Listen: Cristóbal de Morales


Cristóbal de Morales by James Caldwall (after an engraving by Angelo Rossi)

In our recent App Choir rehearsals we ricocheted from the avant-guarde Ornithological Blogpoem to an early 16th century piece by Renaissance composer Cristóbal de Morales, “Parce mihi Domine.” I could probably find two pieces of music more unlike, but it would take me some time.

Listening to this piece, I can easily imagine myself in a space with vaulted stone arches above me. As luck would have it, Berklee Valencia has some spaces that resonate wonderfully, and for one rehearsal we sang in a chamber that made the music soar.

The Latin text is from Job 7, and is heavy stuff. I’m sure that some careful meditation on the words might open more understanding of the music to me, but for now I’m content to let the sounds wash over me. It is both a joy to sing and a labor–long phrases of sustained notes that remind me that breath control needs to be on my skills-to-improve list.

If after listening you, too, feel out of breath, it might be from the beauty of the music. (Click the photo below to go to the youtube file.)

One thought on “Listen: Cristóbal de Morales

  1. Beautiful. That photo perfectly depicts the sound of this music–just like sound washing over you. Thanks for sharing this!

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