearance was a bit shorter than the previous. Bach probably got the idea of using a ritornello from studying Vivaldi, and even in this piece, you'll see that some ritornello statements are indeed shorter than the first.

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Johann Sebastian Bach

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Mon, 30 May 2016 17:20:57 +0000
Handel – Allelujah (from Messiah) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/19457-handel-allelujah-from-messiah.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/19457-handel-allelujah-from-messiah.html Handel – Allelujah (from Messiah)

 

 

 

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!
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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Sun, 27 Mar 2016 08:29:43 +0000
Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/19387-szymanowskis-stabat-mater.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/19387-szymanowskis-stabat-mater.html Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater

Although Szymanowski is best-known for his orchestral and chamber music, his contribution to vocal music was far from negligible. He wrote collected songs and several stage-works, notably his opera “King Roger”, while both the Third Symphony and the ballet “Harnasie” (Mountain Robbers) include a tenor solo and chorus. Towards the end of his life, he composed choral music on sacred topics, the two short cantatas “Veni Creator” and “Litany to the Virgin Mary.” Undoubtedly, however, his vocal-instrumental masterpiece is the Stabat Mater. Despite its modest size and forces, it is one of his most expressive and resonant works and is one of the glories of twentieth-century sacred music.

Karol Szymanowski – Stabat Mater

Szymanowski described his “Stabat Mater” as a ‘Peasant Requiem'. In fact, unlike the works Karol Szymanowski composed during the first two decades of the 20th century, his “Stabat Mater” could only have been written in a country with Slavic culture. Drawing on his musical roots and mother tongue, he wrote a transparent score for soloists, mixed choir and orchestra. It is all fascinatingly simple. The melodies consist of minor and major seconds and thirds and the pace of most movements is slow; only the second movement has a rhythm and melody that seem to pre-empt Orff’s Carmina Burana. It is a unique masterpiece of oratorio.

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Karol Szymanowski

 

“Stabat Mater” was commissioned by the Warsaw patron of the arts, Dr Bronislaw Krystall. The piece was meant as a requiem dedicated to the memory of Krystall's prematurely deceased wife. However, the death of Szymanowski's niece Alusia made the composer decide to change the contract, and compose a Stabat Mater instead of a Requiem. Under the circumstances, the theme of the suffering and grief of the Mother of the crucified Jesus was closer to the composer's heart. The work was completed in 1926 and, in accordance with the contract, was dedicated "To the memory of Izabela Krystallowa".

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Bronislaw Krystall

 

The text Szymanowski used was Jozef Jankowski's Polish translation, ‘Stala matka bolejaca’, of the famous Mediaeval sequence 'Stabat Mater dolorosa', but outside Poland the work is sometimes performed with the original Latin lyrics. Although the 13th-century text is inherently dramatic, Janowski's translation is especially raw. Kornel Michałowski indicates the composer's initial attraction to the Polish translation was a result of its "unusually primitive, almost 'folk-like' simplicity and naivety."

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Jozef Jankowski

 

In the “Stabat Mater for soloists, choir and orchestra opus 53,” the composer created a Polish atmosphere by marrying popular elements with modern harmonic and tonal means’ but without ‘citing’ the music of the mountains, found in Zakopane which he made his permanent home in 1930, suffering from tuberculosis. Coinciding with his composition of Stabat Mater, was Szymanowski's study of early music – encompassing "pre-Palestrinian" and Palestrinian periods, as well as a study of old-Polish religious music. Devices used indicating this influence include: parallel movement between voices, modal pitch organization, and strongly patterned rhythms such as ostinati. Also incorporated into the work are melodic elements of two Polish Hymns: "Swiety Boze" [Holy God] and Gorzkie zale [Bitter Sorrows].

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Szymanowski - Stabat Mater, autograf

 

The world premiere of Stabat Mater took place without the composer being present, as he was ill and staying at an Austrian sanatorium, on 11 January 1929 at the Warsaw Philharmonic, with soloists Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska (the composer's sister), Halina Leska and Eugeniusz Mossakowski, conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg. Many critics hailed the piece as Szymanowski's greatest work. The composer himself spoke of Stabat Mater as a work in which the expression of his creativity had fully crystallized.

