Ave verum corpus (Charles H. Giffen), SSATBB a cappella
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    I just finished a 6-part setting of the Ave verum corpus - for SSATBB a cappella voices. It's composed in a style that is somewhat typical of Renaissance 6-part voicing. Consequently, it is more "open" or "expansive" than, say, the Byrd 4-part setting, even though it uses almost exactly the same text variant. Unlike my octatonic Non vos relinquam orphanos or my 12-tone and whole tone O magnum mysterium settings, this work is quite tonal and traditional.

    The score has just been published at CPDL. A PDF of the score is attached, and here is a synthesized MP3 recording (about 4 minutes):

    Giffen-Ave verum corpus.

    Comments are welcome!

    -chuck

    Edit: On 2011-09-14 I replaced the PDF with a corrected version - the penultimate note in m. 31 of the Baritone part is (supposed to be) an E, not an A. Small difference, I know, but would you believe I caught it not by looking at the score but by hearing something wrong with an MP3 synthesized from the score!
    Thanked by 1sdpartlan
  • Heath
    Posts: 882
    Chuck, beautiful! If you ever get it recorded with live voices, please share!
  • Chuck, what music program did you use? Finale xxxx? Sebelius? ? It sounds magnificent!
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    Thanks to both of you. I poured my soul into this work. Good news is that I've already heard that it will be sung in the coming months. Let's hope it will be recorded!

    I've been using Finale 2011 since last summer (upgraded from 2010). I've been a Finale user since 2003. The MP3 was generated as a WAV file from the Garritan sounds and Aria player that comes with Finale 2011.
  • Love Finale 2011.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,364
    It's really beautiful!
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 311
    Outstanding.

    Talk about the A-flat at m. 45-ish... I like it, it's funky, but it's the only moment of funkiness in the whole piece, so it is really quite pronounced.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    Thank you, thank you all ...

    That A-flat in m. 45 is quite intentional and reflects just the right sense of balance between sweetness and mercy in the "O Jesu dulcis, O Jesu pie" section that I wanted to express. As a further, somewhat cryptic, explanation, let me simply say that the A-flat in m. 45 wouldn't be there if there weren't a G-sharp in m. 42. Can you see why?
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 527
    "O Jesu pie" is the same as "O Jesu dulcis", but exactly flipped around the axis of the note D, as far as I can tell.
    Did you ever get your 12, 8, and 6 tone pieces performed or recorded?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    Jonathan, you are exactly right that the "O Jesu pie" music is a strict chromatic inversion (about D) of the "O Jesu dulcis" music.

    The octatonic Non vos relinquam orphanos was sung for the first time on June 5, 2011 (6th Sunday of Easter) at Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) in Montreal, Quebec, just 46 days after the composition was finished and published at CPDL.

    The 12-part (triple choir), 12-tone/whole-tone O magnum mysterium was completed and published at CPDL on July 1, 2011. I don't know of any performances or recordings planned ... yet (hint, hint!).

    Incidentally, both of these works make more extensive use of strict chromatic inversion. The first of my works to make significant use of this approach is This Advent moon, which is an SATB setting of the first three stanzas of "Advent" by the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894). It is scheduled to be sung on this coming first Sunday of Advent at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The score (PDF) is attached, and here is an MP3:

    Giffen - This Advent moon

    The first 10 measures of my Nunc dimittis appear in strict chromatic inversion towards the end, commencing at m. 48 on the words "As it was in the beginning and ever shall be." There are other brief canonic devices using inversion, also. This work sung by the Trinity Compline Choir of Nevada City, California on March 6, 2011, along with my setting of the antiphon Preserve us, O Lord for the Nunc dimittis. A recording of that Compline service is available:

    Trinity Compline Choir: March 6, 2011

    Edit: (2011-09-21) I uploaded a slightly revised version of This Advent moon
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    12 tone is so 2nd millennium... CH... your skill doesn't need the novelty of 12 tone to find validity... your demonstration of music theory speaks for itself... The 12 tone row died with its era. Let's leave it there... Bach did twelve tones far beyond any aspiration of any other composer that ever lived. Never let the dictates of the brain outweigh the decision of the heart.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    Francis,

    The fact that I used a 12-tone row doesn't mean that I have bought into serialism - I haven't. Moreover, the tone row that I composed for "O magnum mysterium" was not just something snatched out of thin air at random or generated by some mathematical formula. No, no, no. I composed it (actually several years ago, as part of an antiphon for Pentecost). I revisited that tone row because I felt it embodies the melodic - and, in the working out, harmonic - material that, for me, conveys the sublime awe and mystery inherent in the text of the "O magnum mysterium." It's not a matter of novelty, as you seem to suggest - it's a matter of being comfortable enough with a medium to be able to express something that I hope is as profound and moving to a few others as it is to me. Bach used chromaticism, yes, and sometimes I do, too. He did not compose or use 12-tone rows. I did, and I'm not ashamed to have done so ... it was a matter of heart (or soul) over brain, contrary to what you seem to imply.

