23 March 2015

Chants for Reburying a King

The reinterment of the remains of King Richard III in Leicester this Thursday is an event which has been much discussed. Among the music to be sung on this occasion there will be both medieval plainsong antiphons* and new compositions incorporating chant motifs. The music for the service is discussed on the blog How to Rebury a King, by Dr Alexandra Buckle, here, here and here.

* The video found on this page shows the choir of New College, Oxford singing two of these antiphons: In paradisum (starts rather abruptly) and De terra.

International Gregorian Festival, Watou, Belgium

The Twelfth International Gregorian Festival of Watou (Belgium) will be held from 13 to 17 May 2015, with pre-conference events across French and Belgian Flanders from 8 May onwards. The full programme has been released, and all details can be seen at the Festival's English-language website.

There will be performances by 29 scholas from 17 countries. The UK is not represented this year, though English choirs have sung at Watou in the past. The Festival is held every three years.

21 March 2015

Concert of Sacred Levantine Music and Chant

The following notice has been received by email:

The Sacred Voices of the Levant invite you to a concert of sacred Levantine (Middle Eastern) music and chant, for the deliverance of Iraq and Syria, on Saturday 28 March 2015, at 6 p.m., at St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Street (off Pimlico Road), London SW1W 8PF.

The concert will feature Syriac and Byzantine chants for Lent and Holy Week, performed by the choirs of the Levantine Churches in London, namely the Melkite, Syriac (Syrian Orthodox), Maronite and Chaldean choirs. Entrance is free, but a collection will be taken for the refugees in Syria and Iraq.

17 March 2015

Monastic Chant Forum

Announcement from the Monastic Chant Forum

The Monastic Chant Forum will hold a 3 day meeting at Quarr Abbey from the evening of Monday 13th July (arrivals) to the morning of Friday 17 July (departures), 2015.

This will be the eighth such meeting in the history of this group, which aims to promote Gregorian Chant within the Monasteries of the British Isles. Although the emphasis is on Gregorian Chant in a specifically Monastic context, anyone from a non monastic background who is interested is welcome to attend.

The general theme for 2015 will be music for the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The main speakers will be Dr. Giedrius Gapsys, musicologist of the Paris Conservatoire, specialising in Gregorian Chant; Dom Xavier Perrin OSB, Prior of Quarr Abbey, and Sr. Bernadette Byrne OSB, Choir Mistress of St. Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde.

Enquiries and bookings to Dom Benedict Hardy OSB of Pluscarden Abbey:dbhosb@gmail.com 

For details of accommodation at Quarr, please contact Fr. Brian at: procurator@quarr.org 

Information about St. Cecilia's Ryde from Sr. Bernadette Byrne at abbey@stceciliasabbey.org.uk

06 March 2015

Plainsong & Medieval Music Society: 2015 Events

The new website is now up and running at www.plainsong.org.uk

1. PMMS Study Day 2015

We are delighted to announce the 2015 study day, as part of the Senses of Liturgy conference in Bristol, on 21-22 May 2015. Registration details, already-agreed-papers, plus open call for papers can be found here: Senses of Liturgy There are good discounts for Plainsong and Medieval Music Society members, and there are also some bursaries available for postgraduates who are presenting a spoken paper or a poster. 

2. Bruno Turner awarded Spanish Medalla de Oro

We are delighted to announce that our President, Bruno Turner, has been awarded Spain’s top Arts/Cultural award, La Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes. Bruno was the founder of the publishing company Mapa Mundi in 1977, and was the founding conductor of the choir Pro Cantione Antiqua, releasing several CDs with that group. He has had a lifelong interest in Iberian music, as an editor, a composer and a scholar.
We would like to offer Bruno our warmest congratulations on this honour.

3. Facing the Music of Medieval England, 21-22 March 2015, University of Huddersfield

PMMS-sponsored event (jointly with EECM and RMA) Facing the Music of Medieval England will take on 21-22 March at the University of Huddersfield. The keynote will be given by Margaret Bent, and the programme showcases many speakers who are members of PMMS. Registration will open soon and cost no more than £15. You can have a preview of the programme on the MuGI twitteraccount. For more information contact Lisa Colton at l.m.colton@hud.ac.uk.

4. Save the Day: PMMS Study Day 2016

Advance notice: the 2016 Study Day will take place at the University of Newcastle, hosted by Dr Magnus Williamson, and linking with his AHRC-funded Tudor Partbooks project. The likely date is 9 April 2016.