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Stabat Mater Dolorosa

 

Tadeusz Zieliński wrote in his work 'Szymanowski. Liryka i ekstaza' / 'Szymanowski. Lyricism and Ecstasy':

„Stabat Mater occupies an important and special place in Szymanowski's output due to its great artistry achieved by a rather ruthless selection of means of expression. The music's huge emotional power reveals itself without any exuberant gesturing, spectacular sound arrangement, or mounting sophisticated chords. The deep, excruciating emotion seeks a direct outlet through simplicity - melody, harmony, texture, often even rhythmic pulse - and concentration. Striving for such an ideal, Szymanowski opted for archaization; work on the composition was preceded by his research into Renaissance music, especially Polish music. There is a clear trace of this in the work's harmonic language, in a fondness for triads (put together outside the classical convention), thirds alone and empty fifths, although archaic sound is mixed with contemporary, fresh combinations of sounds. An unusual economy of musical means and avoidance of flashy elements are prominent at first glance in the very modest picture of the score. However, and this needs emphasizing strongly, the external, sometimes ascetic austerity of the musical shape and means of expression combine beautifully with the internal warmth and delicate tenderness of the expressed content. It is probably this special, intriguing combination of apparent opposites - austere form and tender expression - that moves listeners easily, and means that audiences receive 'Stabat Mater' much more warmly than any other work by Szymanowski.”

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Karol Szymanowski

 

Jozef Janowski’s Polish translation of the famous Marian hymn Stabat Mater Dolorosa.


1. Stała Matka bolejąca 			(Stabat mater dolorosa)
2. I któż widział tak cierpiącą 		(Quis est homo qui non fleret)
3. O Matko Źródło Wszechmiłości 		(O, Eia, Mater, fons amoris)
4. Spraw niech płaczę z Tobą razem 		(Fac me tecum pie flere)
5. Panno słodka racz mozołem 			(Virgo virginum praeclara)
6. Chrystus niech mi będzie grodem 		(Christe, cum sit hinc exire)

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Stabat Mater Dolorosa

 

Szymanowski – Stabat Mater polish lyrics


1
Stala Matka bolejąca,
Kolo krzyża łzy lejąca,
Gdy na krzyżu wisiał Syn.
A jaj duszę potyraną
Rozpłakaną, poszarpaną
Miecz przeszywał ludzkich win.
O, jak smutna, jak podcięta
Była Matka Boża święta,
Cicha w załamaniu rąk!
O, jak drżala I truchlała,
I bolała,gdy patrzała
Na synowskich tyle mąk.
2
I któż, widząc tak cierpiącą,
Łzą nie zaćmi się gorącą,
Nie drgnie, taki czując nóż?
I kto serca nie ubroczy,
Widząc, jak do krzyża oczy
Wzbiła, z bólu drętwa już.
Za ludzkiego rodu winy
Jak katowan był jedyny,
Męki każdy niołsa dział.
I widziała, jak rodzony
Jej umierał opuszczony,
Zanim Bogu duszę dał.
3
Matko, źródło wszechmiłości,
Daj mi uczuć moc żałości,
Niechaj z Tobą dźwignę ból.
Chrystusowe ukochanie
Niech w mym sercu ogniem stanie,
Krzyża dzieje we mnie wtul.
Matko, Matko, miłosiernie
Wejrzyj. Syna Twego ciernie
W serce moje wraź jak w cel.
Rodzonego, męczonego,
Syna Twego oriarnego
Kaźń owocną ze mną dziel.
4
Spraw, niech płaczę z Tobą razem,
Krzyża zamknę się obrazem
Aż po mój ostatni dech.
Niechaj pod nim razem stoję,
Dzielę Twoje krawe znoje.
Twą boleścią zmywam grzech.
5
Panno słodka, racz, mozołem
Niech me serce z Tobą społem
Na golgocki idzie skłon.
Niech śmierć przyjmę z katów ręki,
Uczestnikiem będę męki,
Razów krwawych zbiorę plon.
Niechaj broczty ciało moje,
Krzyżem niechaj się upoję,
Niech z miłosnych żyję tchnień!
W morzu ognia zapalony,
Z Twojej ręki niech osłony
Puklerz wezmę w sądu dzień!

