Monday, 12 February 2018

11th February 2018 Quinquagesima

taken from Wikipedia

Ave Verum  Charles Gounod (1818-1893)

Gounod was born in Paris,  his father an artist and his mother a pianist and also his first piano teacher.  He showed an early aptitude for music.  He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and won the Prix de Rome in 1839 for his Cantata Fernand.  He contemplated taking holy orders but went back to composition before taking his vows.  In 1854 he competed a Messe Solennelle also know as St Cecilia Mass.

The sister of Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny, introduced Gounod to the works of JS Bach, in particcular he admired The Well-Tempered Clavier  and it inspired him to write a melody to the Prelude in C major, later adding the words "Ave Maria" and it became a success. in 1859 he wrote Faust for which he is best remembered.

Between 1870 and 1874, Gounod lived in London, becoming conductor the Royal Choral Society. Much of his music at this time was choral.

As he grew older his music became more sacred. He was made a Grand Officer of the Légion d'honneur in 1888 and died of a stroke in 1893.


Thursday, 8 February 2018

4th February 2018 Candlemass

When to the Temple Mary Went       Johannes Eccard (1553-1611)

Johannes Eccard was a German composer born in Mühlhausen in what is now Thuringia , Germany.  At the age of 18 he went to Munich as a pupil of Orlando Lasso and it is thought he travelled with Lasso to Paris. In 1574 he was back in Mühlhausen and stayed there for 4 years.  With Joachim a Burck he edited a collection of sacred songs, Crepundia sacra Helmboldi (1577). In 1583 he was appointed assisstant conductor and in 1599 conductor at Konigsberg. In 1608 he was called to Berlin as principal conductor, a post he only held or 3 years due to his death.

Eccard's works are mostly choral compositions for 4 to 9 voices, sacred chorales and cantatas. He is much admired by musicians for the polyphonic structure of his work.

Eccard from Wikipedia