Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Gregorian Chant Hymns, the website, again

A version of this article appears in the Autumn 2015 issue of The Monastic Musicians Newsletter.

Gregorian Chant Hymns, (gregorian-chant-hymns.com) our website, grew out of a very practical need. Frequently, people decry Gregorian Chant Hymns, (gregorian-chant-hymns.com) our website, grew out of a very practical need. Frequently, people decry the music that they hear week by week in ordinary Catholic parishes. Complaints are made about the choice of music, the quality of the choir and the level of audible participation from the congregation. The people involved in producing this music are usually very dedicated, following the lead of others, but so very often a feeling of dissatisfaction is experienced, that after great efforts expended, the desired result is not achieved. A music is needed that is apart from the world and which creates an atmosphere conducive to prayer. We have this music. It is chant.

Gregorian Chant Hymns sets out music that is an integral part of the tradition of the Church in a manner that makes it possible to sing it in an ordinary parish.

Countless articles have been written describing the grave need for chant in the liturgy and readers of this newsletter hardly need another apologetic, especially from a lay person. It remains a paradox however, that whilst recordings of chant from monasteries and abbeys are very popular in the secular world, it can be very hard for lay Catholics to have access to this music in a liturgical setting. Our website offers some practical assistance, so that where there is a will to sing chant, there is a way in. It sits alongside other very useful and free internet resources and will support those who having perhaps attended a chant workshop are wondering what they might usefully do next.

Gregorian Chant Hymns gathers together recordings that one may listen to online, alongside the notation and translations into English of the texts. The recordings use both male and female voices, so can be useful for a variety of groups of adults and children. We have been generously assisted by St Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde and Pluscarden Abbey, who have allowed their recordings to be used for non-commercial purposes. As Wikipedia reminds us,' In 1974, Pope Paul VI issued Jubilate Deo, a selection of plainchant pieces, to every bishop in the Church to encourage the singing of Simple Gregorian melodies in parishes. The Community [of St Cecilia's] recorded the chant to support this endeavour, in what was the first recording of nuns in the UK. ' This website merely provides the means for parishes to do this in the Internet age. Other groups have kindly allowed their editions to be used and Dr Candy Bartoldus has been meticulous both in citing all copyright holders and obtaining permission for their work to be used.

An example
If at Communion, you wished to sing Adoro te devote, from scratch, some of these steps may help you.

Click the Hymns tab at the top of the home page.
The music available is displayed in alphabetical order.
Click on Display score and play Audio.
The image left appears.
Click on the arrow, recording will begin.
The arrow has now turned into a pause button.
Click pause to stop the recording at any point.
The notation for each verse is displayed separately, with a translation beneath.
This allows you to listen and to practise singing.

You may want to distribute this recording to members of a church choir who do not have Internet access.

Under the hymns tab, you can also Click Download MP3.
You can then save the recording onto your computer.
The recording may be burned onto a CD.

If you are to sing the music in church, you need sheets.

Click Download Latin text and you have a sheet to sing from.
Click Download translation and there it is.

If you are going to produce a booklet, it may be necessary to alter the size of the notation and to edit the size of the text. Go to Build-a-booklet. There you can download images (JPEGs) of the chant notation and translations in PDF format.

A simple example and you will see that there is much more on offer, particularly in the Build-a-booklet section. There may just be something there that will save someone a great deal of time.

To those who say the task is too great, I say, in five years of singing chant every Sunday, practising for 20 minutes a week after Mass, we learnt Masses I, IV, IX, XI, XVII and the Requiem Mass, plus about 30 devotional chants and office hymns and sang the propers every week to psalm tones. Most people can memorise a large number of chants and as we bring out chants particular to the liturgical season each year, so our appreciation grows of this beautiful music.

Our Catholic music.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Taking the Slow Road

And playing the long game.

Over here in the land of fruit tea bread, the daily rhythm of getting up at early o'clock to teach, tootle and mark is brought to a brief halt for half-term.

The time has worked out well; concerts on the two Saturdays and visits to seaside friends on the two Sundays. In between, visits to my parents for Dad-sitting, mobile phone sorting for my Mum and being at home.

This half-term, I do all sorts of great jobs which include deep cleansing the house, clearing the garden, addressing all my Christmas cards and making the Christmas cake.

