Novello's Part-Song Book. Nos. 783, 800-813

1899 The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular  
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more » ... TIMES.-APRIL I, I899. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-APRIL I, I899. Vinci, and Claudio Merulo, and though he has not overlooked more important men like Festa, Animuccia, Porta, Zoilo, and Striggio, the omission of the two Gabrielis Giovanelli, Nanino, Marenzio, Stabile, Palestrina, Gastoldi, Croce, Vecchi, and many others from a work professing to illustrate the great period of Italian polyphony certainlv needs explanation. In the great mass of the works printed in this volume there is a singular sameness of phrases and treatment. The minor composers from whose works Signor Torchi has drawn so largely had but little originality and few individual ideas; for the most part, they were contented to go on making use of the same few stock formulass just as the poets who supplied them with words rang the changes on a very limited supply of poetical imagery. In a few cases, of course, there was a real advance madel and some of the motets in this volume especially those by Festa, Animuccia, and Porta, are fine and solid pieces of choral writing. But, on the whole, the selection has been made with too liberal a hand and too little discretion, and the mediocrity of many of the examples is such that it is hardly worth the trouble of reading them in the obsolete clefs in which they are printed. In only one instance does the editor make any concession to modern ignorance, and then he certainly does it thoroughly. On P. I83 he prints a transposed version of 13aldassare Donato's familiar villanella, "Chi la gagliarda," so well known to English madrigal societies, in G and F clefs, arranged for solo voices and chorus, with the addition of various grace marks not to be found in the original ! This proceeding hardly bears out the statement of the preface to the effect that the editor has scrupulously left in their original shape both form and substance of the compositions " he prints. And why is not the date (X507) or printer's name given of Petrucci's Seventh Book of Frottole, from which two compositions are printed ? These are but small points but in a work with such claims to historic utility they should not occur. Novello's Part-Song Book. Nos. 783, 800-8I3. [Novello and Company, Limited.] NOTHING more stimulating to part-singing can be imagined than the steady stream of music which is issued for this purpose in Novello's Part-Song Book. No. 783, entitled " The Daisy," by Hamilton Clarke, sings in dainty fashion of the relative charms of " daisies pied, and violets blue," and other floral gems, and the music is as pretty as the flowers in praise of which it flows. " The Countryman," No. 800, the words anonymous, but ascribed to the year IS88, and the music by Charles Wood, is a four-part song, wherein the mode of life of the peasant is compared favourably with that of the king. Those who possess the good things of this world generally find enjoyment in singing about the advantages of being without them, and to such Mr. Wood's composition may be coznmended, for the music is very singable and its directness of expression admirably reflects the spirit of the text. The words of No. 80I, "Love is enough," are by William Morris, and they have been set with great felicity and skill by Gustav von Holst. The part-writing is flowing and interesting for each voice, the three penalties of loving, " pain," " fear," and " change," are admirably accentuated, and the contentment of the " Love that led home" is beautifully set and impressively concludes the part-song. The music of Nos. 802 to 809 iS by Josef Rheinberger (Op. I86), and the English text has been furnished by the Rev. J. Troutbeck. The first of these entitled " All Souls' Day," is fairly reprosentative of this composer's vocal style. The music is melodious, graceful, richly harmonised, and closely knit. The inner parts, for the most part, proceed by small intervals, and the conclusion is very eSective. No. 803, " Sunday Morning," is written much in the same manner, but the music is brighter in spirit, as befits the text. No. 804, " St. Mary's Chapel," possesses lofty dignity and a suavity in accord with the legend of the appearance of the Virgin Mary at the lonely chapel. Sung by a well-trained choir, this part-song would be very impressive. A very differerlt note is struek in the next number (805), " Messengers of Spring," the music of which is appropriately bright and
doi:10.2307/3367276 fatcat:flsse5fbl5gffktk4zzikdmsri