Towards Better Democracy

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Claudio Saracini – Stabat Mater


Claudio Saracini – Stabat Mater


The discussion that follows is spread across four posts, this one and

 

Giovanni Felice Sances – Stabat Mater, Carlos Mena, counter tenor; Philippe Pierlot, conductor

Fascinating contrast of interpretation this with the previous of the same composer’s work. At first blush you would be hard pressed to say that both performances are of the same work. About all that the two interpretations have in common is the use in each of a counter tenor. At no point does Pluhar treat the work as a Baroque composition but takes the performance style back to Rennaince. To choose a well know composer, Claudio Monteverdi, his dates are 1567 –  1643

Sances’ dates of c1600 – 1679 place him well before the two masters of the setting, Alessandro Scarlatti, 1724 and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, 1736 composed theirs. Phillippe Pierlot choses to follow firmly the later Baroque tradition with some nodding to the previous era with the word painting. Notable is having Carlos Mena switch registers. The instrumentation and pace are pure Baroque. These are all choices that Pierlot has made in his interpretation of how the work should be performed. The lush, smooth sound is pure modern.

These two recordings are a fascinating contrast of interpretation, this with the previous of the same composer’s work. At first blush you would be hard pressed to say that both performances are of the same work. About all that the two interpretations have in common is the use in each of a counter tenor. At no point does Pluhar treat the work as a Baroque composition but takes the performance style back to Rennaince. To choose a well know composer, Claudio Monteverdi, his dates are 1567 – 1643. This puts Sance’s musical style closer to that of Monteverdi than Pergolesi or Sacarlatti Senior. Pluhar has made a career of placing the music she and her performers play in the period prior to the Baroque complete with not simply authentic instruments but the correct ones, in her use of the theoboro for example.

On first meeting Sance’s work the inclination is it accept Pierlot’s interpretation as the correct one. In fact, we simply don’t know enough about performance styles before the baroque period. However, Pluhar’s approach is the historically correct one, however startling it at first seems.

My preference is for Pierlot’s interpretation is based purely on my familiarity and discovery of the Stabat Mater itself based on compositions written in the Baroque era.That Pluhar’s approach is closer to what we might have heard at the time is borne out by listening to Claudio Saracini’s Stabat Mater, a composer with whom I am quite unfamiliar. On the other hand Pluhar has made her career to put the music of Montiverdi and others firmly into the listener’s ear. In Monteverdi we have as fine as any that have lived. We owe her a great debt to what she has achieved. Prior to her instance on using instruments faithful to the time and a carefully researched playing style based on the best information available to allow her to recreate what contemporary listeners might have heard.

Still, listening to this recording of this composer’s, Saracini, work and that of Sance’s I am still rooted in the Baroque. That may simply be that new jewel equivalent to those of Pergolas and Scarlatti exist, or have not yet been discovered, in the previous era. These two works are poor compared to those just mentioned and to the works of Monteverdi.

When I was growing up Baroque was unknown to modern listeners. It took the efforts of a few conductions, notably Christopher Hogwood in England and Nikilas Harnoncourt to bring the Baroque into the modern world. The result was a revelation and a vastly increased audience. Few listeners don’t know or have not listened to Vivaldi, even if they are unaware of the fact since so much classical music gets buried in film scores unattributed.

 

 

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Giovanni Felice Sances – Stabat Mater, Carlos Mena, counter tenor; Philippe Pierlot, conductor


Giovanni Felice Sances – Stabat Mater 

Giovanni Felice Sances (c.1600-1679)
Stabat Mater-Stabat Mater
Carlos Mena – Alto
Ricercar Consort – Philippe Pierlot

Sances’ dates of c1600 – 1679 place him well before the two masters of the setting, Alessandro Scarlatti, 1724 and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, 1736 composed theirs. Phillippe Pierlot choses to follow firmly the later Baroque tradition with some nodding to the previous era with the word painting. Notable is having  Carlos Mena switch registers. The instrumentation and pace are pure Baroque. These are all choices that Pierlot has made in his interpretation of how the work should be performed. The lush, smooth sound is pure modern.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 18 October, 2016

Filed under: Media, poetry, songs, stories

Giuseppe Verdi – Stabat Mater


Giuseppe Verdi – Stabat Mater

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 18 October, 2016

Comment:
Despite the note in the previous post, Verdi, being Verdi, cannot bring himself to stick to the path that all his predecessors have chosen in his setting for this work. The Stabat Mater is  best realized as a subdued piece of music and Verdi is quite unable to tame his exuberance. The result is a slight work which is successful neither in terms of his own music nor as a notable example of the Stabat Mater form. The contrast with his Requiem is stark. To the one he brings little, to the latter one of the greatest examples we have this most solemn and majestic of musical  forms.

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Marco Frisina – Stabat Mater


Marco Frisina – Stabat Mater

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 18 October, 2016

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Alexandre Desplat – Syriana Suite


Alexandre Desplat – Syriana Suite

Malcolm  D B Munro
Monday 17 October, 2016

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

The words in Latin and English for the Stabat Mater Dolorosa


Stabat mater dolorósa
uxta Crucem lacrimósa,
dum pendébat Fílius.

Cuius ánimam geméntem,
contristátam et doléntem
pertransívit gládius.
O quam tristis et afflícta
fuit illa benedícta,
mater Unigéniti!

Quae mœrébat et dolébat,
pia Mater, dum vidébat
nati pœnas ínclyti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si vidéret
in tanto supplício?

Quis non posset contristári
Christi Matrem contemplári
doléntem cum Fílio?

Pro peccátis suæ gentis
vidit Iésum in torméntis,
et flagéllis súbditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriéndo desolátum,
dum emísit spíritum.

