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Slideshow

Composer of the Week

Thomas Tallis (1505—1585)

'Spem in alium', a 40 forty-part motet by Elizabethan composer Thomas Tallis (c.1505 -- 1585) was composed and first performed at Nonsuch Palace England in c.1570. It is sung here by the Tallis Scholars conducted by Peter Phillips. The work is designed to be sung by eight choirs of five voices each (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass) standing in a horseshoe shape in order to accentuate the antiphonal effects of the work.
The video is accompanied by photographs of some of England's Gothic cathedrals including Canterbury, St Alban's, Peterborough, Lincoln, Ely, Durham, Salisbury, Westminster Abbey, Exeter, Winchester, Wells, York Minster, Beverley Minster, Bath Abbey, Kings Cambridge and Nonsuch Palace.

Thomas Tallis (1505—1585)
One of England’s greatest composers, Tallis served in the Chapel Royal for some four decades, composing under four different Monarchs who had widely differing religious sensibilities. He was among the first composers to set English words to music for the Church of England, although most of his vocal music is in Latin. During the reign of Edward VI, it was ruled that services be sung in English and that the choral music be brief and succinct ‘to each syllable a plain and distinct note’.

Copy and paste the link below to watch a recent performance of "Spem in alium"
Majestic Renaissance music, the striking surroundings of the Tate Modern in London, and a deeply moving experience...

https://www.classicfm.com/composers/tallis/tate-modern-ora-simgers-spem-in-alium/

Thomas Tallis (1505—1585)
One of England’s greatest composers, Tallis served in the Chapel Royal for some four decades, composing under four different Monarchs who had widely differing religious sensibilities. He was among the first composers to set English words to music for the Church of England, although most of his vocal music is in Latin. During the reign of Edward VI, it was ruled that services be sung in English and that the choral music be brief and succinct ‘to each syllable a plain and distinct note’. If Ye Love Me is the classic example of these new English anthems.
Thomas Tallis wrote was a composer that belongs to the Renaissance.

Renaissance
The Renaissance (c.1400-1600) was an era of discovery, innovation and exploration; the word itself means ‘rebirth’. The invention of the printing press liberated music to now be published and distributed. The Latin Mass is perhaps the most important type of music of the period, particularly that of Josquin des Prez. But non-vocal music flourished too, especially for instruments such as the sackbut and lute.

The relaxation of the Church’s political control meant that composers gained more freedom to be influenced by art, mythology, astronomy and maths. In the early Renaissance, most composers came from Northern France or the Low Countries, where the support provided by the courts was particularly strong. Later on, the focus moved to Italy. In Venice, Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli produced huge pieces for choir and ensembles. In Rome, Allegri and Palestrina wrote expansive choral works that still enthrall the ears

There’s no piece of music like Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium. It’s one of the most iconic works for the human voice, featuring the choir of 40 independent singers and interweaving lines of music.

Written 450 years ago in 1570, it’s a masterpiece of composition. Writing for 40 different voices requires elaborate musical architecture. Often the voices join one by one and sing in different combinations, but several times in the 10-minute piece, all 40 voices enter at the same time. The sound is majestic and overwhelming.


Hildegard von Bingen, O rubor sanguinis (with score)

Hildegard of Bingen was a saint, composer and poet. But it's only recently that her songs, writings and remarkable life and visions have been rediscovered.

She was born over 900 years ago and for most of her 80-plus years was shut away in an obscure hilltop monastery in the Rhineland. This remarkable woman had left behind a treasure-trove of illuminated manuscripts, scholarly writings and songs written for her nuns to sing at their devotions.

Her sublime, life-affirming music struck a chord with young professionals seeking solace and inspiration in a violent, troubled world. And so a recording of Hildegard’s music, A Feather On The Breath Of God, introducing the pure soprano of Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices, became an unexpected bestseller.

Today we think of Hildegard as one of the first identifiable composers in the history of Western music (most medieval composers were “Anon”). But there were no mentions of her music in any reference book before 1979 and she barely warranted an entry in the 1990 edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music.


To learn more go to:

https://www.classicfm.com/composers/bingen/guides/discovering-great-composers-hildegard-von-bingen/



Classic FM's Fast And Friendly Guide To Early Music

Watch this friendly guide to early music and answer the following questions.. you may need to watch it more than once...

How did it start, how it develop?
Exactly why did Tallis and Byrd have a stranglehold over it all?
Click on the link below to watch a performance of Byrd's music, the instrument that you are hearing is called the Lute.
Can you find out more about the lute? What is the difference between the lute and the guitar?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaCMIdmIPRg

Guido D'Arezzo. Ut Queant Laxis.

We are going to explore the History of Western Music which is divided in different periods.

Early Music

This period mainly compromises Medieval music (c.500–1400) and to some extent the Renaissance period. Various trends emerged in the 1100s, such as relatively large volumes of written notated polyphony and non-liturgical Latin song.

We are listening to Guido D' Arezzo's music (composer and inventor from the early music period)

I like you to listen to the music and answer the following questions:

Is there any particular place where you think this music maybe perform?

How many voices can you hear?

Is there harmony? Remember, harmony occurs when unless two different sounds are played or sang at the same time?

How does the music make you feel? Why?

Do you like it? Why?

Be curious and find out more about Guido D' Arezzo by answering the following questions:

When and where was Guido D' Arezzo born?

What was one of Guido D' Arezzo music pieces called?

What Guido D' Arezzo create for the world?

When did Guido D' Arezzo died?

Now watch this video to learn more about Guido D' Arezzo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-JMX7tVqog














Helikopter-Streichquartett (Helicopter Quartet) - Karlheinz Stockhausen

Introduction to 20th Century Music.

In the 20th century, a diverse range of new musical styles emerged that further challenged all the rules of earlier periods.

This week we are going to listen to a piece of music that belongs to New Complexity…

What is new complexity in music?

As we know, in the 20th Century, composers were looking for different ways to express themselves.

Some composers decided to really explore the possibilities within every dimension of the musical material.

As a results, the music may sometimes sound too complex for us to enjoy it or incredibly engaging and inspiring.

Stockhaussen’s Helicopter String Quartet

What is Helicopter String Quartet?

A string quartet refers to four musicians playing music together using the stringed musical instrument.

Therefore, a Helicopter String Quartet is about musicians playing the piece independently in four different helicopters.


The basic idea was to use the sounds of helicopter blades in conjunction with the music piece that could be recorded high up in the sky.

The individual recordings from the four musicians are then mixed down to a single track for audiences to listen.

The idea of using helicopter’s for the performance came from a dream.

What do you think about the piece? Do you like it?

Can you hear how the sounds of the helicopters are mixed with the sounds from the string quartet?

How does the music makes you feel?

Steve Reich - Six Pianos (At Home)


Introduction to 20th Century Music

In the 20th century, a diverse range of new musical styles emerged that further challenged all the rules of earlier periods.
One of the new musical styles was called Minimalism.

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is a form of art music or other compositional practice that employs limited or minimal musical materials and calls attention to the activity of listening.

Today we are going to listen to Six Pianos by Steve Reich.

This piece could be said to be the Marmite of contemporary music – in other words you’ll either love it or loathe it. It’s a pioneering piece of ‘minimalist’ music – relentlessly rhythmic and repetitive, and technically demanding on its performers. It begins with three pianists playing different notes to the same 8-beat pattern. Then two more pianists begin to
play the same pattern but shifted two beats out of phase. Different phase shifts of the same motifs fade in and out of the ever-changing musical texture for the duration of the piece. For some it’s hypnotic and fascinating; for others a form of torture!

As you could probably realised, these musicians were at home in lockdown! and managed to keep their passion for music going.
They have done this great recording! It is so inspiring!

What do you think about this music?
Do you like it?
How does the music makes you feel?
Imagine that you are the composer, as you listen to the piece, think for a moment, Is there anything that you like to change? Why?

Benjamin Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Op.34 - with Peter Pears

We are now exploring 20th Century Music.

We will start with a piece by Benjamin Britten (1913—1976).

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten was an English composer, conductor, and pianist.
He was a central figure of 20th-century British music.

As you watch this video, play attention to the sound of each instrument.

Can you write the name of the instruments and a short description of them?

Is there any instrument or instruments that you like to play? Why?




Ravel: Boléro - BBC Proms

Maurice Ravel (1875–1937).

Ravel’s famous orchestral work dates from 1928. Just before embarking on a tour of America, he was commissioned by the Russian ballerina and dance impresario Ida Rubinstein to compose the music for a ballet, provisionally called Fandango. The piece enjoyed a spectacular revival when Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean ice danced their way to Gold Medal victory at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, becoming the highest scoring figure skaters of all time.

Ravel was absolutely insistent that the tempo of Bolero should remain constant throughout its 15 minutes, and the work is a feat of stamina for the snare drummer!

Listen carefully, and observe how a single melody is passed around the orchestra and it is played by different instruments!

How many different instruments played the main melody?

What are the names of the instruments?

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 Mov. 2. Rachmaninov’s second Piano Concerto is often described as the greatest piano concerto ever written.


Sergei Rachmaninov (1873—1943)

Rachmaninov’s second Piano Concerto is often described as the greatest piano concerto ever written. It may be the United Kingdom’s favourite piece of classical music, coming in at No. 1 in the Ultimate Classic FM Hall of Fame – the Top 300 chart of all-time favourite classics, which collated almost three million votes over a period of 20 years. When it was first heard in 1900, the critics and public were enthralled. Glorious melody after glorious melody flowed from the keyboard, the dialogue between orchestra and soloist was divine and Rachmaninov undoubtedly had a hit on his (rather large) hands.

The Romantic period began around 1830 and ended around 1900. During it, the restrictive musical rules of the Classical era were thrown out. Orchestral forces were expanded enabling composers to express their deepest emotions and passions. New sounds and colours were introduced to the orchestra, thanks to the inclusion of varied woodwind and percussion instruments.

Expansive symphonies, virtuosic piano music and passionate songs took their inspiration from art, literature and the twists and turns of life itself.

ELGAR CELLO CONCERTO, JACQUELINE DU PRE-1st Movement of Elgar's Cello Concerto as performed by cellist Jacqueline Du Pre with Daniel Barenboim conducting the London Philharmonic in 1967.

Edward Elgar- born in England (1857-1934)

Edward Elgar's father was a musician who tuned pianos, owned a music shop and was employed as a church organist. The young Edward learned to play the organ and violin at a young age, and composed his first short piece at the age of 10. His first job was as assistant organist to his father. His main love was composition.

Elgar Cello Concerto- 1st Movement.

Most concertos take some time to come to their main point; if they don’t make you wait until the slow movement, and many do, they at least keep the listener waiting through a short orchestral introduction. Elgar was having none of it. Somebody once said that the way he chooses to open his Cello Concerto, with those tortured chords sounding as if they have to be excavated from the cello, is as if Shakespeare had started Hamlet with ‘To be or not to be’.

After watching the performance, write down a list of words that describes Jacqueline's Du Pre performance.
Find out more about Jacqueline Dupre, one of the greatest cellist in the world.

Chopin Nocturne Op.55 No.1 By Arthur Rubinstein (15/154)


Listen and follow the score!

Remember!

Every dot represents a single sound!

Try to follow the score!

Be curious!

How did the music made you feel?

What did you enjoy?

Why?

What you didn't you enjoy?

Why?


Seong-Jin Cho - Chopin: Ballade No.1 In G Minor, Op.23 | Yellow Lounge

Watch this amazing performance of Chopin's Ballade No.1 In G Minor

Frédéric Chopin was one of the greatest pianists of his day.

He is an important figure of the Romantic period in Music.

In the Romantic, expressing feelings through music was very important.

Chopin was born in a town just outside of Warsaw, Poland.

His mother introduced him to the piano; by the time he was six.

Chopin played extremely well and was starting to compose.

He gave his first concert at the age of eight.

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