I have audited the small pots of stew, liver and bacon, soup and mashed potato in the freezer and calculate at three homemade ready meals a week, I have enough dinner to see me to the end of term. I have tackled my house insurance, renegotiated it down to a reasonable sum and put the savings to a far better use. ( I declined the bit where you can insure the contents of your freezer. ) If Kids Company had adopted this manner of house-keeping they might be able to talk us through what they have done with £46 million of our money. But I digress.

And then there was The Synod. Apart from spawning new words. Synodality? Don't bother explaining, it reminded me of one time on 29th June. I ran from my classroom to a church a mile from work to get to a lunch-time Mass, because there was a concert that night so I couldn't go then. When we got to the point where you might expect the Creed, the Priest asked the congregation if he thought we should do it properly and say it. We stared back blankly. Not a sound. Can't remember what happened. You could imagine that anyone who attends a Mass which involves missing their whole lunch hour, might be into trying to doing it properly. Or not. Then I ran back to work in time for pm registration, which I am legally obliged to take. Failure to take the register, which can only be completed by a qualified teacher, can land you in a formal disciplinary process. Fairly basic. Can you account for every child in the building? Not something you can be vague about. Saying the Creed on a Solemnity? Clearly lots of wiggle room.

Whilst that was going on in Rome, I have been reading a book about Padre Pio. It's about the investigations carried out in the 20s and has lots of the interviews conducted with him and other people around him at the time. It's rather repetitive, because they all get asked the same or very similar questions. The repetition could be annoying if you read it in one go, but is fine for short bursts on trains. What interests me is the nature of the questions, because it reveals what was considered important then. And what was important was how well Padre Pio lived his monastic rule, his daily life, how he interacted with other people. Interestingly, he is regarded as a good religious, but not exceptional. He just carries on hearing Confessions, saying Mass and attending the Office. Relentlessly. Whilst the drama unfolds around him.

Anyway, I shall continue to do my things, which involve reading the lives of the saints and ignoring much else. It's interesting that Christ the King EF, coincides with the clocks going back at the end of October. And yes, I know it's a very new feast. But it all ties in with the seasons.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Gregorian Chant Hymns - UPDATE

Last summer saw the launch of Gregorian Chant Hymns, a website that provides, notation, text, recordings, and pics of chants you might want to sing in an ordinary everyday parish. The recordings, which are downloadable and free, are a mixture of St Cecilia's, IOW, Pluscarden, St Cecilia's + our female schola and just us. The site has been receiving a very healthy number of hits from all over the place.

There are now booklets for use at Mass.

A further project is providing booklets for Sunday Vespers in the Extraordinary Form. So, should you find yourself hunting for the Magnificat in the correct tone attached to the correct antiphon, this may be just the place for you. These are being used weekly at the Oratory in formation, Washington DC.

And there's Sunday Compline there too.

In other news, great quote from Sir James MacMillan on 'Front Row,' R4 earlier. On what his Fourth Symphony sounds like - "I don't know, the first rehearsal is tomorrow." I shall be telling my form when they are composing impossible things for various instruments that Sir JM, knows the faces of the BBCSSO player for whom he is writing.

Sir James MacMillan 4
Gustav Mahler 5

That's tonight's programme - not a football score.
Kicking myself for not going.

Bravo! Great ending.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Monastic Chant Forum at Quarr and St Cecilia's Abbey

What a marvellous five days!

Reunited with my chant buddies, we enjoyed a rich diet of talks, Offices, singing and Benedictine hospitality, all whilst clutching a Graduale Triplex.

The balance of participants was heavily weighted towards religious and so we were able to enjoy a very particular atmosphere. Silence.

The talks focused on music for Marian Feasts. Dr Gidrius Gapsys, who teaches chant at the Paris Conservatoire, took us through how the propers for the Assumption have varied between the 9th and 20th centuries. We got to see overheads of the original manuscripts and dipped into some discant. He also re-explained the semiology symbols of St Gall, something that I, at least, cannot have a revision session on too frequently. After having first encountered them at Solesmes in 2009, on Dom Saulnier's summer course, something may be coming together in my mind.

Sr Bernadette Byrne, choirmistress of St Cecilia's, spoke on office antiphons for Marian Feasts, with a particular focus on modality and was brilliant as ever. On two of the days, we were at St Cecilia's, so we benefitted from the presence of a number of the community in the big parlour.

