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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Much of the beauty of the older forms was lost and the hymns did not really become classical. We have reason to hope that the present reform of the breviary will also give us back the old form of the hymns. But meanwhile it seems necessary to keep the later text. This is the one best known, it is given in all hymnbooks and is still the only authorized form. Only in one case have we printed the older text of a hymn, number 57, “Urbs Jerusalem.” The modern form of this begins: “Caelestis urbs Jerusalem.” But in this case the people who changed it in the seventeenth century did not even keep its metre; so the later version cannot be sung to the old, exceedingly beautiful tune.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1913)

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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.