Sunday 4 December 2011

MATINS, THE SPANISH RENAISSANCE TOMAS LUIS DE VICTORIA, O Magnum Mysterium (The Sixteen - Christophers) ♪

Tomás Luis de Victoria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tomás Luis de Victoria
Tomás Luis de Victoria, sometimes Italianised as da Vittoria (1548 – 20 August 1611), was the most famous composer of the 16th century in Spain, and one of the most important composers of the Counter-Reformation, along with Giovanni da Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso. Victoria was not only a composer, but also an accomplished organist and singer. However, he preferred the life of a composer to that of a performer.[1] He is sometimes known as the "Spanish Palestrina" because he may have been taught by Palestrina.[2]

They can seem a bit precious, after a while, Harry Christophers' choir, The Sixteen, and Simon Rusell Beale, who crops up at the end for a moment, is one of the BBC's current, simpering over-exposed arts presenters.  

But The Sixteens' insistent presentation of early music has proved, nevertheless, to be one of the most important musical discoveries of this poor pilgrim's uncultured  life.  This is from a BBC4 programme  about Victoria's life, recorded against a sumptious Spanish background. Well worth a wondering hour, should you be up all night, leaning on the windowsill.


mrs narcolept said...

It's the curse of music on telly: having to have a Presenter. However do we manage at concerts, just sitting there and listening, sometimes to a choir invisible.

mongoose said...

Too tidy by far to my ear, Mr Ishmaael. Too full. Too many of them.

A mate of mine is a Headmaster and just got himself a new job with a fuck-off chapel and choir. This autumn we were supping beer in his garden as the kids practice flowed imperfectly down the hill, as it has been doing for centuries. Fantastic. And they pay the bugger too.

call me ishmael said...

I don't think there should be any raggedy edges in the worship of the Almighty. You wouldn't stand for them in a piece of engineering, now, would you?

mongoose said...

Matins for you, Mr I,

Kate Wolf

mongoose said...

Leaning on the windowsill, Mr I, I have been pondering that. And then I was reading the paper this lunchtime and Chris Logue is dead. You will have read his selections countless times in "True Stories" in Private Eye. And at the end of his obituary is that quote from Eveyln Waugh "How many resolve that nothing shall leave the workshop which is not as perfectly finished as our talents allow?" Which lead me to think about my kitchen table which is the finest thing I have ever made. But it is a great lump of oak, Craftsman-style, a rectangle, six slab top and put some oil on the blighter. Finished. A swine engineer designed and built it. It could have been fashioned in Stalinist eastern Europe in 1952. You could make the fucker out of concrete. So it is a humble thing and yet it is mine own, fashioned as perfectly as my meagre talents then allowed.

How many mortices are there in the legs? 12. And as I stood over the first, about to take a chisel to the most expensive stick of my lifetime - and only four of them bought, so don't bugger it up, lad - well, if I wasn't exactly frightened, I was certainly err, uncertain of what I was about. And that's it. These simple noises were written to be sung by the likes of me or the missus not by Pavarotti or dear, dead Kate Wolf. And so when this early spare stuff is polished to perfection it acquires - to my ear at least - a false glory. My kitchen table was designed by a rectilinear bastard more used to steel than timber but my workshop turned out something as perfectly finished as my talents allowed. And in the end it is a fit thing. It tells the truth. My next table may be a better thing. Let us hope and strive for that should the opportunity arise.

BTW the oak boards are all sized and ready to be cut to clad the stairs. Now that is fucking frightening. It must be eight weeks or more I've been putting this gig off. The Christmas hols will see some scary action. 25% spare bought to cope with craziness. Fit them all first and then fix them after. Gonna have ebony screw plugs - if they all end up in line - and non-slip grooves across the treads. We can do this. Maybe.

call me ishmael said...

The grooves are easy,just set the table saw blade at about a quarter of an inch high and pass the boards over the blade, adjusting the fence by half an inch each pass. drill-out your peg holes first and gauge the passes accordingly. I use the Bosch version of the fein saw to slice off protruding tops from pegs and dowels, it is one of the best tools I have ever owned - the Bosch all-rounder, F180. Ideal for that stairs job.

