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Know Your Gregorian Chant?


Guest Cynic
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Bearing in mind the wide range of expertise covered by members of this forum, I thought I'd throw out a major challenge/query in the hope that someone will be kind enough to share their experience in order to help with a project of mine.

 

In brief, I am due to record Saint Saens' Sept Improvisations Op.150 quite soon. A number of these are identified on the score as being associated with church festivals, but in others I sense that similar fragments of Gregorian Chant may have be used to provide S-S's initial theme. If I can interest anyone (familiar with traditional chants) in the challenge to spot more themes and identify them, this would be a major help. All such help with be publicly acknowledged. Please PM me if you're willing to collaborate.

 

Thanks folks!

P.

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Bearing in mind the wide range of expertise covered by members of this forum, I thought I'd throw out a major challenge/query in the hope that someone will be kind enough to share their experience in order to help with a project of mine.

 

In brief, I am due to record Saint Saens' Sept Improvisations Op.150 quite soon. A number of these are identified on the score as being associated with church festivals, but in others I sense that similar fragments of Gregorian Chant may have be used to provide S-S's initial theme. If I can interest anyone (familiar with traditional chants) in the challenge to spot more themes and identify them, this would be a major help. All such help with be publicly acknowledged. Please PM me if you're willing to collaborate.

 

Thanks folks!

P.

 

Why not contact Dr Peter Wilton of The Gregorian Association?

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Sadly I have no information on what the RCs did in Paris in Saint-Saëns's time; I don't even have a copy of Liber usualis. However:

 

Feria Pentecostes. This is based on the tune I associate with the Christmas hymn Veni redemptor gentium (EH 14; NEH 19). In the Sarum rite it was sung to other hymns as well, including the Whitsun hymn Beata nobis gaudia. Whether the hymn Saint-Saëns had in mind was that one or another others will have to confirm.

 

Pro Defunctis. At the B flat major section this quotes the opening of the Offertory Domine, Jesu Christe.

 

Pro Martyribus. I'll work on this. Can't immediately see anything, but there must be something.

 

Can't say any of the rest (none of which have a liturgical title) strike me as contaning plainsong.

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Sadly I have no information on what the RCs did in Paris in Saint-Saëns's time; I don't even have a copy of Liber usualis. However:

 

Feria Pentecostes. This is based on the tune I associate with the Christmas hymn Veni redemptor gentium (EH 14; NEH 19). In the Sarum rite it was sung to other hymns as well, including the Whitsun hymn Beata nobis gaudia. Whether the hymn Saint-Saëns had in mind was that one or another others will have to confirm.

 

Pro Defunctis. At the B flat major section this quotes the opening of the Offertory Domine, Jesu Christe.

 

Pro Martyribus. I'll work on this. Can't immediately see anything, but there must be something.

 

Can't say any of the rest (none of which have a liturgical title) strike me as contaning plainsong.

 

 

Many thanks for your help thus far.

P.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Bearing in mind the wide range of expertise covered by members of this forum, I thought I'd throw out a major challenge/query in the hope that someone will be kind enough to share their experience in order to help with a project of mine.

 

In brief, I am due to record Saint Saens' Sept Improvisations Op.150 quite soon. A number of these are identified on the score as being associated with church festivals, but in others I sense that similar fragments of Gregorian Chant may have be used to provide S-S's initial theme. If I can interest anyone (familiar with traditional chants) in the challenge to spot more themes and identify them, this would be a major help. All such help with be publicly acknowledged. Please PM me if you're willing to collaborate.

 

Thanks folks!

P.

 

Two folk who know everything are Peter Sheehan at the Royal Hospital Chelsea (great Rc and Gregorian buff) and of course the incomparable David Gammie at the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon. I have email addies if you are still wanting material.

 

best wishes,

N igel

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Two folk who know everything are Peter Sheehan at the Royal Hospital Chelsea (great Rc and Gregorian buff) and of course the incomparable David Gammie at the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon. I have email addies if you are still wanting material.

 

best wishes,

N igel

 

 

Paul, another expert source is Dr Mary Berry who can probably be contacted via the Latin Mass Society. I do have a copy of the Liber Usualis - and I use it from time to time - so if you want to send examples of the themes you are trying to chase I could attempt to look these up for you.

 

Peter

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Thanks, Nachthorn.

 

OK then. Pro Martyribus. Starting in bar 6, the lower part in the right hand (below the tied F) quotes the opening of Alleluia. Sancti tui Domine, just for a bar and a half (p.1150 of Liber Usualis; p.1344 of the pdf file). This little phrase reappears later under a long trill. The very end might possibly allude to the concluding Alleluia of the Offertory Laetamini (p.1345-6), but that's arguable.

 

I see Beata nobis gaudia is there on p.1064 of the pdf file.

 

Does LU show essentially the same rite that Saint-Saëns observed? Sorry, later RC history isn't my field!

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Thanks, Nachthorn.

 

OK then. Pro Martyribus. Starting in bar 6, the lower part in the right hand (below the tied F) quotes the opening of Alleluia. Sancti tui Domine, just for a bar and a half (p.1150 of Liber Usualis; p.1344 of the pdf file). This little phrase reappears later under a long trill. The very end might possibly allude to the concluding Alleluia of the Offertory Laetamini (p.1345-6), but that's arguable.

 

I see Beata nobis gaudia is there on p.1064 of the pdf file.

 

Does LU show essentially the same rite that Saint-Saëns observed? Sorry, later RC history isn't my field!

 

Your'e doing well.

I'm most grateful.

 

I still think that others have Gregorian themes, or at the very least some allusions which in 1918 would have meant something to Catholic organists.

The last one, for instance, even though firmly in A minor has a real Easter feel to it. Even if it does not quote, the theme is modal (indeed I think all themes are, throughout the whole set.).

 

At moments like this, I really miss an old pal, Father Charles Watson of Prinknash Abbey who died almost exactly a year ago. He no longer used the traditional chants for worship there, but they were part of him.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Does LU show essentially the same rite that Saint-Saëns observed? Sorry, later RC history isn't my field!

 

Yes.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The last one, for instance, even though firmly in A minor has a real Easter feel to it. Even if it does not quote, the theme is modal (indeed I think all themes are, throughout the whole set.).

I think bars 16-19 of no 7 are O fillii et filiae - which is proper for Easter

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