Eia, Mater, fons amóris
me sentíre vim dolóris
fac, ut tecum lúgeam.

Fac, ut árdeat cor meum
in amándo Christum Deum
ut sibi compláceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifíxi fige plagas
cordi meo válide.

Tui Nati vulneráti,
tam dignáti pro me pati,
pœnas mecum dívide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifíxo condolére,
donec ego víxero.

Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociáre
in planctu desídero.

Virgo vírginum præclára,
mihi iam non sis amára,
fac me tecum plángere.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passiónis fac consórtem,
et plagas recólere.

Fac me plagis vulnerári,
fac me Cruce inebriári,
et cruóre Fílii.

Flammis ne urar succénsus,
per te, Virgo, sim defénsus
in die iudícii.

Christe, cum sit hinc exíre,
da per Matrem me veníre
ad palmam victóriæ.

Quando corpus moriétur,
fac, ut ánimæ donétur
paradísi glória.

Amen.

At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?

For the sins of His own nation,
She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
All with scourges rent:

She beheld her tender Child,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
be Thy Mother my defense,
be Thy Cross my victory;

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 18 October, 2016

 

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

E. Rincón d’Astorga – Stabat Mater


Emanuele Rincón d’ Astorga  – Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra

The standard verses for the Stabat Mater are
1. Stabat mater dolorosa
2. O quam tristis et afflicta
3. Quis est homo, qui non fleret
4. Eia mater, fons amoris
5. Sancta mater, istud agas
6. Fac me tecum pie flere
7. Virgo virginum praeclara
8. Fac me plagis vulnerari
9. Christe quam sit hinc exire

Ghislieri Choir and Consort
Giulio Prandi, conductor

In line with the note on the posting of František Tůma’s Stabat Mater,
listening to that
 work and this shows the gravitas yet lightness of tone typical of these settings to the medieval hymn, in complete contrast to the Mass and other more solemn forms of Western religious music writing. Poor examples of this setting of the original hymn seem to levitatory and lack the balance that the finest examples so successfully achieve. In fact, listening across the centuries at examples of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa reveals that each composition is a variation on those previous composed. This adds to the difficulty of writing well a piece with an unusual set of restrictions. The symphony, for example, has a set but not fixed, form and does not limit the composer in this manner.

Why trawl through the countless compositions that exist of the Stabat Mater? Because, for the very reasons outlined in this note and the previous, the Stabat Mater is a form of religious musical writing that the writer favours and those jewels, the few outstanding examples of the setting, are known almost by heart. The very restraints imposed on the composer call from him the best of his compositional abilities.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 18 October, 2016

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

František Tůma – Stabat Mater


František Tůma – Stabat Mater

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 18 October, 2016

Note;
Within the Western tradition of religious musical
composition, the Stabat Mater Dolorosa occupies a particular position.
Despite the fact that the subject is solemn, the mother of Christ
is weeping over the death of her child, there is a lightness and almost
celebratory quality to the majority of compositions. Contrast this with
the solemnity with which almost all Requiems are treated. There is another
side to the
 Stabat Mater, though. Because the hymn has been set to music by so many
composers
 through to the present day a certain set of musical parameters
have been established. This restricts the limited in talent and frees the gifted which
is why, despite the hundreds of examples, only a handful stand out.
This piece is not one of them.

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Mikis Theodorakis – Requiem


Mikis Theodorakis – Requiem

Requiem to the texts of St. John of Damascus *

Performers:
Jeanne Polevtsova, mezzo-soprano
Lyubov Zhiltsova, soprano
Petr Migunov, bass
Aleksandr Timchenko, tenor
Choir, Children’s Choir and St. Petersburg State Academy Symphony Orchestra
Capella M.I. Glinka
Composer and conductor: Mikis Theodorakis

1. Evlogitos o Theos – 00:01
2. Evlogitos ei Kyrie – 12:09
3. Doxa – To Trilampes – 21:38
4. Pia tou Biou Tryfi – 27:09
5. Oimoi, Oion Agona – 30:34
6. Pou Estin i tou Kosmou – 36:58
7. Emnisthin Tou Profitou – 40:16
8. Kat’ Eikona Sin kai Omoiosin – 46:45
9. Doxa Patri – 50:12
10. Makarioi – 52:22
11. Exelthomen – 58:31
12. Amin – 1:05:04

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 18 October, 2016

* Note: Requiems are normally heard in the Western world in Latin. St. John of Damascus is a Father of the Greek Orthodox Church and, thus, the text is written and sung in Greek. Theodorakis is following the tonality and the long choral tradition of that church.

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Looking for the things I knew


I knew them in South Africa. I don’t know them here.
I was happy there.  I am not here.

And so to find now what I knew then, I have to look back
over the edge, the ledge, of thirty years. And it does not
seem so long. Perhaps because, being happy then, allows
those thoughts, those memories, to stay clear in the mind.

This is not sentiment. A longing for things lost. No. Those
things were real then and are still. Like living in Cape Town
and visiting it. How can one not miss a city like that. I tremble
as I write at the thought of what it was like.

The wide open spaces, the sun shine, the people open, friendly,
all colours, walks of life. And this in Apartheid time. Oh, but its
different no, people tell me.  How could it not be? But that is not
what I’m talking 
about and would not explain. It would be too tedious.
No. What I am
 speaking of is the person that I was then. That happy
person. That
 person lives within me still. So, why would one not
wish to reconnect
 with that person who was happy. To reach back
across the gap of
 years and live now as he lived then.

Whyever not.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday  18 October, 2016

Filed under: Arts, Media, Memoir, poetry, songs, stories

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