03 March 2015

Gregorian Chant meeting 2015

IMG_8828
Our last meeting, addressed by the composer James MacMillan
and Fr Guy Nichols, Director of the Newman Institute of Sacred Music.
The next meeting of the Gregorian Chant Network will take place on Saturday 14th March. For the first time it will be open to all. Directors of chant groups registered with the GCN will get a discount.

We will be addressed by Dr Daniel Saulnier, former choirmaster at Solesmes, and Giovanni Varelli, Cambridge researcher who discovered the manuscript of the earliest written polyphonic music, which will be performed at the meeting.

The meeting includes lunch, for those who want it, and concludes with Vespers, followed by tea.

Programme (Subject to minor changes)
10.30 Registration
11.00 Talk by Dr Daniel Saulnier
12noon Angelus and talk by Giovanni Varelli
1pm Lunch
2.30 Joseph Shaw on the GCN
2.45-4pm Rehearsal for Vespers with Daniel Saulnier
4.15 Vespers in the Little Oratory
5pm Tea

Prices: Directors of scholas and chant choirs which are members of the Gregorian Chant Network: £10 including lunch. Others: £10 without lunch; £25 including lunch.

The Latin Mass Society is hosting a booking page here.

02 March 2015

Antiqua Laus

Photo: Gruppo vocale "Antiqua Laus"

We have recently been sent some information and recordings by the Italian choir "Antiqua Laus", who specialise in Ambrosian and Gregorian chant, and sacred polyphony. The choir was founded in 2008, initially in order to give voice to an ancient codex of Ambrosian chant, which had been discovered at the parish church of Coarezza (Varese).

Since then, Antiqua Laus have recorded several CDs, of which the first was Jesu dulcis memoria (Universal, 2009).

They have also been involved with the publication of chant manuscripts, which have appeared in three volumes in the series Quaderni di Storia del Territorio Varesino:

  1. San Sebastiano: liturgia solenne di rito ambrosiano (2010);
  2. Monasteri Fruttuariense del Seprio (2012);
  3. Canonica San Vittore - Bedero in Valtravaglia (2014).
This latest volume includes a facsimile edition of a thirteenth-century Ambrosian antiphoner, and is a considerable addition to the published corpus of medieval Milanese chant. The book is accompanied by a CD, featuring Vespers and Mass in honour of St Victor, sung by the choir with organ improvisations by Alessandro La Ciacera from Milan Cathedral; and also by an interactive DVD. The next project will involve one of three fifteenth-century antiphoners from the Collegiata di Castiglione Olona (Varese).

The choir thus continues to recover and enrich the repertory of Ambrosian chant through scholarship, concerts, recordings and liturgical performance.

More information is available at the group's website: http://www.antiqualaus.com/

Please click on the links below to hear some of their recordings:
Magnificat (with alternatim organ versets)

18 December 2014

Earliest ever polyphonic notation found

'The piece was discovered by Giovanni Varelli, a PhD student from St John’s College, University of Cambridge, while he was working on an internship at the British Library.'

It dates from around 900. Read more about it here. Polyphony was being discussed at this time, but the earliest written notation up to now was from a century later.

It is organum, but not a simple matter of the one part being five notes below the other; the interval varies. It undermines the assumption that the earliest polyphony was organum carried out mechanically, with one voice following the other at a fixed interval.

The text is: 
Sancte Bonifati martyr inclite Christi te quesumus ut nos tuis precibus semper gratiae Dei commendare digneris.

O holy distinguished martyr of Christ, Boniface, we beseech you that you should always see fit in your prayers to commend us to God's grace.


With the name of 'Vitus' instead of 'Boniface' the text occurs as the single antiphon for the Vespers psalms for Vitus in two Austrian MSS of the 14th century, one of which has images on the Cantus website. This was probably the antiphon for Vespers for St Boniface.

04 June 2014

Report of meeting of Monastic Chant Forum

Meeting of the Chant Forum, Quarr and Ryde Abbeys, 1 - 5 July 2013


At the beginning of July 2013, two years after the previous meeting at Douai in May 2011, the Chant Forum gathered at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. There had been no such meeting in 2012, because the Monastic Musicians that year made Gregorian Chant the focus of their own annual session. This Quarr event was the seventh Chant Forum gathering. Hitherto the formula had been for a meeting of two full days only, but this time we made it three full days.

16 April 2014

Chant Training days in London: 31st May and 3rd August

Two opportunities for chant training in London are being organised by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge.

They will take place in conjuction with special Sung Mass for two different events: the training will enable a larger group of amateurs to take part in singing for these Masses.

