Monday, June 25, 2007

Who says 140 voices can't sing polyphony and chant?

Some more sound files from the 2005 Sacred Music Colloquium here. Now, I'm quite sure that these are the first modern recordings of what it is like to have 140 people sing Renaissance polyphony. It is NOT as crazy as you have heard. This music is endlessly flexible, from 4 singers to 140 it is just right for liturgy.

All week I was planning posts on the colloquium but there was simply no time. We were singing from morning until night. Meanwhile, there is so much to say that I don't even know where to begin. So rather than write paragraphs of gibberish, I'll just let this music speak for itself.


Actually, a couple of things I found interesting. Throughout the week we sang chant from the first thousand years of Christianity, polyphony from the 16th century, and we heard organ improvisation from, well, from right now. What was "missing"? Music from the 18th and 19th century, the very music that most people associate with "traditional" Catholic musicians. (Bruckner was an exception but he wrote the Os Justi in the 16th century style.) This wasn't by design, and no one was trying to make a point. I just found it interesting to note.

Without further delay:

  • Cantate Domino by C. Monteverdi, sung at the Tridentine sung Mass at St. Mary's parish, Washington, D.C., with organ by David Hughes
  • Justus et palma, offertory proper sung by low voices for Nativity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist
  • Asperges Me, in a chant/polyphonic setting by Horst Buchholz
  • Sanctus, G. Croce
  • Agnus Dei, G. Croce
  • Credo V, sung in alternatum
  • Alleuia verse, St. John Baptist
  • Ego sum, by G. Palestrina, sung by a chamber choir from the Colloquium at the National Shrine.

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