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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 1st August, 2010

With the Summer break 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, July 25, 2010

Kevin Allen article

The Spring 2010 edition of Sacred Music has become available on line thanks to The Chant Cafe. In it there is an extended article by Susan Treacy (pp. 27ff)  on the American composer Kevin Allen (see link at the right of this page). The article includes a listing of Allen's compositions to date (pp. 35ff) and scores for the Sanctus of his Missa Deus Sempiterne and a setting of the Tantum Ergo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 25th July, 2010

With the Summer break 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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Christian West and it's Singers

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

Please do not read Christopher Page's final paragraphs first. Indeed it's probably best to leave them right to the end as he intended it. Unfortunately they place the book more in its own cultural milieu rather than that of it's subject. It's a shame because this masterly work, which must set a new standard, is of such importance that reader shouldn't be put off by transitory Europhile sentimentality.

Page dares to go where few have trod before. Certainly there is some cross over with James McKinnon's final offering The Advent Project. That earlier work, a decade ago, cast considerable light over the darkness of the late 7th century in musical terms.  Page goes much further creating a coherent history across the first millennium. I say creating because the size and breadth of this work means that many of his conclusions will be the basis on which future work will be done. Research and explorations, kite flying perhaps, that just could not have been done, indeed envisaged, without this book having been there first and cleared the way.

Christopher Page (born 1952) is an expert on medieval performance practice, a guitarist and, I gather, a composer. He is Vice-Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge  and University Reader in Medieval Music and Literature. He is the founder and director of Gothic Voices and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Early Music (OUP) and Plainsong and Medieval Music (CUP). His communication skills, honed through years of teaching and broadcasting, are clear and well directed towards a wide audience. In this volume he has shown considerable care in presentation opting to place the footnotes at the end of the text, so not to visually disrupt the flow of the narrative. A series of excursions, further support of his research, are placed at the ends of chapters rather than being integrated into the main text. It makes for a very readable volume of around 350, 000 words.

Page, of course, is wandering into difficult territory. The ordinary evidence for musical examination, the scores, have not survived. In fact they probably never existed as the modern mind would have defined them. Page draws on a variety of disciplines for his purpose. Thus the epitaphs for early Christian lectors, the trade movements in the ancient world, indeed the origins of personal names themselves become tools to elucidate a picture of how Christian music worked in the West. ('Notation' itself doesn't appear until 370 pages in.) Now, standing on their own, each piece of data may seem to be of interest in a small way but in Page's hands they are drawn into a bigger picture. In a sense he has assembled his argument from many tessura to form one mosaic. It is the detail of this work which is quite breath taking.

Apart from the 'paucity' of evidence Page notes another fundamental problem with the material that may be considered 'secondary' sources for a history of singers.

The task of trying to form an impression of Christians and their singers in the first centuries is like assessing the position of Muslims today using only the websites of Islamic extremists and official pronouncements about the War on Terror. [p, 523]

But Page was obviously aware of this before he penned the opening chapters. He's successfully counterbalanced any polemic on the part of 'official' sources with the wealth of 'domestic' material he has employed, material without intent to proselytize or convince indeed material that would have surprised its originators if they knew it was to be used in this way. Concerning the transmission of the chant repertoire Page opines;

A comprehensive map of connections, if only we could draw one, would probably be as much a chart of friendship and alliance between cathedrals and abbeys as a map of direct intervention by the emperors. [p. 532]

Page's story then is told, not principally through the lives of the rich and powerful, but through the lives of the singers. He clothes these lives with the cultural environment in which they worked and lived. In Part I we are introduced to what must be considered the 'domestic' Church - a world which singing and declaiming a text were the same act. Here, in the world of the lector-cantor, a picture is drawn with the lives of some early practitioners. Some surprising information is brought to light; the preference for the purity of the unbroken voice, in some places, for the declamation of scriptural texts; the growing singing  ministry of the deacon almost threatening to usurp the older ways. Part II covers the rise of the new kingdoms with the weakening of Roman centrality. A particular emphasis is made on the ways of teaching singers and their institutions. Part III examines what we know of the composers/ choirmasters operating in the final centuries of the first millennium. Guido d'Arezzo's works (Chapter 20) are firmly placed within a larger context of clerical reform with the revelation of a fifth treatise, often misattributed, which leaves little doubt that a major impetus for a more specific form of notation lay in the considerable amount of time that clerics were 'wasting' in memorising the repertoire they had to use on a daily basis.

