Cois Cladaigh has had a long association with New
Zealand composer, David Hamilton. Many of his pieces are in Cois
Cladaigh's repertoire. This setting of Nunc dimittis can be divided
into three parts. The last part reflecting the text "as it
was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be" returns musically
to the opening statement.
The text of the this piece was written by Seamus
ÓhAodha (1886-1987) and the poet refers to his body as
Cailís Dé mo chroí, chum sé é
de chriadh 'sar altóir an domhain leag sé síos
Do labhair liom mo Dhia, "Sa chorn seo na cria brúfair
fíon do shaoil roimh duit teacht im' fhís."
D'fhíon brúite do mhian, de dheora do phian, de
sheoda do ghníomh,
cailís Dé mo chroí, lionfair é led
'Só altóir an domhain ardófar é ar
ball go beola do Dhé.
Dá mba ná mblaisfeadh sé? Cailís Dé
My heart is God's chalice, he fashioned it of clay and on
the altar of the world he placed it down empty.
My God spoke to me, "In this cup of clay you will crush the wine
of your life before you come into my presence."
From the wine crushed of your desires, from tears of your pains,
from jewels of your deeds you will fill it during your lifetime.
And from the altar of the world it will be raised up ultimately
to the lips of your God.
What if he were not to taste it? My heart is God's chalice.
Cois Cladaigh has explored a range of Monteverdi's
music and in 1986 went to northern Italy where the choir sang
in Monteverdi's home of Cremona. Cantate Domino extols us to sing
a new song to the Lord.
Cantate Domino canticum novum et benedicite nomini eius,
quia mirabilia fecit.
Cantate et exultate et psallite in cithara et voce psalmi.
Sing to the Lord a new song and praise his name, for he has
done marvelous things. Make music to the Lord with the harp and
the sound of singing.
O Vos Omnes
Jaquet of Mantua was born Jacobus Collebaudi in
the early 1500s in Vitré in the diocese of Rennes. He moved
to Mantua in the 1520s and was known then as Jaquet of Mantua.
His complete works have been edited by George Nugent and are published
Jaquet's style is very clean and quite straightforward, but the
music is full of passion, reflecting the deep spirituality of
the composer. O vos omnes is written for Good Friday. This setting
by Jaquet while much simpler than the more famous settings by
for example T. L. Victoria has a heart rendering quality. The
sorrow is palpable in the predominantly falling lines. At the
climax Jacquet forsakes the polyphony used in the rest of the
piece for chordal progression. This stresses the text "Si est
dolor sicut dolor meus".
O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite
et videte, si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
All ye who pass this way, attend and see, if
there is any sorrow like my sorrow
Also by Jaquet of Mantua this is a five part setting with 3 male lines one of which is scored as a cantus firmus, around which the other voices weave their lines.
O Jesu Christe
There is some doubt as to whether O Jesu Christe was written by Jaquet. Amongst others it has been attributed to Jacob von Berchem by some musicologists.
Regina Coeli is a 6 part setting of the Easter text, scored by Lassus for SSATBarB.
Loosely using the plainchant - each plainchant phrase is carefully introduced - this piece is exuberant.
Specially in part 2 the joyful Alleluia section is extended.
Ne Irascaris Domine
"Ne irascaris Domine" is a supplication to God not to anger, but to remember that we are his people. Together with the next piece "Civitas Sancti Tui" it forges a double motet.
Civitas Sancti Tui
"Civitas Sancti Tui" describes the city of Jerusalem
as desolate and deserted after the Hebrews were taken by the Babylonians.
Note the plaintive, poignant falling semitone on deserta. In this
and the previous piece "Ne irascaris Domine" Byrd shows his sublime
technique of marrying music to the meaning of the words.
The text of this piece was written by Christina Rosetti and describes the moment between physical death and the time when the soul departs for heaven. It is a very sensitive setting of an emotionally charged text.
This is a setting of an old Irish text. There are seven verses separated by a refrain and the text describes the seven blessings which Mary received from Jesus.
This piece set by Micheál Ó Súilleabháin to words by Seán Ó Ríordán describes the evolution of a storm off the southwest Irish coast in County Kerry close to the Blasket Islands.
The storm begins on Monday and as the days pass, the wind increases
in strength. However, on Sunday, the Son of God calms the winds
so that the Blasket Islanders can get to the mainland to hear
Mass. Musically the storm builds up from a cluster at the beginning,
a sound painting of the approaching storm. As the days are mentioned
the melody sung by the sopranos becomes more frenzied. On Sunday
though, the storm abates and mass is announced in the strains
of the Kyrie from the plainchant mass "Missa Orbis Factor". The
piece ends with an extended series of chords, reminiscent of the
beginning. Now though the chords fade away to a magical pianissimo.
and Everlasting God
Almighty and everlasting God is a very traditional anthem, as it had been developed after the Reformation in England.
Ave Verum Corpus
William Byrd's setting of Ave Verum Corpus has long been one of the choir's favourite pieces. Its simplicity coupled with poignancy are a sublime work of art.
This work - a setting of the Lux Aeterna from the Requiem Mass - for SSAATB choir is based on a small number of chords: Aflat major, F minor, C major and C minor. Added to this are sevenths, ninths and augmented fourths. The result is a series of almost static chords which are intended to mirror the ideas of eternal light and eternal rest contained in the text. The text is frequently broken up between parts with individual lines only pronouncing one syllable of a word. The choir has a strong affinity with the work - hence the title of the CD.
O Sifuni Mungu
This is a setting in Swaheli of the 100th Psalm,
All creatures of our God and King...