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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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modern: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

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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.