sábado, 1 de noviembre de 2014

The Choir Project al día | 01-XI-2014

Gregorio Allegri [Roma, 1582-Roma, 1652]: Missa Christus resurgens à 8.
The Choir of King's College London | David Trendell.
A new farewell.

  Jerome Roche & Noel O'Regan wrote:
«Italian composer and singer, brother of Domenico Allegri. From 1591 to 1596 he was a boy chorister and from 1601 to 1604 a tenor at S Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, where the maestro di cappella was G.B. Nanino. According to Allegri’s obituary he studied with G.M. Nanino. He was active as a singer and composer at the cathedrals of Fermo (1607–21) and Tivoli, and by August 1628 he was maestro di cappella of Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome. He joined the papal choir as an alto on 6 December 1629, under Urban VIII, and was elected its maestro di cappella for the jubilee year of 1650. In 1640 his fellow singers elected him to revise Palestrina’s hymns (necessitated by Urban VIII’s revision of the texts), which were published in Antwerp in 1644. His contemporaries clearly saw him as a worthy successor to Palestrina and a guardian of the stile antico.

  Allegri’s fame stems largely from his Miserere, a setting of Psalm l, which, up until 1870, was traditionally sung by the papal choir during the Tenebrae Offices of Holy Week. Ironically, the setting's renown has little to do with Allegri since, in its basic form, it is a simple nine-part falsobordone chant for two choirs (SATTB/SSABar); the choirs alternate with each other and with plainchant (sung on a monotone), joining together only for the final half-verse. It was customary for improvised embellishments to be added to such falsobordoni, and during the 18th century both the five-and four-part verses of Allegri’s setting were made increasingly elaborate. In 1713 Bai wrote a complementary setting which was often substituted for Allegri’s. Both these ornamented versions were performed at a very high pitch and were much admired by, among others, Emperor Leopold I, G.B. Martini, Burney and Mozart. The embellishments were at first a closely guarded secret but they were written down in the 1820s. Goethe and Mendelssohn were among the Romantics who enthused over Allegri’s setting at a time when Roman polyphony was becoming the subject of attention for the earliest musicologists. The Miserere was first published by Burney in 1771, but in a version not found in any Vatican source. The version that is now commonly performed was assembled by Sir Ivor Atkins in the 1950s, from Burney’s version and one made in the 1930s by Robert Haas (see Keyte); it bears little or no resemblance either to Allegri’s original or to the piece as it as performed before 1870.

  Allegri’s best music is in the a cappella style, much of it for two choirs: it was copied and recopied into Cappella Sistina manuscripts for at least a century. A fine example is the six-part Missa Vidi turbam magnam; based on his own motet it shows that the stile antico, far from being insipid, could be the vehicle for superbly controlled sonority and counterpoint, using syncopation to lead to a climax and with a bass line entirely harmonic in function.

  Along with other Roman composers, Allegri responded to the new vogue for small-scale concertato church music and his published pieces are mostly in a more modern idiom. Clearly these were not written for the papal choir but for smaller musical establishments in Rome such as Spirito in Sassia, or for a provincial centre such as Fermo, where Allegri was living when they were published. The first book of Concertini has not survived, but the second (dedicated to Duke Giovanni Antonio Altaemps) is written in an unambitious post-Viadana idiom, neither melodious in the manner of the best north Italians nor ornamented. Some pieces include dance-like triple-time sections, but contrapuntal considerations still predominate. The five-part Dilectus meus is very like a late 16th-century madrigal in style, with delicate textural and rhythmic contrasts.»

  The last 28 october, the organist, conducter and lecturer David Trendell passed away. Probably the most important director of music at King’s College London, he developing the chapel choir into one of international standing. The Telegraph said: «He was a remarkable choral director, widely respected for his ability to mould students’ voices into a glorious sound, notably in the Renaissance music of the 16th century in general and of William Byrd in particular, about whom he also lectured at King’s.»

  This is my humble tribute. Requiescat in pace, maestro.

No hay comentarios: