Listening Log

Le Quattro Stagioni (The four seasons)

  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Instruments: Solo: violin; orchestra: strings, continuo
  • Date of composition: 1716-1717
  • Date of first performance: 1723
  • Performed by: The English Concert
  • Listened to: 09.08.201910


The spring starts off with a bright theme played by all the stings, this bright, lively mood is kept almost the same for the rest of the piece. Even though Vivaldi introduces several different themes, the first one comes up several times throughout the piece to remind the listener about this initial mood. For example, one very excited character, which could represent plants growing. Followed by a more “stormy” part, to which’s centre one is able to hear the first theme again, but modulated into minor.


The first movement from the summer surprised me with its slightly sad and longing character, as I would have expected it to be cheerier, seeing that the summer is the warmest time of the year. The second movement reminded me of a slow march with a high pitched lovely melody. This melody is sometimes interrupted by short deep notes, which I interpreted as thunder of a summers’ thunderstorm. The last movement has become one of my favourites with its dramatic character, which reflects the whole storm that started to build up in the previous movement.


This part, which I would have expected to start stormier, similar to the end of the summer, surprised me again with a cheery tune. Nearly at the end of the movement a completely new, much slower theme starts, which I initially considered as the second movement already. The beginning of the second movement is very dramatic and in my opinion much more suitable for the stormy weather. All the different sounds seem to be blurry, woven into one another. One sound which can be heard more clearly are the up and down moving arpeggios by the continuo. The third movement starts with a happier melody again.


From all the four seasons the first movement of “winter”, is my personal favourite. For the soloist it is probably also one of the most challenging movements to play, due to really rapidly played phrases. The quietly starting intro slowly builds up towards a climax which has a very vivid and strong theme. The beginning of the theme as well as the climax could be interpreted as snowdrops which are starting to fall slowly, and then end up as the beginning of a dangerous snow-storm.

Vivaldi’s four seasons is probably one of his most famous pieces. I was lucky to be able to listen to the concert a few years ago. It was one of several baroque/classical music concerts, which I enjoyed throughout.  Even though, I was surprised by some dark/bright moods Vivaldi has chosen (especially for the beginnings of summer and autumn), I personally think that Vivaldi managed it incredibly well to put the different colours and changes of a year into music.

10Le quattro stagioni (Vivaldi, Antonio) 2019, IMSLP: Petrucci Music Library. Available at: [Accessed: 09.08.2019]

Concerto for Two Mandolins

  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Year of composition: 1725
  • Performed by: Giovanni Scaramuzzino, Sonia Maurer, Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi
  • Listened to: 14.08.2020

The firs movement of the piece has a cheery character with a steady, forward moving rhythm. The orchestral parts seem to communicate with the melodically written mandolin solos, often using echoing motifs. Vivaldi also created different kinds of contrasts by adding tension with alternating between crescendo and decrescendo. The second movement is much calmer than the first, has a distinctive melody and a continuously slowly played chord accompaniment. During this movement the orchestra is almost not used at all. Slowly moving back to a more cheery tune, with new harmonies added after a few bars, the third movement seems to be a mixture of the first two. The key continues in minor, but the tune sounds much more vivid than it did during the previous movement.

I really enjoyed the different colours produced by the mandolins and had the impression that the orchestral accompaniment was used in just the right amount to create warm, full chords. Surprisingly, probably due to the Mandolin’s distinctive sound, a few parts from the concerto seemed to have an Eastern character.

Violin Sonata in G – minor

  • Composer: Guiseppe Tartini
  • Year of composition: 1730
  • Instruments:
  • Performed by: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Vienna Philharmonics, James Levine
  • Listened to: 14.08.2020

The piece consists of four movements. The first one Largetto has a melancholic, longing character with extremely long melodic notes. The second movement Allegro Energico makes a sudden change to a rapid pace. Onto the memorable theme played at the beginning of this movement, a melody in a semi – quaver rhythm follows. The following slow Grave movement creates a transition to the final movement, which is a quickly paced Allegro Assai with a dance – like rhythm. The side name of the sonata Devil’s Trill only finds its application within this movement:

Some really quick, often dark and gloomy passages are disrupted by slow parts, which are similar to the first movement again. Within the quick passages one thrill can be heard, which is held whilst the violin also plays a melody, both of with are slowly ascending.

