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 lives with his wife and two children.
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"Oh, what sighs I uttered, what tears I shed, to mingle with the waters of the torrent, while I chanted to Thee, O my God, the psalms of Holy Church in the Office of the Dead!"
— Isaac Jogues, upon finding Goupil's corpse (1642)

No Greater Advent Piece Exists
published 3 September 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

ES, IT’S ONCE AGAIN TIME to start thinking about Advent! We begin with a splendid Advent hymn: Creátor alme síderum. The original title was Cónditor alme síderum, but four Jesuits working for Pope Urban VIII (d. 1644) wrecked most of the Breviary hymns—causing endless confusion. Correct accentuation is crucial since CÓNDITOR means “maker” whereas CONDÍTOR means “pickler.”

The famous tune can be played on this Woofer Guitar:

Before you listen to the full version by Guerrero, explore the Tenor and Soprano only:

Do you see the beautiful counterpoint with just two voices? In real life, one hears clearly the different vocal sections, and the counterpoint sounds awesome. In a YouTube version, however, the voices sound “flattened.”

I couldn’t resist recording it, even though my voice singing all the parts never sounds quite right:

    * *  PDF Download • “Cónditor alme síderum”


EQUAL VOICES : YouTube   •   Mp3 Audio

SOPRANO : YouTube   •   Audio

ALTO : YouTube   •   Audio

TENOR : YouTube   •   Audio

BASS : YouTube   •   Audio

The reason I couldn’t resist is because this composition is so powerful. It’s not even music anymore … Guerrero has here created a force of nature.

By the way, the tempo could probably be slightly slower, but I don’t recommend taking it so slowly that the plainsong in the Soprano line becomes difficult to recognize.