Author Topic: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?  (Read 1813 times)

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Online Biffo

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2019, 03:25:49 AM »
Is the text of the lamentations in prose or in verse. I think the magnificat is a prose piece, which creates special problems for a musical setting I guess.

By the way let me take the opportunity to recommend the strange strophic Quadris lamentations on this CD



Both are prose - the Lamentations are taken from the Book of Jeremiah and the Magnificat from the Gospel of Luke. This hasn't been a problem for the countless composers who have set them down the centuries. Likewise the numerous settings of the Mass.

Offline deprofundis

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2019, 03:41:33 AM »
very interesting, quite enlightening I should says, thanks
folks for details & explications very clever.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2019, 03:50:14 AM »
Both are prose - the Lamentations are taken from the Book of Jeremiah and the Magnificat from the Gospel of Luke. This hasn't been a problem for the countless composers who have set them down the centuries. Likewise the numerous settings of the Mass.

Prose is often wordier than verse and verse sometimes has a syllabic or rhythmic structure which can help the task of creating a musical setting,.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2019, 03:55:15 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2019, 04:12:59 AM »
The concept of a lamentation seems to have a life of its own, beyond the liturgy. So there are lamentation motets, like Dufay's Lamentatio sanctae matris ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, and there are instrumental lamentations, like Froberger's "Lamentation - faite sur la mort très douloureuse de Sa Majesté Imperial Ferdinand le troisième"




As far as magnificat settings are concerned, I've enjoyed Part's very homophonic setting very much

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/b4NY3iXMBTc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/b4NY3iXMBTc</a>

and it may be worth mentioning Stravinsky's lamentations

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/_RpOOgOeab0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/_RpOOgOeab0</a>
« Last Edit: December 13, 2019, 04:19:53 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline deprofundis

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2019, 04:21:14 AM »
Merci Mandryka cher ami, dear Mandryka you seem to know your stuff sir.

Offline dissily Mordentroge

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2019, 05:31:38 PM »
A small diversion some describe as a baroque lollypop.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVCtCxnJyKY

Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2019, 02:37:13 AM »
In the 16th century, composers often set part or all of the odd numbered verses of the magnificat, the even numbered verses were intoned.  The melody of the polyphonic settings was sometimes taken from the chant which preceded it. The number of voices used for the polyphonic music varied from verse to verse.

Although the magnificat is prose, each verse falls into two parts and the music often marks this caesura. Here's the text with the caesura marked with an asterisk

Quote
1. Magnificat* anima mea Dominum

2. Et exultavit Spiritus meus* in Deo salutari meo.

3. Quia respexit humilitatem Ancillae suae:* Ecce enim ex hoc Beatam me dicent omnes generations.

4. Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est:* Et sanctum nomen ejus

5. Et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies* timentibus eum

6. Fecit potentiam in brachio suo* dispersit superbos mente cordis sui

7. Deposuit potentes de sede* et exaltavit humiles

8. Esurientes implevit bonis* et divites dimsisit thanes

9. Suscepit Israhel puerum suum* memorari misericordiae

10. Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros* Abraham et semini eius in saecula

11. Gloria Patri, et Filio,* et Spiritui Sancto

12. Sicut eras in principio, et nunc, et semper,* et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

There was, of course, the possibility of using the polyphonic music to express the meaning of the text in some way, so it may be useful to have a translation here.

Quote
1. My soul magnifies the Lord

2. And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;

3. Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;

4. Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;

5. And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.

6. He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.

7. He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.

8. He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.

9. He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy

10. Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

11. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the
Holy Spirit

12. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall
be, world without end. Amen.








« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 02:51:45 AM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2019, 02:49:04 AM »
the Magnificat is song of praise for the Virgin Mary, celebrating her role as mother of the Christ child.



Sure, but you can see how there's scope for a varied  expressive range, for example in

Quote
Esurientes implevit bonis
He has filled the hungry with good things

the composer may choose to represent hunger

And of course

Quote
Quia respexit humilitatem Ancillae suae
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid

My own experience is that close listening of c16 magnificats reveals a lot of expressive things going on.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 12:21:59 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2019, 12:41:43 PM »
Lamentations are sorrowful  a


And even there in fact it's more interesting than that.  Take an example.  Lamed sounds as though it should be sorrowful

Quote
Lamed. Matribus suis dixerunt: Ubi est triticum
et vinum? cum deficerent quasi vulnerati in
plateis civitatis, cum exhalarent animas suas in
sinu matrum suarum.