I personally really enjoyed the applied contrasts of the piece as well as the longing, sad character.

Goldberg Variations

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year of composition:
  • Instruments: harpsichord
  • Performed by: Jean Rondeau
  • Listened to: 14.08.2020

The opening aria of this piece, is simply structured. For the first few bars there seems to be one main melody with an accompaniment in major – triads, nevertheless as the piece progresses, it gets more and more obvious, that the structure is polyphonic. It is really slow paced with a forward moving rhythm. Even though it is the base for the following variations, on its own I had the impression that it becomes rather monotonous after a while. Nevertheless, having listened to some of the following variations, I thought that the melodic material Bach used was a good base.

Sonata in F minor

  • Composer: Domenico Scarlatti
  • Year of composition: unknown (Baroque period)
  • Instrument: Keyboard
  • Performed by: Paul Barton
  • Listened to: 14.08.2020

Being in a minor key with a really slow pace, this piece was overall really sad sounding. It also created a tender atmosphere. Unlike the previous one, it was homophonic. The accompaniment was often either arpeggios or simple chords, which nevertheless always created the perfect harmonies for the melodic line. I was surprised that the melody was not too memorable, nonetheless really entertaining and moving.

Oboe Concerto in D minor op. 9, no. 2

  • Composer: Tommasi Albinoni
  • Year of composition: 1722
  • Performed by: II Fondamento
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

The piece starts of with a sequence of melodic ideas, also including a circle of fifth – movement, which was an often used feature during the Baroque era. The first theme is introduced by the violins, and imitated shortly after by the oboe. Even though it is in a minor key, the first movement has overall a light and vivid character. The second movement has a slow, forward moving rhythm and creates a really calm atmosphere. The melody played by the oboe consists overall of clear, long notes. The last movement has a rapid tempo and reminds with its style more of the first one again, with a slightly jumpier melody.

Flute Concerto in G Major

  • Composer: Johann Joachim Quantz
  • Year of composition: around 1745
  • Performed by: Zurich Kammerorchester
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

The first movement has a really lively, cheery character, which is mainly caused by the fast pace and ascending bass line – sequences. The orchestra starts with a short intro before the flute imitates the played theme. Even though the melodic line is overall really clear, it is not as memorable as the previous one. The second movement creates with its’ slow pace and longing character a contrast to the first one. The continuo is not used throughout the entire movement, some parts are mainly accompanied by the strings. This creates a softer background for the melancholic melody. The last movement doens’t exactly mirror the first, but creates a similar atmosphere. The main focus of the accompaniment lies again on the continuo, which’s bass line is surprisingly variable.

Concerto in E minor for Flute and Recorder

  • Composer: Georg Philipp Telemann
  • Year of composition: unkown (Baroque era)
  • Performed by: Bremer Barocorchester
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

The first movement has a slow pace and a steady character. The accompaniment is mostly created by the strings playing in chords. For a few parts a continuo can be heard as well. The flute and the recorder seem to have a conversation alternating with the melodic line, but several other parts are played at the same time as well. The second movement has a faster pace and the two solo instruments play rhythmically much more independent from one another. The imitation of a rapidly played semi – quaver melody is also played by the accompanying instruments.

At the beginning of the third movement a harpsichord solo can be heard until a simple melody is introduced by the recorder which seems to converse again with the flute in a similar way to the beginning. The harpsichord solo appears again at the end of the movement. For the last movement all the instruments from the background seem to become more independent and forceful, trying to play along with a fast paced melody.

I personally really enjoyed listening to this piece, nonetheless, I constantly had the impression as though it could have benefited from more dramatic sounding chords, as I found it overall slightly monotonous.

