"New" Music Log

Started by Todd, April 06, 2007, 07:22:52 AM

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Todd



Tallis time.  I'm of course familiar with Thomas Tallis, and rather dig his Spem in Alium, but I've listened to comparatively little of his music.  This recording of a Mass for Four Voices and some Motets is basically the anti-Spem.  Simple, sparse, clear, this music occupies a different world.  One commonality is the striking beauty.  The simplicity, if anything, makes it more apparent.  Perhaps a deeper dive into Tallis' output is warranted.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Todd



I've yet to amass a even a medium sized Palestrina collection, but I am familiar enough with his work that I thought I ought to go for something big and juicy in the form of the Cantica Salomonis, or the Song of Songs, expressed in twenty-nine motets.  Oh yeah!  Well, not really.  So, the music is most excellent.  The singing, however, is not.  One can probably find fault in many places, but for me, the high voices are the problem.  There's an unappealing nature to the high parts.  It makes listening a chore.  (I think the high parts are taken by women only, though perhaps some boy sopranos are used.)  The lower voices sound more tonally alluring, but also less than tidy.  The Palestrina Ensemble Munich is not the most accomplished ensemble I have listened to.  As a slight saving grace, the few extra encores sounds slightly more appealing.  But overall, despite the involvement of living Schuberts, the recording cannot be counted a great success.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya

Todd



Now here's a composer I didn't know that I really needed to hear.  This is the second Mayr to pop up in my collection – Rupert Ignaz Mayr is the other one – and this Mayr has a claim to fame, such as it is, in the fact that he was a noted instructor of Italian bel canto opera composers, including Donizetti.  He was Bavarian by birth, but he ended up spending a lot of time working farther to the South.  This recording of not one, but two Messa di Gloria, one in E minor and one in F Minor, reveals Mr Mayr to be a composer of no little accomplishment.  The best shorthand here is to describe the music as a perfect blend of Carl Maria von Weber and Gioachino Rossini.  And that is why I really needed to hear this music.  Both works are in minor keys, but the energy levels bubble and the pace stays taut.  Severe religiosity is out; theatrical gestures are in.  Vibrance, showy set pieces for the soloists, and multiple very Weberian horn blats permeate the whole undertaking.  Mix in superb singing and really quite fine recorded sound, and this here is a winner.  It turns out that Mayr wrote gobs and gobs and gobs of music, including literally hundreds of liturgical movements that could be dropped in any old place.  It also turns out that conductor Franz Hauk is most devoted to Mayr's music and has recorded a decent chunk of it for Naxos.  I think I should probably investigate a bit more. 
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya