Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Musica Sacra review

Musica Sacra gave me comps to their concert last Saturday, and that means I feel somewhat obligated to post a review here!

The concert was titled "Love, Lust and Laudations" and it was an exploration of Flemish choral music during the High Renaissance. It was a highly enjoyable concert; Musica Sacra is a sharp outfit, so what is there to say, really? Positive reviews are boring, but there it is. Tuning and expressiveness were impressive as always. And the diction! During much of the concert, I found myself profoundly glad that somebody had done the important and dedicated work of figuring out how to pronounce Renaissance Flemish French (or whatever that linguistic variation is called) and then practicing it enough to do it solidly and well. I also found myself profoundly glad that that person was not me, because wow, working that language into your mouth is hard and they had a lot of it! My one quibble might be that I felt some of the tempos were a bit too brisk, but on the other hand who can argue with excitement?

To make this more interesting, I will share with you my rips from the concert. During a lot of choral concerts I take the program and I make a little rip next to any piece that I especially like. The idea is that when I am doing my own programming I can go back to old programs I've saved and research pieces that have a little rip next to them (though to date I have always had enough program ideas that I've never actually done this.) Here's what I ripped from the Musica Sacra concert. If I remember why I ripped it, I will mention that!

En ce gracieulx mois de may, by Jean Courtois: This was the first chanson on the concert, and I ripped it b/c it was just pretty. Many of the chanson were charming, but this was the prettiest!

Elle n'eust s├žeu la chaleur esprouver, by Claude Le Jeune: This chanson ended the first half; I don't remember it as well as the first (see, this is why I do the rips!) but I think I ripped it b/c it was also pretty and romantic and had a slightly grand ending.

O Maria Vernans Rosa, and also Adesto Dolori Meo, both by Clemens Non Papa: Wow, I don't know Clemens all that well, which is probably why the serene beauty of both of these motets caught me a little off guard. No wonder people still sing this guy's music!

Cum Essem Parvulus, by Orlandus Lassus (we're in a French mode, here!): I chose this as much for the text as the music. This is a setting of 1 Corinthians 13:11-13, and
I have not found many (any?) settings of that text before, much less a beautiful one by Lassus.

Naturally if you wish to hear any of these pieces you can go and buy Musica Sacra's CD of this music. ;)

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