HG Cappella - live recordings on You Tube
  • All - I have posted a few videos on YouTube of the Cappella at Holy Ghost Church in Denver, CO, in performance during recent services.

    Introit for 1st Sunday of Lent -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ODs8wALrdA

    William Billings: When Jesus Wept (performed during Offertory of 1st Sunday of Lent) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJmJBXMLq-g

    G. Rossini: O Salutaris Hostia (performed during Communion on 3rd Sunday of OT) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rIvEtzgMX8

    Any comments or suggestions (especially on the chants) would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks all, SEAN BURNS
  • Really very nice and lovely choir and good singing! It's so good that I dare to even make comment for fear of throwing a monkey wrench into the great progress you and your group are making. You all are obviously way above your average Church choir. However, here goes:

    1) I sense that the acoustics aren't helping you as much as I think I am hearing and would want. Don't see how that you have any control over that one.

    2) Sean, might I suggest a more simpler/ slower, fluid and flowing conducting? At times you seem to be beating / conducting the rhythm - thats their job. I hope you know what I mean.

    3) You obviously have great voices in your choir however, I find myself wondering if the women's voices are correctly laid out. I hear a lot of beautiful heavy dark contralto and mezzo-soprano sound (which I love) but I think they are all singing the soprano line or it sounds like that. I would suggest placing them (good luck) on the alto line and let only the true high lyric Soprano I's sing on the soprano line. Vibrato also is too wide and causing some ensemble problems!

    Over all, its a great group and one to be VERY proud of!
  • Ken - thanks for the comments. I do feel lucky to have such a group (and priests/parishioners who are in full support of our work.)

    I think some of the acoustic issues may be the result of recording with a Flip positioned over to the side of the loft (the alto side), but I hear you on the vibrato, which is something we're working on. I don't want a completely "pure" English sound, but I would like a little less wobble.

    I also hear you on the conducting suggestions... I always try to remind myself that I'm 6'3" and everyone can see me just fine.

  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I only listened to the Introit, and I found the voices and singing lovely. I do find it odd that it seems clear you are performing from a Solesmes rhytmic edition (I can hear dots and episemas that are not found in the ancient manuscripts or in the Vatican edition), but that you are not using the classical Solesmes method or the so-called "semiological" approach advocated in some of the newer publications. Now I'm not a devotee of the classical Solesmes method by any means, but I wonder if you couldn't incorporate some of the ideas behind the Solesmes-style chironomy to your extremely equalist approach (which I can only assume is a conscious choice). For instance, you need not subscribe to the idea of the "ictus" (which would be conducted with a "beat" or downward motion of the hand only on every second or third note, not on every note as you have chosen) in order to apply the idea of arsis (rising action) and thesis (falling action) to your conducting and singing.

    You might also look into some later writings, such as Cardine's "Beginning Studies in Gregorian Chant." Again, you need not subscribe to the idea of a semiologically informed approach (i.e., you need not even look at the paleography) in order to apply the idea of word rhythms or to identify structural pitches and cadences. These I imagine one could incorporate into even an equalist approach (if that is indeed your choice) for a more nuanced (which to my ear would be more pleasing) result.
  • Sean -

    I went to look at the YouTube videos and caught one of your choir singing Kitson's Mass in d. I love that mass! I have done it for a few weddings and a children's choir close by sing it once in awhile. I was so happy to find a recording!

  • I meant to have said we have done his mass in d minor, but I love this one as well.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Introit for 1st Sunday of Lent -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ODs8wALrdA

    William Billings: When Jesus Wept (performed during Offertory of 1st Sunday of Lent) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJmJBXMLq-g

    G. Rossini: O Salutaris Hostia (performed during Communion on 3rd Sunday of OT) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rIvEtzgMX8
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    As I director, I think everything you're doing is fantastic.

    CONGRATS !!!

    Really amazing to see this in our Churches !!!

    Sounds like all your singers are professionals!

    (However, for myself, I'm not in love with jeans in Church.)
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Ha ha, everyone is a critic (even the ever-charitable Jeff Ostrowski).

    For another extreme of interpretation (i.e. also not following the classical Solesmes method, but in the opposite direction in terms of amount of rhythmic nuance from the above example):

    Invocabit me

    It is obvious this ensemble is using a different notation (as you can hear differences in pitch). But where the two scores are the same, then you can hear the difference in interpretation. Also, you can clearly see the different approach to conducting, which shows gesture and not pitch or rhythm.

  • Incantu - thanks for the advice regarding semiological approaches. My background is not in choral conducting, but rather in orchestral conducting (having conducted orchestral concerts throughout USA, Canada, Russia and Romania) so I am still working on a lot of technical aspects of this style of music. I had perused the guides in the Solesmes publications, but must confess to being a bit overwhelmed by it all and afraid of the method interfering with the music... seems oxymoronic, I know. I think as the group becomes more comfortable with aspects of singing chant perhaps we may be able to start moving in more advanced interpretive directions.

    Scott - thanks for the Kitson mention. I find it a really charming mass and something that is readily accessible to both the singers and the congregation. I didn't post the other movements to YouTube, but I might.

    Jeff - thanks for the comments. I am also not a fan of jeans in church... Ideally I would like for the choir to wear albs or cassocks, but due to the heat in the loft, and also due to the fact that no one can actually see the group in the loft I tend to be lenient. I do request coats/ties for the men and nice attire for the ladies on days when the orchestra joins us (Christ the King, Christmas Midnight Mass, Christmas Day Mass, Easter and Pentecost) and whenever we are part of processions (at Corpus Christi or Holy Thursday).
  • I agree it is a very accessible mass. It is very hard to find recordings or sheet music for his vocal works. Where did you get yours?