Jeffrey Morse on Chant Intensive 2019: register now

You still have time to register at regular rates and avoid the late fees… Register by May 15th!

Once again, the CMAA will be offering the Summer Chant Intensive at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. The course is offered June 24-28, 2019.

This course has been a valuable springboard for many Catholic musicians who wanted to learn more about Gregorian chant. Many of us got our start in directing scholas and choirs because of this course, which was offered for the first time in 2008.

Our instructor this year will be Jeffrey Morse, who has provided us with this letter that includes more detail about the scope of the course:

… Over the years teaching chant to various groups at the Colloquium, many students had expressed their desire for more Chant instruction, particularly in subjects like the modes, but due to the time limitation of the Colloquium it was impossible to cover these topics.

If you were one of these students wanting more, the Chant Intensive is for you! The topics of the Chant Intensive are provided on the CMAA website, but I thought that perhaps it might prove helpful to expand a bit on the course description and syllabus, which can be a bit off putting and vague as they are necessarily short and succinct.

The Chant Intensive is offered for everyone, with little or no chant experience, but particularly for those with an intermediate level of knowledge of plainchant and even for the advanced. I think all levels will find something useful in this Intensive. While no chant knowledge, or little is required for the class, some will be helpful as the basics of Chant, the reading of the square notes, the staff, etc. will be done at a fairly good pace, serving as a review for the others in the first sessions. In my experience in teaching over the years, this is fine for beginners, but if you would like to go at a much slower pace, perhaps “Laus in Ecclesia Level I”, offered at the same time, might be a better fit.

In the course of the week, we will explore the 8 modes in which Chant is written. Their individual qualities and sounds, using solfège (do, re, mi) to learn the modes and be able to sing them. Modal studies will also focus on examples of Chant representing every mode, the
important notes in each, and how over centuries these notes have sometimes changed, as well as the psalm-tone for each mode. In the learning of the psalm-tones, or the little melodies to which the psalms are sung, we will learn how exactly the psalms are sung to each of these melodies and the rules of “Pointing” accents and preparatory syllables that make it possible. Emphasis too, will be placed on how a good unified, choral tone is cultivated, as well as good basic vocal techniques helpful for those students with choirs or even for themselves! The simple and natural rhythm of Chant, from the simple syllabic chants of the Ordinary of the Mass and Gregorian hymns, to the melismatic glories of the alleluias and Graduals and everything in between will be explored thoroughly in singing through as much of the Gregorian repertoire as possible, with time spent on teaching the direction of Chant (chironomy), with students able to practice the direction techniques learned with the group.

Lastly, we will be returning to the very sources of the Chant in a basic introduction to the reading of the notation of the St Gall school (9th century) which is the earliest notation in the Western world. We will talk about how these manuscripts helped in the melodic restoration of the Chant in the late 19th and early 20th century by the monks of Solesmes, and we will discover how their amazing subtleties, not carried through in the square note notation of later centuries, can inform and finesse our interpretation of the Chant breathing freshness, light, and life into the sacred texts it serves.

For those wanting a more thorough grounding and exposure to Gregorian Chant than what is possible at the Colloquium, this class is for you. I am grateful to the CMAA for offering the Chant Intensive each year, for I can think of nowhere else where such a complete education in the Chant is offered in such a concentrated fashion. With this class, it is hoped that the students will gain the confidence and skills to form and direct their own scholas or choirs, or become better directors of already existing ones, to bring this unparalleled music of the Church forward to our parishes and future generations, this music with its unique and singular ability to lift minds and hearts to God.

Looking forward to seeing old friends at the Chant Intensive and making new ones, singing with you all and passing it on! See you in Pittsburgh!

