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Playlist for 17th October – The Tallis Scholars

The Tallis Scholars have just issued a 3 boxed sets of Renaissance choral music that contains some of their best recordings. Each boxed sets is organised into recordings from a particular decade, the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s respectively. At $35 for each box its a brilliant bargain…..and the quality of the singing is astounding. So for this weeks show I’m going to play some music by this choir, but instead of playing lots of pieces from the sets I’m going to play just 2 pieces. Firstly, something from the composer whose name they use, Thomas Tallis and his astounding 40-part motet Spem in Alium followed by a piece that has completely bewitched me by a composer I’d never heard before. The work is the Missa Et ecce terrae motus by Antoine Brumel (c.1460-c.1520). This translates as the Earthquake Mass, which in light of recent events is a good choice.

Spem in Alium

In 1567, the Italian musician and nobleman Alessandro Striggio stunned the London musical scene with a performance of his motet Ecce beatam lucem, written for an extravagant ensemble of 40 voice parts. According to legend two of England’s leading Catholic noblemen issued a commission to Tallis to match Striggio’s accomplishment and Tallis presented England with Spem in alium composed for 40 voices in eight choirs of five voices each.

Earthquake Mass

Antoine Brumel was a composer in the Franco-Flemish tradition during the time of Josquin and Obrecht. He was a pupil of Josquin, and historically significant as the first truly French composer to be associated with the court in Burgundy

The Earthquake Mass is so called because of its cantus firmus (which is a fixed melody underpinning a polyphonic composition. The cantus firmus of this mass is an Antiphon for Easter morning Lauds whose text describes the moment of Christ’s Resurrection with the words: “And behold, there was a great earthquake, and the angel of the Lord descended from heaven”
From this Brunel wrote a large scale mass for 12 voices, rather than the more standard 4 or 5. What is amazing to me is how in places how modern this piece sounds and it’s hard to believe its getting on for 500 years old.


Playlist for 9th May – Cabaret Songs

My theme for this week is inspired by the visit to Auckland of one of the finest interpreters of the music of Kurt Weill, Ute Lemper, who is appearing in concert next Sunday at the Auckland Town Hall and it’s a not to be missed event for me.  I’ll be playing a range of Cabaret songs, by a variety of composers and perfomers, including Ms Lemper herself.

Composer Title
Kurt Weill Die Dreigroschenoper: Die Moritat von Mackie Messer
Benjamin Britten Cabaret Songs: O tell me the truth about love
William Bolcom Cabaret Songs – Surprise
William Bolcom Cabaret Songs – Song Of Black Max
William Bolcom Cabaret Songs – Toothbrush Time
Poulenc La Dame de Monte-Carlo
Erik Satie La Diva de L’ Empire
Erik Satie Erik Satie – Tendrement
Kurt Weill Je ne t’aime pas
Kurt Weill One Touch of Venus / I’m A Stranger Here Myself
Benjamin Britten Cabaret Songs: Funeral Blues
Kurt Weill Die Dreigroschenoper: Die Ballade von der Sexuellen Horigkeit
Schoenberg Der Nachtwandler
Schoenberg Galathea
Kurt Weill Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagony: Alabama-Song

Playlist for 16th May – The Viola

The viola is possibly one of the most underrated of all instruments. In fact a lot of blond jokes startes out as Viola player jokes and there are long list of viola jokes on the web, such as Q: How do you keep your violin from getting stolen?
A: Put it in a viola case.
So today I’ve decide to dedicate my show to music that showcases the Viola



Hector Berlioz

Harold en Italie, op.16. – 1b. Harold aux montagnes 2nd Movement

Paul Hindemith

Funeral music for Viola and the String Orchestra


Concerto for Viola and Orchestra – Finale.


Sinfonia concertante Es-dur K364 2nd Movement

Frank Bridge


Bejnamin Britten

Elegy (for solo viola)

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Suite For Viola And Orchestra: Opening

William Walton

Viola Concerto: !st Movement

A Stand at Marbecks!

The highly knowledgeable and helpful staff at Marbecks Classical Music department have let me take over one of the CD display stands outside the shop in the Queens Arcade in Auckland.  The stand will house a selection of CD’s that are representative of the themes that I cover each week for my radio show.  It gives me a license to go into the shop and select a bunch of CD’s for display and to foist my selections on to the public  – and hopefully to get some people to look at classical music from a slightly different angle and to dabble a little.

