Successful Vespers
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 992
    I’m happy to report from St. Augustine, Florida that my schola’s vespers last evening went very, very well. We had a packed house with folks listening from outside. Of course, if you know the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, you’ll snicker since the seating is 35. People were delighted to have a part in the vespers – the opening, the chanting of the psalms, the intercessions and the Our Father (all in English). The Shrine’s director was also pleased to see that it was prayer and not a concert. All the feedback we got from people was positive – and the ages ranged from 14 to 80. Particularly popular was the Greek hymn to the Virgin, O Virgin Pure. We sang this after the blessing because I wanted something from the Eastern Church. This is a long hymn (which we did sing in English, not Greek) and while we were singing, I fretted that it was boring, especially since they were standing. Well, they loved it. There’s nothing like an ison. There were only three non-chant items - an arrangement of O Gladsome Light, the alternatim Magnificat, and the Greek.

    Interestingly, they were packed into the chapel like little sardines on the benches. And I think that actually helped them sing because they were so close and had each other’s voices for encouragement. People tend to spread out thinly in larger spaces and I think that isolation weakens their singing. Who wants to sing when you’re peeping by yourself in Row 20? And yes, there was a good bit of heterophony, but I think life has a fair amount of that too.
  • athome
    Posts: 31
  • Congrats Mary Jane! Florida is slowly turning in the right direction.
  • G
    Posts: 1,396
    or Bravi!
    Just knowing about this helps to wash Hail Mary Gentle Woman out of my ears....

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • .. and the use of "We Remember" for the Memorial Acclamation this evening ...
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks for posting the program. It looks very good. Where do you find all the music in the program?
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Wonderful news, Mary Jane. Thanks to you, the Schola, and all the others who contributed to doing the hard work to make it happen. And thanks for posting the Libellus. I may have to rethink our own layout!

    Is your Vespers program going to become a regular Liturgy? If so, you might want to meditate on the words of Chief Brody in Jaws: "You're gonna need a bigger chapel!"
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 992
    Mia -
    The music came from a variety of sources. I'm like those birds that go out and pick up bright bits of foil for their nest. When I'm feeling particularly despondent about liturgical music, I wander around the Internet. When I see something I like, I save it, print it, throw it in a bin and wait for its time to come.

    The Lucernarium came from a collection of hymns for the office written and published by the Trappistine nuns of Valserena, Italy, with whom I correspond. I did the English translation.
    The hymn, antiphons, veriscle & response came from the Liber Usualis' offices for first and second Vespers. For the English psalms, I transposed a psalm tone up from Tone 6 because the Tone 7 and 8 Gregorian tones that were prescribed for the antiphons didn't fit the English well. The Magnificat setting is found in the Pius X Hymnal #90 and 91, going back and forth between the chant simple tone and the Ciro Grassi faux-bourdon. That's the four-part mixed voice arrangement. The "girls only" version is found in the St. Gregory Hymnal, using the solemn tone and a 3-part equal voice Grassi. In a pinch you can sing this with just the two lower voices.

    The Greek hymn came from an excellent site for adapted-to-English Byzantine chant - If you search the Greek name, Agni parthene, in Google you can find multiple YouTube recordings in Greek, Slavonic, etc., as well as the history of this deeply affecting piece.

    Right now, I’m listening to a recording of a vespers for Santiago, composed by Pere André Gouzes of Sylvanès for the European Bishops’ Conference pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The two-CD set includes a Mass as well. Gouzes bases most of his compositions on a mixture of Gregorian and Russian obihod styles – a cappella, of course. GIA published a couple of his works in English. However, the recordings in English were done in England with a choir of men and boys and are very lacking in energy. The singing of the Fraternités de Jerusalem in France and elsewhere in Europe draws on Gouzes’ style, using harmonized psalm settings for their vernacular offices. Their services of lauds in Paris are broadcast and archives on KTO TV

    Now I’ll bet you’re sorry you asked.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    You are right, Mary Jane. This is a mountain load of work! Hopely I'll get there someday.(not so soon). Thank you for the info, though.