Sunday, August 30, 2009

The RCL apparently does have its good points, though....

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:

“Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.”

P.S. I did go. Lots of fun.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

She's Ba-a-a-ack

Ruth Cunningham, at St. Mary the Virgin, that is, this Sunday, August 30. I wish I could go.
The prelude at Solemn Mass this morning is the chorale prelude on Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier ("Dearest Jesus, we are here"), BWV 731, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The cantor is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano, and the organist is Mr. James Kennerley. Sanctus and Agnus Dei will be improvised to a setting by Mr. Kennerley and Ms. Cunningham. Improvisation results in a particularly powerful, exciting and direct communication of the text that is set. At the ministration of Communion, Ms. Cunningham and Mr. Kennerley sing the duet Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein reines Herz ("Create in me a clean heart, O God"), from Kleine geistliche Konzerte, SWV 291, composed by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672). The motet is taken from the first of the two volumes of Schütz's Kleine geistliche Konzerte ("Little Sacred Concertos"), published in Germany during the 1630s.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More sound files

From the website of (I think!) an Italian early-music singing group,

They've made many mp3s from their repertorio available on this page. They are categorized as canto gregoriano; monodia e polifonia medievali; and polifonia dal Rinascimento a oggi, with subsections composizioni a cappella and composizioni vocali e strumentali. (Even I can read those!)

They're pretty good, too. Here's a sample of their sound: the Gregorian Hymn Urbs Jerusalem. Here's Omnes de Saba, a gradual for the Epiphany mass.

Many of the files are only samples, alas.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Well-Tempered Clavier

Well, this is not chant at all, but I just came across a really interesting site, called "Well-Tempered Clavier: analysis, scores, and digital sound."

You need the most recent Shockwave player to view it, but it's worth downloading, I think. Run your cursor over the piano keys or the menu, and the list of fugues from the WTC will start scrolling on the page. Click on one of them, and you can listen to a little snippet of that particular fugue; click "Play Movie" in the little image that pops up, and you can listen to the entire fugue - and watch a visual analysis of what's going on in it as it develops, too. And there is a bit of English analysis included on the page as well. [EDIT: The same person has created a site that does all this for the Goldberg Variations as well - although it does seem to have some errors.]

The choirmaster and I were just gushing over Mr. Bach yesterday - the incredible prolificacy of the man, and the amazing technical genius! - so this does seem a propos to me, in any case. And I do have a Bach label on this blog, after all - and how could anybody not like this site, I ask you? I love the way the web allows (and encourages!) obsessions of this kind, anyway - so, enjoy.

Beatam Me Dicent

This is the Communion song for The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, August 15 (which will be celebrated tonight at 6 p.m. Solemn Mass at St. Mary the Virgin).
Beatam me dicent omnes generationes, quia fecit mihi magna Qui potens est.

All generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things for me.

Here's an mp3 from the Brazilian Benedictines, and here is the chant score:

Here's a really dramatic piece of Assumption art, from Francesco Botticini and the 15th C.:

I like the "Dormition" theme a lot better, though. This one is from Gherardo Starnina of Florence (c. 1404-1408), and now hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

And this one is part of the "Grudziądz Polyptych", in the National Museum in Warsaw:

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A "Music at St. Mary's" note

From The Angelus, the St. Mary the Virgin weekly newsletter, referring to this Sunday, August 9:
FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the Prélude from Suite pour orgue, Op. 5, by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986). The Suite, composed in 1932 and first performed at Saint Mary’s in 1946, is one the most magnificent works from the relatively small corpus that Duruflé published. The entire Suite will be performed as the prelude to Solemn Mass on the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption, Friday, August 14. The offertory hymn, “Come, risen Lord,” is sung to the tune Rosedale by Leo Sowerby (1895-1968). Sowerby was one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, and is commonly referred to as the “dean of American church music.” Early recognition came to him through his orchestral compositions, but it was during his tenure at Washington National Cathedral that he produced many of his church compositions. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1946. The Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei are sung to settings by Ruth Cunningham (b. 1956). At the ministration of Communion, Ms. Cunningham sings her setting of the Marian hymn O lilium convallium (“O lily of the valley”), to an accompaniment by Mr. Kennerley. James Kennerley

If you're in New York, you could do much, much worse than go hear Ruth Cunningham sing her own chant settings at Solemn Mass. (I think he's talking about Sunday, August 9th; it's a bit hard to tell if he means that, or the Friday following, the Feast of the Assumption - but that mass seems to have a different mass and motet associated with it, so I think it is indeed a reference to the 9th. Ruth Cunningham has a lovely, distinctive singing style - and her own music is always stunning.)

Pánis, quem égo dédero

This is the Communion song for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time - or, for Proper 14, the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, August 9th (even in the RCL!):
Pánis, quem égo dédero,
cáro méa est pro saéculi víta.

