Hail, True Body - English Ave Verum
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    I recently wrote the following on my blog:

    Go through the Parish Book of Chant. If I had easy, SAB settings, of all those pieces in non-weird, well-rhymed English, I would use them ALL THE TIME.


    So, I figure, I ought to go ahead and write some myself.

    I started with what might be my favorite hymn in the Parish Book of Chant- Ave Verum Corpus.
    The text and the tune are both heavenly, and my choir already knows it (in Latin!).

    The English adaptation, with the original melody (slight alterations here and there) I am particularly proud of.
    The A and B of this SAB arrangement are.. well, I think they're all right.
    I would love to hear opinions from some of you better musicians and composers out there- and if anyone wants to re-harm the things based on my English adaptation alone, please feel free.

    We are coming into the Bread of Life discourses right now, so I think this is particularly appropriate as a Communion motet. We used it this past Sunday: we sang the original Latin monophony, in alternatim (women to the double bar, then men- back and forth, octaves on the last phrase), followed immediately by the English in SAB. The choir learned the English and their parts in less than 40 minutes, before Mass (we're not rehearsing during the Summer).

    I thought it went well. I would LOVE to know your thoughts (even your negative ones) about the piece generally, and the choral writing in particular.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 831
    "If I had easy, SAB settings, of all those pieces in non-weird, well-rhymed English, I would use them ALL THE TIME."

    --Same here! I would use them as much as I could! Thanks so much for doing this, Adam :)

  • I think this is a fantastic idea and wonderfully done.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 8,787
    I would use them, too, much more than I do now.
  • CGM
    Posts: 390
    Adam - you are a very gifted wordsmith. I agree that this would be a great project, and worth doing. I suspect that you could crank out the texts pretty quickly, post 'em here, and let us dear readers crank out SAB motets to add to your own settings. Maybe this could be a collaborative folio!

    (You know, like the Vesper psalm settings that Willært wrote in alternating-verse polyphony with Jacquet of Mantua.)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    CGM- great idea.
    Especially since the "S" took me about 30 minutes and the "AB" took me 3 months.
    (I like to call myself a "composer," but what I really am is a "songwriter.")
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,324
    Adam, I accept the challenge! There were a few things in your setting (the parallels mostly) that I thought could be improved. In my setting, the subtonic serves as a sort of hook, I quantify breaths as rests, at the end I pass the chant around to other voices and elongate the end to give the altos a nice lick (because I like them). I also took it up a step to get the altos out of the basement. If it works better for y'all in F, be my guest.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Jeff, what about making it SATB with the LATIN text? I know that's not the point of this thread, but I like the idea for our choir ...
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,324
    Frankly, I think the SAB would go dandy for parish choir. I'd have to do a different setting to have space for a T (even a johnny-one-note T for the marginally literate). But re-Latinizing the SAB shouldn't be difficult.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    It looks like an arrangement which would also work well for 3 equal voices.

    Transposed up a perfect 4th (F to B-flat) for the first two voices and then down a perfect 5th for the third voice, it would work well for Tenor, 2nd Tenor/Baritone, Bass. (A lot of seminaries are on the look out for stuff for 3 equal men's voices).
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    I might even make use of this piece but transposed up a tone into G major to suit Soprano/Alto/Tenor (I am a high tenor and only have the bottom C first thing in the morning or after a couple of glasses of wine in the evening).
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    JQ- Thanks! Love it.

    (I prefer to leave the Altos in the basement... and the Tenors in the closet. But that's just me.)
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,324
    Thanks, Adam!. And I think everyone belongs in the closet, not just tenors.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    BUMPING for Holy Thursday and whenever else you might like it.
  • Adam, I think it is wonderful to have this qualitative text in English that is so faithful to the traditional chant melody. That is not easy to do! Yuo've done it. This is a great option for choirs to have. I agree with Jeffrey that checking a few obvious parallels like the transition to measure 1 to 2 is helpful to adjust. The contrary mostion is always effective and hard to do in 3 voices! :)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    RJC:

    THANKS!

    Jeffrey Quick did a fine re-harm (posted above), and I would also LOVE to hear your take on it if you ever feel so inclined.
  • donr
    Posts: 921
    Ok, I love it, now do more...
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    Specific requests?
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 831
    Adoro te devote
    Ave Maria (perhaps 3 sharps)
    Salve Regina

    FWIW, I use your 'Hail, True Body' and think it's great :)
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    FWIW, I use your 'Hail, True Body' and think it's great :)

    Wow, thanks! I had no idea anyone was using it.

    Adoro te devote

    I dare not. There is already a damn-near perfect English translation.
    (Humbly I Adore Thee, Verity Unseen - see the Episcopal Hymnal 1940 or 1982)
    (And likely many good harmonizations, I should think.)


    Ave Maria (perhaps 3 sharps)

    I can't imagine how one could write anything other than the prayer as known in English.


    Salve Regina


    Try this version:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI8lS8hr-nY
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,484
    1:12 is not unlike the parish I grew up in.

    Except the nuns are in tune and keep a beat.


    badum-tsch
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • I know this post is so old, but I'm excited to use this Hail True Body with my choir. Do you have any more like this that you'd be willing to share?
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,278
    I also wrote a bad vernacular adaptation of Ubi Caritas.
    Thanked by 1BeckyD
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,200
    Ubi carrot tops, rabbit ibi est.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen MarkS

Welcome to the MusicaSacra Forum!

To participate in the discussions on Catholic church music, sign in or register as a forum member, The forum is a project of the Church Music Association of America.