Jump to content
Mander Organs
David Drinkell

Easter and Whitsun

Recommended Posts

It's a pity that there aren't at least six Sundays in Ascensiontide to accommodate all the fine choral music written for that season, but I find it difficult to find really good motets for Easter and Whit. Any suggestions for voicing SATB,SAATB or possibly SSATB?

 

While I'm at it, any thoughts about unaccompanied masses (BCP or Latin) that aren't too long or complicated? In the last year, we've sung Byrd for Four Voices, Palestrina Aeterna Christi munera, Victoria O quam gloriosum, Hassler Missa Secunda and Missa super Dixit Maria, Viadana Missa l'hora passa, Batten's Short, Wood in the Fridge and in C minor, Wills' Short and several of the Willan Missae Brevae (very good, but seemingly little known outside Canada). We also do most of the accompanied war-horses, like Darke, Coll Reg, Francis in G, Mass of the Cocktail Hour, Stanford in B flat, etc. Am I missing out on some gems?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps consider: Simple Mass Lotti, Missa Octavi Toni Lassus and the very much more recent Missa Brevis from Nicholas Wilton? All Latin.

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always had a soft spot for Palestrina's Missa Jam Christus astra ascenderat (SATB), which is based on a hymn for Ascension Day.

 

There is some wonderful music for this season by Tallis, Sheppard and Parsons, but none of it's for less than SATTBB. I can't think of anything for smaller forces offhand, but I'll give it some thought.

 

Edit: There is, of course Victoria's excellent Whitsuntide motet Dum complerentur for SSATB. There's also a fine mass on the motet, but that is in six parts, dividing the tenors too. The most friendly free edition I could find in a very quick search is this one; the motet starts on page 52: http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/images/8/85/Victoria-Missa_e_Motetto-Dum_Complementur.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm assuming when you say motet you mean something unaccompanied, in which case there's not an abundance for Easter. The only two that spring to mind...

Willan - Rise up, my love

Byrd - Haec dies

Doubtless 'This joyful Eastertide' is already in your rep!

 

For Whitsun...

Tallis - O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit & If ye love me

Tye - O Holy Spirit, Lord of grace (very short and not very interesting IMO!)

Sterndale Bennett - God is a Spirit (a bit too Victorian for me - and that's saying something!)

 

If you can stretch to accompanied, these are all SATB and approachable

Ives - Listen, sweet dove

Harris - Come down, O love divine

Attwood - Come, Holy Ghost

Elgar - The Spirit of the Lord

 

I know you didn't mention Trinity, but I will, as I dug out Tallis - With all our hearts (Salvator Mundi with alternative words) last year, which you can do SAATB or SATTB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, with regard to unaccompanied masses, how about the settings by Tye or Taverner of the Western Wind Mass? Or there is also Howells' Mass in the Dorian Mode?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sheppard's Western Wind mass is the shortest of the three, but arguably less interesting than the other two. Tye's is perhaps the best. Howells did indeed write a Missa Sine Nomine as a student which later acquired the title Mass in the Dorian Mode. Personally I find it dull, but those who like their Howells plain might enjoy it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Palestrina Missa Brevis SATB except -the wonderful Agnus II with Canon between s1& S2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, with regard to unaccompanied masses, how about the settings by Tye or Taverner of the Western Wind Mass? Or there is also Howells' Mass in the Dorian Mode?

I don't know the Tye and what I've seen of the Taverner looks more complicated than we could find the time to tackle. We sing the Willan O Westron Wynde mass, which is a very good piece indeed, although the cantus doesn't bear much resemblance to my idea of O Westron Wynde and is more like Pastyme with Good Companye (asking a Willan expert about this, the reply was, 'The old B***** probably forgot how the tune went'). We have the Howells Dorian. I think the choir might have sung it once before my time, but the copies look rather pristine. I wasn't greatly taken with it when I looked through it, although I'm a tremendous Howells fan generally. Would you rate it highly? If so, I'll take a closer look at it.

 

Philip - thanks for the suggestions. We have all those except the Harris. I'm inclined to agree about God is a spirit!

 

Tony - the Lassus Octavi Toni certainly looks as though it would suit us, and possibly the Wilton too. Thank-you.

 

Vox - Thanks also for your helpful remarks.

 

Sometime, but not this year, we will learn Taverner's Dum transisset. I used to do it at Belfast and it's a fine piece.

 

I'm wondering about Byrd's Christ rising.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know the Tye and what I've seen of the Taverner looks more complicated than we could find the time to tackle. We sing the Willan O Westron Wynde mass, which is a very good piece indeed, although the cantus doesn't bear much resemblance to my idea of O Westron Wynde and is more like Pastyme with Good Companye (asking a Willan expert about this, the reply was, 'The old B***** probably forgot how the tune went').

 

Tye's Western Wind mass is a shade less rhythmically involved than Taverner's, but probably isn't any easier in the long run.