But what of a continuous tradition? The book's attitude is simple. A clear direct line cannot be traced. However there are several starting points which, over the centuries converged. So Christian music found it's roots in a variety of sources, the local community adopting and modifying, sometimes outright rejecting, the musics that surrounded it. Similarly the ecclesial structures in which the cantor-lectors first ministered owed much to the familial structures already in place in various provinces of late antiquity and continued to have an influence through to the last dwindling scions of old Rome, residing in Gaul but, remembering past glories half a millennium later. Through these strands however there was innovation which cannot be explained but by the genius of the singers.

The presentation of the volume is first class, well bound, good paper. Typesetting is clear and accurate (I noticed what appears to be a lone 'typo' on p. 487. (Surely Rudof should read Rudolf?) The illustrations are apposite and, indeed, largely new to me. Colour has been used which is certainly essential to some of the points made. More than one reviewer has noted the physical weight of the volume. A problem perhaps for the reviewer 'sneaking' chapters whilst on the London Underground but less so for where the book will find it's home- on the desk of all those interested in this area.

Please do not, do not, read Page's final paragraphs first. Indeed it's probably best to leave them right to the end as he intended it. Better still strike them out and draw your own conclusions. I found his closing comments rather out of character to the rest of the text. Throughout he had maintained a scholarly distance observing the facts with a clear objective eye. To lapse into personal interpretation was perhaps not the best way to end such a fine bit of scholarly writing.

Dom Alban Nunn

In preparing this review reference was made to the Wikipedia entry for the author and material on the websites of OUP and CUP.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 18th of July, 2010.

At Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (OF 11am) Jean Langlais’ Messe Solonelle, Olivier Messiaen’s O Sacrum Convivium and Jean Guillou’s organ postlude Agni-Ignis (Fire of Exaltation). At the London Oratory (OF 11am) Grayston Ives' O Sacrum Convivium. At the conclusion of Vespers at Westminster Cathedral (3.30 pm) Francis Pott’s Toccata.

With the Summer break 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.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Circle of Light

Sweeney, Eric. Circle of Light: Music for choir and organ. The Lassus Scholars and Piccolo Lasso directed by Ite O'Donovan with Eric Sweeney, organ. Dublin Choral Foundation DCF CD004 (DDD).

The Lassus Scholars made an enormous contribution to the recent FOTA III conference in Cork (10-12 July). Over the three days they provided some of the most extraordinary readings of both 'classic' sacred repertoire and some newer music as well. The standard of the performances were remarkable. Whilst used to hearing such quality on recordings, where the possibility of retakes is a blessing, such high standards, given the difficulty of the music, is unusual within the liturgical context. Talking to their director, Ite O'Donovan, afterwards I asked about new Latin sacred repertoire and she very kindly provided Jubal's Review with a copy of this significant CD.

This recording contains the music of Eric Sweeney (b. 1948). The recording opens with his organ piece Le Circle de Lumiere (1999) and includes three English carol settings (SATB unaccompanied), and a selection of Sweeney's other organ music. An English Jubilate Deo and two other motets are presented. Sweeney has noted that his compositional style changed after his Second Symphony (1985-1987) as he moved towards a more 'traditional' use of tonal centres. This move can be clearly heard in the Missa Brevis (1986) which is our main interest. Sweeney mentions minimalism, particularly Reich, as having a definite influence on his compositional style. Whilst this is clearly heard is his use of repetitive figures the influence of Flor Peeters is just as prominent in the way he develops melodic fragments and builds chords from modal scales.

Sweeney provides the following note;

'Written in 1986, and subsequently revised, the Missa Brevis for two-part choir is a setting of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus/Benedictus and Agnus Dei of the Mass. Frequent use is made of canonic writing, sometimes in inversion, in the voice parts while the organ plays a largely independent part throughout.'
It will be no so surprise that this immediately invites a comparison with Benjamin Britten's Missa Brevis (1959) not only in the similar forces involved but also in the canonical writing and the independence of the organ part. There are significant differences however; Sweeney's work is slightly longer lingering over passages of the text which the Britten work, by comparison, makes a rather perfunctory, almost indecently hurried, setting. The organ part in Sweeey's setting would seem to be more accessible to the average organist.

