Sacred Music of the Baroque and the Classical

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dulcinea
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Sacred Music of the Baroque and the Classical

Post by dulcinea » Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:15 pm

:D How inspired are you by the sacred music of the Baroque and the Classical? I was motivated to learn the Ordinary of the Mass by the Masses of Haydn and Mozart.
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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:09 pm

Well, I was "inspired" to learn the Ordinary of the Mass by being raised by a Catholic church musician from prior to Vatican II.

I flatter myself that I appreciate the great choral/vocal masterpieces of the Baroque and Classical periods (in particular I am a Bach cantata nut), but by the time I learned them, I was no longer capable of being inspired in a specifically religious way, as apart from the effect of the great secular works of the same composers.

In terms of a religious ethos permeating a body of music (whatever that means; I know I am being fuzzy), I find both Gregorian chant and the sacred music of the Renaissance far more convincing than anything written after 1600, which always has a humanistic if not positively secular strain. If I were still religious, it is in those repertories that I would drink my fill. The one exception might be those very Bach cantatas. In all our rush to explain why Bach is not different, only better, we can forget that he is sometimes different. In his sacred works, his pietism is almost sui generis, reflecting nothing of the exquisitely naive purity of earlier religious music on the one hand or the influence of humanism or secularism on the other.

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dulcinea
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Sacred Music of the Baroque and Classical

Post by dulcinea » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:29 pm

:D Until 1972, when I first heard a recording of the PAUKENMESSE, the only sacred music I knew--apart from Christmas music--was organ, hymns, plain chant and gregorian chant. That sulfurous diabolical CRAP did not inspire in me anything but the most hellish boredom; had it not been for the fiery preaching of Father Jose Gallo--who started his service as a padre in the Nationalist army during the Spanish War of 1936-39--, I would have slept through every Mass of my childhood and adolescence. The PAUKENMESSE changed all that; this was REAL MUSIC! With REAL EMOTION, REAL FERVOR and REAL BEAUTY! Suddenly I had a reason to pay attention at Mass; I appointed myself my very own Kapellmeister, and sang to myself every verse of the Haydn and Mozart Masses, all the while dreaming the most ecstatic visions. Shall I tell you what I visualize when singing to myself the HARMONIEMESSE? The slow majestic Kyrie is the Chosen People crossing into the Holy Land. The fast exciting Gloria is Joshua conquering the Holy Land. The fast dynamic Credo is Samson defeating the Philistines. The slow dramatic Sanctus is David being anointed as King of the Jews. The fast cheerful Benedictus is David dancing with all his strength in front of the Ark of the Covenant. The solemn Agnus Dei is Solomon consecrating the Temple, and the powerful Dona Nobis Pacem is Yahweh accepting it. DONA NO-OBIS, DONA NOBIS PACEM! Toot--toot--tooroo--toot--DONA NOBIS PACEM! Toot--toot--tooroo--toot--DONA NOBIS PACEM! If I told you what visions are inspired by the Gabrielis, Monteverdi, Biber, Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, Michael Haydn, and the MISSA SOLEMNIS, I would never ever stop!
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

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Post by Lance » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:48 pm

Perhaps we include add the Romantics in here too. But I agree, the Haydn and Mozart masses are highly inspirational.

I've discovered a wonderful piece of music Giuseppe Sarti (1729-1802), his Miserere, recorded live with not the best soloists nor orchestra, but's it is the only recording and the only way currently to discover this fine music [Dynamic CD 281]. Schubert also wrote six glorious masses, and the Mass No. 6 in E-flat Major, is one of the most extraordinary pieces of music I've heard flow from his pen. As for Haydn, I have a particular attraction for his "Lord Nelson" Mass.

Years ago, on the old Period LP [TE-1073, 3 discs] label, I discovered a series of four Missa Brevisis, Nos. 1-4 with their accompanying Sanctuses 1-4 with soloists, chorus and orchestra of the Tonstudio of Stuttgart under Hans Grischkat.

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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:14 pm

I'm currently exploring the works of Hildegard von Bingen. Whilst I enjoy the masses of Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn for their music, for me the only composer after Bach who really gets me there religiously is Bruckner. Medieval to the Baroque is where I turn for musical grace.

