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Discussion Starter · #141 ·
There is a thread called For Love of Early Music which is a general thread for discussing this long period of music. There are similar threads for each period of music history.

I gather this thread has a specific purpose something like a monthly survey of the entire history of music by considering some works as representing each period as decided by one person.

Okay.
I think I linked to that excellent thread earlier. The idea is not to replace or compete with that or other great threads, but to serve as a resource for new listeners.

The music wasn't decided by one person. Yes, I decided which sources to use, but not the works themselves. The works shown in this thread are the result of surveying nearly forty sources of recommendations including classical radio stations in the US, UK and Australia, books by Swafford and others, academic sources, publications from the US and UK, and internet sources such as our own Talk Classical listings.

For clarity, works listed at:

Level 1 received more than 22 recommendations
Level 2 between 16 and 21 recommendations
Level 3 between 10 and 15 recommendations
Level 4 between 7 and 10 recommendations
Level 5 between 4 and 6 recommendations
Level 6 either 2 or 3 recommendations
Level 7 only 1 recommendation
 

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Discussion Starter · #142 ·
One of the great ones.

IDK if you're planning to listen to Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae but it's one of my favorites by him as well.
Only got a couple of recommendations so won't be with us for a couple of days. Not one in my listening library so on your recommendation, I'll line it up ready to play on Sunday.
 

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I think I linked to that excellent thread earlier. The idea is not to replace or compete with that or other great threads, but to serve as a resource for new listeners.

The music wasn't decided by one person. Yes, I decided which sources to use, but not the works themselves. The works shown in this thread are the result of surveying nearly forty sources of recommendations including classical radio stations in the US, UK and Australia, books by Swafford and others, academic sources, publications from the US and UK, and internet sources such as our own Talk Classical listings.

For clarity, works listed at:

Level 1 received more than 22 recommendations
Level 2 between 16 and 21 recommendations
Level 3 between 10 and 15 recommendations
Level 4 between 7 and 10 recommendations
Level 5 between 4 and 6 recommendations
Level 6 either 2 or 3 recommendations
Level 7 only 1 recommendation
Noted. ;)

As one of my professors used to say, "proceed with confidence." I always thought he still had doubts, though.
 

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I wonder if anyone can comment on any direct comparisons we can make thus far in our listening. If I'm not mistaken, many of these early works are essentially different versions of the same prayers in a Greek/Roman Catholic mass (Kyrie, Gloria, etc). So the words are the same, but the style and notation of singing evolve over time, right?

Does anyone know how long this evolution continued? I grew up R.C. (no longer practicing) but none of our songs/hymns were in Greek or Latin, and I don't think I've ever attended a traditional high mass. I wonder how different modern high masses might be from those of the 12th - 15th Century.

And if there's any context for similar traditions in Jewish and Muslim worship songs, as I imagine there would have been great cultural mixing around the mediterranean, and many of the "old testament" poems and songs are somewhat shared, though in different languages.
 

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I wonder if anyone can comment on any direct comparisons we can make thus far in our listening. If I'm not mistaken, many of these early works are essentially different versions of the same prayers in a Greek/Roman Catholic mass (Kyrie, Gloria, etc). So the words are the same, but the style and notation of singing evolve over time, right?

Does anyone know how long this evolution continued? I grew up R.C. (no longer practicing) but none of our songs/hymns were in Greek or Latin, and I don't think I've ever attended a traditional high mass. I wonder how different modern high masses might be from those of the 12th - 15th Century.

And if there's any context for similar traditions in Jewish and Muslim worship songs, as I imagine there would have been great cultural mixing around the mediterranean, and many of the "old testament" poems and songs are somewhat shared, though in different languages.
In the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church, the words of the "Ordinary" have been the same for many centuries, although sometimes translated into other languages. That's what we usually hear in a mass -- the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, etc.... The rest of it differs depending on the day (i.e. which saints are being celebrated, which passages of the Bible are supposed to be read) so people usually didn't bother composing special music for that.

If you get into other rites -- Byzantine and so on -- there are differences, but they don't matter for most Western music.
 

