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 soul is distracted from that which is sung by a chant that is employed for the purpose of giving pleasure. But if the singer chant for the sake of devotion, he pays more attention to what he says, both because he lingers more thereon, and because, as Augustine remarks (Confess. x, 33), “each affection of our spirit, according to its variety, has its own appropriate measure in the voice, and singing, by some hidden correspondence wherewith it is stirred.” The same applies to the hearers, for even if some of them understand not what is sung, yet they understand why it is sung, namely, for God's glory: and this is enough to arouse their devotion.
— St. Thomas Aquinas

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Mesmerizing Credo Setting (SATB) • After Machaut
published 3 April 2017 by Jeff Ostrowski

HIS YEAR’S Symposium will be spectacular, and the response—from all over the world—has been overwhelming. The musical program, which is close to being finalized, almost seems a direct response to an article I wrote last January entitled True Vs. False Diversity. We have a bewildering variety of styles, and new works by famous composers will be revealed.

The Credo, arranged by Chaumonot, uses 14th-century polyphony by a Catholic priest named Guillaume de Machaut, who died in 1377AD:

    * *  PDF Download • CREDO based on Guillaume de Machaut

Fr. Machaut’s harmonies begin at the 0:28 marker:


REHEARSAL VIDEOS for each individual voice—along with PDF score—await you at #5984. If you like them, please consider donating $5.00 per month.

274 CREDO TWO YOUNG LADIES IN HIGH SCHOOL, Sarah and Jacqueline, generously helped record the rehearsal videos for these 14th-century harmonies. Sing through each individual line (cf. #5984) because the power is revealed “horizontally.” We created the rehearsal videos to help choirmasters, who have such a difficult vocation! Just the other day, I was pondering how many things music directors do behind the scenes that nobody sees. Even staying in contact with the choir members—phone calls, text messages, emails, and so forth—requires much time and energy. It’s truly a “twenty-four seven” job.

The PDF score mentions how Canon Machaut lived during a difficult period of church history. The Avignon papacy and the Western Schism were both longer in duration than I’d realized. The times in which we live are also difficult, especially from the standpoint of certain members of the hierarchy. Last month, for example, I read a scandalous interview with a high-ranking cardinal that can only be described as disgusting and heretical. For myself, I find it comforting to study history and recall how much the Church has withstood.

Good Catholics in those days sought divine assistance, and we must do the same. Moreover, when you examine the 14th-century Credo used for Chaumonot’s edition, you’ll agree they certainly knew how to create beautiful manuscripts in those days!