Sunday, August 20, 2006

Would that Spem Sings would become more fashionable

I'm intrigued to see this public singing of Spem in Alium (Thomas Tallis) in Boston, this Wednesday at St. Paul's Catholic Church. Short notice to learn a 40-voice motet. I can only imagine what will transpire. How I would love to see it.

In some many ways, the Spem is the crown jewel of Catholic polyphony, the piece that wraps up Tallis's whole life's work and closes the Golden Age of this style.

Several years ago, a member of our Schola in Alabama suggested that we hold a Spem Sing. I thought it was nuts. But in the meantime, other churches all over town are holding all sorts of public sings. The Baptists do their Messiah, the Lutherans and Prebyterians do the Brahms Requiem, the fundies do their "shaped note" thing, and etc.

But what do the Catholics do? Well, not much. So, within the last months, we've actually considered doing it, and we even have a tentative date of October 2007. The idea would be to pull in a special guest conductor and invite people from the region, rehearse one day and then sing it in liturgy the next day. We could have shirts: "I Sang the Spem."

In some way, it is crazy--crazy enough to work.

In any case, if you are in Boston, wonderful things surely await this Wednesday.

Here is the full score.
Practice, practice!

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