28 July 2011

Chant and Metrical music go head to head

This is fascinating: a systematic comparison with the same texts set to standard modern melodies in modern notation and to chant melodies. It really illustrates the difference between the spirit of the two.

I challenge anyone to deny that the chant versions are more prayerful.

02 July 2011

When to sing the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in the EF

Processing some videos of a recent Mass with the Schola Abelis of Oxford, I thought of creating a couple of clips illustrating something which can be confusing for singers not used to the Extraordinary Form (the Traditional Mass): exactly when you should start singing the Sanctus and, particularly, the Agnus Dei.

These videos illustrate it nicely, partly because my (extremely rudimentary) camcorder was nice and close to both the schola and the celebrant. This is a Solemn Mass; a Missa Cantata, without deacon and subdeacon, is exactly the same in terms of the short sung dialogue between the priest and the congregation (the latter led by the schola), which preceeds these chants.

I was once in a chant schola which was singing alongside a separate polyphonic choir. We were in the nave and they were in the choir loft. Not being familiar with the sequence of events, they actually failed completely to sing the Agnus Dei...

In the video the priest uses the 'Most Solemn Tone'; this is one of the more unusual tones. For the 'Common tones of the Mass' see the Liber Usualis from p98.

The priest is Fr Aldo Tapparo, Parish Priest of St Anthony of Padua in Headington, Oxford. This splendid Mass was in celebration of his church's 50th Anniversary. The deacon was Fr Anton Webb and the subdeacon Br Nicholas Edmonds-Smith, both of the nearby Oxford Oratory. I've put up more about this Mass here.


Agnus Dei

I have been working on a 'Guide to Scholas' to cover the whole of Mass, explaining what they should sing and when, which I hope will be ready to go onto the LMS website soon.