30 March 2015

The Solemnity of Saint Benedict in Bruges

From Wednesday 8th till Friday 10th July, the solemnity of Saint Benedict will be prepared with Jean-Pascal Ollivry in the convent of the Carmelite Fathers (Ezelstraat) at Bruges, Belgium.

An English-language prospectus detailing all the events can be seen here. Online bookings can be made on the website of l’Académie de chant grégorien.

23 March 2015

Chants for Reburying a King

The reinterment of the remains of King Richard III in Leicester this Thursday is an event which has been much discussed. Among the music to be sung on this occasion there will be both medieval plainsong antiphons* and new compositions incorporating chant motifs. The music for the service is discussed on the blog How to Rebury a King, by Dr Alexandra Buckle, here, here and here.

* The video found on this page shows the choir of New College, Oxford singing two of these antiphons: In paradisum (starts rather abruptly) and De terra.

International Gregorian Festival, Watou, Belgium

The Twelfth International Gregorian Festival of Watou (Belgium) will be held from 13 to 17 May 2015, with pre-conference events across French and Belgian Flanders from 8 May onwards. The full programme has been released, and all details can be seen at the Festival's English-language website.

There will be performances by 29 scholas from 17 countries. The UK is not represented this year, though English choirs have sung at Watou in the past. The Festival is held every three years.

21 March 2015

Concert of Sacred Levantine Music and Chant

The following notice has been received by email:

The Sacred Voices of the Levant invite you to a concert of sacred Levantine (Middle Eastern) music and chant, for the deliverance of Iraq and Syria, on Saturday 28 March 2015, at 6 p.m., at St Barnabas Church, St Barnabas Street (off Pimlico Road), London SW1W 8PF.

The concert will feature Syriac and Byzantine chants for Lent and Holy Week, performed by the choirs of the Levantine Churches in London, namely the Melkite, Syriac (Syrian Orthodox), Maronite and Chaldean choirs. Entrance is free, but a collection will be taken for the refugees in Syria and Iraq.

17 March 2015

Monastic Chant Forum

Announcement from the Monastic Chant Forum

The Monastic Chant Forum will hold a 3 day meeting at Quarr Abbey from the evening of Monday 13th July (arrivals) to the morning of Friday 17 July (departures), 2015.

This will be the eighth such meeting in the history of this group, which aims to promote Gregorian Chant within the Monasteries of the British Isles. Although the emphasis is on Gregorian Chant in a specifically Monastic context, anyone from a non monastic background who is interested is welcome to attend.

The general theme for 2015 will be music for the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The main speakers will be Dr. Giedrius Gapsys, musicologist of the Paris Conservatoire, specialising in Gregorian Chant; Dom Xavier Perrin OSB, Prior of Quarr Abbey, and Sr. Bernadette Byrne OSB, Choir Mistress of St. Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde.

Enquiries and bookings to Dom Benedict Hardy OSB of Pluscarden Abbey:dbhosb@gmail.com 

For details of accommodation at Quarr, please contact Fr. Brian at: procurator@quarr.org 

Information about St. Cecilia's Ryde from Sr. Bernadette Byrne at abbey@stceciliasabbey.org.uk

06 March 2015

Plainsong & Medieval Music Society: 2015 Events

The new website is now up and running at www.plainsong.org.uk

1. PMMS Study Day 2015

We are delighted to announce the 2015 study day, as part of the Senses of Liturgy conference in Bristol, on 21-22 May 2015. Registration details, already-agreed-papers, plus open call for papers can be found here: Senses of Liturgy There are good discounts for Plainsong and Medieval Music Society members, and there are also some bursaries available for postgraduates who are presenting a spoken paper or a poster. 

2. Bruno Turner awarded Spanish Medalla de Oro

We are delighted to announce that our President, Bruno Turner, has been awarded Spain’s top Arts/Cultural award, La Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes. Bruno was the founder of the publishing company Mapa Mundi in 1977, and was the founding conductor of the choir Pro Cantione Antiqua, releasing several CDs with that group. He has had a lifelong interest in Iberian music, as an editor, a composer and a scholar.
We would like to offer Bruno our warmest congratulations on this honour.

3. Facing the Music of Medieval England, 21-22 March 2015, University of Huddersfield

PMMS-sponsored event (jointly with EECM and RMA) Facing the Music of Medieval England will take on 21-22 March at the University of Huddersfield. The keynote will be given by Margaret Bent, and the programme showcases many speakers who are members of PMMS. Registration will open soon and cost no more than £15. You can have a preview of the programme on the MuGI twitteraccount. For more information contact Lisa Colton at l.m.colton@hud.ac.uk.

4. Save the Day: PMMS Study Day 2016

Advance notice: the 2016 Study Day will take place at the University of Newcastle, hosted by Dr Magnus Williamson, and linking with his AHRC-funded Tudor Partbooks project. The likely date is 9 April 2016.

03 March 2015

Gregorian Chant meeting 2015

Our last meeting, addressed by the composer James MacMillan
and Fr Guy Nichols, Director of the Newman Institute of Sacred Music.
The next meeting of the Gregorian Chant Network will take place on Saturday 14th March. For the first time it will be open to all. Directors of chant groups registered with the GCN will get a discount.

We will be addressed by Dr Daniel Saulnier, former choirmaster at Solesmes, and Giovanni Varelli, Cambridge researcher who discovered the manuscript of the earliest written polyphonic music, which will be performed at the meeting.

The meeting includes lunch, for those who want it, and concludes with Vespers, followed by tea.

Programme (Subject to minor changes)
10.30 Registration
11.00 Talk by Dr Daniel Saulnier
12noon Angelus and talk by Giovanni Varelli
1pm Lunch
2.30 Joseph Shaw on the GCN
2.45-4pm Rehearsal for Vespers with Daniel Saulnier
4.15 Vespers in the Little Oratory
5pm Tea

Prices: Directors of scholas and chant choirs which are members of the Gregorian Chant Network: £10 including lunch. Others: £10 without lunch; £25 including lunch.

The Latin Mass Society is hosting a booking page here.

02 March 2015

Antiqua Laus

Photo: Gruppo vocale "Antiqua Laus"

We have recently been sent some information and recordings by the Italian choir "Antiqua Laus", who specialise in Ambrosian and Gregorian chant, and sacred polyphony. The choir was founded in 2008, initially in order to give voice to an ancient codex of Ambrosian chant, which had been discovered at the parish church of Coarezza (Varese).

Since then, Antiqua Laus have recorded several CDs, of which the first was Jesu dulcis memoria (Universal, 2009).

They have also been involved with the publication of chant manuscripts, which have appeared in three volumes in the series Quaderni di Storia del Territorio Varesino:

  1. San Sebastiano: liturgia solenne di rito ambrosiano (2010);
  2. Monasteri Fruttuariense del Seprio (2012);
  3. Canonica San Vittore - Bedero in Valtravaglia (2014).
This latest volume includes a facsimile edition of a thirteenth-century Ambrosian antiphoner, and is a considerable addition to the published corpus of medieval Milanese chant. The book is accompanied by a CD, featuring Vespers and Mass in honour of St Victor, sung by the choir with organ improvisations by Alessandro La Ciacera from Milan Cathedral; and also by an interactive DVD. The next project will involve one of three fifteenth-century antiphoners from the Collegiata di Castiglione Olona (Varese).

The choir thus continues to recover and enrich the repertory of Ambrosian chant through scholarship, concerts, recordings and liturgical performance.

More information is available at the group's website: http://www.antiqualaus.com/

Please click on the links below to hear some of their recordings:
Magnificat (with alternatim organ versets)