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I wonder if anyone can comment on any direct comparisons we can make thus far in our listening. If I'm not mistaken, many of these early works are essentially different versions of the same prayers in a Greek/Roman Catholic mass (Kyrie, Gloria, etc). So the words are the same, but the style and notation of singing evolve over time, right?
Yes. In particular a tradition flourished in the 15th century of a composer making polyphonic settings of the ordinarium of the catholic mass, with all the parts more or less unified by a common melody. This is called a cyclic mass. So for example today someone mentioned Missa Pange Lingua. The unifying melody there is taken from the traditional monophonic way of chanting the hymn Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium in church.

Here's the hymn chanted


And here's Josquin's Kyrie

 

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Thanks to you both! I've read some of the translations of the Ordinary and it does seem to track with the modern English language versions of those prayers, of course.

It's very interesting to note that the melodic lines hewed to traditions over the centuries. I'm sure the original "composer" of the melody is long forgotten. I wonder if it even was composed or if it was just a "natural" way of singing those syllables? Like a Solfege of sorts? I'm way out of my depth here as I have zero knowledge of music theory and technique.

The point about the melodic consistencies also called up memories of the masses I attended growing up in the Philippines -- somewhat American English style, I imagine, but of course also melding in Filipino translations of prayers and original Filipino songs. (Depending on the week, you might get an English "Our Father" song or a Filipino one) -- and there was always a small volunteer choir and everyone knew the melody and sang along. There were also other sections of the masses where the celebrant would sort of sing-speak or hum-speak. They mostly were pretty terrible singers, so it's hard to imagine there was literal consistency in the melody, but it was sort of standardized, and I wonder if that standard goes as far back as the 15th century or prior. That'd be amazing to think about.

Cheers all!
 

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Just a silly little note -- an older friend of mine grew up in a time when the Mass was still said in Latin in his little rural church. His last name was Colepaugh and his family pronounced it like "cole pah." So when he was in church as a kid and the priest would say, "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa," (something like "I've sinned, I've sinned, I've greatly sinned" or "I'm guilty, I'm guilty, I'm very guilty") he thought they were saying something about him.

Also, some people believe the phrase "hocus pocus" is based on the point in the Mass where the priest elevates the bread and declares "hoc est corpus" ("this is [my] body").

One of the problems of translating the rituals into the vernacular is that so much potential for misunderstanding is lost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #149 · (Edited)
Next up, a couple more Josquin pieces:

Level 1
No works

Level 2
No works

Level 3
Josquin des Prez - Missa Pange Lingua

Level 4
Josquin des Prez: Ave Maria, Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum, Virgo Serena
Josquin des Prez: Missa l'Homme Armé super voces musicales


My listening today:



Josquin: Ave Maria, Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum, Virgo Serena

Hilliard Ensemble



Josquin: Missa l'Homme Armé super voces musicales

Peter Phillips & The Tallis Scholars
 

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Next up, a couple more Josquin pieces:

Level 1
No works

Level 2
No works

Level 3
Josquin des Prez - Missa Pange Lingua

Level 4
Josquin des Prez: Ave Maria, Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum, Virgo Serena
Josquin des Prez: Missa l'Homme Armé super voces musicales


My listening today:



Josquin: Ave Maria, Gratia Plena, Dominus Tecum, Virgo Serena

Hilliard Ensemble



Josquin: Missa l'Homme Armé super voces musicales

Peter Phillips & The Tallis Scholars
Can you hear anything of the L'homme armé tune in the mass? I always think it's interesting how these composers thought nothing of introducing popular songs into liturgical music, as if everything was sacred, even a silly little song like this


Josquin wrote a couple of l'homme armé masses, the SVM being earlier. I like the SVM very much. L'homme armé masses were real popular - there are heaps of them by Renaissance composers - I have no idea why this tune tickled their fancy so much! And I have no idea why they all liked to chose existing music to base their cyclic masses on.

Can someone tell me what super voces muscales means? What's it all about?

You've focussed a lot on Josquin. I think his music is a kind of end of the line. For me, Renaissance music after Josquin is not so interesting at best, and downright annoying at worst, with the possible exception of Lassus. But you may feel differently, many people do. It's a good I idea to keep track of the chronology I think - just to put a bit of conceptual structure on all the stuff you're trying to hear - IMO you're going way to fast, this stuff needs digesting, and it's so strange by the standards of more recent music that digesting it takes time.

