HE WORLD OF MUSIC is not the same as it was 100 years ago. For example, even the most poverty-stricken American owns a smart phone these days, and can instantly listen to millions of great recordings (completely free of charge). Anyone with internet access can turn on their phone and enjoy, for example, the magnificent performance of MOZART’S REQUIEM conducted by Sir Georg Solti in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral (Vienna) on 5 December 1991, on the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. Has this caused a greater appreciation by Americans of classical music? Someday, I would like to address that important question.
Quality Vs. Quantity: When I was a teenager, a man was boisterously bragging about how “spectacular” his musical program was. I remember he proudly rattled off all the composers performed at his Church: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Hermann Schroeder, Gabriel Fauré, and so forth. But when I visited his church, the music sounded awful—because it was very poorly performed. I began to understand that “quantity” does not equal “quality.”
Ugly Scores: I am willing to produce ugly-looking scores if they lead to a beautiful performance. An example of such a score can be found at #53683—which is Credo VII with added polyphonic snippets by Father Francisco Guerrero. In essence, the score teaches musicians it isn’t necessary to sing the entire Creed in polyphony. One can “mix” it with plainsong. Below is an example of a “polyphonic snippet” found in that ugly-looking score. You will notice Father Guerrero takes the chant melody (“Beata Mater”) and creates a perfect canon between Soprano and Alto. Choirs really enjoy singing canons.
M Rehearsal videos for each individual voice await you at #53683.
Sadness: Most readers won’t click on the individual voice parts, and that makes me sad. And most readers won’t download the free PDF, either. When we post a “scandalous” liturgical video, we get 40,000 views. I wish we could get as many views for the rehearsal videos, because we must revive authentic sacred music!
Messing With Byrd: If one serves in a parish where only English is allowed, someone should (perhaps) create an English version of the Guerrero canon above. We have sung that canon as contrafactum with several other texts, which you can find at the Lalemant Polyphonic website. Many times, people at the university sing music they don’t realize is actually contrafactum; e.g. Byrd’s “I will not leave you comfortless” (which is an English contrafactum of Byrd’s “Non vos relínquam órphanos”).