Playlist for 25th April – 1914-1918

My theme for this week is obviously based on today being Anzac day, but instead of playing music based on the theme of war or battle, I thought I ‘d play music that was composed in the years of the World War 1.

Composer Title
Ravel Ravel: Piano Trio I. Modéré
Gabriel Faure Nocturne No .12 in E Minor, Op. 107
Érik Satie Avant-dernières Pensées – I. Idylle
Érik Satie Avant-dernières Pensées – II. Aubade
Érik Satie Avant-dernières Pensées – III. Meditation
Bela Bartok Quartet No.2 Op.17 -II- Allegro
Rachmaninov Son
Prokofiev Symphony No.1, op. 25 ‘Classical’ – Allegro
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major Op.19: II. Scherzo. Vivacissimo
Szymanowski  Concerto No.1, Op.35: Vivace
Charles Ives They are there!
Charles Ives Symphony No.4 – I. Prelude. Maestoso
Ralph Vaughan-Williams The Lark ascending extract
Ravel Le Tombeau de Couperin-forlane

Playlist for 18th April – An American Songbook

An American Songbook

In the 1940’s and 50’s Ella Fitzgerald recorded a number of classical jazz albums such as The Cole Porter Songbook, The Gershwin Songbook and others featuring the songs of a range of composers of popular music. Listening to a some of these albums has inspired  my show this week which is called Am American Songbook and features art songs and vocal pieces by a range of American classical composers.  In many of these pieces you can here the influence of jazz and popular music and in some cases its hard to see if there’s a true line between classical and popular music.

Composer Title
Roy Harris Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
Charles Ives In Flanders Fields
Charles Ives Songs: Memories (a–Very Pleasant, b–Rather Sad)
Kurt Weill Lonely House
Aaron Copland Laurie’s Song
Leonard Bernstein Rabbit At Top Speed [
William Bolcom How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around
Peter Lieberson Si no fuera porque tus ojos tienen color de luna (If your eyes were not the color of the moon)
John Harbison North & South: 6 Poems of Elizabeth Bishop (1999) – Book 1 3. Breakfast Song
Ned Rorem Early in the morning
Ned Rorem Requiescat
Gian Carlo Menotti What a curse for a woman is a timid man
Samuel Barber Despite and Still, Op. 41 – 4. Solitary Hotel

Playlist for 11th April – The New Quartets

Composer Work Performer
Leos Janacek String Quartet No. 2(Intimate Letter), IV. Allegro Pavel Haas Quartet
Zoltan Szekely Szekely Quartet: Moderato ma non troppo New Zealand String Quartet
Franz Joseph Haydn String Qt in G, Op 76 No.1 – 2nd mvmt Adagio Sostenuto Doric Quartet
Robert Schumann String Qt No1 in A Op 41 2nd mvmt Zehetmair Quartet
Antonin Dvorak String Quartet Op. 96 “American, III: Molto vivace Jerusalem Quartet
Steve Reich Duet The Smith Quartet
Gabriel Fauré Quatuor à Cordes En Mi Mineur, Opus 121, Quatuor Ébène
Maurice Ravel Ravel: String Quartet In F – 4. Vif Et Agité Belcea Quartet
Dmitri Shostakovich String Quartet No. 10 in A flat major, Op. 118 – I. Andante Mandelring Quartet
Sergei Prokofiev String Quartet No.1 in B minor – Allegro Pavel Haas Quartet

The New Quartets

An article in a recent issue of the Gramophone highlighted that there is a new generation of string quartet ensembles that are releasing CDs and carving out their reputations.  Oddly enough, when I delved into this a little further, I found out that it takes a long time to get established as a “young” quartet, with a number of the ensembles having formed more than 10 years ago. When I started looking into this a little further I realised that many active string quartet ensembles have been going for well over 60 years.  The Borodin Quartet, who toured NZ last month, first formed in 1945.   Even “modern” and modernist ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet have been in existence for over 35 years, having formed in 1973.

My take from this is that string quartets are more like orchestras than bands, and survive changes in personnel, so that there is every chance that a number of the new generation of quartet ensembles will still be around in another 10 to 20 years, performing music to a high standard.  So in the show for this week I’m going to showcase the work of a number of  modern quartet ensembles who’ve been in existence for a mere 20 years or less. 

A quick bio of the quartets features on the show.

The Pavel Haas Quartet is a Czech string quartet founded in 2002.  The quartet is named after the Czech composer Pavel Haas (1899–1944), who was deported from Czechoslovakia in 1941, initially imprisoned at the work camp Terezin, and finally died at Auschwitz.   Their first album of the second quartets of Haas and Janáček won the 2007 Gramophone Award for Chamber music.

The NZSQ are the oldest ensemble featured today, having formed in 1987.  Only the viola player is from the 1987 line up though, the other 3 having joined in 1994.  Interestingly the 2 new members were not from NZ but came from Canada and the US biut have since become NZ citizens. 

The Doric qt Formed in 1998 at The National School for Young Chamber Music Players, in Suffolk. They’ve worked with members of the Alban Berg, Artemis, Hagen and LaSalle Quartets and with Gyorgy Kurtag.  Their first commercial CD is a live recording of their Haydn concerts at Wigmore Hall in 2009.

Founded in 1994, the Zehetmair Quartet have gained international prominence and critical acclaim for its vigorous and  imaginative performances of the string quartet repertoire.   They play by memory – even when recording. 

The Jerusalem Quartet formed in 1997 and have released a very good CD of Haydn qts and another of Dvorak. 

The Smith Quartet is a UK based quartet founded in 1988 that specializes in the performance of contemporary music.

The French Ébène Quartet formed in 1999, and their 2009 CD of the quartets of Debussy, Ravel and Faure won the Gramaphone Record of the Year.  

The Belcea Qt, formed in 94 are one of my fav qts and have some award winning recordings of the complete Bartok  and Britten qts. Like the ebene they also recorded an award winning CD coupling of the debussy and ravel, which I prefer to the Ebene CD.  

The Mandelring Qt, formed in 1988 are less well known but they have just finished recording the complete Shostakovich quartet cycle which is regarded on a par with some of the great Shostakovich cycles by the Borodin and others.

Two of my favourite things together, Tom Waits and a string quartet (Kronos)

Playlist for 4th April 2010

Easter Sunday:

A very simple playlist this week as the theme has been pre-selected.  Happy Easter

Composer Work Performers
Johan Sebastian Bach Easter Oratorio, BWV 249; Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11 “Ascension Oratorio”


Playlist for 28th March – A Requiem of Requiems

Earlier this year I did a show called minor masses. This show is a follow on show but this time the masses I am going to play are all Requiem masses, sometimes called Missa pro defunctis, whicah are basically masses for the deceased.  In the same way that the the musical mass uses the text of the ordinary mass, the Requiem uses the text of the liturgy, set to music.  For this show I’ve put together a Requiem of Requiems of that incorporates a different composer for each section.   The order fo the sections are Requiem Aeternam, Kyrie, Dies Irae , Offertorium, Sanctus, Benedictus, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, Lux Aeterna, Libera me and In Paradisum.  The Pie Jesu, Libera Me and In Parasidum  are not formally a part of the mass but the form part of a number of musical Requiems.

Composer Title
Benjamim Britten War Requiem Op66 1 Requiem Aeternum
Peter Sculthorpe II. Kyrie
Benjamim Britten Sinfonia da Requiem Op20 2 Dies Irae
Tomas Luis de Victoria Offertorium – Domine Iesu Christe
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber Sanctus
Domenico Cimarosa Benedictus 
Maurice Duruflé Pie Jesu
Frank Martin Agnus Dei
Zbigniew Preisner Requiem: Lux aeterna
Verdi Libera Me: Libera Me, Domine
Fauré Requiem – 7. In paradisium

Text and translation of the Requiem

Requiem aeternam

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion,
Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem
Exaudi orationem meam
Ad te omnis caro veniet.
Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them
A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Zion
And a vow shall be paid to thee in Jerusalem
Hear my prayer
All flesh shall come before you.


Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison!
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Dies Irae

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando judex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulcra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet apparebit.
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendae majestatus
qui salvandos salvas gratis
sale me, fons pietatis

Recordare, Jesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae:
Ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me, sedisti, lassus;
Redemisti crucem passus;
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Juste Judex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco tanquam reus,
Culpa rubet vultus meus;
Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae,
Sed tu, bonus, fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab hoedis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis
Flammis acribus addictis,
Voca me cum benedictus.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis,
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.