The Masses are the Latin Mass Society Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Willesden, in North West London, on Saturday 31st May (feast of Our Lady, Queen). The Shrine is at Acton Lane, Willesden, London NW10 9AX. Click for a map.

and the LMS-sponsored 'Chesterton Pilgrimage' (to seek GK Chesterton's beatification), where Mass will take place in Our Lady of Lourdes Uxbridge, on Wednesday 30th July. The church on the Osborn Rd (or, more simply, next to the A4020), and the post code is UB8 1UE. Click for a map.

Anyone who would like to join the Schola Gregoriana on either occasion please get in touch with the Schola Gregoriana in advance.

Numbers are limited only by the capacity of the choir gallery! And they are both a pretty large.

Tel: 01223 263063

Post:
Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, 
St Benedict's, 
124 Cambridge Road, 
Barton, 
Cambridge CB23 7AR.

IMG_3509
LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Willesden, last year.

13 March 2014

Chant Workshop in Somerset, 28th June

GREGORIAN CHANT WORKSHOP 

Led by Rupert Bevan

Saturday 28 June 2014 

9.30am for 10.00am to 4.30pm

includes coffee, lunch and afternoon tea 

Cost: £40.00

In this workshop, led by Rupert Bevan, you will learn about the origins of the chant and how it works, and then learn some plain chant, culminating in the singing of Vespers in Ammerdown Chapel, which offers excellent acoustics.

Rupert Bevan comes from a well-known musical family. He was Head Chorister during his time at Westminster Cathedral, which is where he first learnt the Chant. He is currently Director of Music at St John’s Catholic Church in Bath and the Director of Bradford on Avon Choral Society. In addition, he sings locally as a professional tenor soloist.

For more information or to book , please go tohttp://ammerdown.org/Gregorian-Chant-Workshop-2014 or emailcentre@ammerdown.org or ring 01761 433709

05 February 2014

Clever chant tool


The blogger 'Counter Cultural Father' has drawn attention to this extremely clever online tool. It will given a huge number of chants - all the Sundays and a few Votives (Nuptial Mass, Mass for the Dead) - in both the full chant text and at Psalm tones. With the latter, it will let you choose what Psalm tone to use. And it produces lovely clean pdfs of the chant.

It can toggle between the 1962 and the Novus Ordo calendars.

It does other clever things too. For example, if you have the Latin text of a reading, it will set it to chant according to the Gospel, Epistle or Prophecy tone. The image above is a bit of nonsense Latin which demonstrates how you can feed in your own texts.

Go and check it out!

http://gabc.romanliturgy.org/

03 October 2013

Schola Gregoriana Weekend in Whitby 22-24th November

SNEATON CASTLE CENTRE,  WHITBY


Friday 22nd November to Sunday 24th.


St. Charlemagne and the Play of Antichrist


Sing, study and learn about music from the early Middle Ages in honour of the first Holy Roman Emperor and his successors, and chants for the Feast of Christ the King.


The programme will include excerpts from the early 13th c. Office of 'St. Charlemagne' together with hymnody from the Carolingian renaissance and some of the earliest polyphony, and a speculative edited reconstruction of the semi-liturgical drama 'Ludus de Antichristo' from 12th c. Germany, in which the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I 'Barbarossa' is first seduced by Antichrist and then won back to the true faith.


This programme will be the basis of a concert to be performed by the Schola with the Bristol University Schola Cantorum on Saturday 30th November, 7.30 pm, at the Temple Church, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 7HL


The inclusive cost of board, accommodation, music and tuition is £200.
For full details, and non-residential participation, please address enquries toscholacambridge@aol.com, or St. Benedict's, 124 Cambridge Road, Barton, Cambridge, CB23 7AR   Tel:  01223 263063













06 September 2013

Call for singers for YCA retreat, 18-20 October

John Curran, of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, seeks help to provide a small group of singers to support the Young Catholics’ Association annual retreat at the Franciscan house at Cold Ash, near Thatcham in Berkshire during the weekend 18-20 October.

Depending on your talents you might consider to serve as an ordinary robust choir member for Compline, Vespers and the Ordinary of Mass in the Extraordinary Form, or also help rehearse the Proper of the Mass. We will be trained by one of the Schola’s professional chant experts.

You can also take part all other events and spiritual conferences of the weekend.

John has arranged an inclusive £100.00 package from Friday evening (18th to lunch Sunday 20th October.)

Contacts: JPCSedate@aol.com; 01509 852259 (up to 8pm!)