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MUSIC TO INSPIRE DURING CHALLENGING TIMES

That music has the power to inspire, comfort, uplift and heal is certainly not a new idea. As the world navigates through uncharted waters it has quickly become apparent just how important music is. From ‘Nessun Dorma’ being sung from Italian balconies, to Andrea Bocelli singing to an empty Duomo cathedral on Easter Sunday, to choirs and orchestras now taking their rehearsals online, music has provided a vital lifeline to people all over the world during this period of isolation. We know that many of our students are keen musicians. Today our academic tutors bring you three pieces of classical choral music that we particularly love; we hope you will too. ‘Crucifixus a 16 voci’ by Antonio Caldara (1670 - 1736) - Among Caldara’s many compositions - namely operas and oratorios - is the hauntingly beautiful Crucifixus a 16 voci. In a magnificent display of baroque counterpoints Caldara seamlessly weaves the sixteen independent melody lines in and out of each other, creating moments of harmonic tension and excitement in the process. We recommend listening to the French baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants, conducted by Paul Agnew from their album Lamentazione (available on Spotify). Stars by Ēriks Ešenvalds (b. 1977 in Priekule, Latvia): - The Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds has quickly established himself as a leading figure of the contemporary choral music scene. His 2011 composition Stars is set to the words of American poet Sara Teasdale and features water-tuned glasses, which imbue the work with a distinctly ethereal quality. We recommend listening to British vocal octet Voces8 from their album Lux (available on Spotify). Magnum Mysterium - Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943 in Washington, United States) - Though written in 1994, it is arguably only relatively recently that Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium has received the recognition and adulation it rightfully deserves. The Latin text comes from the Holy Matins of Christmas, and composers as varied as Palestrina, Gabrieli, Poulenc and Mäntyjärvi have turned their hand at expressing, through music, the sheer wonder felt by the animals as they gazed upon Jesus in the manger. Classic FM describes Lauridsen’s harmonic writing in his setting of O Magnum Mysterium as ‘luminous [...] perfectly expressing a timeless sense of serenity and wonder’; we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. We recommend listening to British choir Polyphony, conducted by Stephen Layton from their album Sacred Treasures IV. For further information about Minerva Tuition and how we can help in these challenging times, please contact valerie.weston@minervatuition.com



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