In a different but related context, that of poetry, the change in the nature of art and artist may perhaps be illustrated by showing

the characteristic virtue of good medieval work. What this is, anyone can feel if he turns from the narrative verse of, say, Chapman or Keats to the best parts of Marie de France or Gower. What will strike him at once is the absence of strain. In the Elizabethan or Romantic examples we feel that the poet has done a great deal of work; in the medieval, we are at first hardly aware of a poet at all. The writing is so limpid and effortless that the story seems to be telling itself. You would think, till you tried, that anyone could do the like. But in reality no story tells itself. Art is at work. But it is the art of people who, no less than the bad medieval authors, have a complete confidence in the intrinsic value of their matter. The telling is for the sake of the tale; in Chapman or Keats we feel that the tale is valued only as an opportunity for the lavish and highly individual treatment.Lewis, C.S. – The Discarded Image [Cambridge 1964 p205]

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Re: Sacred Music of the Baroque and the Classical

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:06 am

dulcinea wrote::D How inspired are you by the sacred music of the Baroque and the Classical? I was motivated to learn the Ordinary of the Mass by the Masses of Haydn and Mozart.
Inspired how?

It don't float my boat like opera of the same periods. You can have my share of all the religious music of the periods except the Coronation Mass of Mozart, which is a truly jolly piece.
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Post by Ralph » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:43 am

No religious music has ever inspired me in any way. But I enjoy some of Haydn's masses, especially the Lord Nelson Mass, and Faure's Requiem is a long-time favorite.
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dulcinea
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Sacred Music of the Baroque and Classical

Post by dulcinea » Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:32 am

:D I'm so glad that the Masses of Haydn are so universally appealing! I am old enough to remember when the reference books barely mentioned them, even snorting that they were not inspirational. HA!!!--as if Gounod and Franck could ever hold a candle to the Seraph of Rohrau!!!
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

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Post by Richard » Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:21 pm

I have scratchy, 30-year old LP recording of the Haydn Nelson Mass. It has so many snaps and pops it sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies. I hope that someone will post a "Your First Pick?" for the Nelson Mass, so that I may get suggestions for a more recent CD recording.

I wonder how many of you have ever heard of the "Musical Heritage Society? Does it still exist?. I cannot remember how it worked, but the MHS would send you some record albums, every few months, that either you would pick or that the MHS would pick out, for you. The recordings would either be special or distinguished recordings from the basic repertoire or seldom-heard classical music that the MHS decided should be more well-known. Their record albums would come in a plain, white cover with no ornamentation. A MHS recording of the Pachelbel Canon in D major was my first introduction to that piece. I also, among others, received quite a few gems by Telemann.

One day I received a MHS recording of the Gilles Requiem. I had never heard of Jean Gilles or his Requiem, and still infrequently hear of this composer or his music. The Gilles Requiem turned out to be a very fine piece of vocal music. Jean Gilles was born in 1669 and died in 1705. His Requiem, apparently, was the most famous piece of vocal music coming out of 18th century France. It was played for many state occasions and furnerals, including a service for the departed Louis XV in 1774. Gilles died at age 36, and one has to wonder what music he would have composed had he lived a longer life.

dulcinea
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Sacred Music of the Baroque and Classical

Post by dulcinea » Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:42 pm

The website of the MHS is www.musicalheritage.com Its telephone number is 732-531-7003, and its fax is 732-517-0438. Good luck!
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

Coriolan

Post by Coriolan » Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:49 pm

I find Renaissance and Gregorian Chant lacking in humanity in that when that type of music was composed secular music was almost non existent, at least that that we call classical, and control of the people who composed music was in the hands of the church. Haydn was one of the most religous composers of the classical period and I think his music was inspired by his strong belief. For someone who signed his scores'Thanks be to God" I would say that his Masses reflect his belief. I single Haydn out because I don't think Mozart or Beethoven or even Schubert had as stong a belief as Haydn, at least they didn't profess it. This by no means makes their music less than great. We should enjoy music for what it is and keep the labels for canned goods.

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Post by Richard » Sun Aug 14, 2005 4:03 pm

I agree with you, Coriolan.

Thank you, Dulcinea, for the link to the MHS..I was really surprised they still exist! I wonder if their CD's still come in a plain, white cover?

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:02 pm

Actually, I find secular medieval music, such as the Montpellier Codex or the love songs of Landini, to be gloriously human. The idea that the Church 'controlled' the people who made music is a modern distortion of history - they didn't have much control over Enguarrande (sp) and the troubadours, for instance. Popular taste had much more to do with it - and the populace were far more devout than in our times.

But the folk music of the time rarely survived. The clergy and aristocracy were literate, so their music survives in more complete form.

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