• Heath
    Posts: 931
    OK, I didn't get to watch any of the various liturgies on EWTN; can anyone share what music was used at the Vatican? At the Shrine in DC? At the EWTN chapel itself?
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    i'm only up on what we did at our parish. Good Friday was brilliant and wonderful, but this morning much less less less so. chant rather timid and tired -- lacking the fire of Friday.

    This singing stuff is hard!
  • The Sistine choir was once again quite awful. It's difficult to rate the music when the presentation is always "Aida all the time"
  • francis
    Posts: 10,639
    My family went to Easter Vigil last night at our local Tridentine Parish downtown. Priest is getting older so not able to carry the chant as well as in the past, but the Mass and all the trimmings were beautiful, nonetheless, including Gregorian schola run by a friend of mine in my parish. Completely and wonderfully a cappella. (Not a single 'banner' in the church (thank God) just flowers.)

    Did not see any TV... tend to compose music instead of watch TV... sorry
  • Mike, you know how I feel about Capella Sixtina-like I feel about long hikes around D.C.!
    What remains a curiosity to me? How come there's so much press and praise for Marini the Younger (as well as damnation for Marini the Elder) all over the RC Blogiverse, and yet this Kwire still gets a free pass? Georg could come out of retirement and assemble a true ensemble in a half day's work and "there was great rejoicing!"
    So much about the candles, the lace, the fiddlebacks, and nothing about the atrocious singing of the choir? (Contrasted by the wonderful chanting of the seminarians.)
    Or is there something provincel about this particular Italian choir that its ethos must be tolertated because of politics? Hmmm.
    Meanwhile in CenCA we sang the daylights out of Palestrina, Padre Martini, Charles V. Stanford and Handel! Yahoo.
    I love my schola, they do four hours at Vigil and each and every one of 'em comes back for the 8:30 morning Mass!
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    I heard only dribs and drabs of the music from the Vatican, so I can't really report and it's all blurring in my mind.
    The Sistine choir was not to my liking. Those who have heard them in person would know better, but I have often wondered if this is a mic'ing problem -- is it possible that a sound that is meant to fill a certain space over a certain distance with a certain resonance is done an injustice by amplification? That there is a blend achieved in the actual place that the mic's don't transmit? (I realize that does not address the intonation factor.)
    I have a singer who absolutely carries his/her section and sounds less than beautiful in the loft (and in solos), but by the time the sound reaches the nave, the voice adds strength and vigor to the sound without being discernible or displeasing as an individual voice.
    I always think there's one boy screeching above the rest with the Sistine choir and assume, or at least hope he's just one of those voices the mic' picks up well.
    Oh, and one Mass, (Palm Sunday perhaps?) seemed to feature a pop-flavored mixed choir.... am I remembering that right?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    p.s. The DC Basilica music that I heard seemed dominated by a mic'ed cantor.
  • Charles, over at TNLM, there was a bit of a scuffle over the Sistine choir. Several folks chimed in about chauvinism over national choral styles. The point being that what we hear is supposedly an Italian style that is just as honorable as the English style that so many of us cherish. Examples of Russian and German styles were offered too. I thought about this, but for me the bottom line is that the Sistine don't sing as a group, no matter what their style is. The men all seem to be soloists outshouting each other and the boys sing out of tune while trying emulate the aforesaid gentlemen. If they sang this way when Josquin was in the choir, then I have to rethink my love of Renaissance music.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    I recently came upon an ancient recording of my childhood days in suburban Cleveland singing the Charpentier Christmas Midnight Mass. Listening to the Sistine Choir on Easter reestablished my pride that, in comparison, we were really pretty good in our day!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,639
    I heard the Sistine boys choir many years ago when they came to Baltimore. It was the same then as what you are reporting now, Michael.
  • I know we've strayed, Mike, but I'd love to know in which thread that scuffle is buried? Also, "chauvinism" is just the word I was missing to get a handle on "why, why, why?"
    What's interesting is that one of the world's finest choral festivals/competitions is based in Spoleto, which, last I heard, still is in Italy.
    Triduum/Easter liturgies in my parish were fine. More detail at RPI.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 755

    I was involved in that discussion. I can only speak for myself, but my take wasn't quite how you describe things. As far as my limited experience of the Sistine choir goes, I agree with you that they're not a good advertisement for Catholic liturgical music. As you say, there's a tendency to the soloistic. Also, they have problems with intonation. But ... we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are distinct choral traditions other than the 'English' sound. It should be possible for a choir director to work within one of those traditions, to develop a balance that respects liturgy, place and resource. Any move to uniformity would not only be unnecessary; it would impoverish us all.

    Incidentally, the 'English' sound isn't uniform between places and over time. Compare the choirs of the London Catholic cathedrals and those parishes with notable choral traditions, both professional and amateur (the Brompton Oratory, Farm Street, Holy Redeemer ...) and you'll hear a variety of sounds. If you were to go beyond London, and include Anglican choirs, the same would be true. This diversity is a sign of life.


  • Shifting discussion of Capella Sixtina to new thread
  • Ian,

    I agree to the point that a choir of the prominence and spiritual importance of the Capella sistina shoud at least: sing in tune, blend, and balance. I'm open to other traditions, but that group needs to get to a basic level of competence before we can argue the finer points of regional styles. I have to say, however, that I don't think I will ever be able to take polyphony sung with operatic vibrato. It makes no sense at all.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 755

    The incompetencies of the Sistine choir shouldn't blind us to the values of a variety of choral styles. There are levels of choral competence outside of England that put much (though not all) Emglish choral music-making to shame; and I'd die from boredom if all choirs sounded like those I sing with and (occasionally) conduct.

    The CMAA is privelged to serve a multi-cultural community whose various origins offer a variety of Catholic choral styles. Don't assume Hispanic Catholics only want Mariachi-style liturgical music: celebrate the heritage of Anerican-Spanish polyphony. Explore the richness of the German-American liturgical culture, including its choral sound. Celebrate the glories of America's Eastern European musical heritage. Go listen to the choir in San Francisco's French church!

    England's quite a small country, with a very different cultural context to the US. Please consider that what works here might be limiting for the the US.



    ps having said all that, I'm ashamed (not really) to admit that I'll be singing Tallis in Frascati Cathedral next month, Saturday/Sunday, 11th/12th April, with an English choir. If any of you are anywhere in the vicinity, come along and hear how we think it shoulod be done!
  • Dear Ian,
    Did you not want to play cricket in the new thread (Capella Sixtina)? You seem comfortable when pitching to Mike, who initially raised the issue of the capella in the context of its presence in the televised liturgies. I would think if we all could stay on point, we'd find that we agree much more than disagree; unless the discussion is mitigated by other prejudices.
    Charles in CenCA