Early music

StanfordEarlyMusicJosquin Des Prez and Followers – Directed by Professor William Mahrt

Perhaps this was my first time ever been inside the Memorial Church at Stanford.  I’ve taken pictures of friends and family in front and around this areas countless number of times but it never occur to me to go inside until last night – for a free choral performance (complete list of performances at Stanford).  My first impression was WOW, this is beautiful.  Walls are covered in beautiful non-denomination Christian paintings.  The wooden ceiling mixed with metal cross beams created a mix of modern and antique engineering.

There were a handful of people, barely filled up the first few benches.  People don’t like Renaissance music anymore, I thought to myself.   I didn’t know much about the composer, Josquin, nor wanted to look him up before the performance.  I just went and be surprised by the unknown.  Perhaps because it’s a casual (???) performance (or recital) professor Mahrt would actually explained the history and meaning behind every song.  It was quite educational actually, more than just listening, I learned something new.  Singers and tenors’ voices are beautiful.  I am still puzzled how long they can sing on a song with very few words.

The second half of the performance was a little more familiar to me.  Most songs are actually sung in Sunday mass – Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.  My favorite piece was the Mille Regretz:

Mille Regretz – Josquin Des Prez

A thousand regrets at deserting you
and leaving behind your loving face,
I feel so much sadness and such painful distress,
that it seems to me my days will soon dwindle away.



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