The bread that I shall give
Is my flesh, for the life of the world.

Here's the mp3 from the Benedictines of Brazil; here's the chant score:

The Offertory is In te speravi, from Psalm 31:14-15:
14 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.

15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Here's the mp3; here's the score:

The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, August 6: Candor est lucis æternæ

A beautiful Alleluia for Transfiguration (this Thursday, August 6):
Candor est lucis aetérnae, spéculum sine macula, et imago bonitátis illíus. Allelúia.
Here's the mp3 from the Benedictines of Brazil; here's the lovely, melismatic chant score:

The text comes from Wisdom 7:26:
For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness.

"She," being Wisdom, in this case; I do always like the tying-together of Wisdom with the transcendent Christ - which also of course happens in John's Prologue.

Here's Olivier Messaien's version, from La Transfiguration de notre seigneur Jésus-Christ. I'm not a fan, but maybe somebody is?

The Office Hymns for Transfiguration, posted last year, are here.

Here's the entire 7th Chapter of Wisdom, via the lovely Douay-Rheims translation, for context:
1 I myself am a mortal man, like all others, and of the race of him, that was first made of the earth, and in the womb of my mother I was fashioned to be flesh.
2 In the time of ten months I was compacted in blood, of the seed of man, and the pleasure of sleep concurring.
3 And being born, I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth, that is made alike, and the first voice which I uttered was crying, as all others do.
4 I was nursed in swaddling clothes, and with great cares.
5 For none of the kings had any other beginning of birth.
6 For all men have one entrance into life, and the like going out.
7 Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me:
8 And I preferred her before kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her.
9 Neither did I compare unto her any precious stone: for all gold, in comparison of her, is as a little sand; and silver, in respect to her, shall be counted as clay.
10 I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for her light cannot be put out.
11 Now all good things came to me together with her, and innumerable riches through her hands,
12 And I rejoiced in all these: for this wisdom went before me, and I knew not that she was the mother of them all.
13 Which I have learned without guile, and communicate without envy, and her riches I hide not.
14 For she is an infinite treasure to men: which they that use, become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts of discipline.
15 And God hath given to me to speak as I would, and to conceive thoughts worthy of those things that are given me: because he is the guide of wisdom, and the director of the wise:
16 For in his hand are both we, and our words, and all wisdom, and the knowledge and skill of works.
17 For he hath given me the true knowledge of the things that are: to know the disposition of the whole world, and the virtues of the elements,
18 The beginning, and ending, and midst of the times, the alterations of their courses, and the changes of seasons,
19 The revolutions of the year, and the dispositions of the stars,
20 The natures of living creatures, and rage of wild beasts, the force of winds, and reasonings of men, the diversities of plants, and the virtues of roots,
21 And all such things as are hid, and not foreseen, I have learned: for wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me.

22 For in her is the spirit of understanding; holy, one, manifold, subtile, eloquent, active, undefiled, sure, sweet, loving that which is good, quick, which nothing hindereth, beneficent,
23 Gentle, kind, steadfast, assured, secure, having all power, overseeing all things, and containing all spirits: intelligible, pure, subtile:
24 For wisdom is more active than all active things; and reacheth everywhere, by reason of her purity.
25 For she is a vapour of the power of God, and a certain pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty God: and therefore no defiled thing cometh into her.
26 For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness.
27 And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself the same, she reneweth all things, and through nations conveyeth herself into holy souls, she maketh the friends of God and prophets.
28 For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom.
29 For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of the stars: being compared with the light, she is found before it.
30 For after this cometh night, but no evil can overcome wisdom.

Here are all the chants for the day, from
In Transfiguratione Domini

Introitus: Ps. 26, 8.9 et 1 Tibi dixit cor meum (cum Gloria Patri) (2m59.6s - 2808 kb)
Graduale: Ps. 44, 3 et 2 Speciosus forma (4m20.2s - 4068 kb) score
Alleluia: Sap. 7, 26 Candor est lucis æternæ (2m36.223s - 1223 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 8, 6.7 Gloria et honore (1m22.047s - 643 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 17, 9 Visionem (2m36.4s - 2446 kb) score

Here are posts about chant propers for this day on Chantblog:

Here's a Transfiguration, by David, that I haven't posted before:

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Anglican Chant, the second installment

This time, it's the Westminster Abbey Choir singing Psalm 67, and chant of Edward Bairstow:

The Coverdale version of Psalm 67:
God be merciful unto us, and bless us *
and shew us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us;
That thy way may be known upon earth *
thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God *
yea, let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad *
for thou shalt judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God *
let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase *
and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
God shall bless us *
and all the ends of the world shall fear him.

Here, too, are "The Responses" - also from the Westminster Abbey Choir, and for Mattins - although it doesn't give a composer:


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