Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ditans Cantu Guttura

Fr Allan being prevented from officiating, instead of Compline and Benediction last night we held an informal chant practice session instead, which was quite handy.  It was good to go over a number of items, and a happy presage of Advent to begin with singing through the whole of "O come, O come, Emmanuel", with its plainsong melody – since it is the practice in the parish to use this every Sunday of Advent, most appropriately.  We also ran through Richard Proulx's settings of the Alleluia, Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen to this melody, which will be used at ordinary Mass in the parish this Advent.  

That done as a good vocal warm-up, we sang through the Lord's Prayer in both Latin and English, and then tackled a number of other familiar chants, paying attention to phrasing and meaning and all the little details that are good to reinforce, such as quietening and ending each phrase with a slight rallantando.  What better than to sing the Ave verum – in organum, with yours truly singing a fifth below the others (well, trying to), producing that barbarous sound?  If it can be done properly, the resonance and unusual sound it gives can be quite decent... when perfected.

We sang through the Salve Regina also, again paying attention to phrasing and expression, before tackling what we really needed to revise: the Nunc dimittis from Compline, since fitting its words to its proper Gospel canticle tone can be tricky.  This done, we ended with Kyrie eleison, as our prayer to the Lord in closing.  A good practice, and then farewell, with belated best wishes for the feast of St Cecilia, among whose clients we count ourselves and our little inchoate schola.

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