Huic ergo parce, Deus:
Pie Jesu Domine:
Dona eis requiem. Amen.

This day, this day of wrath
shall consume the world in ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sibyl.

What trembling there will be
When the judge shall come
to weigh everything strictly!

The trumpet, scattering its awful sound
Across the graves of all lands
Summons all before the throne.

Death and nature shall be stunned
When mankind arises
To render account before the judge.

The written book shall be brought
In which all is contained
Whereby the world shall be judged

When the judge takes his seat
all that is hidden shall appear
Nothing will remain unavenged.

What shall I, a wretch, say then?
To which protector shall I appeal
When even the just man is barely safe?

King of awful majesty
You freely save those worthy of salvation
Save me, found of pity.

Remember, gentle Jesus
that I am the reason for your time on earth,
do not cast me out on that day

Seeking me, you sank down wearily,
you saved me by enduring the cross,
such travail must not be in vain.

Righteous judge of vengeance,
award the gift of forgiveness
before the day of reckoning.

I groan as one guilty,
my face blushes with guilt;
spare the suppliant, O God.

Thou who didsn’t absolve Mary [Magdalen]
and hear the prayer of the thied
hast given me hope, too.

My prayers are not worthy,
but Thou, O good one, show mercy,
lest I burn in everlasting fire,

Give me a place among the sheep,
and separate me from the goats,
placing me on Thy right hand.

When the damned are confounded
and consigned to keen flames,
call me with the blessed.

I pray, suppliant and kneeling,
a heart as contrite as ashes;
take Thou my ending into Thy care.

That day is one of weeping,
on which shall rise again from the ashes
the guilty man, to be judged.

Therefore spare this one, O God,
merciful Lord Jesus:
Give them rest. Amen.


Domine, Jesu Christe, Rex gloriae,
libera animas omnium fidelium defunctorum
de poenis inferni
et de profundo lacu.
Libera eas de ore leonis
ne absorbeat eas tartarus,
ne cadant in obscurum;
Sed signifer sanctus Michael
repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam,
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semini eius.

Hostias et preces tibi, Domine
laudis offerimus
tu suscipe pro animabus illis,
quarum hodie memoriam facimus.
Fac eas, Domine, de morte
transire ad vitam.
Quam olim Abrahae promisisti
et semine eius.

Lord Jesus Christ, king of glory,
deliver the soulds of all the faithful departed
from the pains of Hell
and the bottomless pit.
Deliver them from the jaws of the lion,
lest hell engulf them,
lest they be plunged into darkness;
but let the holy standard-bearer Michael
lead them into the holy light,
as once you promised to Abraham
and to his seed.

Lord, in praise we offer you
Sacrifices and prayers,
accept them on behalf of those
who we remember this day:
Lord, make them pass
from death to life,
as once you promised to Abraham
and to his seed.


Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!


Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domine.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Pie Jesu

Pie Jesu, Domine, dona eis requiem.
Pie Jesu, Domine, dona eis requiem, sempiternam.
Merciful Jesus, O Lord, grant them rest.
Merciful Jesus, O Lord, grant them eternal rest.

Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei, qui tollis pecatta mundi
dona eis requiem.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona eis requiem sempitername.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them rest.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant them eternal rest.

Lux Aeterna

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis,
quia pius es.
Let everlasting light shine upon them, Lord,
with Thy saints for ever,
for Thou art merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them,
for Thou art merciful.

Libera me

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna
in die illa tremenda
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra,
dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.

Tremens factus sum ego et timeo,
dum discussion venerit atque venture ira:
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.

Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death
on that awful day
when the heavens and earth shall be shaken
and you shall come to judge the world by fire.

I am seized with fear and trembling
until the trial is at hand and the wrath to come:
when the heavens and earth shall be shaken.

In Paradisum

In paradisum deducant angeli;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyrus
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.

Chorus angelorum te suscipat
et cum Lazaro, quondam paupere,
aeternam habeas requiem.

May the angels lead you into paradise;
at your coming may the martyrs receive you
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.

May the chorus of angels receive you
and with Lazarus, once poor,
may you have eternal rest.