Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Colloquium 22, Full Day One reflections

From pure recollection, blurbs only:
-Morning prayer reflected both the exterior geography of SLC and Utah, relaxed and understated, but surrounded by the grandeur of mountains and desert and, the interior plenitude of the sights and sounds that eminate from with Madeleine Cathedral.
It's more or less assumed that CMAA folk read the "manual" as SOP. So the assignment of women to the gospel side of the nave and the guys to the epistle wasn't an issue evidently. I have to wonder, though, if we reached out to our peers who occupy the loyal opposition, somehow convinced them to actually attend a colloquium without chaperones (like when Westerners are given "full access" visits to North Korea), what first impression would that custom present unexplained to Second Vaticanistas? As it happens, there's always any number of female tenors who have to chant at the 8va lower, so the aesthetic intent isn't really going to be realized, and that's okay too. Just an observation, as the rationale for gender based scholas was planned, assigned and rendered exquisitely later in the day.
-What is it about men named "Jeffrey" associated in CMAA? In a word, not a one of 'em has an off switch. Maybe the most reserved Jeff might our guy Chironimo, JH of Florida, but ever' lovin' other guy would all be masters of speed dating as I understand the process. Two years ago Ostrowski taking on Pothier, semiology and all of Solemnes was to see the liturgical Tasmanian devil. Last year, Jeffrey Q., our witty ex-Wiccan wowed us with his pithy sense of timing and humor, not to mention his innovative and compelling compositions. Jeff Tucker? Well, he's still Jeff Tucker. But now we have Jeffrey Morse from good ol' California. When I finally met Morse prior to today, I immediately mind-hummed "California, here he comes, showing us how chant begun....." He's the total package and a hoot beyond description. I've sat next to some serious chant people in Intensives and Colloquia, armed with a G.Triplex, gregorian manuscript paper and a pencil doing what appears to me quantum mechanics. Well, Mr. Morse, he's telegraphing the origin, symbiology, purpose and practical benefit of the Laon and Gall notation rapid fire while circular breathing, and then he'll suddenly stop......"Hey, is this alright to talk about, you all getting this?" Oh yeah, we getting this! It was exciting, almost a chant vaudeville show where each "act" got better as time seemed to fly. And as a rabbi might say: "And the singing, who knew? Bunch of guys off the street, mazeltov!"
-The new composition format has changed and we had six folks including the redoubtable  David Hughes. But we made a mighty sextet, and look for some new works from  some new faces on the scene that will only reinforce what I said about composers in our CMAA/RCC offering their genius regardless of the pressures of IP issues!
-I love Dr. Mahrt. If there's gentler yet totally articulate musical aesthete and historian regarding sacred music from the holistic, ergo meaningful POV on the planet right now, I'd love to meet him or her and be a fly on the wall of a conversation among those two.
This year's Vesper's should be rewarding for all!
-The Mass. All the participating scholas and polyphonic choirs gave extraordinary (no pun) performances in a jam packed day. The critically acclaimed Mass by Christopher Mueller for SATB choir and congregation was left to the assignment to Wilco Brouwer's group, but that's standard operating procedure at a CMAA. This is only one of a handful of choral settings under the third edition Missal that isn't bound artistically to melodic and harmonic pre-conditions based solely upon whether a congregation can negotiate it or not. And it does so with density as well as integrity and accessibility.
And to cap off, a great day for another Californian, Fr. JEFFREY Keyes, whose liturgical sensibilities are austere and inviting, not forcing his formidable voice so as to invite the orational responses rather than to "demand or command" them.
Talk with y'all later.