Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

S. Maria Magdalena – Apostle to the Apostles

Saint Mary of Magdala, in debated multiplicity of biblical character, is honored in both East and West as first among the disciples of Jesus.  Even the Saints share a variety of ideas on her life as ”the woman who was a sinner”, sister of Mar…

Where Are You When You Sing? Proprioception for Beginners

Proprioception is the awareness of one’s body in space. It’s the sense that we all use continuously (otherwise we would wander into walls and tip over sideways all the time).  The problem is that we don’t use it consciously.  Using this “Sixt…

Magnificat Monday – Victoria, with Cardinal Burke

gregory DiPippo, the managing editor of our sister site, New Liturgical Movement, posted this wonderful video of the Dublin-based Lassus Scholars singing the Magnificat octavi toni by Tomás Luis de Victoria, as His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke incenses the altar during Pontifical Vespers. Click here to enjoy the rest.

DC Prayer Vigil for Iraqi Christians

A Vigil will be prayed tonight for the victims of the overwhelming anti-Christian violence in Mosul and other areas of Iraq during these difficult days.The Vigil will be held at St. Thomas Apostle church just off the Woodley Park / Zoo metro stop (red …

Music Minister (Part Two) To live, breathe and have one’s being in….

This is a continuation of reflections upon a reprinted article from 1972 currently in the Summer 2014 Issue  of SACRED MUSIC, authored originally by Fr. Ralph S. March S.O.Cist. I’m only remarking upon catch-phrase quotes excerpted in the current issue.

Part the third. The music minister must live, breathe, dream sacred music.

I believe that if that sentence was mounted on a large billboard outside of both the CMAA Colloquium and the NPM National Convention, you’d have absolute positive consensus were you to take a poll about it. But, as in all things, there are layers and depths of meaning and implications of how that imperative ought to be made manifest. Giving the benefit of the doubt to all regarding dreaming of sacred music, could it ever be possible for David Haas and Peter Kwasniewski, or Mary Ann Carr Wilson and Janét Sullivan Whitaker to share the same dream called “sacred music?” All of us, amateur and professional alike, must be publicly immersed in our vocation as a minister of music, but to whom or what are we held accountable for all that entails, particularly as articulated by Fr. March above?

My experience of over four decades has almost been premised by my early formation as a musician/student exposed at a very early age in the classics, big band jazz, true American folk music (Stephen Foster), some church music (in an unchurched family) and the big kahuna, rock ‘n’ roll from day one. So, by five I could (as Mr. Rogers asked) say: “That’s Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, ooh and that’s Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller, that’s Swanee River by Jolson, or Have some Madeira, my Dear by the Limeliters, oh, oh, oh, that’s Peggy Sue by Buddy and the Crickets, and Lucille by Chuck Berry. Well, how is that germane? Probably because it’s the quintessential American thing to do, absorb lots of cultural stuff. But by the time I finished high school and entered college, my actual pedagogical achievements enabled me to be able to play, and even more important at the time, gig with instrumental and vocal skills any type of gig thrown my way. And because of that, I landed the most important gig of my life at Oakland’s late, and by some, lamented St. Francis de Sales Cathedral. I would have added another patron, “Our Lady of the Holy Eclectics.”

Though essentially I wasn’t part of a church-going family, and only mildly a “seeker” during my high school years (uh, I was 15 in ’67, The Summer of Love in Oakland across from San Francisco) in 1970 as a college frosh music major I discovered the beautiful scaffolding (then I called it the “skeleton”) of the liturgy, the rituals, the mystery and yes, the joy that worship can provide the soul. And from then on, basically, my whole life re-oriented around loving, learning about, discovering and evolving in my faith life alive in the traditions, rites and catechisms of the Church Christ Himself founded. Now four decades later I could paraphrase our British friend Paul Inwood, “Sacred music, as well as Our Lord, is indeed the center of my life.” However, I have often come to the two paths in the woods of my musical journey, and by comparing and contrasting the exemplars of Mr. Inwood versus Mr. Salamunovich, have had to face the reality that though both roads may prove worthy, one of them is the better path. Dr. Kwasniewski has written extensively on the theology and aesthetics that can guide us towards the better, nee holier way that edifies our personal souls that we may best serve the faithful. But, from the composite of my association with CMAA, I think the guiding principle boils down to “When you hear this music, do you automatically associate its qualities as ‘sacred, universal and beautiful,’ in other words- music one would hear in a church at worship?”

