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Thread: For Love of Early Music

  1. #241
    Senior Member Dirge's Avatar
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    Thomas TALLIS: Lamentations of Jeremiah I & II (ATTBB) (1560s)
    :: The Deller Consort [Vanguard “The Bach Guild” ’55]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_5f...zwrInihIuwJUlS

    This work (two works, really, as it’s in two parts) is essentially a lesson, a story, set to music, and it requires a performance of great rhetorical eloquence and storytelling ability to fully put it across. No group better fits that bill than the pioneering old Deller Consort, the barbershop quintet of early music specialists. The recorded sound is dry, coarse, brittle, and ill-balanced within an intimate cave-like acoustic, and the members’ voices are hardly soothing balms to the ear—Alfred Deller’s unique countertenor, in particular, is not to everyone’s taste—but each of them sing with a plaintive expressive intensity and an almost tremulous immediacy that makes you think that they’re reporting live and first-hand from Jerusalem itself. Not for every listener, or even most listeners.

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  3. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirge View Post
    Thomas TALLIS: Lamentations of Jeremiah I & II (ATTBB) (1560s)
    :: The Deller Consort [Vanguard “The Bach Guild” ’55]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_5f...zwrInihIuwJUlS

    This work (two works, really, as it’s in two parts) is essentially a lesson, a story, set to music, and it requires a performance of great rhetorical eloquence and storytelling ability to fully put it across. No group better fits that bill than the pioneering old Deller Consort, the barbershop quintet of early music specialists. The recorded sound is dry, coarse, brittle, and ill-balanced within an intimate cave-like acoustic, and the members’ voices are hardly soothing balms to the ear—Alfred Deller’s unique countertenor, in particular, is not to everyone’s taste—but each of them sing with a plaintive expressive intensity and an almost tremulous immediacy that makes you think that they’re reporting live and first-hand from Jerusalem itself. Not for every listener, or even most listeners.
    I agree it's very good. I don't know who has the high voice, but he is exceptional.

  4. #243
    Senior Member Dirge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I agree it's very good. I don't know who has the high voice, but he is exceptional.
    The high voice is Alfred Deller himself.

  5. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirge View Post
    The high voice is Alfred Deller himself.
    Gosh, I wondered that obviously but wasn't sure.

  6. #245
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirge View Post
    Thomas TALLIS: Lamentations of Jeremiah I & II (ATTBB) (1560s)
    :: The Deller Consort [Vanguard “The Bach Guild” ’55]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_5f...zwrInihIuwJUlS

    This work (two works, really, as it’s in two parts) is essentially a lesson, a story, set to music, and it requires a performance of great rhetorical eloquence and storytelling ability to fully put it across. No group better fits that bill than the pioneering old Deller Consort, the barbershop quintet of early music specialists. The recorded sound is dry, coarse, brittle, and ill-balanced within an intimate cave-like acoustic, and the members’ voices are hardly soothing balms to the ear—Alfred Deller’s unique countertenor, in particular, is not to everyone’s taste—but each of them sing with a plaintive expressive intensity and an almost tremulous immediacy that makes you think that they’re reporting live and first-hand from Jerusalem itself. Not for every listener, or even most listeners.
    Great post.
    I only discovered Alfred Deller last year, but he is very much to my taste.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  8. #246
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    When I began building my (somewhat modest) Early Music collection, I found a twofer of the King's College Choir singing Masses and other works by Byrd and Taverner. I don't think I'd played it in decades, and when I played it this morning, I had to turn it off and put on the Hilliard Ensemble instead (I also have Stile Antico performing some of the same works. Oddly I don't have any recordings of The Tallis Scholars performing Byrd or Taverner.) Other favorites?

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  10. #247
    Senior Member Dirge's Avatar
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    Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA: Missa Papae Marcelli · Stabat Mater · Alma Redemptoris Mater · Peccantem me quotidie
    :: Turner/Pro Cantione Antiqua [ASV ’78] not to be confused with the 1990 Brown/Pro Cantione Antiqua recordings of the same works
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dbw...t_g0c-9d4Np4RZ

    I’m not really a Palestrina kind of guy, finding most of what I’ve heard of his vast output to be rather generalized and anonymous in character (however skillfully constructed and historically important the music may be), but PCA makes the best of it by singing more personally and expressively than other groups, and doing so in an earnest and sincere way that comes across as prayerful and devout in context … helped by the slightly earthy and plaintive tone of the singers’ voices. From a 21st-century HIP perspective, the style of singing will seem somewhat dated/old-fashioned, not entirely removed from that of the old Deller Consort, but that’s what makes these performances work for me. PCA uses one voice per part, with countertenors on top—no women or boys here—and the voices are distinctive and contrasting yet complementary (rather than uniform and blended/homogenized in the manner of the Tallis Scholars). Whether this is how these works were performed in Palestrina’s day, I haven’t the foggiest, but the approach yields uncommon lucidity and textural definition throughout, including in the great unfolding of “Amen”s at the end of both the Gloria and the Credo of the Mass.

    The recording is a degree closer, drier, and less blended than usual for this type of music, which suits/complements the performances, but it’s still reasonably airy and atmospheric, and vocal balances are beautifully judged. Indeed, the layering and interweaving of voices, the sonic tapestry as it were, is presented more clearly and vividly than in any other recording that I’ve heard. On the other hand, it doesn’t have anything like the sense of space and ethereal atmosphere of the famous 1980 Tallis Scholars recording of Missa Papae Marcelli, with its infinite decay and overtones—it’s a different listening experience entirely.

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