And Fr Xavier Perrin, Prior Administrator of Quarr, took our nightly Mass practice, preparing for the Mass the following morning. All was organised with a sheet giving all the page numbers, and he provided a written and verbal spiritual commentary on the chants. What an excellent teacher and inspiring example.

Meantime, much organisation had gone on and much work, by many and the whole week ran like clockwork, without a hitch.

Altogether a precious few days.

We were very sad to leave. We really didn't want to go at all.

Quarr Abbey is looking very good indeed, with a new visitor centre explaining their life, a thriving and excellent cafe, pigs (yummy sausages,) whilst all the while, the magnificent Abbey houses the Divine Office.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Mutual enrichment grass roots style

So there I am at a church I don't usually go to Mass at.

Half the congregation go up to Holy Communion and receive standing.

Then the next lot all kneel down.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The letter is published in The Catholic Herald


The Editor,
The Catholic Herald

Dear Sir,

We, the undersigned, wish to endorse and support the letter signed by over 460 priests in the recent edition of the Catholic Herald.

As laity, we all know from our own family experiences, or those of our friends and neighbours, the harrowing trauma of divorce and separation, and we sympathise with all those in such situations.

It is precisely for that reason that we believe that the Church must continue to proclaim the truth about marriage, given us by Christ in the Gospels, with clarity and charity in a world that struggles to understand it.

For the sake of those in irregular unions, for the sake of those abandoned and living in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and above all for the sake of the next generation, it is essential that the Church continues to make it quite clear that sacramental marriage is indissoluble until death.

We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.

