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Morten Lauridsen (choral composer)

Senoufou 24 Dec 17 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Modette 24 Dec 17 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 25 Dec 17 - 05:25 AM
Senoufou 25 Dec 17 - 05:56 AM
FreddyHeadey 25 Dec 17 - 07:01 PM
Charlie Baum 26 Dec 17 - 11:25 AM
Senoufou 26 Dec 17 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 26 Dec 17 - 01:31 PM
Senoufou 26 Dec 17 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Lou Judson 26 Dec 17 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,Lou Judson 26 Dec 17 - 08:36 PM
Senoufou 27 Dec 17 - 04:02 PM
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Subject: Morten Lauridsen
From: Senoufou
Date: 24 Dec 17 - 03:19 PM

I've just been following the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College Cambridge, and the penultimate carol was 'O Magnum Mysterium'. I have to admit I ended up in floods of emotional tears as it's truly the most beautiful piece of choral music ever composed.

I was surprised to learn (having Googled it after mopping up the tears with a hanky!) that it's a fairly modern piece, composed I believe in 1994 by Morten Lauridsen.

Does it affect anyone else like this, or do I need to get a grip?
And does anyone know anything about this composer (I only know he's an American)

Merry Christmas to everyone on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 24 Dec 17 - 03:32 PM

Nope, bored me to tears. Oh, hang on ...


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Dec 17 - 05:25 AM

What timing. I too just discovered 'O Magnum Mysterium' this past week, and was similarly affected. Also was surprised to discover he is a modern composer. Went to amazon and downloaded the next morning.Had to have it. You do not need to get a grip.


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen
From: Senoufou
Date: 25 Dec 17 - 05:56 AM

Oh GUEST! You reassure me! It certainly doesn't sound modern does it? More medieval in atmosphere. What a brilliant composer he is. I've found it on Youtube, sung by King's College choir, but I daren't listen to it just yet as it absolutely crucifies me!

My two Siamese cats and my African husband gazed at me in consternation and astonishment yesterday evening as I sat blubbing copiously on the sofa. Smokey even patted my face with his little paw.

I'm hoping some American Mudcatters might know a bit more about Lauridsen.
Glad I don't need to get a grip after all!


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 25 Dec 17 - 07:01 PM

I'll listen to it again. My connection keeps cracking.
Must be terrific live.


This does it for me.
The choir came into the gallery, stood in random places and sang the piece seven times, each time moving to new positions.
Arvo Part's "Drei Hirtenkinder aus Fatima"
(~2015)
https://youtu.be/hwCbUuWhnDM?

and an older piece
Hubert Parry's "My soul there is a country"
(1848-1918)
https://youtu.be/b2aFRg-z6Ow?


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 26 Dec 17 - 11:25 AM

The Latin text of O Magnum Mysterium goes back many centuries, and it has been set by others, perhaps most notably by Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548-1611).

Wikipedia on Morton Lauridsen:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morten_Lauridsen

Morton Lauridsen's website:
http://www.mortenlauridsen.net/

My favorite rendition of O Magnum Mysterium:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J0O8wTzvIc
(great dynamics and phrasing)

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen
From: Senoufou
Date: 26 Dec 17 - 12:26 PM

Thank you so much Freddy and Charlie. This is turning out to be most interesting.
I realise the text itself is very old (possibly tenth century) and that many composers down the ages have used it for their musical interpretations.
I have studied Latin, but not, unfortunately, music (although I can play the piano a little).
Some musical settings just seem to pierce the heart, and this appears to be one of them in my case.
I will follow up all your links; I like to carry on learning in my old age!


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen (choral composer)
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 26 Dec 17 - 01:31 PM

In the Wikipedia summary on Lauridsen,
I note that in his formative years
he studied composition
with German expatriate Ingolf Dahl.

Dahl was himself a student and performing colleague of
composer Paul Hindemith,
who also emigrated from Europe to the United States (was it Yale?).

So through Dahl alone,
Lauridsen would have had
a very solid grounding in the different classical music styles
of writing, especially for solo voice or chorus.


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen (choral composer)
From: Senoufou
Date: 26 Dec 17 - 03:42 PM

(Hello there keberoxu!)
I fully see that Lauridsen must have had an excellent grounding, as his works are so subtle yet powerful. (I've been listening to some of them on Youtube)

I've actually visited King's College Cambridge and it's a magnificent building. The fan vaulting in the roof is incredible, and the acoustics are said to be perfect for choral events. But to get into the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is virtually impossible (one queues for a ticket)

Another piece of music which always makes my scalp tingle is 'Spem in Alium' by Thomas Tallis. I attended a performance in Norwich Cathedral, and the 40 singers were distributed all around us in the overhead gallery. Afterwards they sang Allegri's 'Miserere'.

I realise Mudcat is for traditional and folk music, not so much classical stuff, but I was curious to know if anyone else on here has been moved by these works, and it seems they have!


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen (choral composer)
From: GUEST,Lou Judson
Date: 26 Dec 17 - 08:33 PM

A few years ago, there was a traveling production of Spem in Alium which was a 40 track recording played through 40 good speakers arranged in a circle. It was magnificent, even in a rough echoey (not in a good way) warehouse in San Francisco:

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/87291

Was wonderful to walk around checking out each voice, or sitting or laying down in the middle. Wonderful piece!


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen (choral composer)
From: GUEST,Lou Judson
Date: 26 Dec 17 - 08:36 PM

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/87291


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Subject: RE: Morten Lauridsen (choral composer)
From: Senoufou
Date: 27 Dec 17 - 04:02 PM

Ha Lou! I'd love to lie down on that couch and hear all 40 speakers relaying Spem In Alium! Must be mind-blowing. It certainly was in Norwich Cathedral. And the soprano's top C note in Allegri's Miserere (beautifully sung by Keswick Hall Choir) sounded like an angel.

I have quite a catholic taste in music (I like HipHop and Rap, folk music and classical pieces too) But I think I'll be avoiding that 'O Magnum Mysterium'. It somehow reminded me of our poor little cat Minty, who was put to sleep just after Christmas last year. Music has strange powers doesn't it?


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