The performance from Piccolo Lasso (all aged between 9 and 14) is solidly professional. The opening of the Kyrie slightly puzzled me as there seemed to be two pronunciations of the word Kyrie being executed, one favouring a Greek pronunciation in the other  the latinate. The performance of the Gloria is sharply precise and gives a good example of what these young singers are capable of. Leaps from low unisons to high divisi chords are handled with apparent ease, indeed intonation throughout is spot on. The recording itself [DDD] is very good and the placement of voices within the mix is very satisfactory making every syllable and note uttered count.  The recording was made in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, in October 2003.

Recent Latin Mass settings for these forces are relatively rare and Sweeney's Missa Brevis deserves to be heard much more frequently. The score is available through Beaumaris Publications (Rockfield, Carrigavantry, Tranmore. Co. Waterford). Sweeney has composed several works under this title so be specific, when enquiring, that you are looking for the 1986 Latin Missa Brevis. For further information on the Dublin Choral Foundation and its important continuing contribution their web page is linked with the name. This recording is available on the DCF site and also on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scores and Recordings received

The following scores and recordings have been received in the last month and should receive a notice or review in due course.

[CD] Sweeney, Eric. Circle of Light: Music for choir and organ. The Lassus Scholars and Piccolo Lasso directed by Ite O'Donovan with Eric Sweeney, organ. Dublin Choral Foundation DCF CD004 (DDD)
[CD] Macmillan, James. Visitatio Sepulchri and Sun Dogs. Netherlands Radio Choir/ Netherlands Chamber Philharmonic directed by James Macmillan and Celso Antunes. BIS SACD 1719

These last three items, found abandoned outside Travis & Emerymight be considered of archival interest.

[Score] Camilleri, Charles. Requiem for unnacompanied male voice choir. Roberton Publications 53152
[Score] Dalby, Martin. Missa Fi-Fi. Chester Contemporary Music Series.
[Score] Nystedt, Knut. De Profundis for chorus of mixed voices a capella. Associated Music Publishers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FOTA III. Monday 12th July


The final day commenced with Dom Samuel Weber's paper on the use of psalms. Extensive illustrations were provided with excerpts from the St Louis Gradual and the St Louis Hymnal for the Hours together with a bilingual edition of Compline. This presentation was essentially a practical exploration of what could be employed on the way to realizing a fuller use of the canonical psalter within the liturgy particularly in the proper texts which Fr Samuel identified as a particular concern in the thought of Benedict XVI.

This was followed by Kerry McCarthy's paper Listening to William Byrd. McCarthy's presentation initially seemed to be an enrichment lecture rather than something immediately pertinent to the topic of the conference. This misconception of mine changed quickly as she drew from the music of Byrd, and the details of his life, many of the concerns that continue today particular the survival of the church musician in adverse circumstances. In formal terms she noted that Byrd's compositional process commenced with what the liturgical text suggested at a deeper level than mere gimmicky word painting (although Byrd was not beyond some rather dramatic effects as she illustrated by a section of the Easter motet Terra Tremuit). McCarthy noted that the extended prefaces that accompany the two editions of Byrd's Gradualia contain his detailed attitudes to sacred composition and its performers. Byrd seemed well aware of the problems of less than perfect performers ('Everyone should learn to sing- it's the only way to find a good voice') and the often noted distance of the church musician ('Let the honour be God's but the pleasure be yours'). Byrd was well aware that there would be a range of abilities and seems to have been an early apostle contra utilitarianism- two very modern issues in sacred music practice.

At 12. 30 in St Peter and Paul's Church Fr James Brucke FSSP celebrated his first High Mass after ordination last week to the sacred priesthood. The setting of the ordinary was William Byrd's Mass for Five Voices which had formed part of Dr McCarthy's earlier lecture. This was a model celebration of the sung form of the Extraordinary Form lasting just over an hour. Considering the discussions of proper psalmody earlier in the day it was slightly surprising to discover some of the proper chants replaced by polyphony with texts not of the day.


Thomas Lacote, organist titulaire of the cathedral in Bourges presented a paper on music inspired by sacred themes but standing outside of liturgical norms. After noting the presence of sacred themes and gestures in some expected places (the agnostic Faure) and some unexpected places (the surprisingly pious Stockhausen) he turned to an examination of a new series of his own compositions entitled Dedication. The series derives it's inspiration from the common texts association with the Feast of the Dedication of a Church and are scored for a variety of forces. Dedication I, for tenor recorder, exploits the consecratory ritual of circumscribing a building during its consecration. Dedication II, for trombone quartet, is yet to be completed. (In a conversation afterwards he mentioned that it's inspiration was associated with the walls of the consecrated building). Dedication III, for organ, is inspired by the Matins antiphon Vidit Iacob scalam and Dedication IV, for twelve voices a capella, a setting of a verse from the office hymn Caelestis urbs, Ierusalem. The excerpts played during the talk illustrated quite clearly the advanced musical language that Lacote is employing inspired by the sacred treasury but not derivative or imitative.

