A review of music written using Latin texts in service of the liturgy of the Catholic Church encompassing music written in all periods with a concentration on contemporary composers.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weekend Roundup

With the Summer break coming many choirs will be 'in recess' until early September. It is the season, however, for visiting choirs often bringing interesting repertoire with them. If you have any details please send them in this direction.

Sunday 4th of July, 2010

At Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral (OF 11am) Jean Langlais' Messe Solonelle. The same composer's Tantum ergo at Leed's Cathedral (OF 11am). The Oxford Oratory (OF 11am) has a programme of American Music with the composer Fr Joel Warden, of the Brooklyn, Oratory as preacher and celebrant.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

From the Press

The July 2010 edition of the Westminster Record has a report on page 6 of the first performance of a new Mass by Nicholas Lane on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The article notes that the new work is 'reminiscent of Gabrieli or Monteverdi'. The vocal forces seem to be SATB and singable by a quartet of voices. If anyone has any further information we'd be glad to include it as an update to this entry.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 27th of June, 2010. 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Latin Music by recent composers noted this weekend in the UK.

Noted this weekend is the use of Wilton's Ave Maria a 4 and Tantum Ergo at St Etheldreda's, Ely Place, (OF 11am). The Mass Ordinary will be the Missa in hon. S. Thom. Mori by Arthur Oldham (1926-2003). At Vespers and Benediction at the London Oratory (3.30 p.m.) the Russill hymn verse setting of Lucis Creator III will be used.  Also of interest is the use of Stravinsky's Mass at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (OF 11am). Whilst originally presented outside of a liturgical context Stravinsky was emphatic that he wanted it to be used liturgically. It is one of the few works by Stravinsky that were not commissioned and seems to have been written for purely spiritual motives between 1946 and 1948.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A voice in the wilderness...

It's appropriate, considering today's feast, to mention Nicholas Wilton. Although still young, by composer standards, he was, for a long time, almost the sole voice crying in a wilderness of sacred Catholic composition in Britain. His web page (see links) provides a link to an extended interview with the American Catholic radio station Sirius. This gives a good coverage of the variety of his sacred music as well as his own skill in  setting the texts well. The interview covers his professional relationships with recording companies and performers, his sources of inspiration and some personal reflections. The interviewer makes an immediate comparison with Bruckner. Whilst this is partially true Wilton does have his own distinctive style which he has refined and dedicated to creating a body of works which has really enriched the sacred music repertoire in this country. We hope to carry a new interview with him in Jubal's Review in the near future.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 20th June, 2010. 4th Sunday after Pentecost.

Latin Music by recent composers this weekend

Christopher Dalitz's Mass in Eb will be sung by the Rudgate Singers at the Church of the English Martyrs, York, at 6.30 pm in a Mass in the 'extraordinary form'. At Farm Street: George Malcolm's motet Veritas Mea at 11 am (OF together with Flor Peeter's Missa Laudis). At Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, at 11.30 am (OF), Ive's Missa Brevis. At Westminster Cathedral (10.30, OF) Brian Chapple's Missa brevis Exoniensis. This was written for Exeter Cathedral in 2009 and is published by Chester.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saulnier on Chant

Dom Daniel Saulnier, Gregorian Chant. A Guide to the History and Liturgy, trans. Mary Berry. (Brewster: Paraclete Press, 2009) 147 pp + illustrations.

Dom Daniel Saulnier has written extensively on chant and this slim volume is a very good synthesis of much of the background to his current work. After a potted history of the developemnt of the chant he moves quickly to an examination of the types of composition present in the repertoire. Of particular use, for teaching purposes are the illustrations attached to the final chapter 'Manuscripts' (pages 117-130). The book was originally published, in French, in 2003 and the present translation, by Dr Mary Berry, was nearly complete at the time of her death in 2008. I suspect the historical summary (pages 2-17) may need expanding considering some of the work done in the last five years. It should be noted that this book is not a primer in reading the chant notation but a concise introduction to the issues that inform interpretation today.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Latin in London

Nick Gale, director of music at S. George's Cathedral Southwark,  provides and interesting summary of what is available musically in 12 London Catholic Churches on a 'average' Sunday, in this case the 20th of June 2010. ( see here) This appears on a new blog, The Chant Cafe,  set up by Jeffrey Tucker formerly of the New Liturgical Movement. The general link has been added to 'Tools and Resources' below. Despite this apparent wealth of riches it should be pointed out that none of these places  have a regular Sunday Sung Mass using the 'traditional' rite. I hope to be corrected. The new blog looks good and has started well with a range of articles. I suspect the forthcoming Sacred Music Colloquium in Pittsburgh will feature in it's entries over the next few weeks. One to be added to the favourites list.