Yours faithfully,
Mark Lambert
Andrew Plasom-Scott

Jane Abbott Paul Abbott Louise Allain Robert Allen Clare Anderson Richard Aroza Rosa Maria Arrojo Frank Ashcroft Renee Ashcroft Wendy Ashcroft Julia Ashenden Simon Ashenden Mary Ashfield David Assirati Mrs David Assirati Robert Aston Kris B. Mark Bailey Catherine Barbercheck Antoinette Barry Gillian Barry James Barton Ethna Barton Rupert Beale Jane Beaton Nicolas Bellord James Belt Robert John Bennett David Beresford Donna Bethell Nicola Blaney Frederick W. Bledsoe Gerald Bonner Philip Booth Kimberly Borom Joseph Bracewell David Bradley Terri Bradley Blaise Bradley Marie Breen Maya Breen Paul Breen Denis Brentwood Thomas Bridge Steve Brown Joan Brown David Brown Margaret Brown Stephen Bullivant John Francis Burke Sarah Burke Tony Burke Bruno Burton Barbara Burton Ivana Cahill Greg Callagh Anna Campbell Winefride Capitelli Francis Carey Julie Carey Mary Teresa Carradice Gillian Carroll Michael Carroll Brendan Casey Helen Caspar Michelle Catling Paul Cavanagh Ursula Cavanagh David Chapman John Charmley Maureen Chatfield Linda Chin Philip Chin Greg Cladagh Annabel Clarke Greg Clovis Crystal Clovis Daniel Clovis Aghi Clovis Martin Comer Susan Marie Conner Sheenagh Connolly Kathleen Mary Copeland Marie Corcoran Brian Crowe Margaret Crowe Patrick Cusworth Marianne Cuthbertson Paul Dale Leo Darroch Ms A Davis Stephen Davis Tom Davis Adrian Davis Ryan Day Anthony Delarue Fabio Dervishi Kevin Devanny Claire Devine Fintan Devine Monica Mary Devine Maria Devlin Rob Devlin Darrell Dickerson Anthony Dickinson Joseph Dickinson Margaret Dickinson Damian Dillon Mark Dobson L. Dove Graziella Drago Elwira Dubis Christine Dumouchel James Barry Durkin P. Dykhuizen Nicholas Dyson Ruth Dyson Bernadette Eakin C. Edwards David Edwards J. Edwards John Edwards M. Edwards Jennifer Eggleston Laurence England Patrick Fahey John Fannon Dominic Farrell Annalyn Fedee Robert P. Federle Edgar Fendt Emma Findlay-Watson Lynda Finneran Fred Firzpatrick John Fitzgerald Elizabeth Fitzmaurice Paula Flynn Patti Fordyce Ben Forshaw Janet Forte Michael Freeley D Frostick Brian Gallacher Chris Gammon Malcolm Garden Martin Gardner Delia Gaze Delia Gaze Jennifer Geach Tamsin Geach Daphne George John Giglio Annie Glaspool Michael Gormally Pete Gray Kinga Gray- Grzeczynska Brendan Greally Tuyet Greally Norah Greer David Greig Christopher Griffin Christopher Griffiths Anne Grimer John H. Robin Haig Drew Hall Angela Hammond Sean Hampton J. Hannan Mrs J. Hannan Kirk Hansen Carol Ann Harnett Anne Harriss Aidan Harvey-Craig Beatrice Harvey-Craig Charlotte Harvey-Craig Sara Harvey-Craig John Hayes Matthew Hazell Gerard Healy Marie Heath Sophie Hector Steven Hector Paul Hellyer Gaelle Hendrickx Bernie Hennigan Bertie Hennigan Molly Highfield Megan Hodder Kathleen Hodgson Teresa Honey David Hope Tina Hope Karen Horne Alan John Houghton Angeline Houghton Frances Houghton Anne Howard Felicity Howard Ginette Howell John Hughes Gabrielle Hullis Erik Huntzicker David Hurley David Hurley David Hurley Suzanne Jacklin Anthony James Matthew James Caroline James Erin James Patrick James Catherine James Orla James Michael Jarman Evelyn Jenkins Austin Jennings Barbara Jensen Emma John Elaine Johnson A. Johnson Philip Johnson Julia Jones Marie-Claire Kaminski Wendy Kane Stephen Keay Stephen Keay Diane Keck Joseph Kelly Marita Kelly Michael Kenny Geoff Kiernan James J. King Mary King Geoffrey Kirk Patricia Klass James Klass Matthew J Knight David Konietzco Brian Kopp Peter Kowalski Catherine Lafferty Mrs L Lafferty Mary Patricia Lambert Mark Lambert Louise Lambert William Lambert Michael Lambert John Lambert Mary Lambert Bob Latin Jane Latin Patrick Lawler Charmaine Lee Mary Lewis Tim Lewis Karen Linsmayer Veronica Mary Lopez Clare Lusby Clare Lusby John Lusby John Lusby Marion Luscombe Velle Mere Lyons Liz M. A. M. Hugh MacCamley Martin Macgregor Patricia Macgregor Roy Macgregor Mr J Mackie-Savage Mrs A-M Mackie-Savage, James MacMillan Christina Manara Jonathan Marshall Patrick Martin S.T. Martin Richard Martyres Keith McAllister Pauline McAllister Ruari McCallion Rita McCarick Clare McCullough Andrew McDowell Susan McDowell Tony McGough Brendan McInerney Anne McIntyre Therese McIntyre John McKeown Liz McKernan Mac McLernon Jim McPake Michael Merrick Catherine Merrifield Mark Merrifield David Mitchell Peter Mitchell David B. Monier-Williams Dermot John Morgan Sandy Morris Jasper Mullane Matilda Mullane Paul Mullane Rachael Mullane Clare Mulvany-Carberry Cezary Namirski Melanie Newbould Evelyn Nicholson Michael Nicholson John Nolan Paul Northam Daibhead O’Conchobhair Martin O’Leary Geraldine O’Mahoney Hildreth Cathy O’Malley Michael O’Malley Paul O’Malley Luke O’Sullivan Margaret Mary Oldham Johan Oliveire Tuyet Olvestedt Nicolette Ormsbee Stuart Ormsbee James Ormsbee Annabel Osborn Francis Osborn Mike Owen Christine Page Susan Palmer Celia Parker Ann Parry Helen Parry Jonathan Partington David Paton Catherine Pattinson Paulette Peachey Warren Peachey Tony Pead James Pennington Angela Perera Cindy Perera Keith Petersen Anthony (Tim) Phillips Judith Pink Thomas Pink Andrew Plasom-Scott Clare Plasom-Scott Jane Plasom-Scott Lizzie Plasom-Scott Michael Plasom-Scott Simon Platt Maryellen Post Joe A. Potillor John Powell James Preece Leonhard Printz Nicola Randall Nicola Randall Elizabeth Raskob Adeline Rayment Chris Rayment John A. Rayner John A. Rayner Anthony Readings Bethany Reed Christopher Right Larry Roach Peter Hayden Roberts Michelle Robertson Alan Robinson Alan Robinson Antonia Robinson Hugo Robinson Paul Robinson Suzanne Robinson Charlotte Rogers Joanne Rolling Gino Romagna Mrs Gino Romagna Joseph Romano Lee Ross Rebecca Ross Indira Ross K. Rowland Steven Ryan Angela Ryan Steve Ryan Irena Sani Matthew Schellhorn Carl Schiess T.W. Scott Christopher Serpell Fatimah Sharpe Caroline Shaw Eileen Shaw Joseph Shaw Justin EM Shaw Lucy Shaw Bill Shillue Rosemary Shillue Clare Short Rebecca Short Andy Sloan Joe Smiles Marianne Smiles David Smith Cheryl Smith Alex Smith Carol Smith Gabrielle Smith John Smith Matthew Smith Ruth Smith Stephen Smith Antony Solomon Caterina Spadari Michelle Spence Rosalind Starkie Hannah Steele Dominie Stemp Jonathan Steven Susie Steven Greg Stewart Liz Stewart Karolina Stolarska L . Stride Mrs. L. Stride Brian Sudlow Elizabeth Sudlow Paul Sudlow Camilla Sudlow Dominic Sullivan Marija Svilans Andrzej Szczygielski Maria Tait Michael Tait Patrick Talbot Sheila Talbot Gareth Thomas Rhoslyn Thomas Mark Thorne Mr J Thurrott Mrs J Thurrott Donald Tikkala Rachel Tillett Andrew Kaldas Torontoq Daniel Toye Antonino Trapani Tim Travis Adrian Treloar Celeste Treloar Gregory Treloar Jacinte Treloar Josephine Treloar Joseph Treloar Bobbie Trew Carla Tuckell Kay Tuckell Seamus Tuckell Andrew Tucker James Turner Clare Underwood Malcolm Underwood Frank Venn Roy Villafranca Brian Wacey E. Waller Mariann Waller Brenda M Walsh Georgina Walsh Antony Walters Patrick Walters Peter Walters Lesley Ward Matthew Ward Rachael Ward Sarah Ward Tom Ward Stephen Wardell Eren Wardlaw Stephen Watt William Weber Gary White Liz White Ursula Whitehead Dominic Whitehouse Ben Whitworth Katherine Willey Petroc Willey Astrid Willis Richard Windsor Yvonne Windsor Tom Windsor Vreni Windsor Michael Wolf Iain Wood Charles Woodbury Sonja Woodman James Wright Jonathan Wright Karen Wright Veronica Wright Aidan Wynne Hydi Yannis

