Saturday 30 April 2011

Music made easy

Today I got to sing at some people's 50th Wedding Anniversary Mass. Just after Easter is clearly the time for these things.

It was an EF Mass in a Church I have been to but never sung sung in, with some people I know, some people I have met but never sung with and some people I had never clapped eyes on before nor indeed have I ever been to a Mass celebrated by this Priest.

In steps the Old Mass, where of course everything is identikit the same, so all of those terrible moments of now?... NOW?? where you look at the Priest, who is busy doing something else, or if it is a school Mass any number of other people all frozen and unable to give any lead, 'cos maybe that's not what they are for, all vanish.

Aside from the small matter of getting the music right, for which a 90 minute rehearsal, including a very useful amount spent on Mass I, was a bonus, you have nothing to worry about.

Friday 29 April 2011

*cough* for someone whose life is often dominated by being in the right classroom at the right time, I was late getting home this am and switched the radio on in time for Ubi caritas... my favourite tune of the moment, but in a different setting here. I was sorry to have missed 'I was glad.' Oh well.

It all looked great and I wished in a way that I'd gone into London. Will take a peek down The Mall tomorrow morning on the way somewhere. Beautiful dress too.

When I did my shoulder in and ended up in Ysbyty Gwynedd Bangor two years ago, a man had been helicoptered in from the Little Orme in Llandudno where he had fallen whilst out for a walk and broken his leg. The nurses told him that he could have been flown in by Prince William, but it obviously wasn't his shift that day. A member of my familiy, whose favourite internet pastime is looking at the traffic cameras on the A55 (North Wales Expressway) to check out the weather and such like, also enjoys the BBC NW Wales website, which it should be said is of specialised interest. Lots of K&W news there.

Such events also make me think of Grandma, who was a great Royal fashion watcher. On one famous Xmas Day in the 80s, as we squeazed into my Uncle and Aunt's lounge for The Speech, she was heard to say, 'The poor Queen...' Turned out that the telly was on its last legs and that in addition to turning everyone a bit yellow, the horizantal hold had gone a bit funny rendering the Queen and Duke of E a bit squashed. Didn't do much for the James Bond film that followed either.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

LMS Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation

Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead, Sussex
Venue: The Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Park Lane, West Grinstead, West Sussex RH13 8LT
Date: Saturday, 28 May 2011
Details: 12noon Sung Mass; 2.30pm Conference; 3.30pm Rosary; 4.00pm Benediction. Celebrant and speaker: Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith. Choir: the Schola Scholastica. All are very welcome.
More information: Anne-Marie Mackie-Savage on 01323 411370

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Totus tuus

How stupid am I.

After an annoying end to the day when yours truly went to a Church thinking there was a Mass, because there is always a Mass then only to find a man telling her in a tone that suggested that it was self evident that being Easter Week there was no Mass... as he prepared to lock the door.... octave anyone?

I shall have to console myself by listening to this in readiness for next Sunday. Not quite sure what I think about New College Oxford singing it, but there we are.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Easter Feasting

After a certain amount of tootling over the last few days, obviously after Mass yesterday, it was time to make for my parents' home where my sister-in-law has introduced the innovation of my Mum not quite doing everything.

s-i-l did various meaty things, my Mum did, guess what? loads of stuff, sorted out all the cutlery and crockery, provided the venue.... and I made a cake and baked an already in the fridge pudding, typically baked very early in the morning. Yes, very often I listen to The Sunday Programmme and Morning Service whilst whisking things up or peeling potatoes. Yesterday, Morning Service was from St George's Chapel, Windsor where they go on about the Queen a lot, speak in, I assume, Prayer Book English and then sing Mass VIII. Eclectic, or something.

Anyway, back to the food. Then all we had to do was sit in the garden all afternoon talking, eating and drinking. Hard life.

Today, I got to go to a fantastic Mass and then party. It was like a wedding only they've been married for 25 years. The Mass had beautiful music, sung and played by their children and I got to receive Holy Communion whilst they were singing the Elgar Ave verum. I also really got to appreciate the beautiful flowers in the church, which sideways on, whist staring at music, just don't look the same. The bunting in the hall was lovely and the barn dance was great fun. The weather was quite good too...

Tomorrow it's back to my other life, only whilst I know there's lots to do, I've kinda forgotten what that might be. Bank Holiday on Friday, anyway.

Happy Easter

Saturday 23 April 2011

Getting it all done.

My latest time saving activity ( this blog is after all written by someone who on a work day has the oats in a bowl by the microwave with a plate on top prepared at teatime the day before, milk up to the yellow line, plate underneath to catch any boiling over, six minutes, breakfast time...)is to sing Victimae Paschali laudes every time I switch my computer on. Why I cannot sing reconciliavit without hesitating is beyond me. Six syllables and and a system break, deal with it!

