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Thread: Getting started with sacred music

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    Default Getting started with sacred music

    Where do I start?

    What are the basic composers?

    Basic Ave Marias? Stabat Maters? Missas?

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums and to the inexhaustibly rewarding world of sacred music! I highly recommend you take a look at The TC Top 100 Recommended Choral Works, which has enough material to keep you exploring for a very long time indeed. But here's a good "beginner 5":

    Bach- Mass in B Minor
    Faure- Requiem
    Mozart- "Great" Mass in C Minor
    Brahms- A German Requiem
    Handel- Messiah

    And of the three categories you mention, I'll give you some Stabat Maters. Dvorak, Szymanowski, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, and the one inside Liszt's Christus for starters.

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    I'd also add some Bach Cantatas - check out BWV 147.

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    Thank you...Very helpful

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    Thank you. Will do! I'm not very familiar with Bach or classical music in general, I've been listening lightly on and off for 2 years.

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    Here's a survey of some of the best works per age or era in music history (although I've not listed any sacred music from the Middle Ages...). For each piece of music, I've provided a link to a performance on You Tube, so you can listen to it for free, but unfortunately not commercial free (so you might rather listen on Spotify instead). Occasionally, I've listed more than one performance, for reasons that should become apparent as you listen (i.e., contrasting interpretations, period vs. modern instruments, different pitches, etc.).

    I. Early Renaissance--Generally, it's probably best to begin with the shorter motets, and then move on to the lengthier masses:

    Josquin Desprez--Motets:
    --Inviolata, integra, et casta es Maria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuVe...RiEcBrOnVeI4e0
    --Ave Maria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh_WD_cLrRY
    --La déploration de Jehan Ockeghem, Nymphes de bois:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwRe...eI4e0&index=13
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs1gqPcRbyg
    --Miserere mei Deus secundum "Psalm 50": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkshn0FqcGc
    --Qui habitat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqGEYsnetZ0

    --Missa Gaudeamus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gab...ycUwIacFujqGio

    Jean Mouton--Nesciens Mater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q1PJFfax34

    Johannes Ockeghem-
    --Deo gratias: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzBhYMvnMKQ
    --Mort, tu as navré de ton Dart--Déploration sur la mort de Gilles Binchois:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B4KgTlqU18
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRqsd97CaUc
    --Requiem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-z_Ml4Z2hc

    Guillaume Dufay--
    --Flos Florum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iyu-Lz3wC4
    --Nuper rosarum flores: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m151...cuf9k&index=44
    --O Sancte Sebastiane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpL_...cuf9k&index=47
    --Missa Se la face ay pale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72zs8oMpShM

    Philippe De Vitry--Vos quied admiramini - Gratissima viginis specis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=****...KyvRT86sYbAKNE

    John Dunstable: Veni Sancte Spiritus/Veni Creator spiritus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8nnQuleTXQ

    Thomas Tallis--
    --Spem in Alium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cn7ZW8ts3Y
    --Miserere nostri: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5W67uBRZCo

    John Sheppard--Media Vita: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRCZjTq6dOw

    William Byrd--
    --Masses for 3, 4, & 5 voices: Here is the Agnus Dei movement from the mass for four voices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3MJFxPBd_A
    --"Ye Sacred Muses" (consort song, Byrd's elegy on the death of his teacher, Thomas Tallis): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dde7ZQo7Ht8

    II. Late Renaissance (if, after listening to the above, you want to hear more):

    Orlando Lassus - Seven Penitential Psalms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al_LgUkJ4lo
    Claudio Monteverdi - Vespro della beata Vergine, 1610: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrYXn6hkpZ0
    Gregorio Allegri - Miserere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDOENZediM8
    Giovanni Palestrina - Missa Papae Marcelli: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1vY...adDHxHh2BtWWws

