Colloquium video…with a twist
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    This is really amazing !

    As I told singing mum, I have never heard anyone sing so beautifully as she did. What a voice !
  • Utterly spectacular--both in content and presentation.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Wonderful, wonderful. But a question: Why does the schola resume singing upon the word "exsultatiónes," of all places? Why not at "iubiláte," which is after the colon and at a bar line? Or why not upon the return to "alleluia"? Was this anything more than director's prerogative?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,958
    Mary Ann's treatment of the solo was superb, and her decorations were a delightful surprise! Nice job with the annotated video, too.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Yes, the treatment of the quilisma is one conjecture about how it should be performed. I appreciated not only her commitment to it but also the flawless execution. This is great for trained singers, but I tend to go with the Solesmes instructions on the quilisma because the "shake" is beyond the technical grasp of the average parish schola singer.

    Sometimes I wonder if the squiggle might be a vestige of the "shake" in Hebrew cantillation, or in the Jewish Cantorial tradition. It is somewhat similar to the way MA did the quilisma. And the first Christians were mostly Jewish, after all . . . it certainly isn't beyond the realm of possibility.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Mark M: the schola resumes there because that is the location of the asterisk in the chant book (as fixed by Solesmes). Whether this is truly definitive is an open question.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yuro, I think you make an excellent point about the technical grasp of the single singer. In fact, this point could go a long way to resolve all the old rhythmic and interpretive disputes over chant. A single singer with the skill of Mary Ann can do amazing things with the chant. Note how her rhythm moves in many directions with the line of notes, and the way she adjusts her volume in an interpretive way. You can't find these approach in the old Solesmes books but that doesn't invalidate it. She worked with William Mahrt on this passage, and he is neither strict Solesmes nor Semiologist. Neither, however, does this performance set a standard that the typical schola can follow and use. Group singing with non-virtuoso singers requires a model to use as a default. That's not so say that it is the one way or the ancient way or the only way, but rather that it serves as an excellent benchmark for going forward -- the same as with any music. There is the foundation and there is the interpretive elaboration on that foundation - virtuoso treatments are super thrilling in this context. If we can think of it this way, and not become overly dogmatic in seeking a single universal rule, many of the disputes of the past begin to melt away.

    In other words, it is as useful to listen to the solo as it is to listen to the group under Arlene's direction. Note how the group snaps back into a default of Solesmes when all 50 voices are together. It also sounds very beautiful. In fact, perhaps it is the contrast between the two in the same piece that makes it so wonderful.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    JT,

    I agree with your assessment. And let me state categorically that in *no way* do I mean to disparage MA's solo interpretation -- it was a moment of exquisite and solemn beauty -- that is how I experienced it (and, thanks to our diligent e-scribes, have just re-experienced it).

    We are one body, but many members, and to each is given different gifts. And as for those with the gift, and the opportunities and the desire and the Fleiß to develop solo voices, it would be a shame if they were just folded, spindled and notarized with a seal reading, "100% Certified Solesmes Kosher" (to mix my metaphors some more). Why put a candle like that under a bushel?

    Let me contrast that with the approach in which a smaller group serves as an aggregate cantor. This approach has its advantages: for instance, no one need worry about making it through a phrase in a single breath, because the singers cover for one another. However, that other, intangible quality is not easily attained where three singers are striving to stay together, refrain from breathing at the same place as another singer, and so on. I don't know that it is possible to synchronize the aforementioned 'shake' on the quilisma with multiple singers. To do so would require many, many hours of rehearsal and an almost unimaginable unity of mind.

    The Solesmes method holds up best for group singing because it is so consistent, and because the system all adds up. Any questions or exceptions are generally questions for higher scholars. But the beauty . . . the inspiration . . . the frankly transcendent experience of that solo singing is a moment I, for one, will never forget.

    My solution? We're Catholic. We don't have to do either/or -- we can have both/and!

    So I say, do both. Use solo singers when you have them, and when you don't, or when you want a less ebullient affect (yes, I mean the one with the 'a') for the chant in question.

    I am already stoked for next year's Colloquium!
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Okay, Jeffrey, after re-reading your post after hitting "please post . . . " I realize that I am not really adding anything to the conversation, but only restating what you have already written. My perspective is slightly different only because I come from that virtuoso singing/playing background, and I would hate to have to renounce all those years of practice to be Certified.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    I'm impressed that the pitch doesn't drop, not even by a microtone, from beginning to end--kudos to the soloist (and the whole choir) for that!
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,001
    As a relative newcomer here, I've been working my way backwards through the posts at the forum, although I've been a little lax recently. Tonight, returning after a few days or maybe even a week of being busy with other things, I resumed perusing. And I was richly rewarded, humbled, and awed to find this thread and the sheer beauty of this rendition of the Alleluia: Omnes gentes. I've bookmarked it and will come back to it, again and again.

    Thank you!!!