They said to their mothers, “Where is the wheat and the
wine?” when they fainted as the wounded in the city
squares, when their soul was poured out into their
mothers’ bosom.


But I don't hear it that way on the new recording of the Brumel Good Friday lamentations, parts of it sound quite jolly to me.


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Online Biffo

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2019, 05:27:48 AM »
And even there in fact it's more interesting than that.  Take an example.  Lamed sounds as though it should be sorrowful
 

But I don't hear it that way on the new recording of the Brumel Good Friday lamentations, parts of it sound quite jolly to me.




A setting of Lamentations not written for liturgical use and here sung in an arrangement for an all-female choir is hardly typical. Settings of the Lamentations were written for the the most solemn part of the Christian calendar and composers took them very seriously even if you don't.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2019, 07:02:40 AM »
A setting of Lamentations not written for liturgical use and here sung in an arrangement for an all-female choir is hardly typical. Settings of the Lamentations were written for the the most solemn part of the Christian calendar and composers took them very seriously even if you don't.

What I'd really like is for you to listen to the lamed, because it may be that my judgement of the affect of the music is completely up the wall; I  don't think that the feeling a bit of music gives rise to in one listener can be generalised to all listeners -- why should it be? 

As far as the liturgical role of the Brumel Lamentations is concerned. after noting that the lamentations have a structure which in some way (which I haven't fully understood yet) corresponds to the conventions of Latin tragedy, Laurie Stras makes this comment

Quote
Reading the setting in this way
makes sense if the manuscript originated in
a confraternity, the lay brotherhoods that
formed the basis of so much of Florence’s
cultural, political, and religious life. Some
indications in P.M.’s manuscript suggest
that it may have belonged to the flagellant
confraternity, the Buca di San Paolo.
Generations of Medici princes were members
of San Paolo, and of the youth confraternity
of San Giovanni Evangelista that shared its
premises. The ‘Vangelista’ were known for
their theatrical productions (including a play
by Lorenzo the Magnificent himself), and
San Paolo held elaborate feasts on Maundy
Thursday which were followed by music
and devotional practices. San Paolo would
be exactly the kind of environment in which
Brumel’s Lamentations might have been performed, separate but not wholly divorced
from their liturgical place as darkness fell
between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday



As far as the performance goes, we read

Quote
Some of the works on this disc, including
Brumel’s Lamentations, have been transposed
into ranges appropriate for female voices, as
was customary for convent choirs throughout
the medieval and early modern periods. Organ
and viol accompaniment was common practice
in convents to sustain lower parts.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2019, 07:17:00 AM »
Mandryka, I think what is missing from your thinking about Lamentations (btw, what is "lamed"? Is it a reference to the Hebrew letter (chapter) in the original text?) is the fact of the origin of the text. 

The book of the Hebrew Bible is called Eicha, after the first word of the text - the Book of Jeremiah.  The entire text is mourning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.  It is recited each year on Tisha b'Av (the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av), with the congregation sitting on the floor with only candle light.  Those are customary positions of mourners.  There is nothing lighthearted about the text or the recitation/chanting - which can be quite moving.

Catholics took up the text for Easter week, and similarly it is a serious time of contemplating the days of suffering and crucifixion of Jesus prior to the Resurrection, which is joyful.  But the Lamentations are sung on the days prior to Easter Sunday.

Any performance which does not exhibit the mournful and serious tone would be outside the tradition and context of the text(s).  And while you may find them interesting, or entertaining, you must accept that they are outlier performances.

Peter Phillips has recorded the Brumel Lamentations, and says this about the work:

Quote
Brumel’s only surviving set of Lamentations, one of the most beautiful in the repertory, is also one of the most sombre, building up a rare mood of desolation by low scoring and slow harmonic movement. As was customary, the Hebrew letters (in this case Heth and Caph) are set separately from the main body of the text; less usual was the conception of the last section in triple time, though this suits rather well the accents in the word ‘Ierusalem’.

