OW DO YOU SING hymns with your choir? Pipe organ with women singing the melody? Pipe organ with full choir singing SATB harmonies? How about a cappella with SATB harmonies? Or how about alternating between men and women? What about soprano descants and harmonizing the verses differently? If you search the Brébeuf Portal for “PASCHAL LAMB,” these results come up. They provide a nice opportunity to make some comparisons.
Organ w/ SATB • The following is my volunteer choir (recorded last Sunday):
“A Cappella” SATB • Some musicologists hit the roof if they catch you using the term a cappella. They prefer the term “unaccompanied.” Whatever you want to call it, Below is my volunteer choir singing SATB harmonies without organ accompaniment:
Studio Recording • Below is a ‘studio’ recording created by my wife and me. You will notice it lacks the richness of a full choir:
Mæstro Richard Clark • Finally, here’s the same piece—with a descant I wrote—being sung by participants of the Sacred Music Symposium. The fantastic organist is Mæstro Richard Clark, director of music for the Archdiocese of Boston:
Jeff’s Verdict • I love the pipe organ, especially the “flute” stops. However, after listening to all the examples above, it’s hard to beat a cappella SATB for hymnody. The arrangements in the Brébeuf Hymnal sound great that way, since they have excellent (“singable”) vocal tessitura and superb voice-leading.