Concerto in D for Trumpet and Violin

  • Composer: Georg Philipp Telemann
  • Year of composition: Unkown (Baroque era)
  • Performed by: Bremer Barockorchester
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

Even though the piece has two solo instruments, the solo-trumpet seems to only outline the playful melody of the solo – violin. Overall the first movement is really hectic and it is initially difficult to find repeating melodic patterns. The second movement is the longest one, in which the solo trumpet is interestingly not played at all. It has a slightly shy but sad character and alternates between simple chord progressions played by the whole orchestra and virtuous melody lines coming from the solo violin. The trumpet seems to have a more important role during the last, cheery sounding movement.

Concerto for two horns in D – major

  • Composer: Georg Philipp Telemann
  • Year of composition: Unkown (Baroque)
  • Performed by: Bremer Baorckorchester0,0
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

The first movement introduces with a dotted rhythm theme, which can easily be distinguished. I had the impression, that the imitation of the theme by the two horns even had a character similar to an Austrian folk – lore, which is probably due to the soundcolour of the two solo instruments. The second movement starts really calm, introducing a few harmonies, before a rapidly played cheery melody can be heard from the horns, which is shortly after imitated by the strings. This cheery tune alternates with a sometimes longing sounding part. The last movement is really cheery again, also mainly focusing on alterations between orchestral and solo parts.

Brandenburg Concerto No. 1

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year of composition: 1721
  • Performed by: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

The first movement seems to focus on confronting the different instrumental groups with one another. These parts always alternate with a tutti, before continuing with the exploration of the different sound colours. Within the second movement, the horns are not used at all and creates a lovely sounding “conversation” between the oboe and the solo violin. The third movement seems to completely focus on the piccolo flute, which can be heard exceptionally well above the other instruments. The final movement seem to be a collection of dances in a rondo – form, always having a minuet as a reappearing part.

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year of composition: 1721
  • Performed by: Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

The first movement consists of four different motifs, which are all imitated separately several times. Then the solo instruments introduce another theme played together. Over the whole movement the key switches several times and it is overall really difficult to focus on a reappearing melody line. The used instruments are interestingly all really light sounding, and the character switches from dramatic to light several times. The second movement doesn’t involve the solo trumpet anymore, thus the slow longing melodies are lead by the violin, oboe and recorder. The last movement is similar to a fugue, as one can notice reappearing themes in varied ways throughout.

Recorder Concerto in C Major

  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Year of composition: unkown (Baroque)
  • Performed by: Cappella Gabetta
  • Listened to: 15.08.2020

The piece opens with a stromy, strong theme, before and incredibly fast paced melodic line is played by the solo recorder. The movement overall consists of of passages from the orchestra alternating with solo parts, which only have a minimum of accompaniment. The second movement is really slow, and due do the bright, nasal sound of the recorder, it slightly reminded me of a piece from the Middle Ages. The second movement is much longer than the outer ones. The last movement has an incredibly fast pace again, but doesn’t seem as serious as the first one.

Basse – danse “La Brosse”

  • Composer: Pierre Attaingnant
  • Year of composition: around 1530
  • Performed by: Le Banquet du Roy
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

The piece starts with a drum solo, before the four different pitched shawms can be heard, playing a slow medieval sounding melody. The from the high pitched produced sound is quite sharp whilst the lower instruments create a warmer sound. After a repetition of the introducing theme a lute introduces a second, more cheery sounding one. This is played with imitations: The highest shawm plays a solo, which is repeated by all voices shortly after. Even though the piece is quite short, is is really entertaining to listen to.

A Solfing Song

  • Composer: Thomas Tallis
  • Year of composition: Unkown (Renaissance)
  • Instruments: 5 viols
  • Performed by: Charivari Agrèable, Lynda Sayce, Laurence Cummings, Stephen Taylor, Andrew Benson Wilson
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

This short piece starts with a cheery tune with just one voice onto which the other 4 viols slowly start to join in as well. As the beginnings of those sequences always start in the same way, one can notice, that the piece is arranged in either a canonic or imitative form. Furthermore it can be noticed that the piece has a polyphonic structure. The character is bright, but also has a calm, comforting side to it.