Another thing I want to say. These cyclic masses weren't designed to be listened to as concert music. The composers wrote them thinking that the audience would hear them in a service, with chanted propers. Josquin, Ockeghem, Dufay knew what they were about IMO, and so it may be worth your while just once hearing a mass with a bunch of Gregorian propers mixed in with the polyphonic music. Of course it makes the experience very different - much longer. You may decide it's not for you (it's not for me!) But on the other hand it may open up something.
 

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There are plenty of good composers after Josquin: Gombert, Morales, de Rore, Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria, Gesualdo - and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
I never said anything about good composers. I don't find Gombert, Willaert, Manchicourt and others whose names I'm forgetting, specially interesting to hear -- lots of imitative counterpoint and not a lot of relief in the music. Palestrina is another one who I find not so interesting, I know you like him but you're not me. Lassus is the exception which proves the rule.

Gesualdo either gives me the heebie jeebies. Too much dissonance. Or he sounds like another bog standard madrigalist.

Rore . . . possibly. Possibly not!
 

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Discussion Starter · #154 · (Edited)
...You've focussed a lot on Josquin....
Nothing I can do about that. He's the most recommended composer of the period. There're more composers coming over the weekend.

...IMO you're going way to fast....
Not much I can do about that either. I'm already going more slowly through this period than the volume of recommended listening dictates.
 

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Nothing I can do about that. He's the most recommended composer of the period. There're more composers coming over the weekend.

Not much I can do about that either. I'm already going more slowly through this period than the volume of recommended listening dictates.
The problem is the "recommended listening." There are many composers/works that are worth listening to outside of your list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #156 ·
The problem is the "recommended listening." There are many composers/works that are worth listening to outside of your list.
There isn't a problem. I've never positioned this as an extensive list of all composers worth listening to. What I'm listing is the most recommended listening. Any composers missing are simply not recommended by any source I've identified. If there's any further listening you'd recommend, please share your suggestions once the full list for the period is posted.
 

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There isn't a problem. I've never positioned this as an extensive list of all composers worth listening to. What I'm listing is the most recommended listening. Any composers missing are simply not recommended by any source I've identified. If there's any further listening you'd recommend, please share your suggestions once the full list for the period is posted.
Yes.

As with my own thread, the purpose is to give some recommendations, partly in hopes that if the listener likes a particular recommendation, that they'll explore a composer's works further due to that inspiration. My latest post is Mendelssohn's early String Octet. Should someone find it delightful, they may wish to seek out other works from Mendolssohn, or maybe simply search on Youtube for other Octets.

I've been somewhat quiet in THIS thread so far, as I don't have a lot of expertise in pre-Baroque. I imagine I'll stick my foot in more often when the thread advances past that.

As it is, I've saved several of the shorter works for later listening. It seems that there will never be a shortage of music, new and familiar, to listen to.
 

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Prior to the mass by Machaut, and all those following, are mass sections from two major manuscripts: the Ivrea Codex and the Apt Codex. These manuscripts include most of the Ordinary sections that were used to collate a complete mass. Another important anonymous complete mass is the Tournai Mass, but there are others I can't recall at the moment.

Much of this music has been recorded and is available.

Important composers that I don't think made in onto your list include: Philippe de Vitry, Johannes Ockeghem, Jacob Obrecht, Gilles de Binchois - and I'm sure others if I were refresh my memory.

Did you include the music of the troubadours? There are over 350 songs that have survived with music, and at least 2500 song texts without music. Probably 200 known troubadours, touveres including even a few female singers/composers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #159 ·
Prior to the mass by Machaut, and all those following, are mass sections from two major manuscripts: the Ivrea Codex and the Apt Codex. These manuscripts include most of the Ordinary sections that were used to collate a complete mass. Another important anonymous complete mass is the Tournai Mass, but there are others I can't recall at the moment.

Much of this music has been recorded and is available.

Important composers that I don't think made in onto your list include: Philippe de Vitry, Johannes Ockeghem, Jacob Obrecht, Gilles de Binchois - and I'm sure others if I were refresh my memory.

Did you include the music of the troubadours? There are over 350 songs that have survived with music, and at least 2500 song texts without music. Probably 200 known troubadours, touveres including even a few female singers/composers.
I quoted you in post #111 to provide the music of de Vitry. Ockeghem is coming tomorrow, Obrecxht on Sunday. de Binchois was in post #121. Troubadours, Trouveres and Minnesangers in post #60.
 
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