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Byrd Responses - "spi-rit" Or "sprit"


Colin Harvey
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Just listening to choral evensong on 3 from Exeter and they sang "Spi-rit" in the Byrd responses - just wondered whether people think it should be "Spi-rit" or "Sprit".

 

I'm tempted to go for "Sprit" - otherwise you get 2 half beats on the same note for the 2 syllables of this word, which - to my ears - sounds less good. But I can't remember whether Byrd gives 2 quavers and splits the word into its syllables on paper.

 

Have to say Exeter sounded excellent - both choir and organ - as far as I can tell on my rather dodgy internet radio connection - and I certainly enjoyed it.

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Just listening to choral evensong on 3 from Exeter and they sang "Spi-rit" in the Byrd responses - just wondered whether people think it should be "Spi-rit" or "Sprit".

 

I'm tempted to go for "Sprit" - otherwise you get 2 half beats on the same note for the 2 syllables of this word, which - to my ears - sounds less good. But I can't remember whether Byrd gives 2 quavers and splits the word into its syllables on paper.

 

Have to say Exeter sounded excellent - both choir and organ - as far as I can tell on my rather dodgy internet radio connection - and I certainly enjoyed it.

 

I was brought up on 'sprit' but always felt it to be rather twee. The service was good - I got home early enough to listen on my new DAB - very clear and balanced. I enjoyed the Harvey anthem - 'reminded me of his composition sessions at Southampton in the late 70s - I am sure he used to dispair at my Stainer-like creations but was always too polite to say it out loud!

 

AJJ

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Just listening to choral evensong on 3 from Exeter and they sang "Spi-rit" in the Byrd responses - just wondered whether people think it should be "Spi-rit" or "Sprit".

 

I'm tempted to go for "Sprit" - otherwise you get 2 half beats on the same note for the 2 syllables of this word, which - to my ears - sounds less good. But I can't remember whether Byrd gives 2 quavers and splits the word into its syllables on paper.

 

Have to say Exeter sounded excellent - both choir and organ - as far as I can tell on my rather dodgy internet radio connection - and I certainly enjoyed it.

 

I was always led to believe it should be "sprit" for Byrd, Morley and Tomkins, but "spi-rit" for Smith. Something to do with Smith being a northerner IIRC!

 

JJK

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On a matter of principle, my preference is always for sticking with what the composer wrote, so it's "sprit" for me - but, having said that, this particular instance is hardly a drop-dead matter since neither option either enhances or spoils the music. I get more worked up about words like "temptation" (pronounced "temp-ta-see-on") and "thoroughout", where cutting out the antiquated syllable so often has a detrimental effect on the music's rhythm.

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On a matter of principle, my preference is always for sticking with what the composer wrote, so it's "sprit" for me - but, having said that, this particular instance is hardly a drop-dead matter since neither option either enhances or spoils the music. I get more worked up about words like "temptation"  (pronounced "temp-ta-see-on") and "thoroughout", where cutting out the antiquated syllable so often has a detrimental effect on the music's rhythm.

 

I happened to be in someone's car and caught the end of this. What a wonderful fruity voice for the prayers. Wasn't Hereford taken very slowly - and sure that pause in the middle could have been done away with.

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Guest Roffensis
On a matter of principle, my preference is always for sticking with what the composer wrote, so it's "sprit" for me - but, having said that, this particular instance is hardly a drop-dead matter since neither option either enhances or spoils the music. I get more worked up about words like "temptation"  (pronounced "temp-ta-see-on") and "thoroughout", where cutting out the antiquated syllable so often has a detrimental effect on the music's rhythm.

 

 

I still teach my choir the traditional way, eg temp-ta-cee-on, with the "ee" firmly in the head with a slight bit of "a" vowel in it. I also always watch out for the cadburys-finger-in- mouth-sideways shape, ie the mouth goes sideways, and the ee becomes too pronounced and reedy then. I find it's often good to take certain words apart in this manner to avoid "temptashion", or even "temptashun". It's horses for courses, the world is big enough for diversity, and it would be a dull world if all choirs sounded the same! :D

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Guest Roffensis
Indeed, Richard. I should perhaps have made it clear that in my my last post I was simply referring to the four-syllable split. I did not mean to imply anything about the vowel sounds to be used to achieve it.

;) lol!

All best, R

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Wasn't Hereford taken very slowly - and sure that pause in the middle could have been done away with.
I must admit it was exactly the right speed for me - very singable. I thought Howells's Sancta civitas sounded gorgeous too.

 

Nice set of chants too, though by the end I was getting slightly irritated by their tendency to pause before the final three notes and then gabble the end.

 

I was surprised to realise it's years since I've heard Jackson in G. I'd forgotten what a rattling good piece it is.

 

Wasn't the reading of the lessons really excellent? Seems to be par for the course at Exeter. The last time I was there we had a lesson from the Song of Songs (read by the dean, I think, though I couldn't see from up in the loft) and it was unbelievably sexy - you couldn't help thinking "phwoaar!"

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