Padouane (Pavane)

  • Composer: Johann Hermann Schein
  • Year of composition: Unkown (Renaissance)
  • Instruments: 4 crumhorns
  • Performed by: Eduardo Antonello
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

This short piece has a slow pace and is mainly in minor, often ending in a major chord at the end of a phrase. The first phrase is repeated twice before the melody moves onto a second, lighter sounding part. When the first theme comes back for the second time, some more instruments can be heard alongside it as well, also including a drum, which gives the piece a new, stronger character. The overall created atmosphere is really calm and relaxed and even though only two themes are constantly repeated I didn’t have the impression that it became boring.

La Hiernoyma

  • Composer: Giovanni Martino Cesare
  • Year of composition: Unkown (Renaissance)
  • Instruments: Sackbut, organ
  • Performed by: Achilles Liarmakopoulos, Ahreum Han
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

The piece starts with a few notes in unison, before the solo – sackbut can be heard playing a sad, longing melody, accompanied by an organ. With another theme starting, the melody seems to become more curious and bright. Even though, the melody is quite clear, and has, due to the colour of sound, a warm character, it seems slightly chaotic as there are no obvious repeated patterns. I was surprised that the piece ended with an open chord.

Amours, amours

  • Composer: Nicolas Gombert
  • Year of composition: 1533
  • Instruments: 4 dulcians
  • Performed by: The Italian Consort
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

This short piece is polyphonic and starts with a few slow introducing chords, all played on different types of dulcians. The produced sound is really warm and full, although for the lowest instrument sounds more like it is muttering on the low notes instead of playing a melody.

Fantasia for Clavichord in C minor

  • Composer: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • Year of composition: around 1740
  • Instrument: Clavichord
  • Performed by: Robert Hill
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

The sound of the clavichord is incredibly metallic and due to the short lengths of the notes, it almost sounds as if it would come from a lute. Initially, there is only a simple but not very memorable melody played on the left hand, often starting after an arpeggio introduces a new chord in the left hand. Compared to modern pieces played on the instrument, I had the impression, that this piece had a really empty sound, especially as only on rare occasions two or more notes were played at the same time.


  • Composer: John Dowland
  • Year of composition: around 1590
  • Instrument: Lute
  • Performed by: Christopher Morrongiello
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

This piece has an overall really sad character with a slow pace. There is often an alteration between arpeggios and short melodic phrases, which are not directly linked to one another but all have a similar character. Some phrases end with a major key, whilst the other stay to the gloomy mood. Towards the centre of the piece, the melodic phrases become longer and create a more hopeful sounding atmosphere. Overall a relaxing piece to listen to.

Musikalisches Opfer (musical offering)Copied from exercise “Listen to early music”

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year of composition: 1747
  • Instruments: violin, viol, transverse flute, harpsichord
  • Performed by: The Bach Players
  • Listened to: 16.08.2020

Musikalisched Opfer is a collection of mainly contrapuntal movements, written from Johann Sebastian Bach three years before his death. This particular concert was performed by The Bach players, a group of musicians specialising on music from the 17th and 18th century founded in 1996. The whole collection involves four instruments, violin (played by Nicolette Moonen), transverse flute (played by Marion Moonen), viol (played by Reiko Ichsie) and a harpsichord (played by Silas Wollston).

The structure of the first piece Ricecar a 3 is actually a compositional form, which is the ancestor of the later developed fugue and similar to a fantasy or toccata. It is played by a harpsichord, is in minor and has a gloomy character. As I am not used to the hard, metal sound of the harpsichord, I got a slightly unsettling feeling listening to the piece. The first sound, played by the transverse flute of the following piece Canon perpetuus I was, in comparison to the previous hard sound of the clavichord exceptionally warm sounding. The sound of the transverse flute is generally very similar to that of a modern flute.

This is also the first piece involving all four instruments, creating a full sound, yet the character of the piece lets it still appear very shy. The following played canon has a really cheery character and often involves parts were only two of the four instruments are played together. Thus, some change in the colour of sound was created, making the piece sound more interesting.

The Canon a 2 is the first one to be started by the violin playing a chromatic ascending scale. This also seemed to be almost the only piece were the three solo instruments played a canonical melody with the harpsichord piecewise accompanying with chords. This indicates, that not the whole piece was polyphonic. Even though the viol could almost never be heard on its own, it created a warm sound, helping to fulfill the sound of the other instruments.

