Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882 – 1971) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor who later composed in France and the United States, as well. His compositional style was first developed in his “Russian phase,” when he pushed the bounds of music through his neoclassical phase. His ballet,  Rites of Spring in Paris, shocked its Parisian audience and stirred a riot of sorts. Indeed, the subject of the ballet was, itself shocking: it portrays a primitive spring rite in which a virgin is prepared and sacrificed, hardly a common subject of prior music. Music pounds and is jarring as it whips up a feverish atmosphere which, according the audience, might be appropriate in the forest, but inappropriate to the concert hall. That was one of the early negative audience reactions to “modern music,”  which defied many of the rules and assumptions of Romantic Era music which continued as the foundation of popular music, familiar to the public throughout the 20th century, Stravinsky certainly was revolutionary; but to say so risks understatement.

Symphony of Psalms
NU Chorale & Symphonic Wind Ensemble April 21, 2007
Pt 1

Pt 2

Portions

NU Chorale & Symphonic Wind Ensemble March 4, 2007

2/2

1st mvt

2nd mvt

3rd mvt
1/2

2/2

Mass
Part (1/2)

Mass (2/2)

Kyrie

Gloria

Credo

Agnus Dei

Requiem Canticles
part 1/2

part 2/2

 

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Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)

Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963) was born in Paris. His mother was an amateur pianist, who first taught him to play piano. He was introduced to the music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel by a Spanish pianist friend, Riccardi Viñes.  He also was introduced to a bookshop, the Maison des Amis des Livres, where, he met a number of avant-garde poets, whose poetry became a source of lyrics for various of his songs. In those early years, he was heavily influenced by the music of Debussy, Satie, Chabrie and Stravinsky, who, at that time, were considered among the members of “The Six,” a group of then popular French and French influenced composers. Stravinsky became a champion of Poulenc’s early music.

Seeking solace after the tragic deaths of a number of his friends, including fellow composer, Pierre- Octave Ferroud, in 1935, he retreated to a monastic Benedictine community, high in the mountains overlooking a tributary of the River Dordogne. There he had a life-changing spiritual experience, which led to his composition of a number of sacred choral works in a more mature, less flippant style.
During the Second World War, he joined the “Comité de Front National des Musiciens,” associated with the French Communist Party, and the French Resistance. He wrote for the piano, opera, ballet, orchestra, and instrumental chamber music (he was especially fond of wind instruments), including music for two pianos, film music, song cycles for solo voice, chansons, cantatas and other religious music.

Composers of the early 20th Century rebelled against what was considered to be the culmination and excesses of traditional, or “classical” music in late Romanticism, resulting in several waves anarchical muical experiments, including atonalism, aleatoric (or chance) music, music for “prepared piano” of John Cage (in which the strings of the piano are prepared with various devices to alter the normal, hammer driven, sounds, and the strings were activated by direct contact with fingers or other objects, resulting, toward the end Poulenc’s life, in further reaction to the resulting musical chaos in Minimalism. Through that time, Poulenc’s music remained fundamentally tonal, although he did experiment with some later works in 12-tone rows, or atonalism. Nonetheless, lyricism remained a mark of his music.

Gloria – IV. Domine fili

UWL Choral Union
Gloria 1

Gloria 2

Gloria 3

Gloria 4

Laudamus te

Qui Sedes Ad Dexteram Patris

 

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Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967)

Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967) was a Hungarian composer who, also, was fascinated with the folk music of his country. Early in the 20th century he traveled throughout Hungary, visiting villages, and recording their folk music on recording equipment then available: the phonograph cylinder, precursor to the phonograph flat “record.”   He was a contemporary of Béla Bartok, and they collaborated in their studies of their native folksong, and the compositions of each reflect that.

Kodaly was influential in the development of music education in his country. His method became known as the ” Kodály Method,” which was highly esteemed and adopted in music education of a number of different countries, including the United States.
He wrote a couple of operas and a significant number of orchestral pieces. His best known religious music was Psalmus Hungaricus.

