Musical Roots: Miserere

If you’ve taken the time to read any of my blog posts on classical music, you may have spotted a recurring theme to the composers and pieces I write about. I have a deep love for the ancient vocal origins of western choral music, and the more I delve into the family tree, the more I find to love. I’m not alone of course. The respect for our choral roots is obvious in so many works by modern composers and musical scholars, like Arvo Pärt – his Magnificat, for example- or the Fantasia by the slightly-less modern Vaughan Williams.

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Take a Foray into Fauré

Every composer worth their salt has a Requiem mass under their belt. What a cheerful bunch they are celebrating the inevitability of death, the eternal suffering of the damned and the terror of God’s wrath all laid out in impenetrable Latin. But, I’m willing to cut them some slack because the collected catalogue of requiem masses across the years includes some of the most iconic pieces of classical music ever written; Mozart’s Requiem is probably the best known with its brooding opening and its spectacular Dies Irae (Day of Wrath).

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Thomas Tallis was a bit good.

Once upon a time, there lived a composer called Thomas Tallis. He was a bit good. Born during the reign of Henry VII he was busily composing music while Henry VIII was busily chopping off spousal heads. His music has survived for hundreds of years and lingers on in hymns that are still sung in church today. Recognise this?

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