Sonata sopr’il Soggetto Reale was the piece I enjoyed most of the whole collection, as the introduced themes seemed overall more memorable and thus the whole sonata seemed less chaotic. Furthermore, some of the harmonies were slightly but not completely foreseeable, which had a soothing effect.

I overall enjoyed listening to the concert, even though some of the harpsichord solos seemed rather long and monotonous. I found the whole produced sound slightly unsettling, simply because I am not used to it, over the progress of this concerts I got to enjoy the sound more and more. I expected the two string instruments to be more dominant than they were, but simply due to its always loud volume, the main focus seemed to often be on the harpsichord. This may not have even been caused by the instruments volume but by the layout and space of the performance room. I initially found it difficult to focus on it due to the polyphony and the similar structures of the presented themes. Nonetheless, I had the feeling that the whole piece was well performed and the instrumentalists really enjoyed playing.

Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year of composition: 1726
  • Instrument: Keyboard instrument
  • Performed by: Rafal Blechacz
  • Listened to: 17.08.2020

The beginning preludium sounds very shy and honest in comparison to the following Allemande, which has a fast pace and puts its main focus on ascending and descending movements of the right hand. Nonetheless, the left hand also has a few virtuous parts. The Courante has a jumpy and cheery character with the left hand often accompanying using arpeggios or a dotted rhythm. In contrast to the last two movements is the Sarabande, which has a much slower pace and a more emotional character, involving more ornaments and the focus is constantly on the right hand.

There are two short minuets before the Guige, the first one has a really jumpy character and a steady rhythm to it whereas the second one is much slower paced and has a clearly defined melody line. The minuets appear in an A – B – A form, thus, the first minuet is played twice. The Guige has a more serious character than any of the parts before, the melody consists of sharply played notes in between a similar staying fast accompaniment.

Sonata da Chiesa Op. 1 – No. 10 in G minor

  • Composer: Arcangello Corelli
  • Year of composition: Around 1680
  • Instruments: 2 violins, viol, organ
  • Performed by: London Baroque
  • Listened to: 17.08.2020

Seeing that the whole piece only takes about 5 minutes, the individual movements are kept rather short, but nonetheless manage to include enough character to keep the piece interesting without creating the intention of themes changing too often. The first slow movement works with a syncopated melody, lead by the first violin. The second movement is more jumpy sounding and one theme can be heard several times in an imitative form, suggesting a fugue. The third movement has a 3/2 rhythm and works, similar to the first movement, often with a syncopated slow and sad sounding melody. The last movement is faster paced again, but stays to the overall gloomy character.

Canzone I

  • Composer: Giovanni Gabrieli
  • Year of composition: Unkown
  • Performed by: La Stagione Armonica
  • Listened to: 17.08.2020

This short piece was for brass instruments only and therefore had a heroic and bright, but also warm character. It started with only one melodic line, the other instruments slowly joined in afterwards, imitating the first few notes. The whole atmosphere was kept really quiet, occasionally the key modulated from the starting minor to major. I was surprised that the last chord was left open instead of being closed.

Jesus, meines Lebens Leben

  • Composer: Dietrich Buxehude
  • Year of composition: Unkown
  • Performed by: Orchestra Anima Eterna
  • Listened to: 17.08.2020

The piece starts with a short, dramatic orchestral preludium before moving on to a longing sung melody sung unison by a female choral. The melody is imitated shortly after by the violins. The centre and most important part of the piece involves the whole choir. Buxehude alternates between female choir, mixed choir and male choir parts, and always with a short instrumental part in between. This creates full harmonies and an effect of welcome change to the overall similar staying melodic phrases.

Cento Partite Sopra Passacagli

  • Composer: Girolamo Frescobaldi
  • Year of composition: 1637
  • Instruments: harpsichord
  • Performed by: Lorenzo Ghielmi
  • Listened to: 17.09.2020

This piece was entirely instrumental, written for a harpsichord with a polyphonic structure. Most of the parts within the piece seemed really similar to one another, which made it difficult to focus on the framework of the piece. I was surprised to find several time – signature changes even within the different parts. Even though all of them started in minor, the very last chord was always in major. Overall I thought, that this piece was rather monotonous and thus, not as interesting to listen to, nonetheless, it would also be able to provide a calming background atmosphere.

