From a 1550s Pandemic, a Choral Work Still Casts Its Spell

“Media vita” has become a touchstone for me this year, a piece I have played over and over as a beacon of certainty at a time when certai...


“Media vita” has become a touchstone for me this year, a piece I have played over and over as a beacon of certainty at a time when certainty has been impossible. But the more you try to find out about it — as I did in interviews with artists who created most of the eight recordings of a work that has become a cult favorite — the more uncertain this inventive, dissonant piece becomes.

It sounds, to our ears, almost like a slow movement from Mahler or Bruckner, but we have no idea how Sheppard would have heard it. We don’t have its manuscript, only a copy made in the 1570s. We have five of the six vocal parts, but the tenor part is lost, requiring reconstruction before the piece can be performed.

And we don’t know how accurate the copy is. Are some of the dissonances — “piquant,” said Robert Quinney of the Choir of New College, Oxford — that make it sound so modern actually errors? Or are they a faithful account of what Owen Rees, director of the vocal ensemble Contrapunctus, calls Sheppard’s “extraordinary harmonic imagination?”

Liturgically, this antiphon (a piece that frames a psalm or canticle) was intended for Compline, at the end of Lent. But the text, which recurs in some funeral rites and Good Friday services, might mean that it was written for a specific occasion. Perhaps, Mr. Quinney suggested, this occasion was the funeral of Nicholas Ludford, a composer who perished in the flu’s first wave and was buried, like Sheppard after him, at St. Margaret’s, the parish church in the shadow of Westminster Abbey.

“Frailty and weakness, pain, repentance, passion, desperation, but faith, acceptance, hope,” said Rebecca Hickey, a soprano in the ensemble Stile Antico, summing up the work. “It does encapsulate almost the whole scope of human emotion — and the Christian faith, in a nutshell, is all there.”

Source link

COMMENTS

Name

Africa,730,Americas,3915,Art & Culture,14238,Arts,6336,Arts & Design,1527,Asia,3117,Automobile,416,Baseball,504,Basketball,402,Books,3728,Business,5169,Celebrity,2595,Cricket,607,Crime,123,Cryptocurrency,1391,Dance,589,Defense,799,Diplomatic Relations,2453,Economy,1011,Editorial,260,Education,1120,Elections,292,Energy & Environment,2990,Entertainment,22098,Environment,3471,Europe,4066,Faith & Religion,207,Family & Life,777,Fashion & Style,3088,Finance,18995,Food & Drink,3578,Football,1029,Games,75,Gossip,10247,Health & Fitness,3919,Health Care,873,Hockey,182,Home & Garden,882,Humour,953,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,16244,Media,493,Middle East,1401,Movies,1582,Music,2488,Opinion,2736,Other,11247,Other Sports,4870,Political News,11240,Political Protests,2282,Politics,17293,Real Estate,1689,Relationship,63,Retail,3071,Science,2475,Science & Tech,9495,Soccer,161,Space & Cosmos,278,Sports,11419,Technology,3271,Tennis,507,Theater,1564,Transportation,278,Travel,2440,TV,3531,US Sports,1436,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1028,Weird News,955,World,15583,
ltr
item
Newsrust: From a 1550s Pandemic, a Choral Work Still Casts Its Spell
From a 1550s Pandemic, a Choral Work Still Casts Its Spell
https://static01.nyt.com/images/2021/01/03/arts/03SHEPPARD-1/03SHEPPARD-1-facebookJumbo.jpg
Newsrust
https://www.newsrust.com/2020/12/from-1550s-pandemic-choral-work-still.html
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/
https://www.newsrust.com/2020/12/from-1550s-pandemic-choral-work-still.html
true
732247599994189300
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content