It’s All Music

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (it was called New Orleans) I took a break from two television and several radio newscasts a day and also broadcast a weekly program called Jazz Review. It did what the name suggests. Once in a while I deep-sixed the review format and put together a special called “It’s All Music.” The show might consist of recordings by artists as diverse as Charlie Parker, Waylon Jennings, Spike Jones, Percy Sledge, Artur Rubenstein, Jo Stafford, the Juilliard String Quartet and Frank Sinatra. Once I played the entire second movement of Mahler’s 6th Symphony. I did the first “It’s All Music” with trepidation. It turned out that the listeners—and the sponsor— liked it and asked for more. There’s no percentage in assuming that people are not open-minded.

Daron HagenAll of that came to mind today when I got a notice that my newest follower on Twitter is the composer Daron Hagen (pictured). Anyone familiar with Hagen’s music is aware that he is open-minded. The eclecticism of his work, from chamber music to grand opera, makes that clear. You can find out about him on his website. But this isn’t about Daron, who—full disclosure—is a friend. It’s about a singing group and a piece of their music I found on YouTube when I followed a link in one of Hagen’s tweets. The group is New York Polyphony. The music is a liturgical work by the 16th century English composer William Byrd. Maybe it struck me because I recently finished reading Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall about the exploits of Henry The Eighth and Ann Boleyn during Byrd’s time. Or maybe it’s because the singing in this short piece is so good and the harmonies are so rich. I thought that you’d enjoy it, too.

It’s all music.

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  1. says

    Byrd, brilliant. NY Polyphony, brilliant. Hagen, brilliant! Hi-Lo’s, brilliant, oh my, this is wonderful in so many ways. Thank you.

  2. says

    Perhaps partly prompted by Hilary Mantel’s novel, Ann Boleyn has been ‘in the papers’ almost every day this last week, here in UK. It’s some kind of Anniversary isn’t it`?
    This music, like the big bands, will clearly still be heard and appreciated in another 600 years time …

  3. David says

    Byrd was risking his life and freedom by writing Catholic music works in England during this period. I had the pleasure of hearing NYPolyphony about a year and a half ago. Since they perform a cappella, one of the singers would almost surreptitiously sneak a pitch pipe out of his jacket and quietly blow the opening pitches for each piece. They have only recorded a few short selections by Byrd but there are a number of other fine recordings of his wonderful masses, motets, etc. I especially recommend the ones by the Tallis Scholars (several compilations) and by Chanticleer (Music for a Hidden Chapel).