For all the information about the upcoming Chant courses in Pittsburgh, visit our website to find information about Registration, Housing, Schedule, and more: CMAA SUMMER COURSES

View a short video about the summer courses here:

REGISTER ONLINE NOW

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Summer music and liturgy events

Still making plans for the summer? Here are some of the educational opportunities being offered in sacred music and liturgy:

  • The Sacred Music Colloquium of the Church Music Association of America: a six-day program including fully sung Masses in English, Latin, and Spanish, providing an experience of the liturgy with its full ceremonial and sacred music. Participants join choirs under expert instructors to learn and sing Gregorian chant and choral polyphony. This year the Colloquium Masses will be held at the cathedral in Philadelphia July 1-6, and the polyphony choirs will be directed by Timothy O’Donnell, Charles Cole, David Hughes, and MeeAe Cecilia Nam.
  • Chant courses sponsored by the Church Music Association of America: in the week preceding the Colloquium, two chant programs will be presented on the campus of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh: our “Chant Intensive” program under conductor Jeffrey Morse, and the first level of the “Laus in Ecclesia” cantor training program under Br. Mark Bachmann OSB of Clear Creek Abbey. Graduate credit is available for both programs through Duquesne.
  • Michael Alan Anderson is directing a week-long workshop on chant and polyphony presented by Eastman School of Music, to be held in New York City June 10-14.
  • Janet Coxwell, David Woodcock, and Andrew Carwood will be directing the Early Music Academy Boston program July 27-Aug 2, to be held at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., studying works of Palestrina, Clemens, and Guerrero.
  • Patrick Torsell will direct a chant camp for children and youth 7-18 years of age in Harrisburg, PA, June 24-28; a video on-line has more information.
  • St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York will offer graduate-level courses in sacred music this summer, on site and on-line; the on-line classes start June 3, and on-site programs start July 22: descriptions are available on the Musica Sacra Forum.
  • A retreat for church musicians will be offered August 16-20 in Sleepy Eve, MN: a description of the program with liturgies offered according to the Usus Antiquior of the Roman rite is offered in this PDF file, and registration information is at the event’s Facebook page.
  • Schola Cantus Angelorum is presenting its seventh summer liturgy conference in Spokane May 28-31 on the campus of Gonzaga University. Speakers include Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Bishop Thomas Daly, Bishop Robert Vasa, Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Nathan Schmiedicke, Msgr. Richard Huneger, Canon Lawyer Magdalen Ross, Rev. Theodore Lange, Rev. Gabriel Mosher OP, Douglas Schneider, Alex Begin and Enzo Selvaggi. More information is at https://sacredliturgyconference.org/
  • The Monastère Saint-Benoît of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon is presenting the sixth annual Sacra Liturgia Summer School, in English, at La Garde-Freinet in France, August 3-16.
  • Composer-conductor Paul Jernberg is presenting a Sacred Music Workshop for clergy, musicians, and laity June 24-29 on the beautiful campus of Northeast Catholic College in Warner, New Hampshire.
  • St. Vitus Parish (FSSP) in Los Angeles is presenting its Sacred Music Symposium June 24-28 under the direction of Jeffrey Ostrowski.
  • Daniel Saulnier, former director of the paleography workshop at Solesmes, is presenting an introductory workshop on Gregorian chant August 6-9 as part of the Choralies festival at Vaison-la-Romaine.
  • The Gregorian Institute of Canada will present its summer conference August 8-11 at the Abbey of St.-Benoit-du-Lac in Quebec, with musicologist Juan Carlos Asensio Palacios presenting on Hispanic (“Mozarabic”) plainchant.

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Sweet injuries!

Very few of the hymns in common use employ irony, in the sacred way that St. John’s Gospel does. The poems of the martyr St. Robert Southwell, when set to music, are a happy exception that is slowly gaining traction. The beautiful I Sought the Lord, about the mystery of prevenient grace, is another. Another exception very appropriate for this week is My Song Is Love Unknown. This excellent rendering leaves out one poignant verse, given here, which recalls the Reproaches–although in Gospel terms..

The whole hymn is worth long reflection.

Why, what hath my Lord done? What makes this rage and spite?

He made the lame to run, He gave the blind their sight,

Sweet injuries! Yet they at these Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

 

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A blessed Holy Week to all

May the worship and sacrifices of this sacred time bear fruit in the life of the Church.

If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ’s body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshiped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ’s body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.

-St. Gregory Nazianzen

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