 

I don't know the Willan, but from your description, David, I wonder whether he was using the single vocal line found in British Library MS Roy. App. 58 - see here. This is often held to be a tune of popular origin, but the manuscript is actually a tenor partbook, so the "tune" is most likely just the tenor line of an otherwise lost part song. It has no real similarity to the melody set by Taverner, Tye and Sheppard, so it's really a bit pointless for choirs to parade it (as they do) before performances of the masses as if it were the cantus prius factus. The similarity of the tenor part to several partsongs by Henry VIII (including Pastime with good company) was noted many years ago by Nigel Davison, who (if I remember his argument correctly) speculated that Henry might have written a three-part partsong O Westron wynde, of which the tenor was at least similar, if not identical, to the Roy. App. version and the treble was similar to the tune as set by Taverner & Co. It's an interesting theory. The two "tunes" don't actually fit together, but one can imagine variant versions that did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I don't know the Willan, but from your description, David, I wonder whether he was using the single vocal line found in British Library MS Roy. App. 58 - see here.

Thanks Vox - the first phrase is exactly the point HW uses for the Kyrie and the 3rd is used for the Christe. All the other movements use modified versions of one or the other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" We also do most of the accompanied war-horses . . . Am I missing out on some gems?"

 

I suggest Anthony Caesar's Missa Brevis Capella Regalis

 

RAC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Tye's Western Wind mass is a shade less rhythmically involved than Taverner's, but probably isn't any easier in the long run.

 

I don't know the Willan, but from your description, David, I wonder whether he was using the single vocal line found in British Library MS Roy. App. 58 - see here. This is often held to be a tune of popular origin, but the manuscript is actually a tenor partbook, so the "tune" is most likely just the tenor line of an otherwise lost part song. It has no real similarity to the melody set by Taverner, Tye and Sheppard, so it's really a bit pointless for choirs to parade it (as they do) before performances of the masses as if it were the cantus prius factus. The similarity of the tenor part to several partsongs by Henry VIII (including Pastime with good company) was noted many years ago by Nigel Davison, who (if I remember his argument correctly) speculated that Henry might have written a three-part partsong O Westron wynde, of which the tenor was at least similar, if not identical, to the Roy. App. version and the treble was similar to the tune as set by Taverner & Co. It's an interesting theory. The two "tunes" don't actually fit together, but one can imagine variant versions that did.

 

Yes! Thanks very much - that melody is precisely what Willan uses, quoting it line for line in the Kyrie and then in various guises later.

 

Nigel Davison was my tutor at Bristol and I owe him a lot in so many ways.

 

mrbouffant - I agree about Noble's 'Come, O Creator Spirit'. I'm glad someone else appreciates it because it always seemed that no one else had heard of it, despite its presence in the Church Anthem Book. We've done it once here - now that you've reminded me I may trot it out again this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

... We have the Howells Dorian. I think the choir might have sung it once before my time, but the copies look rather pristine. I wasn't greatly taken with it when I looked through it, although I'm a tremendous Howells fan generally. Would you rate it highly? If so, I'll take a closer look at it.

 

To be honest - not greatly; however, it is at least another idea.

 

Presumably you do the Vierne Messe Solennelle? There is , in addition, the Dvořák Mass, in D major; and even the Gounod Deuxième Messe pour les Sociétés Chorales - although in the case of the latter, you might want to wash your hands afterwards. Do you sing the short Mass setting in F, by C.S. Lang?

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never done any of the French Messes Solenelles. The Langlais is too expensive and the length of the Vierne makes me wonder if it's worth it (100 bars of Kyrie!). But I'll have another look at it.

 

I first encountered Dvorak in D with the Bristol University Singers and subsequently gave a performance of it with the St. Magnus Festival Chorus in Orkney. I like it very much but, again, I wonder if it's too long for ordinary liturgical use. We do the usual Viennese suspects - Schubert in G, Haydn Little Organ, Mozart Coronation and Spatzenmesse - and get round the time issue by singing the Benedictus before the Agnus, rather than after the Sanctus. I don't know the Lang or Gounod, but I guess I can find the latter score online somewhere.

 

Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never done any of the French Messes Solenelles. The Langlais is too expensive and the length of the Vierne makes me wonder if it's worth it (100 bars of Kyrie!). But I'll have another look at it.

 

I'd say the Vierne is absolutely worth it, but if you want something more concise then the Widor is also excellent (the Sanctus and Benedictus are perhaps a little too concise! But the Kyrie and Gloria are wonderful). The only disadvantage is you need a separate chorus of baritones on top of your SATB, so I don't know how that fits with your resources. I don't know the organ parts but I gather they translate fairly easily onto a single instrument.

 

Totally off topic, but why lose a chance to plug a superb recording of both - see http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vierne-Widor-Dupr%C3%A9-Westminster-Cathedral/dp/B000002ZYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390947107&sr=8-1&keywords=vierne+widor+dupre. Fantastic singing and organ noises throughout!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Totally off topic, but why lose a chance to plug a superb recording of both - see http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vierne-Widor-Dupr%C3%A9-Westminster-Cathedral/dp/B000002ZYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390947107&sr=8-1&keywords=vierne+widor+dupre. Fantastic singing and organ noises throughout!

