Bach – Mass in B Minor performed in Notre Dame de Paris

One of music’s greatest achievements played in one of the West’s most prized locations.  Christianity inspired both.  Here’s one way the piece was described:

The Mass was described in the 19th century by the editor Hans Georg Nägeli as “The Announcement of the Greatest Musical Work of All Times and All People” (“Ankündigung des größten musikalischen Kunstwerkes aller Zeiten und Völker”).[41]

Update: Well, they took down the one performed in Notre Dame.  Censoring seemingly everything about Notre Dame hard.  Even classical music.  Awesome.  Here’s another version of the same piece.  Unfortunately not the same venue.

Beethoven: 9th Symphony, 4th Movement

One of the most famous pieces of music of all time; perhaps the crowning achievement of all music and a crown jewel of Western culture.  I am easily moved to tears every time I listen to it.  Check out this version, sung by 10,000 Japanese after the 2011 earthquake that rocked their nation.  The Japanese are a strong, proud, resilient people.  One of my favorite versions.

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen,
und freudenvollere.

Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!

Freude!
Freude!

Joy!
Joy!

Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Joy, beautiful spark of divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, burning with fervour,
heavenly being, your sanctuary!
Your magic brings together
what custom has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.

Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!

Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Every creature drinks in joy
at nature’s breast;
Good and Evil alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.

Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.

Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.

Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, O world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

Allegri – Miserere mei, Deus

One of the prettiest pieces of music you will ever hear in your life.  Truly inspired from on high.

From Infogalactic:

It was the last of twelve falsobordone Miserere settings composed and chanted at the service since 1514 and is the most popular: at some point, it became forbidden to transcribe the music and it was allowed to be performed only at those particular services, thus adding to the mystery surrounding it. Writing it down or performing it elsewhere was punishable by excommunication.[1] The setting that escaped from the Vatican is actually a conflation of verses set by Gregorio Allegri around 1638 and Tommaso Bai (also spelled “Baj”; 1650–1718) in 1714.

Three authorized copies of the work were distributed prior to 1770: to the Holy Roman EmperorLeopold I; to the King of Portugal; and to Padre (Giovanni Battista) Martini.[1] However, none of them succeeded in capturing the beauty of the Miserereas performed annually in the Sistine Chapel. According to the popular story (backed up by family letters), the fourteen-year-old Mozart was visiting Rome, when he first heard the piece during the Wednesday service. Later that day, he wrote it down entirely from memory, returning to the Chapel that Friday to make minor corrections. Less than three months after hearing the song and transcribing it, Mozart had gained fame for the work and was summoned to Rome by Pope Clement XIV, only instead of excommunicating the boy, the Pope showered praises on him for his feat of musical genius and awarded him the Chivalric Order of the Golden Spur.[2] Some time during his travels, he met the British historian Charles Burney, who obtained the piece from him and took it to London, where it was published in 1771. The work was also transcribed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1831 and Franz Liszt, and various other 18th and 19th century sources survive. Since the lifting of the ban, Allegri’s Miserere has become one of the most popular a cappella choral works now performed.[citation needed]

The original ornamentation that made the work famous were Renaissance techniques that preceded the composition itself, and it was these techniques that were closely guarded by the Vatican. Few written sources (not even Burney’s) showed the ornamentation, and it was this that created the legend of the work’s mystery. However, the Roman priest Pietro Alfieri published an edition in 1840 with the intent of preserving the performance practice of the Sistine choir in the Allegri and Bai compositions, including ornamentation.

Sistina-interno

Handel: Zadok the Priest

A little music for your weekend listening pleasure.  German composer (later a naturalized subject of Britain) George Frederick Handel composed Zadok the Priest for the coronation of King George II in 1727.  It has been sung before the coronation of every British monarch since then.  Great Britain has changed much since then, unfortunately trending downwards for the last 50+ years.  It could do them a lot of good to look inward to their own past and get some semblance of pride and gratitude for what their ancestors did to build up their great nation, which they are so wastefully throwing away now.

 

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