sábado, 11 de agosto de 2012

The Choir Project al día [11-VIII-2012]

William Byrd (1540-1623): Quomodo cantabimus a 8 / Piilippe de Monte (1521-1603): Super flumina Babylonis a 8.
The Cardinall's Musick - Andrew Carwood (David Skinner) / The Sixteen - Harry Christophers.
Two minds, two motets, two forms, two ideas... but only one thing: music.

   In words of David Skinner:
Philippe de Monte, a Flemish composer who spent much of his early life in ltaly. came to England in 1554 when he served in the houseband chapel choir of Prince of Spain (later to boecome Philip II), husband of Mary Tudor. On Christmas Day of that year a geat festal Mass was celebrated in St. Paul's Cathedral with musicians from Philip's Capilla FLamenca and Mary's Chapel Royal, and it is thought that this was one of the earliest occasions when Philippe de Monte, then 33, met the young Wiiliam Byrd. While it was reponed that de Monte was unhappy in England (he len in 1555). he seems to have maintained same son of contact with William Byrd well into the 1580s when the two composers are known to have exchanged compositions.

   Lbl, Add. Ms 23624, is a collection of motets asembled by the 18th-century musical antiquarian John Aicock, from a set of partbooks of which only two have survived (Ob, Tenbury MS 389 and the Jarnes Ms). Alcock also cooped certain glosses from the some of the now lost books which tell the story. The following appears before de Monte's Super flumlna Babylonls: 'This Piece of Musick was compose'd by Sig': Phillipo de Monte, master of ye Children of ye Emperor Maximillan the 2ds Chapel, & sent by
him, to Mr: Bird - 1583', while at the head of Byrd's Quomodo cantablmus are the words 'This Piece, was made by Mr: Wm: Byrd, to send unto Mr: Phiilip de Monte, 1584'.
   De Monte set the four verses of Psalm 136, while Bvrd set verses four to seven. Super flumina Babylonis, aeemingly harmless biblical text, was a notorius psalms of captivity to the recusant community of Elizabethan England. De Monte pointedly rearranged the verses in order to drive home a political statement to Byrd: 'How shall we [ie. you, the English] sing the Lord song in a strange land?' De Monte suggestion could be construed as a request to Byrd not to waste his talents in a fettered country, but escape to a more religiously tolerant society. In this context 'We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof' seems more to be a suggestion on noncompliance than any call of defeat. Byrd's reply begins with a three-part canon (one of the parts by inversion) within the eight-part texture. His polyphony is dense and structurally sound, as if to show de Monte that his faith still stands strong: 'Remember the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem', says the psalmist. At the destruction of Jerusalem (587 BC), the neighbouring nation of the Edomites joined forces with the besieging army. The prophets denounce them far more bitterly than they denounce the Chaldean invaders. How did Byrd sing the Lord's song in a strange land? With cunning, artfulness and ingenuity.

   For me the performances of these piece are really different: The Cardinall's Musick opt for a more intimate in sound, but more dramatically in the realization, however, The Sixteen perform de Montes' motet with more choral sound but a more relaxed and calm reading.
In two cases, the music is really good and the performance is too fantastic. Franco-flemish-English connection.

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