18 December 2014

Earliest ever polyphonic notation found

'The piece was discovered by Giovanni Varelli, a PhD student from St John’s College, University of Cambridge, while he was working on an internship at the British Library.'

It dates from around 900. Read more about it here. Polyphony was being discussed at this time, but the earliest written notation up to now was from a century later.

It is organum, but not a simple matter of the one part being five notes below the other; the interval varies. It undermines the assumption that the earliest polyphony was organum carried out mechanically, with one voice following the other at a fixed interval.

The text is: 
Sancte Bonifati martyr inclite Christi te quesumus ut nos tuis precibus semper gratiae Dei commendare digneris.

O holy distinguished martyr of Christ, Boniface, we beseech you that you should always see fit in your prayers to commend us to God's grace.

With the name of 'Vitus' instead of 'Boniface' the text occurs as the single antiphon for the Vespers psalms for Vitus in two Austrian MSS of the 14th century, one of which has images on the Cantus website. This was probably the antiphon for Vespers for St Boniface.

04 June 2014

Report of meeting of Monastic Chant Forum

Meeting of the Chant Forum, Quarr and Ryde Abbeys, 1 - 5 July 2013

At the beginning of July 2013, two years after the previous meeting at Douai in May 2011, the Chant Forum gathered at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. There had been no such meeting in 2012, because the Monastic Musicians that year made Gregorian Chant the focus of their own annual session. This Quarr event was the seventh Chant Forum gathering. Hitherto the formula had been for a meeting of two full days only, but this time we made it three full days.

16 April 2014

Chant Training days in London: 31st May and 3rd August

Two opportunities for chant training in London are being organised by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge.

They will take place in conjuction with special Sung Mass for two different events: the training will enable a larger group of amateurs to take part in singing for these Masses.

The Masses are the Latin Mass Society Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Willesden, in North West London, on Saturday 31st May (feast of Our Lady, Queen). The Shrine is at Acton Lane, Willesden, London NW10 9AX. Click for a map.

and the LMS-sponsored 'Chesterton Pilgrimage' (to seek GK Chesterton's beatification), where Mass will take place in Our Lady of Lourdes Uxbridge, on Wednesday 30th July. The church on the Osborn Rd (or, more simply, next to the A4020), and the post code is UB8 1UE. Click for a map.

Anyone who would like to join the Schola Gregoriana on either occasion please get in touch with the Schola Gregoriana in advance.

Numbers are limited only by the capacity of the choir gallery! And they are both a pretty large.

Tel: 01223 263063

Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, 
St Benedict's, 
124 Cambridge Road, 
Cambridge CB23 7AR.

LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Willesden, last year.

13 March 2014

Chant Workshop in Somerset, 28th June


Led by Rupert Bevan

Saturday 28 June 2014 

9.30am for 10.00am to 4.30pm

includes coffee, lunch and afternoon tea 

Cost: £40.00

In this workshop, led by Rupert Bevan, you will learn about the origins of the chant and how it works, and then learn some plain chant, culminating in the singing of Vespers in Ammerdown Chapel, which offers excellent acoustics.

Rupert Bevan comes from a well-known musical family. He was Head Chorister during his time at Westminster Cathedral, which is where he first learnt the Chant. He is currently Director of Music at St John’s Catholic Church in Bath and the Director of Bradford on Avon Choral Society. In addition, he sings locally as a professional tenor soloist.

For more information or to book , please go tohttp://ammerdown.org/Gregorian-Chant-Workshop-2014 or emailcentre@ammerdown.org or ring 01761 433709

05 February 2014

Clever chant tool

The blogger 'Counter Cultural Father' has drawn attention to this extremely clever online tool. It will given a huge number of chants - all the Sundays and a few Votives (Nuptial Mass, Mass for the Dead) - in both the full chant text and at Psalm tones. With the latter, it will let you choose what Psalm tone to use. And it produces lovely clean pdfs of the chant.

It can toggle between the 1962 and the Novus Ordo calendars.

It does other clever things too. For example, if you have the Latin text of a reading, it will set it to chant according to the Gospel, Epistle or Prophecy tone. The image above is a bit of nonsense Latin which demonstrates how you can feed in your own texts.

Go and check it out!