ANY HAVE ASKED when the Sacred Music Symposium will return. As you know, we had to cancel this event due to the severe restrictions 1 the California government imposed upon the taxpayers. We desire to bring back the Symposium as soon as possible, but this cannot happen if the government might decide to “lockdown” again. Just last week in Australia, the government closed a large section of the country due to six cases of Covid-19. (Not 60,000…literally six cases.) We cannot plan an event where participants purchase plane tickets if danger from a government shutdown still looms. Nor can this event be done virtually—because singing is something eminently PHYSICAL. Just as it would be impossible to have a “virtual” swimming competition, it is not possible to conduct the Sacred Music Symposium through a computer screen, and anyone who has attended in the past will understand why.
Forgotten Pieces: One of the great things about the Sacred Music Symposium has to do with reviving forgotten masterpieces. All the Mass settings we have chosen were virtually unknown before we revived them, yet participants agree that these Masses are—quite literally—the most powerful ever written. The very first Mass we did was the spectacular BEATA MATER by Father Guerrero, and years later a young woman who did graduate work in conducting at a major university (and currently directs music for a huge Catholic Church on the East Coast) told me in no uncertain terms that BEATA MATER is the greatest Mass ever written! An excellent example of a piece the Symposium revived is the 1937 “Pater Noster” by Monsignor Jules Van Nuffel:
* Mp3 Download • LIVE RECORDING
—Conducted by Dr. Horst Buchholz at the Sacred Music Symposium.
Download the score & rehearsal videos at #89161.
Setting The Lord’s Prayer? Many composers have set the “Pater Noster,” including an astonishing eight-part canon by Father Guerrero. From what we can tell, these settings would have been used during the singing of the Divine Office. (Before the reforms of Pope Pius XII, if memory serves, the PATER NOSTER was said at the beginning of every hour in the Breviary.) Both Guerrero and Palestrina set the “Pater Noster” more than once. Philippe Verdelot also set the “Pater Noster.” Perhaps readers could make me aware of other famous composers who did likewise.
Transposed For Male Voices: The “Pater Noster” by Monsignor Jules Van Nuffel has been “transposed downward” by Mr. Koen Vits so it can be sung by all men’s voices. I know this owing to a wonderful message we just received from Belgium:
Dear Mr. Ostrowski — I am Koen Vits, choral conductor from Belgium and creator of the website www.julesvannuffel.be. Since choirs in Belgium haven’t been allowed to sing together for a while due to Covid regulations, I recorded an arrangement I made of the Van Nuffel ‘Pater noster’ virtually. I know you are interested in this composer as well, so feel free to listen to it on YouTube.
Thank you, Mr. Vits, for sending your recording of the “Pater Noster” (1937) by Monsignor Jules Van Nuffel.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 In Los Angeles, we have basically been “locked down” for 14 months. The government restrictions are excruciating: e.g. women have been arrested for taking their children to the neighborhood park. I’ve even seen people swimming in the ocean while wearing a mask! Governor Gavin Newsom has been trying to get people in California to wear masks while inside their own homes. Newsom even asks that we wear a mask “in between bites” while eating. But even though Governor Newsom used governmental power to close restaurants for “average” folks, he was caught on video secretly dining at an opulent restaurant called the “French Laundry” in the Napa Valley wine country. Meanwhile, millions have lost their jobs, owing to the governmental restrictions. Until such things end, we cannot plan an international gathering of singers.