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Friday Night Organ Redux part III The Elizabethan love-affair with the Madrigal
Thomas Morley 1557-1602 was born in Norwich where as a boy he joined the cathedral choir. In 1583 he became choir master. In 1574. Morley moved from Norwich sometime before 1574 to be a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral. In 1588 he received his bachelor's degree from Oxford and thereafter was employed as organist at St Paul's London. His young son died the following year in 1589. He was Roman Catholic, but he was able to avoid prosecution as a recusant due to repenting.
In 1588 Nicholas Yonge published a collection of Italian madrigals with English texts, which touched off the vogue for madrigal composition in England. Morley obviously found his compositional direction at this time, and shortly afterwards began publishing his own collections of madrigals (11 in all). Morley lived for a time in the same parish as William Shakespeare, and a connection between the two has been long speculated, but never proven. His famous setting of "It was a lover and his lass" from As You Like It has never been established as having been used in a performance of Shakespeare's play, though there is the possibility that it was. Thomas Morley died young a man in 1602 (45 years old) and was buried in the graveyard of the church of St. Botoph Billinggate which was destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666 and not rebuilt. Thus his grave is lost.
Curious isn't it? Palestrina's grave in the Vatican is unknown, Lassus's final resting place is unmarked under a large square in Munich and Morley's grave is lost as well. MMmmmmm
Anyway Unlike the "organist" Palestrina who left us no such works; St. Paul's organist Morley DID: Here is his "Alman" played on the historical Bremser organ (1675) restored by Dominique Thomas (2008) at Antwerp.
And rather than go into a long-winded tedious explanation of what exactly an English madrigal is; here is an example. Morley's "Pavane".
This one is an example of a Fantasia which was a relatively new style out of Italy at the time:
Another madrigal is exactly the right one to kick off this Saturday morning. It´s a little short, though, so I heard it 4 times in a row.
As for its curious title, I don´t know, I am no interpreter. Hum-di-del-dum 😌 . April is even better than March, though.
Well, now, who or what could that mysterious Mistress be? And what possibly would constitute as her face? Hmmm...
The Evil Genius, are you at all insinuating something sinister with your remark considering the whereabouts of the late Maestros like Morley, Lassus and Palestrina? I beg you pardon, but to me that missing of bodies sounds just like another day at the 16th century European office. See, I do already find it remarkable that it is still known or remembered, where they supposedly put the bodies, before they lost them.
I was hoping for some music relating to the Ides of March, but what a wonderful surprise!
I had a bit too much scotch last night, passed out early, then preceded to share this music with my noisy upstairs neighbor at 2:30am. He enjoyed it so much he was foot stomping in tempo! I never knew that guy was an organ lover!
His favorite was Fantasia, while mine was Lamento. The scenery in the video really enhances the music.
The best part of your organ threads T.E.G. is the history behind the music. I like to see your thoughts and insight before the videos, it makes a great introduction!
Do NOT chase tail. Turn yours around and live FREE!
WHO ME? Insinuate something sinister? Perish the thought! No I think you are right on---once these guys are dead and the family splits up the money they couldn't give two rat shits what happens next.
TOO funny Old Buck! And I love the history and stories behind the people who have done great things, not just music but art, architecture, inventions etc. This last week you guys suffered through my damning of the islamists for their attack on St. Denis in Paris. I pointed out that the choir of the basilica built in 1144 was the first Gothic structure--ever sometime you should read about Abbot Suger and the ambulatory of the Basilica. Fascinating story.
As for you upstairs nuisance? OH BABY JUST WAIT!
I am expecting many more recent historical grave sites to become lost, as the change in culture impacts the world. It seems that rewriting and burying history is a favorite past-time for cultural changes that are started from the most wealthy and politics of governments. I wonder what religion they are embracing now and will use to excuse reasoning for attacking and assaulting people. It is just another day in paradise.
With that in mind, it is getting interesting on how difficult it is to hide and erase the past. I am certain that they would rather the people to be oblivious to the issues of forced immigration and the collapse that is caused by socialist governments. Just as this music survived, as did some of the history of these men, the recent history is well documented, despite the school systems no longer teaching it and public dismissal of the occurrences. Fortunately, Evil Genius has become another record keeper of history, documenting and sharing the history of many men who would otherwise be lost in history to many of us.
"Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did."
Groucho Marx: Duck Soup (1933)