Update: Nick has updated his article during the day and added pictures and some more detail which will be of interest.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hiley on Chant

David Hiley, Gregorian Chant [Cambridge Introductions to Music]. (Cambridge: CUP, 2009) 250 pp + illustrations.

David Hiley made a monumental contribution to the availability of chant scholarship to a more general audience with the publication of his Western Plainchant in 1993. That volume was a successor to Willi Apel's Gregorian Chant which, from the late 1950s, had been the principal work, in English, for students wanting an overall introduction to the history and issues arrounding ecclesiastical chant. Whilst the new volume contains within it a summary of previous scholarship it is quite obviously quite new introducing, to an English speaking audience, some of the research Hiley and his colleagues have done in the last decade.

For composers working today with Latin texts there is always the need to look back to see what the principles were of the setting of the texts in former times. Much can be learnt and mistakes avoided particularly if sacred composition is new to the individual composer. Whilst designed as a 'taster', and probably aimed primarily at tertiary students as part of an introductory course, Hiley's 'Further Reading' advice, appearing at the end of each major section, is precise and uncluttered pointing towards the most recent sound scholarship on the subject.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Proms 2010

Thankfully the days when you had to go to the concert hall to hear Latin sacred music are drawing to a close. However, for some major works, this is the only chance that those seriously studying the sacred treasury will get to hear them live. We offer the following notes for those who might be considering some 'promming' over the Summer as to what might be of interest.

1. Liturgical Music; Ths year's  major offering must be Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 (Prom 75: Monteverdi Choir/ Elliot Gardiner). The performers include two London Catholic Choirs, the Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and the London Oratory Junior Choir.  The only other major liturgical work is a performance of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater (Prom 64: Early Opera Company/ Curnyn, Watts and Stephany). Smaller works include Gesualdo's Tristis est anima mea sitting slightly strangely in a programme at Cadogan Hall (PSM 3). 'Song of Songs' (PCM 6: Stilo Antico) at Cadogan Hall promises a programme including music by Ceballos, Clemens non Papa, Gombert, Guerrero, Lassus, Palestrina, Praetorius, Victoria and Vivanco interspersed with chant. Details are yet to be released but presumably the biblical texts will be featured. Two excerpts from the earlier Taverner are included under Section 3 below.

2. Devotional Music
Whilst using the text of the Good Friday Passion Gospel, I doubt Arvo Pärt's Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem, presented this year  as the St. John Passion (Prom 43; Endymion/ BBC Singers/ Hill) was ever actually meant for liturgical use but rather for a sacred concert in Passiontide.

3. Latin text music.
Stravinsky's Threni (Prom 25: BBC Singers/ London Sinfonietta/ Atherton) is a setting of texts from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ligeti's Lux Aeterna (Prom 35: Danish National Vocal Ensemble/ Dausgaard) takes the text from the Requiem Mass. Finally, Cadogan Hall plays host to another 'interesting' programme (PSM 5: Arditti Quartet/ Endymion/ BBC Singers/ David Hill) containing Taverner's Dum transisset and a fragment of the Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas. These excerpts are surrounded by musical 'reflections' by Brian Fernyhough (Dum transisset I-IV), Jonathan Harvey's Dum transisset sabbatum and Gabriel Jackson's In Nomine Domini.

The link to the Prom's Guide is here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Books Received

The following recent books of interest are on the desk at the moment awaiting review or short notice.

Christopher Page, The Christian West and it's Singers. The First Thousand Years. (New Haven: Yale, 2010) 691 pp + illustrations.

Dom Daniel Saulnier, Gregorian Chant. A Guide to the History and Liturgy, trans. Mary Berry. (Brewster: Paraclete Press, 2009) 147 pp + illustrations.

David Hiley, Gregorian Chant [Cambridge Introductions to Music]. (Cambridge: CUP, 2009) 250 pp + illustrations.

Christopher Page's book is an extensive work covering an area largely where scholars have nor dared to go. Dom Saunier's book is a translation of his French text of 2003 which was in the final stages of preparation when Dr Berry died. David Hiley's book should not be confused with his previous magnum opus Western Plainchant. It contains much new material.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Welcome to the first posting of Jubal's Review. It's purpose is to become a place where the work of composers writing for the Latin liturgies may become better known and their compositions promoted. Over time we hope to put together a team of writers covering published music, recordings, interviews, and articles pertinent to the topic. One of the first tasks will be to create a 'links list' of living composers. If you are one of these people please feel free to leave a comment. The only thing we ask is that you are actively involved in writing either (a) sacred Latin music or (b) organ music suitable to the traditional liturgies. To answer a question in advance; Jubal is the earliest mention of a musician in Sacred Scripture (Genesis 4).