 

Oh yes. Another vote for this CD. Very fine performances and bags of "phooar" for your money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Oh yes. Another vote for this CD. Very fine performances and bags of "phooar" for your money.

 

Well, yes - but for sheer entertainment value, the old recording from Nôtre-Dame, with Jehan Revert (I believe) and Pierre Cochereau is worth the money. I have no idea whether Cochereau was drunk or simply bored; however, he starts of on the full organ - and works up from there. There are several moments when he drowns the choir (it must be admitted that this is not necessarily a negative point) and there are also a few occasions when the distance between the choir and the organ, and the inherent time-lag appear to defeat even Cochereau.

 

However, I would certainly agree with Philip - the Vierne Messe Solennelle is well-worth it. After all, one does not have to perform every movement each time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all for such a lot of interesting stuff. In the end, we sang Willan's 'Rise up, my love, my fair one' as a motet at Easter, A. Gabrieli's 'Hodie completi sunt' at Whit and will be doing Lassus' 'Missa Octavi Toni' for the first time in a couple of weeks.

 

So far this year, we've also sung for the first time (for the Cathedral, and probably for Newfoundland), Byrd's Three Voice Mass, Tallis's 'Sancte Deus', Bairstow's 'Jesu, the very thought' and Rutter's 'As the Bridegroom to his chosen'. Guess which one the congregation liked best!

 

Incidentally, next week at Evensong, we're singing the Athanasian Creed to a couple of short (double eight-note) Anglican Chants (by Sydney Nicholson and myself). I heard it chanted on a BBC broadcast from St.David's Cathedral some time ago and thought it was effective, but better suited to eight rather than ten-note chant. We tried it last year and it worked. I wouldn't want to do it every week, though....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello David

 

In response to your request for suggestions for, not too exacting (or, presumably long!), unaccompanied Mass settings, amongst others we used to sing:

 

Matyas Seiber – Missa Brevis – just a Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus

Lotti - Missa Brevis (K,S,A)

Gabrieli - Missa Brevis

Monteverdi - 1641 Mass – easier than the 1650 setting

Josquin des Pres - MIssa Ave Maris Stella

 

................ and there are lots of SATB Palestrina & Victoria Mass settings

 

These two with organ:

 

Arthur Wills – Missa in memorium Benjamin Britten (not as difficult as it looks!)

Alan Wilson – Missa Sancti Petri (again, not as difficult as it looks and a choral setting as opposed to a ‘People’s Mass’)

 

Yes, French Masses are expensive but the Durufle Cum Jubilo for men's voices is well worth having a go at - and comes in a full score and a vocal score (and if you were really interested, I know where there are about 20 vocal scores unused and likely to remain so!)

 

..................... and then there are the Mass settings by Langlais - unison (In Simplicitate), two equal parts (Missa D'Escalquens), SAT or B (Missa Misericordiae Domini) & SATB (Missa Solennelle - with org.- Mass in the Ancient style - unacc.), Men's voices (Missa Salve Regina)

 

Have you thought of spending an afternoon wading through Choral Wikip? - lots of stuff you wouldn't touch with a barge-pole - and lots of poor editing too - but there is also a wealth of good material too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to get a set of the Missa cum jubilo!

 

I found the first page of the Seiber Missa Brevis on a music seller's web-page. It looks like the kind of thing which would be very useful to us here. Thank-you very much. Can anyone send me the rest of it so I can check it out prior to ordering a set?

 

I spend a lot of time sifting through CPDL on Choral Wiki (and Petrucci/IMSLP) and I've found a lot of useful material. I often re-edit items, particularly if they're not set on Sibelius. Some scores produced with other programs are much less easy to read.

 

The problem with a lot of Palestrina masses is that the final Agnus Dei divides parts where we can least afford to split.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can get round the 'Second Agnus' problem by simply repeating the first one, and substituting 'Dona nobis pacem' for 'Miserere nobis'. It's perfectly authentic, as can be seen from some masses (Victoria 'O quam gloriosum' for instance) where it's actually written-in. Ideally you should include the alternative words in your copies, but I sometimes have fun keeping my lot on their toes by getting them to fit the different text in themselves...!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello David

 

It says that your message box is full!!

 

Are you interested in a set of, I suppose, 20 vocal scores of the Durufle? If you are I know where there is a set, hardly used and bought in 1990 for a choir visit to Rome which did happen - but we decided because of the unpredictability of the organs not to do it. I think we only did it once - in the Met. at Liverpool.

If you are interested I can give you the location - but it will have to be 'snail-mail' I'm afraid because I don't have an e-mail address for them.

That same location also has 40 copies of the Arthur Wills and the Alan Wilson I mentioned.

Somewhere I have a single copy of the Matyas Seiber - but it is among boxes as yet un-packed - but I'll try and locate it over the next few days. It's quite good and choirs enjoy it! (Found it - a photocopy - in only the 3rd box I looked in!!)

 

Also - have you tried the Knut Nystedt - Missa Brevis - it's quite dissonant but sufficiently rhythmical for congregations not to be too offended by it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×