The Gregorian Chant Group  is an informal group meeting on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 to 8.30 to explore the wonderful repertoire of plainchant.

*Please note that the group will be in recess over the school holidays, 4th and 11th October.  We will resume on 18th October.*
Our chant this week will be as follows:
Starting with Psalm 134 (133) with its antiphon, Miserere mihi Domine
The Magnificat, not confined to Marian feasts such as last week’s Our Lady of Sorrows, but sung daily throughout the world for many centuries.
We’ll revisit the Stabat Mater, listening to the other plainchant version, see here.
Our hymn will be ‘Nocte Surgentes’ (NEH 149 tune i), the Sunday morning office hymn from Trinity to Advent, whose tune also serves to carry the splendid Michaelmas hymn ‘Christ the Fair Glory of the Holy Angels.’
We will finish learning the Nunc Dimittis and press on with the Salve Regina Solemn Tone.
I hope we can go over again to the church on the 27th to sing the psalm, the Magnificat, the Nunc and the Salve Regina (Solemn or Simple) and especially in time for Michaelmas on the 29th, Christ the Fair Glory.
Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday.  After our break, our new chants will include the Ave Maria, more psalms and the hymn Ubi Caritas est vera, and then it will soon be Advent!
The 6 September marked the first anniversary of the forming of the Chant Group.  It has been a fascinating journey exploring the psalms, hymns, antiphons and canticles of this great repertoire, in a very congenial and welcoming environment.  Thank you to all those who have shared that journey with me this year.
September has several Marian feasts, and our focus is Our Lady of Sorrows on the 15th.  Depending on numbers (and how cold it is!) we will meet in the parish hall then go over to the church on either the 13th or the 20th September to sing the chants associated with this particular feast – the Magnificat and the Stabat Mater, and adding the Salve Regina for good measure.
Here is a lovely youtube video of a Polish congregation singing the Stabat Mater in what looks like a freezing church.

During Easter the group learnt the 11th century Easter sequence ‘Victimae Paschali laudes  and the most famous Gregorian hymn of all – Veni Creator Spiritus.  Composed in the ninth century by Rabanus Maurus as an invocation to the Holy Spirit, it is sung at Pentecost and at other solemn occasions including coronations.  A paraphrased version in English (‘Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire’) has been sung at every English coronation sing Charles I.  If you’d like to hear it, this excellent version here on youtube offers the music, text and translation in one.

We also looked at Psalm 126 (125), the Salva Nos antiphon, and the Eastertide Marian antiphon ‘Regina Caeli.’
Chant is the ancient traditional music of the Church, and consists of a single melodic line, needing no instrumental accompaniment.  Much of the music is as simple as it is beautiful, and is also easy to read even if you have no previous musical experience.

Times, seasons, moments of life and the Church year will provide us with endless opportunities to sing a variety of psalms, antiphons, hymns and canticles in English and Latin.

There are many beautiful and exciting chants for us to sing this year, and here are some of the highlights:

For Candlemas, February 2nd, the Nunc Dimittis in Latin with its special Candlemas antiphon ‘Lumen ad revelationem.’
For the Anunciation on March 25th, Ave Maria, the ancient prayer beloved of Christians for centuries in both East and West.
For Lent, the Lent Prose ‘Attende Domine’ with its penitential lyrics but surprisingly cheerful tune.
Then for Easter, the stunning Medieval sequence ‘Victimae Paschali’ with its wide melodic range and dramatic sung dialogue between Mary and the disciples describing the Resurrection.
And lastly, for Pentecost, one of the best known and most loved gregorian hymns, ‘Veni Creator Spiritus.’

The venue is the Parish Hall, on the corner of Angus St and Goodwood Rd. Parking is available in the car park of Holy Cross Church opposite St George’s.

New members most welcome. Please contact Sarah Clay (Director of Music) 0488 133 645 sarahanneclay@gmail.com

 

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