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Imitation Themes

Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 22:52:01 -0600
From: Nina Gilbert
Subject: Re: Banchieri

Kathy Smith writes,

>Also if anyone wants to put their repertoire
>acumen to work--the May program for my six-person (SSATBB) pro group
>a theme of "Imitation is the finest form of flattery" and I'm taking a
>broad view of the theme.

If by "imitation" you mean composers imitating works by other composers,
here are some examples:

Arcadelt, "Il bianco e dolce cigno." [SATB]

Follow that with:
Vecchi, "Il bianco e dolce cigno," a 5-part setting of Arcadelt's melody with
more flowery counterpoints (gets very pictorial on "cantando," for

Follow that with:
Doni (?), Quodlibet (SATB) on "Il bianco e dolce cigno." I have lost the
source to that (Einstein "Italian Madrigal," maybe?). This is a rare and
amazing piece: a typical quodlibet, it underpins Arcadelt's melody with
phrases of other Italian madrigals (complete with text). The most stunning
part, I think, is the setting of the last line, which begins (in Arcadelt) with
a rising leap of a fourth and a falling scale. Doni, or whoever wrote the
quodlibet, finds about sixteen pieces with the same figure. If anyone on
Choralist can remind me where I found that piece years ago, I'd be

And round off the set with the English sentimentalized version of the
poem: Gibbons' "The silver swan."

For that matter, there's a catch on "The Silver Swan" in Paul Hillier's Catch
Book (published by Oxford University Press).

Some more "imitation" items occur to me, hoping I've got what you mean
by "imitation":

Have the men sing the Glee "To Anacreon in Heaven." The audience will
recognize the connection to the Star-Spangled Banner. I think that's
available in Paul Hillier's "English Part Songs," published by Oxford.

Hassler, "Mein g'muth ist mir verwirret." The audience may associate it
with the Passion Chorale, or maybe you'd sing the Passion Chorale too.

Finally, a very vague reference that maybe someone on Choralist can
clarify. In the spring of 1982, I heard the Hilliard Ensemble sing in
Stuttgart, and the program included a piece by a Canadian composer using
medieval techniques. That's all I remember about it.

Good luck,

Nina Gilbert

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Nina Gilbert
Wabash College, Crawfordsville IN 47933 (USA)
phone/FAX 317-364-4299
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Date: Mon, 18 Apr 1994 13:16:33 -0600
From: aspmo(a) (Patrick M. O'Shea)
Subject: More imitation

Another example (and one where scores should be easy to obtain) is the
ever-popular "Sing we and Chant It" by Morley, a close imitation of
Hassler's "Tanzen und springen." The latter is also contained in the
King's Singers madrigal anthologies.

You might also (especially with a six-part group) investigate some of the
numerous 16th century parody masses (normally designated as 'Missa ad
imitationem. . .') Particularly interesting would be a programming of
Palestrina's motet, "Tu es Petrus," followed by his own parody mass on the
same motet (Missa tu es Petrus), which, if memory serves, is for 6vv.



|Patrick M. O'Shea Choral Music Dept.|
| Arizona State University School of Music |
| Internet: aspmo(a) |
| (602) 965-3879 voice (602) 965-2659 fax |

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 1994 16:33:11 -0600
From: Gibbons Henry
Subject: Broad Imitation

Clement Janequin's program chanson *La Guerre*, written to celebrate (and
describe in vivid detail) the victory of Francis I at Marignon, became
instantly famous, much to the embarassment of his Italian opponents.
Janequin's own Missa La Bataille is a lovely work, based, of course, on
clearly recognizable motives from the chanson. But the irony of ironies
came a few years later when Francis got his comeupance at the hands of
Duke Francesco Sforza of Milan. To celebrate this occasion, and rub
salt in French wounds, Hermann Matthias Werrecore penned *La bataglia
tagliana*, which mimics Janequin's chanson almost down to the last

Henry Gibbons
Associate Professor of Music
College of Music, Univ. of North Texas

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 1994 17:05:09 -0600
From: singer(a)
Subject: Re: More imitation

Also to be considered are modern pieces in imitation of older styles. Two
come immediately to mind: Dominus Regit Me, a setting of Ps23 by Nielsen in
the style of a polyphonic motet; and Howells Mass in the Dorian Mode, a
mass in the polyphonic style. Both have enough little flashes of modernity
and their composers' styles to make them interesting. The Nielsen is a gem
(as are the other two works in the opus, which don't suit the imitative


David Singer
Apple Computer/ATG 408-974-3162

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 1994 17:05:48 -0600
From: Nina Gilbert
Subject: More imitation

I think Broude publishes a series called "The English madrigal in the 19th
century," consisting of examples of English composers trying to write
Elizabethan-style madrigals. I think Sullivan's "When Love and Beauty" is
in the set, and there's at least one by John Stafford Smith, which may be
titled "Flora now calleth forth each flower." I think New Grove (s.v.
"Madrigal") mentions madrigal-composition contests for which such pieces
were written.

This imitation is getting a bit general, but you could find some of the later
madrigals that had similar subjects to the earlier ones, even if they are not
direct musical imitations.

Good luck!

Nina Gilbert

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nina Gilbert
Wabash College, Crawfordsville IN 47933 (USA)
phone/FAX 317-364-4299
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
on December 23, 2004 10:00pm
On a more modern note, you might consider the Beatle's "Back in the USSR", which, ah, borrowed a bit from a certain famous California surf-rcok group.