Joncas “Salve Regina”
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 804
    Anyone else get the latest OCP choral packet with Joncas’s “Salve Regina” in it?

    I’d be curious to know the thoughts of folks here on the piece.

    Preview: http://web.ocp.org/pdfOctavos/webReadyPreviews/4613z.pdf
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,928
    hmmm. not bad.
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    I haven't received OCP choral packets for years, having long considered them a poor return on the investment and generally a waste of perfectly good trees.

    However, it is interesting that Joncas seems to be gravitating lately toward a reassessment of the value of the Church's musical tradition. That notorious funeral song aside, I have lately come to a greater respect for him as someone who seems to be doing his homework.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Oh my... I know I'm getting a reputation for having a bad attitude, but if I had a double choir with tenor divisi I could find oh so many other things to sing before this. Yes, I learned long ago that if you play all white notes, any combination of tones and chords sounds good. The technique can also be transposed.

    BUT I do agree it is an interesting trend. Bob Hurd with his Missa Ubi Caritas a few years back paid more than lip service to unaccompanied congregational song. I'm not sure how I feel about the trend of taking chant tunes and writing new texts (mostly in the wrong meter or no meter at all) that do not relate to the original. OCP has been doing this a lot lately.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,928
    incantu:

    The key word is 'trend'. They eventually go away along with the rest of all novel innovations.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    To me the interesting thing is that Joncas and Hurd (and the publishers as well) have noticed that people actually do likethis sound, if you will, and that it sells.

    Now what?

    People who hear this and like it will want more -- and they will figure out that the real thing is a lot better.

    It reminds me of those faux-baroque pieces by Fritz Kreisler, which he published as "in the style of" Pugnani, Francouer or Couperin. He was clearly intrigued by the baroque harmonic language and sound, and people liked the pieces when he played them on recital programs. Shortly, however, there was a huge movement (in the 1950s) towards real baroque music, and it's still going on today.

    Did Kreisler's salon pieces have anything to do with it? Maybe, maybe not. But I think the Joncas is of a piece with Kreisler's ersatz-baroque stuff.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,928
    However, compositionally speaking, this piece is less trendy in that it uses tone clusters ala a truly modern style. I would like to hear a performance of this one. I am surprised they put this up on the website as a PDF. I didn't think any publisher in his right mind would distribute this way! Otherwise, how are they going to sell the octavos?
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    Ah yes, the term is "pandiatonicism". It works well for Aaron Copland and Arvo Part, so why not Joncas and Hurd. Let them work out this new style with our encouragment! Critique but Encourage!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,928
    Second thoughts. OK. I played through this. What is lacking for me is any contrasting material. It starts and then it keeps on going and going and going... 15 pages. A single line here or there with a pedal or something similar would help break monotony. After three or four pages I find it a bit tiring. Then again, people might find my own clustered chordal works just as boring. (Sitio, from "The Seven Last Words".) One thing we can be sure of... not many RC choirs are going to be singing this, simply for lack of resources as incantu mentioned.
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 804
    Francis asked:
    I am surprised they put this up on the website as a PDF. I didn't think any publisher in his right mind would distribute this way! Otherwise, how are they going to sell the octavos?

    Try to print the PDF. :)

    It can be done, but apparently OCP trusts that those of us who can figure out how to get around it are scrupulous enough not to abuse their courtesy. Several publishers are going with online PDFs, even just as previews. They’ll usually try to prevent people from printing it, put a “sample” watermark on it, or something else.

    My own impression of the piece is similar to Francis’s last-posted thoughts: that it needs some contrast. I still wouldn’t mind using this one, though. There is a bit of a dearth of modern Marian choral music for the liturgy, I think owing to practicality: out of three obligatory Marian solemnities, one is in the summer (lots of choirs not rehearsing), another is in Advent (bigger fish to fry), and the other is New Year’s (many folks out of town).
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,928
    I can print it very easily. However, I don't think I would ever print it out since I would just compose one myself. And like incantu said, what music program will ever have a double choir to even pull it off? Tenor divisi... who has ever seen two tenors standing in the same church!?
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    A double choir may not be a likely prospect, but some double choir works can be pulled off with a quartet as choir 2, provided they can control vibrato to secure a blend. And a few second altos can sing first tenor if there aren't enough tenors.

    I would be in favour of supporting and encouraging the trend of writers in the OCP stable to move into more artistic territory. These people, through their pop music, already have the ear of vast numbers of singers and parishioners; if they start getting serious about composition, this can start to open the ears and minds of their loyal fans to something better.
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    Actually I had enough tenors to divide in my previous job, but oddly I couldn't do the more common settings that required sopranos to divide!

    I think he is after the folks who like the monotony of Taize. I thought that stuff was ok at first, but after a couple of years of trying to keep the "Veni sancte Spiritus" mantra from getting faster and faster, I stopped using it. BTW you bet Jesus will remember you if you keep singing that refrain of the same name. Barf.
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 804
    Francis: I actually have about 10 tenors in a special choir we assembled for our church dedication. In a parish of 4,100 families, that should be normal; hopefully eventually the regular parish choir will boast those numbers, too. Actually, that dedication choir has more trouble finding enough basses.

    John M: Check OCP’s online catalogue for the pieces under the Trinitas label. There are some very fine pieces they publish under that name, though this Joncas piece is the first one by a really “popular” composer. For example, we are using David Hurd’s “O How Amiable” for our church dedication, a wonderful setting of parts of Ps. 84. Gerard (?) Chiusano has a nice set of Advent choral introits under the label. Colin Mawby’s got some nice pieces there, too.

    I think OCP gets a bad rap. “Breaking Bread” has more useful selections than the popular GIA hymnals, and they don’t do the language changes that never quite sound right. (OCP actually prints Moore “Taste and See” as it was originally worded.) I regret to say that I don’t know WLP’s congregational offerings as well. I do love Brubaker “O Blessed Savior”, and Hampton “Love is His Word” is nice, too.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,928
    Felipe:

    I wish I had that resource here. Tenors in Baltimore just don't exist. In the Basilica choir there is one tenor, and he doesn't read music.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,372
    Very nice web-page Felipe. Do congregation folks use your downloads?
    On a more self-centered note, I recently revised my web-page:
    http://www.gregoryhamilton.org