May 25, 2022
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Up to now we’ve chosen the 5 minutes or so we might play to make our mates fall in love with classical music, piano, opera, cello, Mozart, 21st-century composers, violin, Baroque music, sopranos, Beethoven, flute, (*5*), tenors, Brahms, choral music, percussion, symphonies, Stravinsky, trumpet, Maria Callas, Bach, the organ, mezzo-sopranos, music for dance and Wagner.

Now we wish to persuade these curious mates to like the wealthy and various music of the Renaissance. We hope you discover tons right here to find and luxuriate in; go away your favorites within the feedback.

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Peter Phillips, Tallis Students founder

Thomas Tallis was a fantastic experimenter. He wrote in 40 elements (“Spem in alium”), and in 4 elements (“If ye love me”). He wrote splendid antiphons for the Catholic ceremony (“Gaude gloriosa”), and intimate service music for the Anglicans. In every part he did, he led the best way, hardly ever repeating himself.

“Sancte deus” is yet one more one-off, scored for prime voices solely, and praising Jesus, somewhat than Mary. The excessive scoring creates a mesmerizing texture, actually with out parallel. It contains antique-sounding cadences, alongside “concord of the spheres” sonorities. That is music that immediately breaks down each barrier.

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Jolle Greenleaf, singer and Tenet inventive director

For these new to this era, this can be a implausible place to start out. Revealed in 1547 by a Venetian printing home alongside different madrigals by numerous composers, “Ancor che col partite” was essentially the most well-known work of the sixteenth century. It’s that good! Nicely crafted, emotional and sensuous, it may be sung and performed in numerous mixtures of voices and devices, making it splendid for courtroom and residential musicians alike. In true Renaissance vogue, virtuosic artists created highly ornamented versions, much like modern-day jazz requirements.

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Jeff Dolven, Renaissance poetry scholar

A few of the most elegant encounters between poetry and tune come to us from the English Renaissance, works by the likes of John Dowland and Thomas Campion. There’s some marvelous frivolity, too, just like the madrigal “Come, sirrah Jack, ho,” written for 3 voices by Thomas Weelkes in 1608. It’s the kind of tune that Shakespeare’s Falstaff may need known as for within the Eastcheap Tavern: a buoyant celebration of consuming and smoking, the singers vouching that the tobacco — which is “very, excellent,” as we hear greater than as soon as — is “excellent Trinidado.” The tune is as intricate and weightless as a twist of smoke, and casts solely a shadow of empire because it blows away.

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Laurie Stras, musicologist

I’ve spent a good portion of my maturity residing — in my creativeness — within the Renaissance, with ladies from historical past who are actually as a lot part of my life as the ladies in my ensemble, Musica Secreta. By reconstructing their lives and their music, I’ve felt their humanity reaching throughout the centuries.

This “Tribulationes civitatum audivimus,” which I’ve attributed to Leonora d’Este, Lucrezia Borgia’s daughter, will not be solely one of the vital transcendentally stunning items I do know, but in addition a testomony to a neighborhood, beset by catastrophe, that also has religion sooner or later. I return to it usually after I want consolation or hope, to listen to my mates’ voices winding tightly in dissonance, every phrase restlessly rising earlier than the earlier one has completed, earlier than their plea for mercy is lastly — and gloriously — resolved.

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Jeremy Denk, pianist

It is a zany Renaissance journey. Thomas Morley put it in his e-book of “sensible musical schooling.” Attempt to think about poor, harmless Renaissance folks sitting across the desk beginning to sing it, and step by step getting increasingly more mystified. The primary singer recites the alphabet — 4 occasions in all — and every time the rhythms beneath get spikier, jazzier, extra incomprehensible; the notes, at first chaste, grow to be savagely dissonant. I really like this efficiency of Charles Wuorinen’s rewrite, solely barely tweaked from the unique. While you get to the top you’re feeling such as you’ve climbed a mountain, and that the Renaissance was a profoundly fashionable interval — in some ways extra fluid, free and adventurous than the centuries of Western classical music that adopted.