I rarely actually dream of music. Would that I could and then, as apparently some do, write it down upon awakening. But when I first heard the Vierne Mass in Salt Lake City, was I not dreaming in the midst of its glorious expressions? Then through that, I am led to other works such as Missa Pulchritudo by Menotti (thanks to Fr. Jim Chepponis for sharing that dream.) I dream to conduct this work one day. I dream to conduct or sing the Monteverdi Vespers of St. John Baptist, I dream to…

Colloquium 2014: Positive Reactions!

Horst buchholz directing Victoria’s Requiem

This year was my first colloquium, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED it. I met so many new people, made lots of new friends, and met several of the other Café authors too, including Adam Bartlett, Mr. C, Jenny Donelson, Fr. Smith, and lots of other people too from the MusicaSacra Forum. I learned so much from the breakout sessions, and singing chant under the skilled Scott Turkington for the whole week. But I’m not the only one! Many other attendees had great things to say about it as well!

Tommy Myrick, a fellow cantor of mine during the Colloquium in Scott Turkington’s Schola had, among other things, an interesting reflection that struck him during one of the Colloquium liturgies.

On this day, it sunk in why the Church has to be something not of this world. Outside there was loud music (which could be heard inside the church), the hustle and bustle of this fast paced world, and hundreds (if not thousands) of souls wandering here and there. In the midst of this modern chaos, we who were attending the Colloquium were assembling to take part in Holy Mass. Here, we had stepped out of time and space to be with our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. It was not like anything you could find on the streets of Indianapolis at the time.

Fr. James Bradley, who speaks about his experiences in learning more about liturgical music, and his great experiences. Fr. Bradley also wrote more about his experiences here and here in other posts on his blog.

Jeffrey Morse’s daily solfège warmups

Last week’s CMAA colloquium, I think, provided a number of key ways to implement this sound principle in an authentic way. First, we know that liturgical paradigm articulated by the CMAA could be well described as ‘sing the Mass, not sing at Mass’. This is something that has been spoken of before by Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth regarding the revised English translation of the 2002 Missale Romanum, and it is a principle that we should take very seriously.

In the chanting of the proper texts and, where possible, according to the proper chants, the faithful participate at a deeper and more profound level in the liturgy of the Church, than when the prescribed liturgical texts are supplanted by hymnody or, even, silence. I am yet to be convinced by any argument that prefers non-biblical texts at any point in the Mass, over those antiphons and psalms that flow from sacred scripture and which have been an integral part of the western liturgy for hundreds of years.

Fr. David Friel, one of the bloggers at CCW, also wrote about his great experiences in Indianapolis, specifically one of the breakout sessions session given by one off my new friends, Charles Cole, on chant harmonization:

Charles Cole’s chant harmonization breakout session

Yesterday, I chose to attend the breakout session led by Charles Cole in Christ Church Cathedral. The topic was how to accompany chant on the organ for which Charles gave us a number of “rules” to follow. He also acknowledged that not all of these rules must always be strictly followed.

First among the “rules” is the need to stay within the notes of the scale pertinent to the mode. Also, as in all composition, parallel octaves and fifths are to be avoided. Cadences, too—both perfect and plagal—are not advisable. Registration and harmonization, we were taught, ought to serve the melody and text (which are always paramount in chant), striving to remain unobtrusive. It seemed to me that the underlying thrust of the presentation was this: a skillful organ accompaniment can actually help to reveal facets of modality within a particular chant.

Father Friel wrote several posts about his experiences that you can find in 4 parts: I II, III and IV.

Were you there? Did you enjoy it? Share your experiences below too!

Liturgy of the Hours Hymnal

New on Lulu from Fr. Samuel Weber, O.S.B. is his Hymnal for the Hours.  It’s a print-on-demand published by the Institute for Sacred Music, Archdiocese of San Francisco. Have I seen it yet?  No.  Do I look forward to it?  Of course….

On Fr Ralph March’s "Are You a True Minister of Music." Part One

Here it is, Monday after Colloquium 2014, and in the mail are two issues of SACRED MUSIC, Spring and Summer of this same year. Thank you, Bill Stoops, for having such quick access to your status reports at Indianapolis! All I can manage right now is a …

Magnificat Monday – Howells

This week we have another anglican submission, by Herbert Howells.

2015 Advent Calendar of Hymn Tune Introits

Wondering what to give this Advent to that Music Director who seems to have everything but propers? Know a pastor who would like to add a quiet solemnity to his Advent daily Mass routine but doesn’t know quite what to do about it?Well, look no further,…

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