In other news I have reharmonised the version of the Vidi aquam that we sing at the Easter Vigil. The great thing about the organ is that you can up the harmonic rhythm from one chord per bar (guitar chord style), or as in Make me a channel of your peace one chord per phrase, drown us in a D chord with a pointless moving inner part why don't you, to a staggering one new chord per crotchet. Great in theory, let's see if I can bring off its world premiere tonight.

Managed not to get my Easter puddings blessed this am, because not only have I not yet made them, I didn't even have all the ingredients. Turning up with a bag of flour and some eggs, was probably not what was envisaged.

To the kitchen!

Friday 22 April 2011

Dyads, Triads and Tetrachords

We musicians like to dress up what's going on in our special nomenclature, often made opaque by being translated from one language to another or not. It took me a few weeks as a student to decide that in Schenkerian Analysis, beloved of the Americans, N for Neighbour note denotes what is in British English an auxilliary note and not sometimes or in certain circumstances, but always. In my defence, I had just switched from first year Maths to second year Music and in Maths new word = new idea, or we have to write 'is identically equal to.'

So, strange words.

Musing on the sound world of Colours of Day the other day and it's banal use of a tetrachord - four notes; or is it the words, (dawn into the mind - answers on a postcard...)or is it that the tune is sort of symmetrical, but not quite, or all sorts of other grating things that just prevent it working. It's like an OK Composition for GCSE where the pupil has listened to you, but it just isn't very good and it's hard to say something to make it better. It's just boring.

How different is Ubi caritas, which at least to start with also only uses the first four notes of what we would now call a major scale. That melody is totally logical, balanced, comes to rest when you expect it to and on the note you expect, is at one with its text and is very very simple. Great melodies have an inevitability about them. We know it's all going to end well.

Maybe that's why the 20th and 21stC's have seen the almost total demise of fantastic melody writing. (Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, where are you?) The linear thread that comes to a happy conclusion, is just not part of our unhappy times.

Plainchant is the ultimate monophonic linear thread. No other musical parameters to hide behind. Can't do a Schoenbergian Klangfarbenmelodie and keep changing the instrument and register to dress up your desolate atonality.

Thursday 21 April 2011

The St Matthew Passion

I have lots of favourite bits.

What's yours?

As it's not quite Good Friday, I'll go for my favourite bass aria No 65 Mache dich, mein Herze, rein, which my vocal score (Barenreiter Urtext, and it's a singing translation, so no complaining please, ) gives as Let my heart be pure as Thine.

here with Dietrich Fischer- Dieskau. Don't feel in the mood for a super fast, no vibrato, vegetarian rendition.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Burning the candle at both ends

Went to Tenebrae at St Mary Moorfields tonight, which was very fine.

Myself and a younger friend even managed to find the right page in my Missal and sing along a bit. Sometimes I wish the translation was smaller than the Latin, but still it is amazing quite how much is packed in there. I've never looked at page 1679 before. Had it few years now and am still discovering it has more stuff in it.

On the way out, we got collared ( in a nice way) by a young man from Juventutem looking for recruits. Let's just say we fall outside the age bracket both ends and whilst in time that won't be a problem for her, I'm not getting any younger.

Juventutem, nice people, join if you are of an age to.

Ah yes, the candle bit. Started the day with an early Mass...
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You can skip on the free dating bit, btw.

Welcome to the Ordinariate folk

being received into the Church this week and on board for Easter.

Here are some photos from St Augustine's Tunbridge Wells, which I know well as I lived there in the 1990s.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Nose in Liber

I took a peek at Mac's photos of Palm Sunday and there I am sqinting at the Liber. I'm reasonably accurate singing, provided we have a do clef and it's the top line. After that, I start having to think about where the semitones are and this from someone who is not exactly unfamiliar with the notion of transposing at sight since what I really am is an orchestral horn player.

Anyway, I've never been great at walking and singing and since at the moment I have to concentrate totally on whether that's a dot, an episema or a quilisma there, my peripheral vision it pretty nonexistant; there just is not a brain cell left for noticing the fact that it was sunny, or that there might be some trip hazards underfoot. Suffice to say we got round the car park without incident; physical or musical.

UPDATE on what we were singing.

We sang a polyphonic setting of 'hosanna filio David' by RR Terry, then yes just the antiphons pueri Hebraeorum portnates and Pueri Hebraeorum vestima from the Liber during the distribution of the palms and yes it would, I think, have been preferrable to sing Psalm 23 and Psalm 46 - next year...