Ite O'Donovan, director of the Lassus scholars, then delivered a paper which tracked the documents on sacred music of the twentieth century. This paper reflected the problems faced by the practicing Church musician in the years that followed the Council up to the present time and particular the apparent, and actual, dichotomy between what the documents of the Council had to say and what actually happened. The paper contained an interesting defence of the Viennese tradition of orchestral Masses as a continuation of temple traditions in early Christianity. In the questions that followed O'Donovan spoke of the alienation and crisis in faith that been the lot of many musicians after the Council noting that the revival in the traditional rites had become the path of return for some in recent times.

The final address of the day came from Archbishop Raymond Burke who spoke on The New Evangelization and Sacred Music. Archbishop Burke reflected on the presence of sacred music in his early education in rural Wisconsin, the sudden abandonment of the Liber Usualis during his junior seminary days, in 1965, and the realisation of the banality of what was coming to replace it. Whilst he sensed the departure of beauty he noted the general acceptance at the time that this was what the Church wanted. This talk was very carefully conceived with gems in almost every sentence. I hope that the entire talk can be made available in advance of the formal publication.

In relation to sacred music the archbishop noted two general principles in the thought of Benedict XVI: (a) That the true purpose of sacred music is as servant of the sacred liturgy glorifying God and sanctifying the faithful. (b) to this end there are three qualities must be constantly sort; (1) that of Holiness, avoiding the secular and rejecting anything foreign to the liturgy. (2) that of Beauty, in that the music must be artistic, not inferior and of the highest quality. (3) Finally Universality in that the forms used must be subject to the norms of Catholicism. In concluding Archbishop Burke noted that formal aestheticism must be avoided and sacred music must always be oriented 'Godwards'.

At the end of this third day Fr Vincent Twomey SVD gave thanks to the various people who had contributed to FOTA III. In conclusion he mentioned that the subject for FOTA IV would be 'The Roman Missal' with papers being sort on both the recent 3rd edition of the Missale Romanum (and the translations derived from it) and the 1962 Missale Romanum as the edition envisaged by Summorum Pontificum. He mentioned that the proceedings of FOTA II are now with the publishers.

Dom Alban Nunn

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fota III. Sunday 11th of July


This morning's Pontifical Mass originally was scheduled to commence with the Office of Terce at 11.30. This was revised to 11 am but in fact the Mass actually commenced at the original time of 11.30. At around 2 hours and 25 minutes into the proceedings James Macmillan's a capella motet Christus Vincit was heard during the communion. The expected Macmillan trademarks were very evident- an uncanny ability to make even the driest acoustic sound quite resonant together with decidedly 'celtic' decorative figuration in the upper voices. Given the nature of the text you would have expected something quite triumphalistic but Macmillan has chosen to underplay that aspect of the text in favour of a more reflective setting. The grandeur of the text was more expressed through the subtle use of harmonic shifts and ornamentation rather than through sudden changes in tempo and dynamic.

Thomas Lacote's improvisation before the final Te Deum took up some of the stylistic features of the Macmillan setting. The setting of the ordinary was Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli matching well the material discussed in yesterday's session. Within the context of this Pontifical High Mass it was a solid reminder of the essential sobriety of the Roman rite when freed from unnecessary ornamentation, fussiness or vain display.


The format for the afternoon session was slightly modified to allow questions between each paper and a brief break. First Dr Andreas Andreopoulos presented a paper in two parts. First he examined the theory of music in the Byzantine tradition, particularly the modal system and noted the differences between the sacred and secular musics dependant on the same system. He noted that in various orthodox communities, that had previously adopted more westernized forms of music, there was currently a revival in the traditional chant. The second part of Dr Andreopoulos' presentation was the performance of a selection of pieces from the sacred and secular repertoires illustrating the points from the first half of his talk.