    Perhaps you find Penderecki's St. Luke Passion just a bunch of noise - after all, it is full of 12-tone material, it has quarter tones, it has chromatic note clusters, and it even has a couple of glorious major key chords. I was moved by this work upon hearing it for the first time shortly after its composition. I am still moved by it - in a deeply personal and spiritual way. Maybe you are not, but that is you - not I.

    Your (and my) beloved Bach was well aware of devices that, to some, might seem a bit silly: B-A-C-H (or the retrograde H-C-A-B), the "wedge",... .

    The Austrian, Anton Bruckner - of humble origins, yet an inspired genius - composed not only beautiful, deeply spiritual motets such as "Locus iste", "Ave Maria", "Os justi", etc. - but also monumental symphonies that paved new pathways in structure, harmony, and counterpoint: and he even used "polytonality" in his 8th Symphony (simultaneous D-flat major and C-minor counterpoint) - strikingly new, strikingly right.

    I studied octatonic music because I found it appealing in works of others, and then composed "Non vos relinquam orphanos" in that idiom - because I felt it was right, not because it is a novelty. And, only yesterday (from visiting his website), I learned that Richard Rice, who has contributed so much to our Church, has composed an octatonic piano sonata (and I actually feel that I can appreciate the two movements that I've heard). I guess I'm not so alone after all.

    To say 12 tone is so 2nd millenium isn't all that different than saying classical (aka species) counterpoint is so, what, 16th or 17th century? But my entire corpus is rooted in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. My "Ave verum corpus" says as much to just about anyone. Yet, to those who truly understand that inspiration comes in many forms, my "O magnum mysterium" says the same.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    CH

    so glad to hear that.

    thanks

    (i cant stand mozart either, as most here know)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    Today I have attached a new PDF that revises somewhat the previous version of my SSATBB Ave verum corpus, and also I updated the PDF and MP3 files at CPDL. The links and file in the first posting in this thread are now the correct versions. If you downloaded the previous version, I recommend that you replace it with the revised version. I apologize for any inconvenience.

    Chuck
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    very nice!!!!

    love it!
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    I have just finished a significant revision of my SSATBB Ave verum corpus. While it has been uploaded to CPDL (at the links in my first post in this thread), I'm attaching PDF and MP3 music files for the revised score here for your convenience. The revision has some improved voice leading changes as well as a corrected text underlay in the final section. From my standpoint, even though these changes individually are not great, when taken together they represent a significant improvement over the original.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    Once again – and hopefully finally – I have revised somewhat my SSATBB Ave verum corpus. The small changes in bar 10 (and repeated in bar 51) seem necessary on harmonic grounds. The swap of the Soprano & Medius parts for in mortis examine is for range and balance, and the Altus underlay for the same words has been improved. Finally, I changed the Altus, Tenor, and Barytonus in the final cadence, for better counterpoint and better balance.

    The new PDF score and MP3 sound files have been uploaded to

      Ave_verum_corpus_(Charles_H._Giffen) at CPDL.

    The new PDF score is attached, and here is a

      link to the MP3 sound file at CPDL.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    In response to requests for rehearsal sound files for my Ave verum corpus, emphasizing each of the parts individually, I am attaching six sound files, with the Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, and Bass parts emphasized, respecively, in each case over a much quieter background of the other five parts. I hope these might be of help to anyone else preparing a performance of this work.
    Thanked by 1Wendi
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    bumping this up for the feast
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • This is a really beautiful piece. I listened to it a few weeks ago at CPDL but the forum for interacting with composers of new music is inactive there so I thought I'd leave a comment here instead. I just listened to it again and really love it.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,713
    Thank you so much.

    By the way, I set up the Contemporary Composers forum at the CPDL forums a long time ago, but it seems that most composers are either unaware of it or haven't had much in the line of comments to post. Don't be afraid to use it, though ... in fact, you might generate some interest in it.

    Chuck
  • You are welcome!

    I wondered about the Contemporary Composers forum, but when I originally posted there were no replies so I assumed it was inactive and deleted my post. At the time I was looking for feedback on a piece I composed. I ended up getting feedback from my own Episcopal church music director and a composer colleague of my husband's at his college. The piece, a Magnificat in F setting, is here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFCQPQ39FqM

    I'm still not sure whether it's appropriate to share it on CPDL Contemporary Composers for feedback if the forum is inactive but I'm willing to try again. And I hesitate to share it with this whole forum because this forum seems more specific, i.e., primarily Catholic chant settings by professional composers. I'll keep reading though to get a better sense of the range of music shared.

    Thanked by 2Salieri CHGiffen