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Paul Agnew, Les Arts Florissants co-music director

I handed a great a part of my early profession in Renaissance music, as a member of each the Tallis Students and the Consort of Musick, and I’d wish to counsel a Consort recording that predates my time within the ensemble. It’s the music of a composer who may be very little recognized and but, I believe, not solely a genius, but in addition enormously influential within the improvement of later Renaissance (or Mannerist) music, towards the explosion of the Baroque.

Giaches de Wert was Claudio Monteverdi’s boss when Monteverdi arrived as a younger musician for his first submit in Mantua, and de Wert was a deeply necessary affect on the person who would change music historical past along with his “L’Orfeo.” “Giunto alla tomba” describes Tancredi (from Tasso’s “Gerusalemme Liberata”) arriving on the tomb of Clorinda, the girl he cherished and, by error, killed in fight. He locations his brow on the marble of the tomb and weeps for her. De Wert’s setting is a mannequin of expressivity and emotional depth that leaves me deeply moved at every listening.

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Erika Supria Honisch, musicologist

This music, by the Slovenian composer Jacobus Handl (1550-91), gripped its listeners from its first efficiency. The Latin phrases are wrenching: “Behold how the only one dies and nobody feels it of their coronary heart.” I really like the best way each halves finish with the phrase “and his reminiscence will probably be in peace” — the voices reaching up lovingly earlier than drawing inward to a young shut.

When Catholics in 1590s Prague tried this motet out as a part of their Good Friday companies, it was scrawled in a diary that it had moved their feelings “in a wonderful method.” They evidently weren’t alone: Individuals continued to carry out it lengthy after it was written, an distinctive destiny for music composed within the sixteenth century. In Bach’s Leipzig, it was sung on Good Friday because the “final motion” of the Ardour — a context recreated in a recording with the Dunedin Consort, directed by John Butt.

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Harry Christophers, the Sixteen founder

Can there be a extra stunning piece of Tudor music than this? At below 4 minutes, it’s a gem during which the human voice expresses itself in essentially the most private method. The founding statutes of Magdalen Faculty, Oxford, declared that it must be sung each day on rising and earlier than sleeping. Its sluggish transferring bass underpins six voices who weave essentially the most beautiful tracery, each reflective and sensual. Though composed nearly 500 years in the past, its sentiments are so pertinent to at the moment’s world: “Free us, save us, defend us.” That is music that warms the guts and offers us hope now and for the long run.

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David Allen, Occasions author

John Sheppard’s “Media vita” was the 5 minutes that received me hooked on Tudor choral music — effectively, the 25 minutes, I assume. Near a Mahler sluggish motion in ambition, and never all that far-off in its chromaticism and fathomless anxiousness, this profound reflection on loss of life doubtless dates from the 1550s. A lot of its power comes from sheer repetition, however a lot additionally comes from the best way it contrasts the fearful humanity of single voices in opposition to the imposing sound of the complete ensemble. The ultimate 4 minutes start with excessive and low voices — the younger and the previous alike, in a church choir — asking forgiveness for his or her sins, earlier than ending with a hovering declaration of religion in deliverance from the “bitter pains of everlasting loss of life.”

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Javier C. Hernández, Occasions classical music and dance reporter

Once I’m in search of serenity, that is what I flip to: the celestial sounds of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, one of many nice writers of church music within the sixteenth century. One in every of his best-known works is the “Missa Papae Marcelli,” devoted to Pope Marcellus II, who reigned for simply 22 days earlier than his loss of life in 1555. Palestrina was a grasp of weaving collectively advanced polyphonic strains behind an unassuming facade — partly a response to calls for from religious leaders that the music not overpower the sanctity of non secular texts. The Choir of Westminster Abbey breathes life into this masterpiece and its message of hope and forgiveness.

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Nico Muhly, composer

“Civitas sancti tui,” by William Byrd, is a setting of a brief passage from Isaiah. The selection of textual content is encoded with Byrd’s personal recusant Catholicism: A lamentation for the destroyed metropolis of Jerusalem and the following Babylonian exile serves as a stand-in for the woeful and chaotic state of Catholicism in his time and the necessity for clandestine worship.

Using five voices, Byrd begins by creating a meshwork of voices imitating each other — all based mostly on easy and principally descending materials, always flowing. Abruptly, the higher voices sing, in hymn-like unison, “Zion is wasted and introduced low,” and, in a second of surprising brilliance, the phrase is repeated by the decrease voices. However right here, with only a small harmonic modification, it turns into tumescent and craving.