The second paper came from Don Alberto Donini of the Diocese of Brescia. His paper, Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy according to Joseph Ratzinger/ Benedict XVI, extracted from the considerable references to music those specific to the Gregorian repertoire. At the essence of the paper was the identification of spiritualization as being essential to the Holy Father's understanding of chant. This he sees not only in the varied origins of the chant genre being brought into a cohesive spiritual form but also in a Christological sense by the which the chant itself participates in the incarnation of the logos; 'Christ the Word of God, incarnate in sound.' In the following question session an interesting exchange took place between Donini and Andreopoulos over the misuse of incarnation by some liturgical theologians to embrace anything as acceptable.

Finally James Macmillan spoke, or rather gave his manifesto for the future, in a talk entitled The Spirit of the Liturgy: Rejoice in Tradition and Embrace the Future. Macmillan obviously knew he was 'preaching to the choir' with much he said but seemed a little more circumspect than he has been elsewhere- probably considering the presence of three bishops in the room by this stage. He concentrated on the problem of the value of 'beauty' and it's general neglect, indeed deliberate exclusion of the concept, from much liturgical consideration in recent years. In the context of the general alienation that occurred between Church and professional musicians, in the 1960s, Macmillan touched on the misinterpretation of participatio actuoso that has prevailed and also noted the considerable pressure he had recently been subjected to from 'modernist liturgists' in relation to his own work for the forthcoming Papal Visit to Britain. The session concluded with a personal reflection from Archbishop Burke who, speaking of some of the Holy Week Chants he remembered as a child, noting how appropriate their style seemed to the occasion. 'We have been robbed of a gift given by God' he recalled.

In a  revision to the published schedule finds Dom Samuel Weber's paper Benedict XVI on the Psalms in the Liturgy now in the Monday morning session.

Dom Alban Nunn

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fota III. Saturday 10th of July

As there had been some flux in the exact programme of this years conference I was somewhat relieved to find it substantially intact with the pack handed out at registration.

Day 1 Summary

The opening session of FOTA III started shortly after 11 am. Fr Vincent Twomey SVD, formerly professor of moral theology at Maynooth, commenced with an overview of the issues concerning Church Music in the writings of the current Holy Father. He observed a fundamental distinction between Joseph Ratzinger's initial approach to music as integral to the liturgy in comparison to the Rahnerian 'ornamental' approach. After tracing some of the philosophical reasoning behind the Pope's thinking Twomey concluded with five principles which would find resonance in the later speakers. (1) Liturgy is for all- truly catholic but not always uniform. (2) It may be simple but never cheap. (3) Participation goes beyond mere external manifestations of activity. (4) If liturgical music is purely utilitarian it's actually useless. (5) A 'purification process' needs to be applied to musical material drawn from other cultures.

The following speakers were reversed as Fr Lang was yet to arrive in Cork. Fr Sven Leo Conrad FSSP then spoke on the intellectual connection between the Pope and Johannes Overath (1915-2002) whose work and person strongly influenced the music paragraph of Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963) and it's consequent expansion/explanation Musicam Sacram (1967). The theological content of Fr Overath's paper was severely curtailed by time limits however Fr Conrad managed to emphasise Overath's concern about the tendency to over play the 'spirit' rather than the 'letter' of the conciliar documents. Overath laid great value on the original relationes of the conciliar debates in interpreting the final texts. This seems to have been an attitude shared and passed on to the current Holy Father through close professional and personal contact which included a shared residency in the early 1980s.

Fr Michael Lang CO, having arrived, gave his paper an overview of papal pronouncements on music from Benedict XIV's Annus Qui (1749) to the current day via the writings of John XXII and material from the 22nd and 23rd sessions of the Council of Trent. Summarising across the centuries, between the two Benedicts, Fr Lang outlined five consistent concerns; (1) The actual use of the textual material proper to the Mass. (2) The problem of the theatrical pushing the text away from God centeredness (including the appropriate use of instruments in worship). (3) The continuing concern for intelligibility. (4) The length of individual pieces in relation to he liturgical action. (5) The revival of the chant repertoire.

The first session paused with a series of questions from the floor including an interesting comment from Stanford's Professor William Mahrt on the introduction of the organ into Western liturgy. Apparently a Byzantine imperial ornament the first instrument was sent as a present to the emperor of the West, at that time Charlemagne, from the Emperor of the East, and originally used to play Gregorian melodies. Finally Archbishop Burke closed the morning session with some general comments of the renewal of sacred music.


The afternoon session of the first day was rearranged so the paper advertised by Dom Samuel Weber OSB (Benedict XVI on the Psalms in the Liturgy) is yet to be delivered.

