First of May!

First of May, First of May, Outdoor ********** begins today! (**** insert activity of your choice!)

I hope that we are all continuing to do well and finding things to do to stave off the boredom!

This week we are going to look at Laudate Dominum by Sweelinck (European Sacred Music p.324)

All the videos for this week’s session can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gytr4q-Y6SzafzUHpXFYlu1GHdsu9RN

The first thing to do is read the notes at the bottom of p.376, if you haven’t done so already. Did you know that they were there?

Read the text: Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes; laudate eum, omnes populi.Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus,  et veritas Domini, manet in aeternum.

and translation: O praise the Lord, all ye heathen: praise him, all ye nations. For his merciful kindness is ever more and more towards us:  and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.

Read the text out loud remembering to keep the tongue and jaw very relaxed. Find the different mood in each line. On the first line the mood is Praise, the second merciful kindness and the last endureth for ever

Listen to this performance: I have chosen this version because it sung by the Netherlands Chamber Choir. Sweelinck was a Dutchman so the pronunciation of the Latin is as close as we can get these days to that which he would have expected. Having said that, the Dutch are big fans of the English Cathedral tradition so there is a certain “Eau de Kings College” about it. The pronunciation is not wildly different from that which we expect. I have also chosen it because the tempo is a bit slower than the version that John Draper found.

Follow it on p.324 of European Sacred MusicLaudate Dominum https://youtu.be/dj_4Lnh8wkY

Next week we shall do some work on the notes; I am waiting for a new bit of technology to help me. In the following video we shall explore some of the melismatic* figures that appear in this motet.

*(Melisma (Greek: μέλισμα, melisma, song, air, melody; from μέλος, melos, song, melody, plural: melismata) is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession.)

You will need this sheet of extracts to work from: https://www.dropbox.com/s/w9ot2d1xim6liuu/Laudate%20Dominum%20%28JPS%29%20extracts.pdf?dl=0

Here is the video: https://youtu.be/FRsEpbUG5Us

Keep safe, keep singing.

1 thought on “First of May!

  1. Hi Nick, Interesting session again, thanks. When I sang through with the recording it felt a bit high so I checked it with an instrument and found they are singing a tone higher than the ESM version! I did find a Rutter/Cambridge Singers version at the ESM pitch and about the same speed but not quite the same style as the Netherlands Chamber Choir. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1CgghStVc4
    As a result of the above, I tried to work out what key each was in; I then recalled you’d said something about this at rehearsal – that music of the time wasn’t really in a specific key? If you think it’d be of interest to others as well I’d be glad to have a session on that, or point me at some suitable reading! Thanks again, Ruth

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