“Illuminations: Treasures of the Middle Ages”

This is a 30-minute documentary from channel BBC-Four entitled Illuminations: Treasures of the Middle Ages. Its a quite interesting documentary, which starts from an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge “which contains some of the world’s most important illuminated manuscripts which are highlighted and accessed for their place in the history of art and book production”. (mais…)

Documentary on Tomás Luis de Victoria

God’s Composer: Tomás Luis de Victoria is the title of a documentary that was aired on BBC 4 that is centered on the life and music of Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria. It is narrated by Simon Russell Beale (Sacred Music series) and the musical performance is by The Sixteen leaded by Harry Christophers. The documentary’s title seems a bit “commercial”. Although we only know sacred works by Victoria the term “God’s composer” seems to me a bit exaggerated. The music in this documentary comprises works like Sancta Maria, Succurre Miseris, Vidi Speciosam a 6, the double-choir setting of the Salve Regina among other masterpieces of this master. (mais…)

Of Matheo Romero and His Music

Yesterday I was listening to a cd by the Choeur de Chambre de Namur and La Fenice (dir. Jean Tubéry) featuring music by Matheo Romero I was wondering “how could I miss this wonderful composer?”. Indeed Romero’s music is extraordinary, especially his polychoral works. A motet (In Devotione a 8) and a psalm (Laudate Dominum a 12) were very colourful works full of movement… with the sackbutts and cornetts joining the voices. Just fantastic. I reminded me of Romero’s relations with the Chapel of Vila Viçosa and the subsequent contact with our King, the “great” D. João IV, who acquired many of Romero’s compositions for his Library. (mais…)

Jacques Attali on Music

«In the past twenty years, music has undergone yet another transformation. this mutation forecasts a change in social relations. Already, material production has been supplanted by the exchange of signs. Show business, the stars system, and the hit parade signal of a profound institutional and cultural colonization. Music makes mutations audible. It obliges us to invent categories and new dynamics to regenerate social theory, which today has become crystallized, entrapped, moribund.

Music, as a mirror of society, calls this truism to our attention: society is much more than economistic categories, Marxist or otherwise, would have us believe.

Music is more than an object of study: it is a way of perceiving the world. A tool of understanding. Today, no theorizing accomplished through language or mathematics can suffice any longer; it is incapable of accounting for what is essential in time – the qualitative and the fluid, threats and violence. In the face of the growing ambiguity of the signs being used and exchanged, the most well-established concepts are crumbling and every theory is wavering. The available representations of the economy, trapped within frameworks erected in the seventeenth century or, at latest, toward 1850, can neither predict, describe, nor even express what awaits us. (mais…)

Timothy Roberts on the Music of Andrea Gabrieli

«Just as, to most people, the name ‘Bach’ on its own will normally conjure up Johann Sebastian, so ‘Gabrieli’ normally refers to the great Giovanni, the composer of sumptuous and expressive church music whose fervour and directness give it a universality far beyond the particular Catholic liturgy that brought it into being. And, like Bach, the strength of Giovanni’s musical personality has tended to cast the work of his predecessors into deeper shadow; with our Darwinian attitudes to music history, it is all too easy to see earlier Venetian composers like Willaert, Rore, and Gabrieli’s own uncle, Andrea, as merely paving the way for the great man.» – Timothy Roberts, notes from Hyperion CD Andrea Gabrieli: Missa Pater Peccavi.

On the Importance of Latin Pronunciation

«The Significance of Latin Pronunciation in Music – At a time of increasing awareness of historical performing practice, it seems strange that many performers of text-based repertoire pay little attention to the pronunciation of Latin pronunciation is given by the 16th century European scholar Erasmus, who reported that although ambassadors from European monarchs to the court of the Emperor Maximilian all spoke Latin, none could understand the others, and all heartily mocked their colleague’s pronunciation. (mais…)