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Alessandro Striggio & Bach

OT: Alessandro Striggio: Missa sopra Ecco s beato for 60 voices released on CD

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 22, 2011):
Decca UK has recorded and released this jewel of renaissance polyphony. Irish musicologist David Moroney spent 20 years searching European archives trying to find the music and researched its genesis and impact on Thomas Tallis and You can see a most excellent documentary about the music here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ls_9id5ba4

Decca's short documentary filmed during their recording sessions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDUDWvB31lU

And here is the Amazon link to purchase the CD/DVD: Amazon.com

I'm not sure why the CD label has 40 voices on the cover, I'm guessing they either didn't record the section of the Mass with 60 voices, or they somehow used smaller forces.

Enjoy!

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 22, 2011):
OT. Alessandro Striggio: - Bach & Polychoral Music

Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< Decca UK has recorded and released this jewel of renaissancepolyphony. Irish musicologist David Moroney spent 20 years searchingEuropean archives trying to find the music and researched its genesis and impact on Thomas Tallis and You can see a most excellent documentary about the music here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ls_9id5ba4 >
This really isn't off-topic. Polychoral music was a staple of Bach's weekly repertoire. The Venetian tradition of multiple choirs lasted in German Lutheran and Catholic churches long after it had ceased to be fashionable south of the alps.

Almost every Sunday, Bach's choir sang Latin motets for 8 voices in two choirs. That is the principal reason for Bach's plea to the council for more voices. Four of the six Bach motets are written for double choir, and of course this tradition reaches its acme in the three choirs of the St. Matthew Passion.

The documentary above gives us a good example of the way in which voices were doubled in the 16th & 17th centuries. This was important in most churches where the choirs were not spatially separated but were placed side by side (this was undoubtedly Bach's custom as well). The musical contrast was provided not by distance but by instrumental colour ("choirs" of strings, winds and brass). We see this tradition as late as the Bach motets, for which several sets of parts survive: strings for the first choir and winds for the second choir.

The question I have never been able to find an answer is whether the instrumentalists which Bach gathered each week for his cantatas also played in the motets and indeed in the hymns as well. It would have been straightforward to give them the printed motet and hymn books and assign them parts to double.

This might explain why Bach nearly always asks the instrumentalists to double the cantata chorales at pitch. Rarely does he ask the violins, flutes or oboes to double the soprano and alto lines and octave above where they would be more audible and provide a more luxurious sound. Perhaps that was the "sound" expected in chorales.

If the city musicians were expected to be in the choir loft, there's a good chance that Bach used them outside the cantatas. That would mean that there was an orchestral texture to the whole service that we can hear in the
documentary's excerpts.

Now only if there was documentary evidence.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 23, 2011):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< This really isn't off-topic. Polychoral music was a staple of Bach's weekly repertoire. The Venetian tradition of multiple choirs lasted in German Lutheran and Catholic churches long after it had ceased to be fashionable south of the alps. >
What Striggio did he was much more complicated than what happened later in Venice, and did it quite a bit earlier than they did. And reading between the lines, it appears Munich's chapel was using instrumentalists for "multi-choired" music at the time of the Striggio mass, long before the Venice connection had any impact on music making in Germany. It's a minor distinction, but an important one I think. Brian Clark prepared the edition for this recording and it's available via King's Music (link http://www.kings-music.co.uk/). I know several choral ensembles and conductors would be interested in either studying the music or performing it. I find it fascinating that Tallis knew this mass and apparently quoted it in his more famous large scale "Spem"

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 23, 2011):
Kim Patrick Clow wrote:
< I find it fascinating that Tallis knew this mass and apparently quoted it in his more famous large scale "Spem" >
The Tallis 40-part motet in 8 choirs is usually compared with the Striggio 40-part motet in 10 choirs, "Ecce Beatam Lucem" which was known to have been sung in Munich during Lassus' tenure. That would suggest that in the 1550's Striggio may have been the "inventor" of the monster polychoral technique which we conveniently call "Venetian" because Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli wrote such important choral music with independent instrumental parts in the last quarter of the 16th century.

I was once assigned part 39 in the Tallis motet to sing and being rather overwhelmed as the vocal sound approached me like some gigantic musical tsunami. There are more musical lines in that work than in the Mahler "Symphony of a Thousand".

William Hoffman wrote (May 23, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thank you for discussing Striggio, Tallis and Mahler in the same breath. I had the good fortune 30 years ago to sing a choruses-only rehearsal of Mahler's "Veni Creator Spiritus," without the big orchestra. It was overwhelming.

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 23, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Thank you for discussing Striggio, Tallis and Mahler in the same breath. I had the good fortune 30 years ago to sing a choruses-only rehearsal of Mahler's "Veni Creator Spiritus," without the big orchestra. It was overwhelming. >
I was rather thrilled to discover that this Striggio CD was outselling Eminem and Bon Jovi in Britain's pop Chart. (I love both them BTW) but still it's remarkable this CD is outselling them ;)

Bruce Simonson wrote (May 25, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Thank you for discussing Striggio, Tallis and Mahler in the same breath. I had the good fortune 30 years ago to sing a choruses-only rehearsal of Mahler's "Veni Creator Spiritus," without the big orchestra. It was overwhelming. >
Hmm. Let's put a top five list together of double/multiple chorus a cappella works. I'll name three for starters, and reserve two spaces for myself, for later:

Tallis - Spem in alium
Bach - Singet dem Herrn
Mendelssohn - Hora est

What are the top five for you folks?

Kim Patrick Clow wrote (May 25, 2011):
[To Bruce Simonson] Striggio is the kind of the hill after having heard the CD, hands down.

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 26, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< What are the top five for you folks? >
Palestrina: Stabat Mater
Victoria: Salve Regina
Gabrieli: Magnificat (33 voices in 7 choirs)
Schutz: Magnificat
Schumann: Four Songs for Double Choir

William Hoffman wrote (May 26, 2011):
Bruce Simonson wrote:
< What are the top five for you folks? >
Mahler, Tallis, Streggio
Biber: Missa Salisburgensis
Cavalli: Messa Concertata

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 26, 2011):
William Hoffman wrote:
< Biber: Missa Salisburgensis >
A truly spectacular piece of junk -- and vastly entertaining. There are not many pieces that manage to be as feebly repetitive and compellingly vulgar as the opening of the Kyrie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJAQ7Po9l7U&feature=related

 

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Last update: June 27, 2011 22:24:09