During the procession we sang Cum audisset populus and Turba multa, the car park at Blackfen not being so very large...

On that note, I must put my washing out.

Just because

it bears repeat viewing and repeat viewing and oh how of it's time it now sounds...

this, which yes, I saw live on Newsnight.

To be fair to Christina Odone, I thinks she's moved a little in the right direction since then, but still.

Six years ago today

I was at a Parents' Evening - c'est la vie...

when a boy bringing me a much needed cup of tea and a biscuit came to say that we had a new Pope and that it was Joseph Ratzinger. I didn't know much at at all about him apart from the fact that he seemed like one of the good guys, depite the continual negative reporting; did I ever really believe the mainstream media?

I remember being in Rome for WYD in 2000 and marvelling that everyone was so happy to be there, compared to England where enthusiasm for things Catholic was not something that you saw too often in public.

How things have changed.

In the September of that year I started commuting to work by train and so could read on the way to work, in due course reading my way through the, shall we say, more 'chatty' books of his oeuvre. Lucky me, is all I can say.

Saturday 16 April 2011

One day at a time

To fellow tootlers of the organ, as we embark on our musical marathons, I wish you a stress free Holy Week and that you have no moments of not having the right bit of music in front of you - oh no, I'm putting ideas into your heads and making you all nervous! :-)

Very fortunately this year, Easter is at the end of my three week holiday. (Yes, teachers, holidays, I know, believe me you wouldn't think that when you do Parents' Evenings and concerts back to back on top of a full timetable and have to get up at 6am to get to work, but I digress...)

Last year I think I was at school until lunch-time of Maundy Thursday.

This year there's just, hopefully, a bit more nervous energy and head space around to get it right.

Clare has some electronic aids for us. I'm feeling a little tempted...

Happy Birthday Holy Father

Blogger invites

The 150 invitees are now named. Hope they have an exciting time.

Friday 15 April 2011

Glass confessionals

This one is in Brasilia, but there is also one in Notre Dame in Paris. It is not back lit by stained glass, but does have the disadvantage of having a continual stream of tourists walking by.

Some people might say that is good in that it reminds people about the Sacrament of penance.

Other people, (ME, for example,) would rather run a mile than a) go to confession in such a transparent construction and b) have a (visual) audience.

The Priest sat tout seul.

Meantime, at the rue du bac there were lots of people in the queue....

The Compendium

After the the YouCat mess up, I did wonder why it is not possible to give pilgrims a cheapo paperback version of The Compendium to The Catechism.

That presumably has been checked and double checked for errors, vagueness and problems bewteen translations.

It just seems like another example where it is decided not to give people the whole picture. Dumbing down doesn't work.

Rue du Bac

It didn't quite look like this during my tripette to Paris. Not because the statues were veiled, because they weren't, but because it was permanently full of people. Lots and lots.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Roman Blognics abound

and they are all in the eternal city.

The closest I shall be getting to the beatification is a JPII DVD in the Church Hall,on the Saturday night before. Popecorn (Freudian slap?) too you understand, we know how to have a good time in Blackfen.

Sounds like lots of fun on the Monday and the Tuesday.

As a self-proclaimed Taliban Catholic, I am happy to advertise...

all the way from Orwell's Picnic

Do you have a blog on which you write about Catholic stuff?

Do you read Catholic blogs?

Do you comment on Catholic blogs?

Are you planning on going to Rome for the Beatification of John Paul II?

Are you pretty sure you're not going to get invited to the Vatican's blognic? Surely you could go to both? Someone's got to be one of the 150?
Do you suspect that they found your work just a leeetle too ... err... forthcoming about the bishops, the Church, the state of things? Do you suspect that you'd probably be regarded as a "Taliban Catholic" blogger in certain circles?

Or just don't think you can face hours of talks by Vatican bureaucrats on "the initiatives that the Church is putting in place in the world of new media, whether in Rome or at the local level"?

Come to the *other* Catholic blogger Rome blognic...

"Shaping the Narrative: how Catholic 'new media' is re-defining the global Catholic debate"

and talk about what *YOU* want to talk about...

Unlike the Vatican's, ours will be FUN!

AND ours will have beer...

AND pizza...

AND we'll let you come in your pyjamas if you want.

Tell your bloggy friends and enemies.

May 3rd, 2011, 1-5 pm (for Europeans, that's 13:00-17:00)

We're still in the process of organising this (since we just dreamed it up on Friday). More details about location will follow, but right now we're looking at a very central venue, Scholar's Lounge Pub, the home of the Rome Pub Quiz, which is on all the Centro's bus and tram routes. So it will be an easy access to wherever you'll be camping for the Beatification.