Out of this arises a poignant and delicate phrase on the repeated phrase “Jerusalem,” stretching up a fifth and resolving down, as if greedy for one thing simply out of attain. What’s extraordinary about this piece is that there are such a lot of layers of expression: the voices singing in imitative counterpoint; singing in unison; hanging out in a single chord for some time; or all of the sudden blooming into undreamed-of harmonic territory. The repeated phrase “Jerusalem” has, for me, the emotional energy of any phrase in any music from any interval, and this motet is an instance of Byrd at his most uncooked and sensible.

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Andrea Bayer, Metropolitan Museum of Artwork deputy director

In Renaissance and Baroque Italy, the visible arts, music and poetry have been usually intertwined points of a unified enterprise that ennobled the human spirit. Music has at all times been a element of my method as a museum curator, notably in my analysis on Evaristo Baschenis, the good Seventeenth-century painter of nonetheless lifes of musical devices, and as a present working via my 2008 Met exhibition “Art and Love in Renaissance Italy.” I notably love Cecilia Bartoli’s model of Caccini’s tune “Amarilli, mia bella.” It might not be essentially the most traditionally exact efficiency, however it exquisitely captures the intimacy of the verse.

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Joshua Barone, Occasions editor

Right here’s a Renaissance twofer: the tune “L’Homme Armé,” adopted by the start of one of many many lots it impressed, Josquin des Prez’s “Missa L’Homme Armé Tremendous Voces Musicales.” Who’s the Armed Man? The tune’s historical past is mysterious, with some origin theories extra unsavory than others. However we all know it grew to become standard within the mid-Fifteenth century, and was within the minds of composers for over 40 mass settings. Josquin, arguably classical music’s first celebrity, wrote two. That is the sooner, which quotes a model of the tune in every part on a successively greater pitch — conjuring a wealthy environment from minimal means, with the contrapuntal brilliance for which Bach would later be recognized.

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Zachary Woolfe, Occasions classical music critic

A candid observer across the flip of the sixteenth century, evaluating Josquin des Prez and Heinrich Isaac, mentioned that Josquin was the stronger composer, however Isaac was friendlier and extra productive. Intensely prolific and effectively traveled, he was pleasant sufficient, actually, to ingratiate himself with the ruling Medicis in Florence, and wrote this elegant, serene but stirring lament — in brief order, repurposing a few of his earlier music — on the loss of life of Lorenzo the Magnificent in 1492.

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Seth Colter Partitions, Occasions author

Watching Catherine Breillat’s unruly romance “The Final Mistress,” I stayed via the top credit, to take notes in regards to the music used within the movie. One of many alternatives was “Faronell’s Division” by John Playford, in a efficiency led by Jordi Savall. Looking down Savall’s report “Altre Follie: 1500-1750” was effectively well worth the effort, too, as its program sketched the lengthy historical past of the Portuguese “folia” dance — with its full of life gait and doleful melodic sample — going again to the Renaissance. Whereas Antonio de Cabezón’s 1557 contribution to the style, “Pavana con su glosa,” wasn’t utilized by Breillat, it effectively may need been; on this association for viols and harpsichord, there’s the suggestion of each reckless exultation and subsequent sorrow.

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Christina Pluhar, L’Arpeggiata founder

In the course of the Renaissance, it was imagined that historical Greek drama had been sung. So an inventive group across the composers Jacopo Peri, Giulio Caccini and Emilio de’ Cavalieri invented, round 1600, a totally new fashion of music, “recitar cantando” (“sung recitation”), in search of to mimic Greek drama.

Polyphonic music till then had grow to be extraordinarily advanced, with as much as 54 voices singing collectively in counterpoint. The brand new “recitar cantando” used only one voice, accompanied by a lute, theorbo, organ, harpsichord or harp. Any such declamation was a significant innovation in enabling the introduction of prolonged dramatic monologues and dialogues, as opera required; it later developed into recitative. Since de’ Cavalieri’s “Rappresentatione” was absolutely staged for its first efficiency, in 1600, with three acts and a spoken prologue, it may be thought of the earliest surviving opera — and the start of a revolution in music historical past.

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