    III. Baroque era: Again, I'd recommend starting with smaller doses, and then moving on to the more lengthy masterworks.

    J.S. Bach - You might begin with Bach's shorter, wonderful Magnificat, BWV 243, & then move onto his Christmas Oratorio, great Mass in B minor, & St. Matthew Passion.
    --Magnificat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1uFnc45wAE
    --Christmas Oratorio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPac..._FVRECS6NvRUJU
    --Mass in B minor:
    Performed on modern instruments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oiv6...RUJU&index=208
    Performed in period instruments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FLbiDrn8IE

    George Frideric Handel - I'd suggest starting with Handel's Four Coronation Anthems, and then listening his Messiah, Samson, & Israel in Egypt.
    --Four Coronation Anthems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEnm...C0mrpeO0w1Bpwu
    --Messiah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoR_...zttywscdS7ljbM

    Antonio Vivaldi: Gloria, RV 589 (in a wonderful recent recording from conductor Diego Fasolis): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAL...U5HODbJPXx9Isk

    IV. Classical era

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart--
    --Great Mass in C minor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9Jy...5BpDOM90nvs6OQ
    --Requiem:
    Performed on modern instruments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X57qH_tvtck
    Performed on period instruments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRBZ0ERq0kw

    If you wish to explore the classical era further, I'd suggest F.J. Haydn's The Creation (or Die Schöpfung) and various masses, and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis:

    Franz Josef Haydn:
    --Missa in angustis "Lord Nelson Mass": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzuxMSMJKQE
    --"Theresienmesse" (mass no. 12): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xm2KfFmz_Y
    --Die Schöpfung: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIvw...EhybZg3grtrzmc

    Ludwig van Beethoven:
    --Missa Solemnis:
    Performed on period instruments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3M0oa9nCK0
    Performed on modern instruments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T58L...FT6HUFL9gzsVfJ

    If you like any of the above music and want to purchase a recording, just ask, & I'd be happy to make some suggestions--although I've tried to, as much as possible, link to first rate recordings on You Tube, as available.

    V. Romantic era & Late 19th Century:

    Johannes Brahms--Requiem:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0U5s0hdE64
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O5P...n82KTDE7WIxLWv
    Gabriel Faure--Requiem:
    (1893 version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3SlIemXgEU
    (1900 version): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtIYpN7y1CU

    If you wish to hear more from this period, I'd suggest the Requiems by Berlioz and Verdi, and Mendelssohn's oratorio, Elias (or Elijah).

    VI. 20th Century

    György Ligeti: Lux Aeterna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iVYu5lyX5M
    Frank Martin: Mass for Double Choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTrml2yKd0M
    Serge Rachmaninov: Vespers (All-Night Vigil):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIRw...6246C3awrU2UxY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5DiVkzNhmM
    Joonas Kokkonen: Requiem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dV6bHrsHo4

    John Tavener (not to be confused with the English Renaissance composer, John Taverner):
    --As one who has slept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlEGWVtIVMg
    --Eternity's Sunrise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9PAlIjl_pM
    --Darkness into Light: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3dQK7tBnBQ
    --Song of the Angel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip7Sd_Ci8PM
    --The Protecting Veil (not a choral work): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DziyY5O_gnI
    --Ikon of Light: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhKeEt0o0B8

    Arvo Pärt:
    --De Profundis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDQa4L1-OAY
    --Passio (St. John Passion):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJVJkaRwII8
    --Te Deum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvyPpacjjog
    --Da Pacem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOpa5Ec3i4s
    --Tabula rasa (not a choral work): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YqF69HLkj8

    Peteris Vasks: Da pacem, Domine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc7v...PM_9Cw&index=1

    Gavin Bryars: Cadman Requiem:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySGd...a48pYYCEp_8umU

    James McMillan: Stabat Mater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoIJnnDuKBs

    Ivan Moody: Words of the Angel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W86AWrDk_QY