Mass in b – minor

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year of composition: 1733
  • Performed by: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
  • Listened to: 17.08.2020

Traditionally the kyrie is in three parts. Between the surrounding kyre – parts is the Chritste, which is distinctively different than the outer parts and creates and interesting contrast. Whilst the words from the kyrie melt with one another, sung by all five voices several times, the Christe is arranged as a duet. During the Gloria the sopranos have colourful arias to sing, although as they are thematically closely related to one another there does’t seem to be much harmonic change. The trumpets, which are played for the first time during this part help to emphasize the heroic character of the Gloria.

The Credo is the centre part of the mass and interestingly seems to be constructed in a symmetric ways as well. The Sanctus has six instead of the usual five voices and is therefore slightly different than the Sanctus part from other masses. There was a strong emphazise on making the words more audible, which wasn’t always the case within the previous movements.

The overall mood of the mass is gloomy and melancholy, creating dramatic contrast and making it therefore highly entertaining to listen to. I really enjoyed the solo – parts, as they seemed to create full, warm but dramatic harmonies.

Praelude and fugue in d – minor

  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Year of composition: 1722
  • Instrument: Keyboard (piano)
  • Performed by: Andras Schiff
  • Listened to: 17.09.2020

The praeludium has an improvised toccata -like character. Initially, there is a strong harmonic movement especially coming from the bass – line. This version has a really fast pace, which also fits to the character of the harmonic change. Most of the right hand is constructed of arpeggios forming fitting chords for the bass lines.

The fugue is rather complex but stays entertaining to listen to. The theme appears 18 times in its original pattern, 6 times as inversion and several other forms. There are also several allusions to the theme, which often only hold the initial notes of it. Even though the piece is in minor, the last chord is major, lifting some of the tension.


  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Year of composition: around 1715
  • Performed by: English Chamber Orchestra
  • Listened to: 17.08.2020

This work for choir, soloists and orchestra starts with a cheery, strong, but slightly dramatic Gloria in excelsis Deo part. The second part Et in terra pax is more dramatic sounding, has a slower pace and is written in minor. With the following parts, Vivaldi seemed to alternate between minor and major as well as between slow and fast piece, which kept the piece interesting throughout. I noticed that he, especially for the minor pieces, often built up dissonances which were resolved. My personal favorite part of the piece is probably Qui tollis peccata mundi, even though it is one of the shortest ones, it involves a huge amount of tension and strong chords.

I came to this piece the first time when I had the opportunity to sing the alto – voice for it in a choir. This has already been a few years ago and I still enjoy the wide colours and different atmosphere the piece creates.


  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Year of composition: Unkown
  • Performed by: Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice
  • Listened to: 17.08.2020

The piece is parted into nine movements. Starting with Magnificat in g – minor, the introducing chords sung by the whole choir is rather dramatic, before the tension is lifted by the soprano – solo. All the movements have different musical material, which don’t seem to be linked to one another, nonetheless, as the whole piece only takes 15 minutes, the movements are all kept rather short. Vivaldi also used a different setting for each movement, which kept the piece high in variety and, thus, really entertaining.

Messe de Nostre Dame

  • Composer: Guillaume de Machaut
  • Year of composition: around 1360
  • Performed by: Ensemble Organum
  • Listened to: 19.08.2020

This mass consists of six parts. Within the kyrie, sanctus, agnus dei and Ite, the style of and isorhythmic motet is used. I noticed, that the composer put a special effort on placing the sung words at the same time, so that they would be clearly audible. The vowels sung in between are to due the polyphonic structure of the piece moving independently. As the whole piece is sung acapella and the keys seem to be almost the same, all the parts of the piece seem to be very similar to one another. Overall, the piece has a dark, gloomy and misterious character.

