Thursday, September 27, 2007

25 OT--Year C

25 OT--C

Processional: Tietze Introit hymn

Psalm: Gelineau

Offertory: Si ambulavero (cantor)

Communion: Tu mandasti (chant) w/fauxbourdon (Viadana)
Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)

Recessional: From all that dwell below the skies (DUKE STREET)

I panicked on Wednesday and cut the Isaac setting of the Communion, Tu Mandasti. We hadn't had hardly any rehearsal time with it and a great number of the choir members were going to be absent on Wednesday. The piece is just too tricky to throw together.

BTW, Prof. Mahrt showed us one setting of an Isaac Communio. Basically, Isaac took most of the Communio's and set them to polyphony, often (always?) using the chant melody as a cantus firmus. I love the idea of singing these settings in between repetitions of the chant itself. There are stumbling blocks, though; this style of polyphony is not very amateur-friendly, and the fact that I can't find any editions anywhere (I went to his complete works in our music library and punched "Tu Mandasti" into Lilypond.) was a deterrent. Anyway, these are definitely worth looking into . . . I wish someone would take it upon themselves to get all those put into a program and post them at CPDL.

So as a back-up, we whipped up the Mozart, which most of my choir can sing in their sleep. A couple run-throughs and it was ready to go. They sang it very well.

I was most pleased with the Communion chant. As I may have mentioned, I'm trying something a bit different this year with the Communios. Last year, I rotated men and women from week-to-week. I'd let one gender leave rehearsal early and then the other would stay behind to learn the Communio. This year, I've had everyone stay and learn the chant and sing it on Sunday. Mixing in the fauxbourdons, this is how we do them on Sunday:

Antiphon (all)
Verse (cantor)
Antiphon (men)
Verse (cantor)
Antiphon (women)
Verse (cantor)
Antiphon (men)
Gloria Patri (all w/fauxbourdon)
Antiphon (all)

It's worked out well so far, and it seems that the choir is singing the chant with confidence as they are now able to learn it with a bigger, mixed group, and they're getting twice as much exposure to it (though no one gets to leave early, much to some people's chagrin, I'm sure : )

I've also made it a point to take a more pedagogical approach to the chant this year. We've spent more time exploring the make-up of the various modes and the differences between them. Last year, I basically taught them by call-and-response: I'd sing a phrase, they'd sing it back to me. Now, I usually make them sight-read it (after preparing them somewhat by introducing the mode, range, etc.) and we'll clean things up as we go along. Seems to be working . . .


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