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Celestial music? : some masterpieces of European religious music

Author: Wilfrid Mellers
Publisher: Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK ; Rochester, NY : Boydell Press, 2002.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Wilfrid Mellers
ISBN: 0851158447 9780851158440
OCLC Number: 48140378
Description: xv, 320 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Prologue : What is religious music? --
Part I : The ages of Christian faith. The meanings of monody : oneness in Hildegard of Bingen's Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum ; The meanings of polyphony : many-in-oneness in Perotin's Viderunt omnes and Sederunt principes ; The antique and the novel in Ars antiqua and Ars nova : Machaut's Messe de Notre Dame and Le Lai de la fontaine ; From the "Gothic desperation" to harmonic congruence : Dunstable's Veni Sancte Spiritus and Dufay's Ave Regina Celorum ; Sacred and profane in the music of the William Cornyshes, father and son : the father's Magnificat and the son's Adieu mes amours, Ah, Robin, and Woefully arrayed ; The Tudors and the church re-formed : "false relation" in Tallis's Lamentations of Jeremiah ; Byrd as Roman-Anglican, Elizabethan-Jacobean, double man : his Mass in five voices (1588) and his Psalm-sonet, "Lullaby, my swete litel baby" (first version for solo voice and viols [1588], second version for a cappella voices [1607]). Part II : The re-birth of a re-birth: from renaissance to high baroque. The opera-house as church : Monteverdi's Vespers and Magnificat (1610), as a fare-well and as an annunciation of the renaissance ; Reformation and opera in church : crucifixion and redemption in Schutz's Passion according to St Matthew (c. 1665) ; The glory of God and a man's glory : J.S. Bach's high and solemn Mass (1747) ; A rara avis at the seat of power : François Couperin at the Chapelle Royale of Versailles : his Quatre versets d'un motet (1703), by his Motet de Ste Suzanne (c. 1705), and his Troisième leçon des ténèbres (between 1713 and 1717) ; The democratization of the high baroque : God and the common man, from the youthful virtuosity of Handel's Dixit Dominus (1708) by way of the Old Testament morality of Saul (1739) to the democratic universality of Messiah (1742). Part III : From enlightenment to doubt. Light in the church's darkness : from Haydn's early Roman masses to The creation (1798) ; From enlightenment to vision : Mozart as ecclesiastical successor to Haydn and as precursor to Beethoven : his Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento (c. 1722) and his Requiem mass (1791) ; "God's kingdom is in ourselves" : the high Baroque and the sonata principle in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (1819-22) ; Nostalgia and the dream of God : liturgy and Romanticism in Schubert's Mass in A flat major (1822) ; Faith and doubt in mass, symphony, and symphonic mass : Bruckner's Mass in E minor (1866) and the Mass in F minor (1867) ; God and classicism, agnosticism and romanticism : Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts (1837) and Faure's Requiem (1887) ; Two more agnostic requiems : Verdi's quasi-Roman Requiem of life (1874) and Brahms's quasi-Lutheran Requiem of death (1857-68). Part IV : From "the death of God" to "the unanswered question'. The Victorian crisis of faith : The Roman church, science, Cardinal Newman, and Elgar's Dream of Gerontius (1900), Delius's pagan Mass of Life (1904-5) and his pagan Requiem (1914-16) ; Cosmic, social, and personal mysticism and apocalypse : Holst's Hymn of Jesus (1917), Vaughan Williams's Sancte civitas (1925), and Howells's Hymnus paradisi (1938) ; Twilight of the Gods : life, war, and death in western civilizations and in Britten's War requiem (1961-62). Part V : The ancient law and the modern mind. Earth tanscendent : fertility rites and Christian liturgy in Janacek's Glagolitic mass (1926) ; Un saint sensuel and "Le Johgleur de Notre Dame" : Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1940), Cinq Rechants (1948), and Chronochromie (1960), Poulenc's Gloria for soprano solo, chorus, and orchestra (1959) ; The ancient law and the romantic spirit : Rachmaninov's Russian Orthodox Vespers or all-night vigil (1916) ; The ancient law and the modern mind : Stravinsky's Oedipus rex (1927), Symphony of Psalms (1930), and Requiem canticles (1965-6) ; God and Gospel : Arvo Pärt's Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi seundum Joannem (1982), John Tavener's Fall and resurrection (2000), and works by Górecki, Macmillan, and Finnissy ; A plain man, a private woman, and first and last things : Aaron Copland's 12 poems of Emily Dickinson for voice and piano (1950).
Responsibility: Wilfrid Mellers.

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