    Yes, it's a lengthy list, & not meant to be explored all of once, but rather over time... If you take the time, I think you'll make some wonderful discoveries from the above music; although of course you may not like everything, or at least, as can happen, not every work on the first hearing.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Feb-16-2020 at 23:32.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Vivaldi's sacred works conducted by Vittorio Negri on Philips are very entertaining.
    ( Bargain price)
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Senior Member josquindesprez's Avatar
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    If you’re a bit new to classical and want to get a sense of how styles have shifted through the centuries and movements, there’s a collection titled Stabat Mater (https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...8108124610892?, it’s a lot cheaper if you get a digital download) that has Stabat Maters from around 25 different composers. Might be a good starting place as well.

    If you want some pretty amazing renaissance choral music, maybe start with something like this: https://www.allmusic.com/album/40-voices-mw0001945670.

    And I’d say you can’t really go wrong with Monteverdi’s Vespers or Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri either.

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    Wow thanks! You have me set up until next february HHHH Barak Allahu Fik

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    Try the mass below, it's one of the most beautiful of the Classical period in my opinion. For me, the Kyrie and the Agnus Dei/Qui Tollis are true jewels of Beethoven's music.



    I hope that you enjoy it.

    P.S.: Although the performance above is very good, it seems to me that the tempo chosen by Gardiner for the Dona Nobis Pacem is a bit too fast. For that movement alone, try this other version instead:

    Last edited by Allerius; Feb-17-2020 at 02:34.
    “To do good whenever one can, to love liberty above all else, never to deny the truth, even though it be before the throne.” - Ludwig van Beethoven.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post
    Vivaldi's sacred works conducted by Vittorio Negri on Philips are very entertaining.
    ( Bargain price)
    I can't seem to find it????
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
    Voltaire

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    Buy the book "Year of Wonder" by the lovely Clemency Burton-Hill and listen to a new piece every morning while munching your cornflakes. That book started me off on several fruitful lines of enquiry and discoveries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eljr View Post
    I can't seem to find it????




    B00000C2F9

    Use that number finding it.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    VI. 20th Century

    György Ligeti: Lux Aeterna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iVYu5lyX5M
    Frank Martin: Mass for Double Choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTrml2yKd0M
    Serge Rachmaninov: Vespers (All-Night Vigil):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIRw...6246C3awrU2UxY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5DiVkzNhmM
    Joonas Kokkonen: Requiem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dV6bHrsHo4

    John Tavener (not to be confused with the English Renaissance composer, John Taverner):
    --As one who has slept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlEGWVtIVMg
    --Eternity's Sunrise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9PAlIjl_pM
    --Darkness into Light: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3dQK7tBnBQ
    --Song of the Angel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip7Sd_Ci8PM
    --The Protecting Veil (not a choral work): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DziyY5O_gnI
    --Ikon of Light: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhKeEt0o0B8

    Arvo Pärt:
    --De Profundis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDQa4L1-OAY
    --Passio (St. John Passion):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJVJkaRwII8
    --Te Deum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvyPpacjjog
    --Da Pacem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOpa5Ec3i4s
    --Tabula rasa (not a choral work): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YqF69HLkj8

    Peteris Vasks: Da pacem, Domine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc7v...PM_9Cw&index=1

    Gavin Bryars: Cadman Requiem:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySGd...a48pYYCEp_8umU

    James McMillan: Stabat Mater: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoIJnnDuKBs

    Ivan Moody: Words of the Angel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W86AWrDk_QY
    In general this was an excellent list. But the 20th century part (quoted above) lacks quite a lot including Stravinsky (Symphony of Psalms, Mass, Requiem Canticles etc), Messiaen (too many works to mention - most of his music has some religious connection), Poulenc's Gloria and Vaughan Williams (including Dona Nobis Pacem and Sancta Civitas). There are many more including Britten's War Requiem (although we can doubt that Britten's interest was religious), Tippett's Vision of Saint Augustine ... and so on. Many of these are quite accessible some are among the greatest music written!

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