I am sure that the engineers over-record these performances, squeezing out any pops and hisses and echoes and that this is what leadds to the sterility of which you complain but Byrd and Tallis and Palestrina and Victoria wrote for professional choristers who performed for Kings, Queens and Popes, they didn't fuck about, they weren't like Billy Bragg, tonedeaf and useless.

mongoose said...

Now you see that, Mr I? I cut the tops off plugs with a small, fine Japanese saw and then pare away the spare with very sharp, very thin and shallow sharpened chisel - especially ground for this purpose - but still they sometimes break, look ugly and have to be filled and faffed with. (There is an ugly one not eighteen inches from my face in the window sill. A silent rebuke every single day.)

The old carpenter who taught me about plugs used to just skoosh them away with a firm, merciless tap and they were always perfect and lined up with the grain. Bastard! Mine are almost always a mess. But no more, as I shall have one of those wee saws any day now. Thank-you.

call me ishmael said...

And you won't regret it. Replacement blades are dear but cheaper online than in the stores, you want the little squareish one for doing the plugs, it comes with the purchase. I've known people do that quick slice with a chisel thing but I can't, I probably could if I could keep the chisels sharp but I can't do that, either. No Samurai in my genepool.

The other cutting blade, the half-circular one, will whizz through a floorboard,just-so, or plasterboard if you are fitting a socket, you just keep seeing jobs that it'll do and which no other saw or chisel could ever do.

There's a scraperblade, too, but I haven't tried that yet.

The older I get and the more I see of so-called tradesmen's work the more I can live with my own amateur shortcomings. Some rebukes we must live with. But if you can't, you can't. Drill it out and do it again. Only take five minutes.

call me ishmael said...

ps, practice first on a bit of scrap wood with a few dowels in it. The new blades are very fast and you need to keep them at a right-angle to the board so's you don't gouge it as you pass through the dowel. alright on my decking, a gouge or two, not so good on your oak stairs.

mongoose said...

Yeah, did some this afternoon. The ebony madness is an evasion - trying to make a plus from a minus. Now we just have messy plugs that draw attention to themselves. We shall have oak plugs aligned and cut from similar grain. Anything else is madness.

call me ishmael said...

Making the pegs can be fun. You need an oak strip maybe an inch square and 18 inches long, a half
-inch stop on the bench and a sharp, wee plane and you just set the strip at 45 degrees downwards from your body and plane away,rotating and alternating the end on the stop until you have a rough dowel. Before starting that, split lengthways a 4 inch length of garden hose and glue some 180 grit sandpaper to the inside - make a few of these - and push the dowel through forwards and back, rotating. Cut to size, glue with PVA and knock in using a length of the dowel and a mallet. I don't think there is any way by which you can completely merge the dowel end into the surrounding grain, the fixing is always going to be visible but probably only to the fixer.

mongoose said...

I think we are at cross purposes, Mr I. (Which probably means that I am a bastard savage.) I have clad upstairs and downstairs with 20mm oak board. The stairs only is left. I am going to clad the existing abortion of a staircase with similar - oak-veneered something for the risers - and screw the 20mm boards down to the existing. I have a wee plug-making gizmo which burrows into a bit of scrap board and makes a plug - with the grain in the same plain as the board - but cutting these buggers off neatly is in need of a very sharp tool indeed. But if you align the plug right the grain can just wheesht it away. The harder the timber, the more difficult it is to get right.

The using of screws is, I accept, the sign of less than a craftsman.

call me ishmael said...

Right, a plug cutter, never knew there were such things; even so, the circles, like tears, always remain.

My byre is 1750 and the tons of massive slates of the roof are supported by pitch pine A-frames, all fixed with near-round pegs, crudely made but in something like the manner I described, not a nail or screw anywhere and yet the beams are strong enough to take the weight of an entire govament, swinging by the neck.