Early Church Music for Beginners - 10 Essential Sacred Works Jan 4, 2023 8:57:01 GMT
Post by julesd68 on Jan 4, 2023 8:57:01 GMT
I might be in a miniscule minority here with my passion for Early Music but I will persevere as a labour of love. As a boy treble I would sing it regularly and some of its masterworks are amongst my favourite of any period.
We are talking about music devoted to glorifying and bringing the listener closer to God. But don't let that put you off at all as some of the music itself is so beautiful it can feel divinely inspired if there were such a thing ...
This music was composed for male voice choirs and without the adornment of instrumentation. In recent years female voices have now joined some of the leading early music ensembles and their voices can now be very well integrated indeed. It's always interesting to compare all male recordings with boy trebles with those featuring female sopranos; there are examples of both approaches in my references below and also an all male choir without trebles!
The estimable Mr Dave Hurwitz from Classics Today has made a rather fabulous Top 10 from this early repertoire to get you started and hopefully his infectious knowledge and enthusiasm will convince you to give this ethereal music a chance and see how the style of polyphony changed in this period.
Here are some of my own preferences and other highly rated recordings as a ready reference for each of Dave's fine choice of works. These are in chronological order as per Dave's list but if I had to pick just one *short work* as an immortal aperitif for you it would have to be Tallis - Spem in Alium. One of the greatest concert memories of my life was hearing it sang by The Tallis Scholars in their 40th anniversary concert at St Paul's, whose acoustic offered us the most glorious decay that was heaven sent indeed.
NB sometimes the albums here have more than one work so make sure you are listening to the correct work.
Machaut: Messe de Nostre Dame (before 1365)
Dufay: Missa l'homme arme (c 1450)
Ockeghem: Requiem (c 1460)
Josquin: Missa Ave maris stella (c 1490)
Taverner: Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas (c 1520)
Lassus: Prophetiae Sibyllarum (c 1555)
Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli (c 1562)
Tallis: Spem in Alium (c 1570)
Byrd: Masses for 3, 4 and 5 Voices (c1593)
Gesualdo: Tenebrae Responsoria (c 1611)