Posts Tagged ‘The Sixteen’

The Sixteen – Miserere Mei Deus – Allegri

November 27, 2011

Miserere, full name “Miserere mei, Deus” (trans: “Have mercy on me, O God”) by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri, is a setting of Psalm 51 (Greek numbering: Psalm 50), it begins Have mercy on me, O God, composed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII, probably during the 1630s, for use in the Sistine Chapel during matins, as part of the exclusive Tenebrae service on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week. The service would start usually around 3am, and during the ritual, candles would be extinguished, one by one, until one remained alight and hidden. Allegri composed his setting of the Miserere for the final act within the first lesson of the Tenebrae service. Ash Wednesday marking Christ’s return to Jerusalem.

Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam.
Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea: et a peccato meo munda me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco: et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci: ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum: et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti: incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me hysopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam: et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne proiicias me a facie tua: et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui: et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur.
Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae: et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique: holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus: cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion: ut aedificentur muri Ierusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiae, oblationes, et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652), an Italian composer of the Roman School, priest and singer, and brother of Domenico Allegri. He is best known for Miserere mei, Deus, a setting of Vulgate Psalm 50 (Greek Psalm 51), written for two choirs, one of five voices and the other of four voices.

Performed by early music group The Sixteen, founded and directed by Harry Christophers.

Music of indescribable beauty, almost unbearable to listen to.

Sacred Music: The Story of Allegri’s Miserere
St James Cathedral – Victoria – The Sixteen
Hail, Mother of the Redeemer

St James Cathedral – Victoria – The Sixteen

November 18, 2011

Visual of St James Cathedral Seattle set to music by Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria the Lamentations of Job (Job 10: 1-7) performed The Sixteen.

I’m a filmmaker in Seattle, Washington and I shot this footage of the St James Cathedral during the Spring of 2010 around Easter. It was originally B-Roll for a documentary on the afterlife I didn’t use. I’m also working very hard to get my BFA in film production.

Over the Holidays a friend introduced me to Pandora Radio, which is where, for the first time, I heard the heavenly sounds of Harry Christohers & The Sixteen. I felt like my spirit was flying and it was this very song Taedet animam meam, that enraptured me. Their interpretation of this work I feel is so pure ad perfect.

It was authored in 1605 by Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria. It’s in Latin from the Officium Defunctorum and the translation is Job’s (Job 10: 1-7) Lament to God asking why he was being treated so unfairly:

I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why thou dost contend against me. Does it seem good to thee to oppress, to despise the work of thy hands and favor the designs of the wicked?

It was after I heard the Sixteen’s version of this amazing piece of Renaissance Choral music that I immediately started cutting this passion piece wanting to communicate this experience.

I did it as a thanks to The Sixteen for such wonderful sounds that helped to release some long held sorrows, but also as a thanks to the staff of the St. James Cathedral for letting me film inside it’s incredibly opulent and powerful walls.

This is a gift to those groups. I’m not making any money of the project and it has no monetary value.

Later I’ll post a video on how visual FX came in handy during the making of this project, which, I did alone with no crew or help from anyone.

About 60 hours of passion went into creating this project making sure everything was right. The Panasonic HVX200 P2 HD is the camera I used and it’s very limited in low light situations.

The 15 ft Easter candle was the greatest challenge. I loved this shot but it was so under lit you couldn’t see the amazing brass base So, I put the clip in a program called Maya (which was also used for the movie AVATAR) to create a second brass texture which I composted in Adobe After effects. It was an immense amount of work but very rewarding.

Listening to this music and seeing the imagery of St James Cathedral Seattle one can easily understand the impact it must have had four centuries ago.

The Sixteen have recently been touring the cathedrals in England, or what they call a choral pilgrimage, performing the music of Tomas Luis de Victoria.

Hail, Mother of the Redeemer

The Sixteen are a small early music choral group founded by Harry Christopher with associated orchestra.

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) composer, priest, scholar, mystic and organist.

Top story Music Daily (Friday 18 November 2011).

Tomas Luis De Victoria – Composer of the Week – BBC Radio 3
Discovering Music – 16th Century Polyphony

G F Handel – The Sixteen

November 17, 2011

[Handel] is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach. — Bach

Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived. I would bare my head and kneel at his grave. — Beethoven

The Sixteen choir and orchestra, Carolyn Sampson soprano, conducted by founder Harry Christophers at The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

I think this from the BBC Proms 2009, but cannot be certain. As usual BBC shoot themselves in the foot and the broadcast is no longer available on their website.

This marked the 30th anniversary of The Sixteen and Handel’s 250th anniversary.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), together with English composer Henry Purcell (who was to greatly influence Handel), was one of the leading composers of English Baroque music.

Handel’s Messiah was an inspiration from angels and an attempt to capture their voices. On completing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ Handel is reported to have exclaimed ‘I think I did see all Heaven open before me and the great God Himself.’

Later in life, Handel was to compare his experience with that of Saint Paul: ‘Whether I was in my body or out of my body when I wrote it, I know not. God only knows.’

For my lovely friend Pandora.

Hail, Mother of the Redeemer

Hail, Mother of the Redeemer

October 31, 2011
Hail, Mother of the Redeemer - The Sixteen

Hail, Mother of the Redeemer - The Sixteen

Hail, Mother of the Redeemer, music by Tomás Luis de Victoria, performed by The Sixteen (sadly without founder and director Harry Christophers) at Guildford Cathdral.

The musc was sublime, on a par with Hildegard von Bingen, who said she was a feather on the breath of God.

I thought Guildford Cathedral would be far too big. I was proved wrong, I was sat in the nave about a third of the way from the front and I was probabably in a perfect position, excellent acoustics.

The Cathedral was packed.

Coro, the record label of The Sixteen was on hand with around half a dozen recordings on offer. I picked up a copy of Hail, Mother of the Redeemer, recorded last year at All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London. I now regret I did not pick up a copy for my lovely Russian friend Polina.

The Sixteen are a small early music choral group founded by Harry Christopher with associated orchestra.

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) composer, priest, scholar, mystic and organist.

Guildford Cathedral is currently celebrating 50 years.

Tomas Luis De Victoria – Composer of the Week – BBC Radio 3
Discovering Music – 16th Century Polyphony