Come away, sweet love

  • Composer: Thomas Greaves
  • Year of composition: 1604
  • Instruments (voices): Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  • Performed by: The Cambridge Singers
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

This piece is for 5 choir voices and has an incredibly fast pace, which makes it difficult to understand the text, even though it is rhythmically synchronized. The first two lines have the same melody and are more cheery sounding, both of them are followed by a short sequence which involves the performers continuing the melody with “fa la la … ” . The third line on the other hand, is slightly slower, more dramatic and the voiced sing rhythmically independent for the first time. A fourth line follows similar to the third one, whereas both of them also end with a cheery “fa la la” – part again.

Farewell, Dear Love

  • Composer: Robert Jones
  • Year of composition: around 1600
  • Instruments(voices): Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  • Performed by: the Cambridge Singers
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

This piece is in minor and has a sad, but hopeful character. Some chords at the end of phrases occasionally land on major chords, which doesn’t only create an interesting change for the piece but also creates a positive aspect for the overall gloomy mood. The whole piece consists of two short stanzas, starting slow with a faster paced second half. For most of it, all the voices move rhythmically independent apart from a few exceptions, at the end of a phrase for example.

The silver swan

  • Composer: Orlando Gibbons
  • Year of composition: 1612
  • Instruments (voices): Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass
  • Performed by: The Cambridge Singers
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

Even though this piece is meant to be polyphonic, I often had the impression, that the Soprano was the leading voice. The whole piece has just one stanza and is slow paced, thus there are no repeating melodic patterns. It can be noticed, that Gibbons included a few wide intervals, often at the beginning of a phrase, to let it stand out slightly more from the other voices. Due to the rhythmical independence, it is difficult to understand the text.

Pueri Hebraeorum

  • Composer: Tomás Luis da Victoria
  • Year of composition: 1572
  • Instruments(solo – voices): Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  • Performed by: Schola Antiqua
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

This short piece has creates a really warm and full atmosphere. It is really slow paced and even though the voices move rhythmically independently, the text is clearly audible. Interestingly, there rarely seem to be any repeating patterns, but the piece nevertheless has a continuing flow and stays interesting throughout.

Incipit lamentatio Jeremiae

  • Composer: Tomás Luis da Victoria
  • Year of composition: around 1585
  • Instruments(solo – voices): Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  • Performed by: Ensemlbe Plus Ultra
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

This slow piece starts with some really slow harmonies. It is written in a polyphonic form and even though the different phrases sound very similar to one another, they all start with different voices singing the first note, which creates a welcome change. All the notes sung are held unusually long apart from a few exceptions. Nonetheless, due to the similarity of the different phrases the piece seemed really monotonous after a while.

Amicus meus osculi me

  • Composer: Tomás Luis da Victoria
  • Year of composition: 1586
  • Instruments(voices): Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  • Performed by: The sixteen
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

The first notes are sung by the female voices, introducing some uncertain, dramatic chords. With the entrance of the Tenor and Bass some more warmth comes to the harmonies, but the overall character still stays melancholy. Similar to the previous piece, most of the notes are rather long, although they are rhythmically less independent. Furthermore, this was the first piece, were a strong alteration of piano and forte could be noticed, supporting the tension of the piece.

Tamquam ad latronem

  • Composer: Tomás Luis da Victoria
  • Year of composition: 1586
  • Instruments(voices): Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  • Performed by: The sixteen
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

The piece starts with a strong chord in forte. The pace is slightly faster than it was in the previous pieces. Interestingly, between the different phrases, which don’t seem very similar to one another. Victoria put a further great focus on changes in dynamics, not only playing with the volume itself, but also with the amount of voiced involved.

Vexilla regis more hispano

  • Composer: Tomás Luis da Victoria
  • Year of composition: 1585
  • Instruments (voices): Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
  • Performed by: Schola Antiqua
  • Listened to: 22.08.2020

This piece starts with short unison cantus firmus part, introduced by just one voice, but answered by more voices. Only after that the chorus starts and the other voices can be heard as well, singing a longing, melancholic melody. After each phrase a short unison part, similar to the one at the beginning can be hear again. The ending chords always seem to be emphazised especially well, even though the rest of the piece sometimes seems slightly disorientated.