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Stabat Mater Dolorosa

 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION


1
Mother, bowed with dreadful grief
You must watch with slowly falling tears
Your Son dying on the Cross!
Through Your heart, pierced with sorrow,
That cruel sword must be driven
As it was foretold, oh Holy One!
Oh! How sad and afflicted
Was that Blessed Lady,
Mother of the Only Begotten!
She who saw with grief
And contemplated the unending
Anguish of Her Son!
2
Could anyone withhold their own tears
Thus beholding Christ’s dear mother
In woe unlike any other woe!
Who would not feel grief
For that kneeling Holy Mother –
Suffering as noone
else has?
For every nation’s sins
He suffered persecution,
A prey to scourgers, as she saw:
Saw her Jesus taken most foully,
Forsaken by all, languishing,
When he gave up his spirit.
3
Tender Mother, sweet fountain of love,
Quickly soften my hard heart,
Make me share Your pain:
Kindle in me such burning zeal,
Let such rich love flow to Jesus
That I may be favoured.
Holy Mother, I implore You,
Crucify this heart before you –
It is truly guilty!
Hatred, mockery and scorn,
Accusation, blindness, thirst,
Give all these to me.
4
Under Your care, weeping, watching,
Unsleeping beneath the Cross
May I live and mourn for His sake:
Kneeling with You close to Jesus,
Feeling all Your pain with You,
Oh! Grant me this, my prayer.
5
Immaculate maid most excellent,
Peerless, dwelling in the highest heaven,
Make me truly mourn with You;
May my sighs help me bear his death,
Ever reviving in me
The anguish he suffered on my behalf:
Bearing the same scars as His,
Enflamed by the Cross,
Elated to ecstatic love:
Inspired and affected thus,
Virgin, let me be protected
When I am called in my turn.

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Szymanowski - Stabat Mater, Proms 1995

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Sun, 13 Mar 2016 17:07:57 +0000
Michael Praetorius' In Dulci Jubilo http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/18952-michael-praetorius-in-dulci-jubilo.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/18952-michael-praetorius-in-dulci-jubilo.html Michael Praetorius' In Dulci Jubilo

One night in 1328, the German mystic and Dominican monk Heinrich Suso (or Seuse) had a vision in which he joined angels dancing as the angels sang to him Nun singet und seid froh or In Dulci Jubilo. In Suso's biography (or perhaps autobiography), it was written:

“ Now this same angel came up to the Servant [Suso] brightly, and said that God had sent him down to him, to bring him heavenly joys amid his sufferings; adding that he must cast off all his sorrows from his mind and bear them company, and that he must also dance with them in heavenly fashion. Then they drew the Servant by the hand into the dance, and the youth began a joyous song about the infant Jesus, which runs thus: 'In dulci jubilo', etc.”

In Dulci Jubilo

“In Dulci Jubilo” is among the oldest and most famous of the "macaronic" songs, one which combines Latin and a vernacular language such as English or German. (Macaronic refers to text using a mixture of languages, particularly bilingual puns or situations in which the languages are otherwise used in the same context.)

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Heinrich Suso

 

The tune first appears in Codex 1305, a manuscript in Leipzig University Library dating from c.1400, some version of the song itself may have existed prior to 1328. It remained well-known and often used by Catholics and Protestants alike throughout the centuries.

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In Dulci Jubilo (Leipzig 1582)

 

The 1533 Lutheran hymnal by Joseph Klug, „Geistliche Lieder”included it with three verses. It also occurred in Michael Vehe's “Gesangbuch,” which was published at Leipzig in 1537. In 1545, another verse was added between the last two: "O Patris caritas!" was likely written by Martin Luther and included in Valentin Babst's “Geistliche Lieder” (Leipzig). There have been a number of translations of the Latin/German poem into English. The most popular that keeps the macaronic structure is Robert Lucas de Pearsall's 1837 translation, which retains the Latin phrases and substitutes English for German.