Fr Stephane Quessard spoke on the renewal of Sacred Music commencing with a potted history of the origin and use of the term itself from it's apparent coining by Michael Praetorius around 1614. Quessard observed three challenges to Sacred Music in the thought of Joseph Ratzinger (1) That sacred music must go beyond the limits of current European thinking avoiding triteness and commercialism. (2) That the Church has to restore the logos at the centre of sacred music. (3) That the chant repertoire must be emphasised as normative to the Rite.

In an addition to the advertised programme the Irish composer Philip Carty spoke with considerable conviction about how his growing religious convictions have influenced his musical language. Carty has an academic background in both theology and music and a continuing career as a composer including several film music credits. There were several wonderful thought provoking moments in this talk, illustrated with some of his own music, including the question 'Is no music better than bad music?' aimed directly at much of the pastoral repertoire. Carty's answer was a simple 'Yes- because of the silence.' Brave words for anybody trying to make a living out of writing music. Carty then attempted to trace the downfall of vocations and musical practice in Ireland comparing it with the decline in tonality and form in Western art Music in general. Messiaen, and Webern were obviously considered problematic and Carty admits this problem in some of his own music. Carty emphaised the need for humility- 'Music without humility is just pride with a video attached!' I'm going to have to revisit this composer as I think he has some very interesting things to say but has yet, perhaps, to fully 'join up the dots'. He has also yet, I might note, to compose a Latin text motet.

The conclusion of this session involved Professor Twomey and some questions from the floor, actually more anecdotal exchanges on the pretence of bringing things back to the 'grass root level'. You could smell the bishop bating coming a mile off. Enough said. The afternoon session then moved into the launch of the FOTA I proceedings. Archbishop Burke gave a summary of the contents in some detail then the publishers responded briefly giving tribute to the work of the editors. At 7.30 pm Archbishop Burke celebrated Pontifical Vespers in the Church of Ss Peter and Paul, Cork City. At 9 pm Thomas Lacote, who will speak later in the conference, gave an organ recital.

Dom Alban Nunn

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fota III

The 3rd annual conference of the St Colman's Society for Catholic Liturgy commences in Cork on Saturday Morning, the 10th of July. This year's concentration is on Sacred Music and specifically the contribution, attitude and writings of the current Holy Father. Of particular interest to Jubal's Review will be an address given by James Macmillan  (Sunday at 1600). From the historical perspective Kerry McCarthy will deliver a paper on William Byrd (Monday at 0900). Dr McCarthy has done much to enhance understanding of the liturgical context that Byrd was writing in. The website for the St Colman Society contains the prospectus and other information for the conference. The Pontifical Mass on Sanday (nota bene 11 am, Ss Peter and Paul's Church) will include Palestrina's Missa Pape Marcelli and James Macmillan's motet Christus Vincit. The High Mass on Monday (12 30 pm, same venue) will use William Byrd's Mass for Five Voices.

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 11th of July, 2010

At Leeds Cathedral (11am OF) the Messe d’Escalquens of Jean Langlais (1907-1991). At Westminster Cathedral (10.30 am OF) Marcel Dupré's (1886-1971) motet Laudate Dominum.

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.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Motets

'Doff of the hood' to Arlene Oost-Zinner at Novus Motus Liturgicus who has an article on Kevin Allen's Motecta Trium Vocum. These are a set of twelve Latin motets for three voices. The disposition of the voices may be varied according to what you have available and considerable support material is available to assist in learning the motets. A careful selection of texts means that a motet can be found appropriate throughout the year and 'extension' chant passages are provided so that the length of the piece may be adapted to the liturgical needs. The NLM link will lead you to sample recordings (all parts sung by Matthew Curtis through the miracle of multi tracking) and an introductory video. It looks like something that could be very useful and a worthwhile investment. The compositional style is very approachable. Kevin Allen's link is in the composers list on the right of this page.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Welsh Premiere

Roxanna Panufnik's Missa de Angelis  receives it's Welsh premiere at St Peter's Church, Routh, on Saturday the 3rd of July at 7.30 pm with the Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral Choir, directed Dominic Neville, and the London Oratory School Schola, directed by Lee Ward. Tickets available from 020 7381 7684 or on the door. Panufnik's setting of the Gregorian melodies, of Mass VIII, was premiered at St James Spanish Place on the 7th of May. The composer has prepared three versions (1) a version with brass octet and (2) with organ accompaniment. Finally, (3) a 'congregational' version which will be 'pared down to something everyone can sing at their weekly Masses.'