Voces angelorum have chanted their first Compline. Renaissance Man has returned.
  • jefe
    Posts: 198
    I've been directing and singing tenor in the Trinity Compline Choir with a monthly Compline since May of 2009 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Nevada City CA. http://www.trinitycomplinechoir.org
    This hybrid ATBarB voicing was historically all-male, but in our town of 2500, finding counter tenors (or male altos) seemed hopeless. We then started using female altos to help cover the part, which works out well. In the meantime, we now have enough male altos to do the job. Some of the females will be moving over to a new group which will also chant Compline once a month, with The Office of Compline (Completorium) of some kind every two weeks. Where will the women go?
    Recently, a new idea was born: an all-female Compline Choir with the fetching moniker: Voces angelorum. I tried to find precident for this (outside of the Convent) and could find none. This group may be ground-breaking. I call it: "Colorized Convent" as the Sisters chant mostly in unison and Voces will color it up with some harmony. I percieved a need for more women to be part of the Compline experience and solicited a dozen ladies posessing a straight, non-wobbly tone, and the ability to read music at least moderately. I ordered about 40 published works that I thought would work for women. Then I got to work composing and transcribing appropriate Compline music (upwards of 45 works now) and an Order for Compline (in treble clef) for a chantress, a speaker, unison chant, SA, SSA, SAA, SSAA, and SSAAT. The tenor part (in treble/8va clef) in a 5-part setting is just that: a part. We chant a lot of Gregorian and Ambrosian chant, and it is spellbinding. The gender is still female. It beats writing out more than 3 ledger lines below the treble staff. The sound of the group is...well...angelic. The ace-in-the-hole for the group is the sound of the low altos. The 3 'anchor women' have a just-great tone (and amplitude) all the way down to low C, low B, and low A, respectively.(and no, they're not smokers!, but older helps) Our 150 year old nave of wood and plaster is especially sympathetic to the sound of Voces. To get things rolling, I'm conducting (until I work myself out of a job) and find it difficult NOT to sing with the girls. However, there are no clergy or other male sounds to befoul the ambience of the group. All-women, all the time.
    Our first Sarum Compline was on June 10th with a full nave of attendees. We are changing over our website provider to
    http://trinitycomplinechoir.squarespace.com/, so you can view the program, pix of the band, and hear an mp3 of the office.
    My thought is to return more to our Catholic roots with Voces and do an Ave Maria in the anthem slot at the end of Compline. For chant guidance I've been using the Ordinarium of 1912, and 1951 which are so rich with heritage. The 50-odd works I've done for Voces will eventually be made available free on our website.

    In addition, we have revived our original style Compline group, a quartet of men chanting Compline. The voicing is AATB, or ATTB. We chanted our 1st Compline on June 24th. The program and mp3 also appear on the new website above. The men are all accomplished musicians so I have a greater latitude in choosing repertoire. Still, the chant sound is number one. Saying good night to God is number one.

    All 3 groups use my realized version of "An order for Night Prayer, Compline, in traditional language" published by The Royal School of Church Music for The Plainsong and Medieval Music Society, 2005 edition. It's actually a step toward the past from the former edition of 1928.
    If you have any thoughts, I'd like to hear from you.
    regards, as always, jefe
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Maureen
    Posts: 662
    Beautiful! The further they get into Compline, the better they sound.
    Thanked by 1jefe
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,517
    Hi Jefe,

    Here is a transposition upwards (for SSAT) of my setting of the Short Responsory at Compline, In manus tuas, Domine, which might well be suitable for your Voces Angelorum. I'm really happy to see that you have been able to assemble this women's group for singing Compline.

    Both PDF score and MP3 soundfile are attached. You already have the ATBB version.

    Chuck

    Edit: I have uploaded a much better MP3 music file just now (2012-06-29, 10:00am EDT).
    Thanked by 1jefe
  • jefe
    Posts: 198
    Charles, it has been 5 years since this thread appeared. I was browsing your tune above and selected it for the next Voces Angelorum compline. It is a wonderful piece. However, now that I have a lot of experience dealing with women's voices; what works and what doesn't, I've made my own arrangement to better suit their narrow range band of tone. So, below is the unauthorized edition of your In manus tuas, Domine. I include the other 'changeable five' for our October Compline.
  • I am mining this thread another others like it for SSA and SSAA gems! Jefe, would you be willing to share your score of the In Manus Tuas? I only see the first page here.
    Thanked by 1marymezzo