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Geistliche Lieder (1708)

 

Pearsall noted in January, 1837:

“ The original melody employed, as a Cantus firmus, in the following composition, is to be found in an old German book published in the year 1570 -- which, from its title and contents, appears to have contained the ritual of the Protestant Congregations of Zweibrueken and Neuberg. Even there it is called "a very ancient song (uraltes Lied) for Christmas-eve;" so that there can be no doubt that it is one of those old Roman Catholic melodies that Luther, on account of their beauty, retained in the Protestant Service. It was formerly sung in the processions that took place on Christmas-eve, and is so still in those remote parts of Germany where people yet retain old customs.”

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Robert Lucas de Pearsall

 

Praetorius (c1571-1621) was the first great musical commentator and elaborator of the Lutheran chorale. Prolific he certainly was, with over 1,000 chorale settings (quite apart from a mass of other work in compositional and theoretical fields), but his level of invention is remarkable too. One of its great merits is that in choosing chorales from the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons the tunes are likely to be familiar to many listeners.

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Michael Praetorius

 

Michael Praetorius' “In dulci jubilo” is a gloriously expansive amalgam of sound and text. Composed near the end of Praetorius' life as part of his “Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica” (Polychoral Hymns of Peace and Festivals) of 1619, this setting of the well-known tune In dulci jubilo was actually his 11th, and most ornate. Praetorius sets the stanzas of this utilizing a highly flexible ensemble of three to five choruses and brass ensemble, continuo (organ), and tympani.

 

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Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica

 

Twelve, 16, or 20 voices are possible: one or two SATB choruses, an ATBB chorus, and a SATB chorus of soloists that may be doubled at the octave. A brass chorus adds to the available color palette. In this work, indeed, throughout the Polyhymnia, Praetorius made excellent use of his resources to create aural contrasts. Solo chorus phrases are answered by the power of the tutti forces, as at the opening of the piece. Various solo choruses pass the melody from one to another, making use of spatial effects, heard, for example, at the beginning of the second verse. Polyphony and homophony, voices and instruments, all vie for superiority in a vast collage of sound.

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In dulci jubilo

 

Praetorius' In dulci jubilo is remarkable for its composer's use of contrasting sound, virtuosic singing, and appropriate instrumental writing. As a polychoral work it compares well with anything by his contemporary Schütz or even the Gabrielis of Venice.

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In dulci jubilo

 

Latin and German text


1.
In dulci jubilo,
Nun singet und seid froh!
Unsers Herzens Wonne liegt
in praesepio,
Und leuchtet als die Sonne
Matris in gremio,
Alpha es et O!
2.
O Jesu parvule
Nach dir ist mir so weh!
Tröst' mir mein Gemüte
O puer optime
Durch alle deine Güte
O princeps gloriae.
Trahe me post te!
3.
O Patris caritas!
O Nati lenitas!
Wir wären all verloren (verdorben)
Per nostra crimina
So hat er uns erworben
Coelorum gaudia
Eia, wären wir da!
4.
Ubi sunt gaudia
Nirgend mehr denn da!
Da die Engel singen
Nova cantica,
Und die Schellen klingen
In regis curia.
Eia, wären wir da!

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Michael Praetorius

 

English text (Translation by Robert Lucas Pearsall)


1.
In dulci jubilo    [In quiet joy]
Let us our homage show
Our heart’s joy reclineth
In praesepio     [in a manger]
And like a bright star shineth
Matris in gremio    [in the mother's lap]
Alpha es et O.     [Thou art Alpha & Omega]
2.
O Jesu parvule    [O tiny Jesus]
I yearn for thee alway
Listen to my ditty
O puer optima     [O best of boys]
Have pity on me, pity
O princeps gloriae,    [Prince of glory]
Trahe me post te.    [draw me unto thee]
3.
O patris caritas    [O father's caring]
O nati lenitas    [O newborn's mildness]
Deeply were we stained
Per nostra crimina    [by our crimes] 
But thou hast for us gained
Coelorum gaudia    [heavenly joy]
O that we were there.
4.
Ubi sunt gaudia     [where be joys]
If that they be not there
There are angels singing
Nova cantina     [new songs]
There the bells are ringing
In regis curia    [at the king's court]
O that we were there.

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In dulci jubilo

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Mon, 21 Dec 2015 09:46:21 +0000