Thursday, 26 February 2009

The liturgical music essential to an understanding of the liturgy

If we sing what the Church wants us to sing, the nature of the music presents the words to us in such a way that helps us to understand them. Another very interesting post on the New Liturgical Movement by Jeff Tucker:

Lent is a fantastic example of this, and this Sunday in particular, when the propers intrigue us with their form and structure. The Introit is joyful, and the Tract is too, but it is shockingly long, while the Gospel itself is short. The propers are uniformly from Psalm 90, which his highly unusual, and this happens to be the same Psalm that the Devil quotes during the period of temptation.

See the whole post.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge

This is the schola founded by the late Dr Mary Berry, who directed the first Gregorian Chant Training Day I organised in Oxford. We have established mutual links and they have asked me to mention a very interesting-sounding event:


Saturday 18 April 2009 at 7.30pm

Cantors of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge


Music from the Templars’ Jerusalem Breviary

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Mass at Milton Manor

On Saturday we had a splendid Mass in the delightful 18th Century 'Gothick' private chapel of Milton Manor, which was consecrated by Bishop Challoner and has been occupied by the Catholic Barret (now Mockler-Barret) family ever since.
The chapel was quite full and the schola sang from an upper room which has wooden shutters opening into the chapel.

Mass was followed--as always at Milton Manor--by refreshments offered by the ever-hospitable Mockler-Barrets, after which we went for lunch in a nearby pub.

Here are two videos recording our singing:

the Offertory, Felix namque est:

the Gradual and the Tract, sung by selected members of the schola:

See the Oxford LMS events blog, where there are more photographs.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Residential Chant Coure

A brand new and very exciting development is heralded by the announcement by St Catherine's Trust of a residential Gregorian Chant course to be directed by Nick Gale, who is the Director of Music at St George's Cathedral in Southwark. It will run Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, 26th-29th March, at Ardingly College, near Haywards Heath in Sussex.

All the active singers of the Schola Abelis will be able to attend this course for free, thanks to the schola's benefactors. For the general public the price is £50.

Please contact me to secure your place on this unique course. There is simply no similar opportunity in the UK to spend time on chant over three days:

For more details, see Oxford Events, which also announces the annual 'Chant Training Day' organised by the local Latin Mass Society, and directed by Mr Phillip Duffy, former Director of Music at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (ie the Catholic one). This is a one-day event, which will take place at SS Gregory and Augustine on Saturday 25th May.

Again, the Schola Abelis has an arrangement with the organisers and active singers will not have to pay to attend. Please note it in your diaries!

Rip up those carpets!

There is a fascinating post by Jeff Tucker about church accoustics in The New Liturgical Movement.

Carpets kill the chant. Trying to combat the effect of carpets in churches by installing more and better loadspeakers and so on obviously won't help the Chant either - amplification can only be used effectively by pop-style music. One reason it is going to be difficult to revive the Chant - or any music in accordance with the Church's enormous and wonderful tradition - is carpets. They will make it sound awful.

Rip them out!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009