Allegri: Miserere Mei
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,164
    Allegri: Miserere Mei

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    Sung by VOCES8
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 970
    Hmmm, the video is not available (at least not in the Netherlands). But, it reminds me of this insightful video on Allegri’s Miserere by Elam Rotem:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9y5N13un9s
  • An awfully moving offering, Chuck -
    And an interesting lecture, smvanrode. Many thanks.
    I think that the cleanest, most pure in tone, diction, and blend that I have heard is that by the choir of Clare College, Cambridge, under the direction of Rudolph Neubok.
    But there are so many outstanding offerings that it is really a vain effort to choose just one.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • smt
    Posts: 37
    Currently I am singing the piece, comparing scores, version, reading on its history etc etc.
    What I always wonder... it's an example of a very widely used techniques: fauxbourdon or falsobordone. I've also scanned a lot of falsobordone collections (Lassus and Victoria for example) but I never came across such an elaborate falsobordone setting. Is Allegri's Miserere such a singular, outstanding piece or do you know any falsobordone which comes close to it?

    (One notable mention is maybe Byrd's Magnificat peregrini toni although it is not original. I very much love the music. The discussion page says it originates from Byrd's verse anthem 'Behold O God the Sad and Heavy Case' but I could not verify that in the Byrd Edition.)
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 263
    @smt

    There is a version of the Miserere by Francesco Severi (1595-1630) which alternates chant in the tenor line with highly decorated solo lines.

    https://www.cpdl.org/wiki/images/f/f6/Severi-Miserere.pdf
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • smt
    Posts: 37
    I just came across this collection/edition project:
    https://www.fortunato-santini.de/edition-santini.php

    I don't have the resources to try out a tremendous amount of this, neither am I able to play it directly on the piano. Some pieces are well known, some seem forgotten. Among them there is the Miserere for 9 voices from Pasquale Pisari (besides his "O salutaris hostia" for equal voices the composer seems to be forgotten) which has the identical structure as Allegri's:
    5vv + plainsong + 4 vv + plainsong .... concluding with the double choir.
    https://www.fortunato-santini.de/download/edition-santini_094.pdf

    Maybe some of you are interested, for me it's a fascinating discovery. If anybody is able to play it on the piano/organ to get an idea how it sounds, I would be glad to hear your opinion.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Slightly off topic - about that pdf of the Pisari. Are the C clefs at the beginning of each section just a misleading, confusing and *** way of indicating soprano, alto and tenor (or violin, viola, cello) parts?
  • smt
    Posts: 37
    As far as I know its a convention for such editions to write down the clefs of the original manuscript/print and sometimes also the incipit in mensural notation (Allen Garvin does this regularly in his editions).
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 2,060
    Looks perfectly normal to me. :-)
    Why all that prefactory stuff?
    1. The clefs give an indication of performance pitch. If you have a piece in soprano, alto, tenor and bass clefs (chiavi naturali), it was probably notated at the intended pitch, for boys/high countertenors/"the other possibility" - high tenors - baritones - basses, the customary performance forces in the church at the time. If it's treble, mezzo, alto and tenor or baritone (chiavette), then downward transposition was expected to fit those same forces. Now, we sing those pieces near notated pitch, because we have lots of women singing sacred music. But even then, we need often to finagle the pitch a bit, since those alto clef parts for "high" male voice are mighty uncomfortable for typical parish "tenors", and likewise, the altos sound pretty soggy. Why did they notate at the "wrong" pitch? For the same reason they did it in chant: there were only 8 possible pitches in an octave, so only one or two ways of representing a given mode in notation. I don't think any of us sing mode VII with a final that is G392.
    2. Having the original prolation sign and notes tells us if the piece has been transposed or if note values have been reduced (both of which might be called for depending on the intent of the edition).
    3. The ambitus tells us what kind of voice to put on the part, since we've already seen that "Bassus /= bass"
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Thanks, having looked at one of your transcriptions, I now understand (I think).