Changing the pitch to accommodate female voices, goes against the composer's specific intention of the low tesitura for a mournful effect.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 07:26:05 AM by San Antone »

Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2019, 07:25:59 AM »
Mandryka, I think what is missing from your thinking about Lamentations (btw, what is "lamed"? Is it a reference to the Hebrew letter (chapter) in the original text?) is the fact of the origin of the text. 

The book of the Hebrew Bible is called Eicha, after the first word of the text - the Book of Jeremiah.  The entire text is mourning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.  It is recited each year on Tisha b'Av (the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av), with the congregation sitting on the floor with only candle light.  Those are customary positions of mourners.  There is nothing lighthearted about the text or the recitation/chanting - which can be quite moving.

Catholics took up the text for Easter week, and similarly it is a serious time of contemplating the days of suffering and crucifixion of Jesus prior to the Resurrection, which is joyful.  But the Lamentations are sung on the days prior to Easter Sunday.

Any performance which does not exhibit the mournful and serious tone would be outside the tradition and context of the text(s).  And while you may find them interesting, or entertaining, you must accept that they are outlier performances.

I'm not saying that ALL setting of the lamentations are like Brumel's setting of ל. I'm just talking about my thoughts about that particular performance of that particular bit of music. I don't know about outliers and inliers.

But the important thing for me, apart from the discovery of the Brumel, is the notion of dramatic settings of lamentations.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2019, 07:27:02 AM »
I'm not saying that ALL setting of the lamentations are like Brumel's setting of ל. I'm just talking about my thoughts about that particular performance of that particular bit of music. I don't know about outliers and inliers.

I added this to my previous post, which you may not have seen :

Quote
Brumel’s only surviving set of Lamentations, one of the most beautiful in the repertory, is also one of the most sombre, building up a rare mood of desolation by low scoring and slow harmonic movement. As was customary, the Hebrew letters (in this case Heth and Caph) are set separately from the main body of the text; less usual was the conception of the last section in triple time, though this suits rather well the accents in the word ‘Ierusalem’.

Changing the pitch to accommodate female voices, goes against the composer's specific intention of the low tesitura for a mournful effect.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2019, 07:28:31 AM »
I added this to my previous post, which you may not have seen :

Changing the pitch to accommodate female voices, goes against the composer's specific intention of the low tesitura for a mournful effect.

Great! Good work.

I want to hear the Brumel sung by men.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2019, 07:32:03 AM »
Quote
But the important thing for me, apart from the discovery of the Brumel, is the notion of dramatic settings of lamentations.

My understanding from what you quoted was that the drama was a Passion Play, i.e. an enactment of Jesus' suffering, not the text of Lamentations which might have been sung as part of the performance.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2019, 07:32:32 AM »
Though I spoke to soon!

I have a feeling that the Lamentations which Peter Philips is talking about are not at all the same as the lamentations that Musica Secreta recorded, even if both are arguably by the same composer. Can someone confirm.

So irt may well be hasty to  conclude that
Quote
Changing the pitch to accommodate female voices, goes against the composer's specific intention of the low tesitura for a mournful effect.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2019, 07:33:37 AM »
My understanding from what you quoted was that the drama was a Passion Play, i.e. an enactment of Jesus' suffering, not the text of Lamentations which might have been sung as part of the performance.

We need to all slow down and read the booklet.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2019, 07:34:11 AM »
Though I spoke to soon!

I have a feeling that the Lamentations which Peter Philips is talking about are not at all the same as the lamentations that Musica Secreta recorded, even if both are arguably by the same composer. Can someone confirm.

So irt may well be hasty to  conclude that

Included in this set:



Lamentations of Jeremiah
Antoine Brumel (c1460-1512/13)
Lamentations 2: 8, 11
The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)

He doesn't include the entire work, but three movements:
   
Lamentations of Jeremiah
Antoine Brumel (c1460-1512/13)
   
Heth. Cogitavit Dominus dissipare [3'03]
Caph. Defecerunt prae lacrimis oculi mei [3'52]
Jerusalem, Jerusalem [2'08]
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 07:39:45 AM by San Antone »

Online Mandryka

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Re: Lamentations, Magnificats is it you're cup of tea?
« Reply #39 on: December 16, 2019, 07:35:28 AM »
I'll check it later, I don't think it's the same music. There's a lot of good stuff online here

https://musicasecreta.com/from-darkness-into-light-short-documentary-film
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