Things we do know:

1) you will be allowed to talk about whatever YOU want

2) No Vatican prelate will bore you into early-onset Alzheimer's engage you in a meaningful dialogue

3) the talks will all be in English

4) all the cool kids will be there

For now, the plan is to have two formal "talks," in the style of Theology on Tap: a keynote and a panel. We'll discuss the general state of things, the impact of the "new media" on the Church at the local and international level, the contributions of bloggers to the various Catholic public debates etc (see topic suggestions below).

The rest of the time will be in "small breakout discussion groups" (IOW, sitting around in the pub drinking and talking).

Also, we're going to do our best to get Wifi so you can liveblog it, and we can maybe set up some Skype calls or iChat thingies for people whose bodies can't make it so at least their heads can be there. And we'll see what we can do about getting the thing on video so it can go up on YouTube.

AND, if all goes as planned, there will be discounts for drinks for those who are registered before the event.

"Sounds GREAT! Where do I sign up?"

Are you on Facebook? look for "The *Other* Rome Catholic Blognic" on the facebook search and sign on. Leave a note on the Wall giving a link to your blog, (or to the blogs where you most often make a pest of yourself in the commbox). It's that simple.

Or, you can just send me a link to your blog in the commbox below, by email or by a message on Facebook and I will put you on the list.

Sounds GREAT! What can I do to help put it together?

First, thing to do, is cut and paste this post into your blog (or other new media thingy) and start drumming up interest.

Next, think of three or more Catholic bloggers who fit the following criteria:

1) is likely to get rejected from the Vatican's list for being, in the immortal words of John Allen and at least one influential cleric, "Taliban Catholics"

2) blogs about Catholic stuff

3) is likely to be in Rome for the Beatification anyway

...and invite them to join this facebook event page.

Next, suggest topics you'd like to hear talked about. So far we've had:

1) Whatever the hell we damn well want to talk about

2) "blogging until something happens"
- the intolerable silence of injustice has been disturbed and even destroyed
- the power of the blogs efforts in transparency and accountability

3) "I am not alone"
- isolationism and the iconoclasm

4) Why is the Catholic bloggosphere so nearly uniformly "conservative," pro-Benedict and, above all, young?

5) Are we really "making a difference" or is it really all just narcissism?

6) exchanging stories: how have Catholic blogs, websites and "new media" actually made a concrete difference to the Church or to real people?

en vacances

Off to Paris tomorrow for a few days.

Found out after booking that I'm staying round the corner from the rue du bac.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Monday 4 April 2011

Solesmes in London Gregorian Chant 5-7th May 2011

Dom Yves-Marie Lelievre OSB, Choirmaster of The Abbey of St Peter, Solesmes will be giving workshops on Gregorian Chant at St James's Spanish Place, Thursday 5th - Saturday 7th May.

An outline of the sung Offices and Mass:

Thursday 5th May
5pm Vespers
8.30pm Compline

Friday 6th May
9am Mass
5.15pm Vespers
8.30pm Compline

Saturday 7th May
8.30am Mass
1pm Sext
4.30pm Vespers (Social Hall)
6pm Sung NO Latin Mass. Sung under the direction of Dom Yves Marie.

Thursday & Friday starting at 2pm Dom Yves Marie will teach two advanced classes entitled, Introduction to the Graduale Triplex. Partcipants will then sing Vespers and Compline.

Friday 10am-12pm Stan Methany will teach a session to beginners on Singing the Liturgy of the Hours.

Saturday 10am-1pm and 2.30-4.30pm, beginners' workshops taught by Dom Yves Marie, focusing on Mass I, which will then be sung at the 6pm Mass that day.

Cost - £5 donation to cover costs. (Bargain!)

Masses and Offices obviously open to all.

UPDATE To enquire about Saturday workshop, contact Candy Bartoldus

(photo credit Clare Bowskill)

Sunday 3 April 2011

Saturday 2 April 2011

Pink clouds

Yes, even the sky says, 'Laetare Sunday,' which means early morning chicken roasting and cake baking in readiness for most of my family and, most importantly, my Mother, for lunch. Now I have a double oven I can even do the roasting and baking simultaneously.

Photo above is a view over the Pacific, so not quite the view out of the kitchen, but you get the drift.

Monsignor Keith Newton & The Pope

Received in a private audience, no less.

or as the Vatican put it:

Il Santo Padre ha ricevuto questa mattina in Udienza: Card. William Joseph Levada, Prefetto della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, con:

S.E. Mons. Alan Stephen Hopes, Vescovo tit. di Cuncacestre, Ausiliare di Westminster (Gran Bretagna), e

il Mons. Keith Newton, Ordinario dell’Ordinariato Personale di Our Lady of Walsingham.