About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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The Vatican Gradual cheered our hearts by restoring the authentic form of the hymns therein. But there are very few hymns in the Gradual. We looked forward to the continuation of the same work, where it was so much more needed, in the Vesperal, and then in the new Breviary. Alas, the movement, for the present, has stopped. The new Vesperal and then the Breviary contain Urban VIII’s versions. So at present we have the odd situation that in the Gradual the old form of the hymns is restored; but when the same hymn (for instance “Vexilia regis”) comes again in the Vesperal, we must sing the seventeenth-century mangling.
— Adrian Fortescue (25 March 1916)

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Resplendent Christmas Piece for Two Voices!
published 22 November 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

HRISTMAS IS APPROACHING. And let me explain why you’ll want the following piece. First of all, it’s gorgeous and incorporates Christmas carols 1 in a fascinating way. Moreover, complete verses are provided for Christmas and Epiphany, making it possible to use this piece for multiple Sundays. I couldn’t help recording a simulation video; please excuse my voice on the really high soprano notes:

REHEARSAL VIDEOS for each individual voice have been created—locate #6800.


Download the ORGANIST SCORE and VOCALIST SCORE at #6800.

MAKE SURE you pray through the English translation included in the vocal score. These lines—written by the 5th-century Christian poet, Sedulius—are tremendously powerful. The full poem has twenty-three verses, and each stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet, which you can see. However, it never works out perfectly because the Breviary eliminates some stanzas and adds doxologies (disrupting the poem by Sedulius).

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NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   Some will be surprised that Fr. Nicolas du Peron (a French-Canadian Roman Catholic priest) appreciated these carols, but we must remember that Canada was an English colony for many centuries. I suspect there’s much “co-mingling” of English/French. Benjamin Franklin wanted England to give Canada to the USA in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, but that didn’t occur.