Psalmus Hungaricus
(Part 1 of 3)

(Part 2 of 3)

(Part 3 of 3)

 

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Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 –1958) was an English composer not only of symphonies, chamber music, opera and choral music, but also of film scores. During this era, many composers were collecting folksongs of their native regions.  Vaughan Williams did likewise.  It strongly influenced his arrangements and settings of hymn tunes and other larger composition. The conductor, Stokowski, introduced Vaughan Williams to the American audiences, performing each of his six symphonies. He was a fellow student of Gustav Holst, who was perhaps best known for his orchestral suite, The Planets.
Perhaps he is best known in the Protestant churches for his composition of “For All the Saints:”
a cappella performance:

with organ accompaniment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qoSQI-JGI4 he will tell
with orchestra and organ accompaniment:

Here’s a fascinating interpretation and transformation of the melody and choral parts:

His Mass in G Minor:

Part 1 of 2

 

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Leos Janecek (1854 – 1928)

 

Leos Janecek (1854 – 1928) was a Czechoslovakian composer and music theorist who was inspired by his native Slavic and Moravian folk music. He was also influenced by the music of Antonin Dvorak who, himself, was influenced by folk music not only of his homeland, but of other places that he lived, including America. Janecek used local folk melodies to develop his own original musical style.
Although best known for his orchestral and piano compositions, he also wrote choral music. He is best known in liturgical music for his Glagolitic Mass, or, Slavonic Mass for soloists, double choir, organ and orchestra, completed in 1926. It is based upon an Old Church Slavonic text, which differs from the Roman Catholic mass by omitting the “Dona nobis pacem.”

Janáček was a strong supporter of pan-Slavism, and this mass has been viewed as a celebration of Slavic culture.

Glagolitic Mass [1/8]

Glagolitic Mass [2/8]

Glagolitic Mass [3/8]

Glagolitic Mass [4/8]

Glagolitic Mass [5/8]

Glagolitic Mass [6/8]

Glagolitic Mass [7/8]

Glagolitic Mass [8/8]

For a beautiful example of a contemporary of Janacek, see Beati quorum via integra est [How blessed are faithful souls which undefiled are] (Psalm 119:1) – Charles Villiers Stanford at http://bibleasmusic.com/beati-quorum-via-integra-est-how-blessed-are-faithful-souls-which-undefiled-are-psalm-119-1-charles-villiers-stanford/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheBibleAsMusic+%28The+Bible+as+Music%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

 

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Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (1858 – 1924)

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (1858 – 1924) is the greatest opera composer in the Italian style to follow Verdi, developing his own Realistic style. He is perhaps best known for Madame Butterfly, La Bohème and Tosca. As with his predecessor, Verdi, Puccini’s sacred music benefits greatly from his opera experience. However, his sacred works don’t begin to challenge the special place in liturgical music possessed by Verdi’s Requiem.

Messa di Gloria
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQIMkQ4XFQE

GLORIA from Puccini’s Messa di Gloria

REQUIEM

 

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Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (1813 –1901)

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (1813 –1901) represents the height of Romantic Italian opera. He probably is best known for his operas, La Traviata and Aida. He a wrote a Requiem Mass, which benefits greatly from his theatrical experience, and a few other smaller sacred pieces. It is so theatrical and popular that there seems to be more YouTube videos of great performances of this mass than any other that I have researched to this point.

Requiem

BBC Prom 13 -BBC documentary , discussing the theatricality of the Requiem which threatened to lose official church sanction, and his inclusion of women that had to be hidden to obtain that sanction

Performance with Margaret Price, Jessye Norman, José Carreras, Ruggero Raimondi, and Claudia Abado

Performance with Karajan conducting La Scala Orchestra and Chorus of Milan

Performance with Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossoto, Luciano Pavarotti, Nikolai Ghiaurov

“Dies Irae” from Requiem, conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Verdi:Requiem-Bernstein-Arroyo-Veasey-Domingo-R.Raimondi

 

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