The following signatures have been added since the Catholic Herald went to press:

Joel Garcia Lorelei Garcia Frances Levett Antony Crump Adeline Sheehan Huw Morgan Denis McGrory Christopher Guyver Marcin Bakowski Christine Byrne

Sunday, 29 March 2015

In support of our priests, our families, and our Church

You may have seen the recent letter from more than 450 priests in support of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

We would like to invite you to sign the letter below, to be sent to the press in support of them, and to encourage others to sign it.

To sign, please leave your name and your diocese in the comments box below, or if you prefer email them to me or to one of the coordinators:

Mark Lambert (mark@landbtechnical.com) or Andrew Plasom-Scott (andrewplasom_scott@me.com)

The Letter:

Dear Sir,
We, the undersigned, wish to endorse and support the letter signed by over 450 priests in the recent edition of the Catholic Herald, http://bit.ly/19kuBkl

As laity, we all know from our own family experiences, or those of our friends and neighbours, the harrowing trauma of divorce and separation, and we sympathise with all those in such situations.

It is precisely for that reason that we believe that the Church must continue to proclaim the truth about marriage, given us by Christ in the Gospels, with clarity and charity in a world that struggles to understand it.

For the sake of those in irregular unions, for the sake of those abandoned and living in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and above all for the sake of the next generation, it is essential that the Church continues to make it quite clear that sacramental marriage is indissoluble until death.

We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.

Yours faithfully,