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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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

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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!