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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 31st of October, 2010

Nothing in the more recent  Latin repertoire noted for this weekend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mawby Premiere

Colin Mawby's Missa Cor ad cor loquitur (SATB/org.) receives it's first 'outing' at the Oxford Oratory this weekend (OF 1030) at the beginning of the Forty Hours Devotion. Mawby's track record for contributions to the Latin repertoire is long standing. His principal choral  publisher, Butz Musikverlag, provides a listing of his works and images of the example pages of many scores. Technically the new work is a Missa Brevis, there is no setting of the Credo (at least in the score I've seen). The individual movements, noticeably within the setting of the Gloria, are sectionalised more in the tradition of larger Mass settings. The harmonic language is extended traditional harmony with his trademark enharmonic changes. Thematically there is a unity with the 'symphonic' development of alternating 3rds and 4ths throughout the thematic material and reflected in the harmonic structure. A more 'explicit' sharing of material exists between the Kyrie and the opening of the Agnus Dei. The organ writing is idiomatic, and should show off the instrument at S. Aloysius', however on first viewing of the score it was very tempting to imagine what orchestration Mawby might have had in mind. The choral writing certainly provides some challenges, divisi occurring in all parts, but looks very effective as you would expect from this composer.

This new work, taking it's title from and in honour of Blessed John Henry Newman, has been commissioned by Edward de Rivera for the Oxford Oratory. This choir and director have a long tradition and reputation for promoting music of the 'more recent' Latin repertoire.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday, 24th of October, 2010.

At Brentwood Cathedral (OF 1130) Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor. At Farm Street (OF 1100) Jean Langlais's Messe Solenelle and motet Ave mundi gloria. At Leeds Cathedral (OF 1100) Jubilate Deo by Bardos. At Liverpool Metropolitan (OF 1100) Langlais' Messe D'Escalquens and Wills' Ave Verum Corpus. At the Oxford Oratory (OF 1030) the premiere of Colin Mawby's Missa "Cor ad Cor loquitur" and Martin Beveridge's O Cor Amoris Victima.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2010 British Composer Awards

The nominations for the 2010 British Composer Awards were announced this evening. In the Choral section (presumably because it is a selective setting) is Sasha Siem's Psalm No 140, in the Liturgical section Cheryl Frances-Hoad's Psalm No. 1. Both are English text settings and commissioned for a concert in Cambridge in November 2009. James MacMillan's Jubilate Deo was also nominated, again an English text setting. One Latin text work did make muster; Cecilia McDowall's Deus, Portus Pacis [SSATB unnac.] This was commissioned by the Musicians Benevolent Fund  for the Festival of St Cecilia, which took place at St Paul's Cathedral in London on the 18th November 2009.  Published by OUP. It's text is taken from a medieval Augustinian poem.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday, 17th of October 2010

At Farm Street (1100 OF) Missa in honorem BVM Vincenz Goller (1873-1953). At Leeds Cathedral (0930 OF) Missa in simplicitate, Jean Langlais, and  Terra tremuit, Bárdos. At 11.00 (OF) Missa in honorem S. Dominici, Edmund Rubbra and  Ave verum, Colin Mawby. At the Oxford Oratory (1030 OF) the St. Clemens-Maria Hofbauer Messe of Vincenz Goller (1873-1953). At Southwark Cathedral (1130 OF) Missa in honorem S. Dominici, Edmund Rubbra, and Grayston Ives' O Sacrum Convivium. At the London Oratory (1100 OF) the Mass in G Minor of  Ralph Vaughan Williams. At Westminster Cathedral (1100 OF) the Missa Rigensis by Ugis Praulins (b. 1957).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sacred vs Secular

By now you have probably noticed a link doing the rounds of most sites concerned with Sacred Music. (Doffing my hood in multiple directions). It's a computer generated cartoon depicting a conversation 'at the water cooler' (I gather this is a particular genre of cartoon) between a man and a woman. Most of the dialogue is sourced from various Papal documents concerning sacred music and the basic point is that some music is appropriate to the Sacred Liturgy, other music not appropriate, indeed excluded. Towards the end of the piece the following comment is made;

Man: I guess it makes sense... that music written by people in the 20th Century should not replace Catholic music that has been refined for well over 1000 years.

There are problems with this comment. Whilst the apologetic purpose is obviously against certain types of music used in Churches at the moment one could get the impression that the author wants to exclude any music composed since 1900. This has been picked up by various commentators.

The balance between 'new' and 'old' musics in the liturgy is a problem that has vexed both Western and Eastern Christianity without even considering the abandonment of a traditional liturgical language. In the East the incorporation of a much beloved but largely 'classical' repertoire is viewed with suspicion in some quarters. In the West the recent legislation, say of the last fifty years, is plagued by the way it was generated. The final form of 'authoritative' documents, upon scrutiny, reveal the various authors, and pressure groups, at work in the earlier drafts. Anecdotally, Musicam Sacram (1967) was originally rather light on the retention of Gregorian Chant and only received it's published form very late in the day.

As it stands the legislation available clearly requires the maintenance of the received sacred treasury. However it does not exclude new compositions appropriate to the liturgy. It is the purpose of Jubal's Review to encourage and make these new Latin text compositions better known. By a literal interpretation excluding the music of the 20th Century a lot would be lost and a musical antiquarianism would be introduced for the first time. This surely cannot be the author's intention. Certainly the traditional repertoire should not be 'replaced' but this does not mean a simple date line test, for what is good and bad in Sacred Music, should be created which would exclude the further addition to that sacred repertoire.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday, 10th of October, 2010.

At the Birmingman Oratory (OF 1030) Lennox Berkeley's Missa Brevis. At Leeds Cathedral (0930 OF) Messe d'Escalquens, Langlais, at 1100 (OF) Ubi caritas et amor by Brian Easdale (1909-1995) and Litanies by Jehan Alain (1911-1940). At Southwark Cathedral (OF 1130) the Missa Quarta and Ave Maris Stella of Lajos Bardos (1899-1986). At Sacred Heart, Wimbledon (OF 1130); the Missa in Simplicitate of Jean Langlais.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Sunday 3rd October, 2010

At Leeds Cathdedral (1100 OF) Ubi caritas et amor, Duruflé, and the Canzona of Langlais, (1800. OF) Missa Chant donné, Duruflé (cantor and organ). At Sacred Heart Wimbledon (1130 OF) Tantum ergo Duruflé. At Westminster Cathedral (Solemn Vespers 1530) Magnificat octavi toni by David Bevan (b 1951).