If you aren’t planning the Gregorian proper for Laetare, consider this excellent step from the Simple English Propers.
(Thanks Noel Jones)
The Byron Consort of the Harrow School is making a U.S. tour, and you should be sure to go.
This US tour which includes appearances both Washington D.C. and New York City. In Washington the choir will sing at St Matthew’s Cathedral, St Mary Mother of God, Christ Church Alexandria and at the Basilica of the National Shrine; in New York at the choir will sing at St Mary’s Times Square, Trinity Wall Street, the Basilica of Old St Patrick’s Cathedral and at the Cathedral of St John the Divine. Shortly after returning to England, the choir is scheduled to sing Choral Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
The Byron Consort is Harrow’s elite vocal ensemble and was founded in 2001 by Philip Evans (then Assistant Director of Music and now House Master of Moretons) who continues to direct the choir.It consists of between three and five Harrow boys and one adult on each voice part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass) – the choir sings a mixture of unaccompanied sacred and secular music, most of which comes from the Renaissance, Romantic and Modern periods. Many of the boys are ex-choristers from leading cathedral and collegiate choirs – there have recently been representatives from the choirs of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury, Chichester, Westminster and Winchester Cathedrals, St George’s Chapel, Windsor and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, as well as a former member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir – most of the boys are Music Award Holders at Harrow School.
The schedule is as follows:
- Saturday 2nd April at 17:30 – Mass at St Matthew’s RC Cathedral, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue NW
- Sunday 3rd April at 09:00 – Mass at St Mary, Mother of God Church, 727 5th Street NW (Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, celebrated by Msgr Andrew Wadsworth)
- Sunday 3rd April at 16:30 Mass at Roman Catholic National Basilica, 400 Michigan Avenue NE
- Monday 4th April at 18:00 Choral Evensong at Christ Church, 118 N Washington Street, Alexandria
- Tuesday 5th April at 19:30 Concert at St Mary’s, Times Square, 145 W 46th Street
- Wednesday 6th April at 13:00 Lunchtime Recital at Trinity Church, Wall Street & Broadway
- Wednesday 6th April at 17:00 Choral Evensong at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue
- Wednesday 6th April at 19:15 Old Harrovians Drinks Party & Recital at The Brook Club, 111 East 54th Street
- Thursday 7th April at 14:00 Recital at The Churchill School, 301 E 29th Street
- Friday 8th April at 12:30 Lunchtime Recital at the Basilica of St Patrick’s Old Cathedral, 263 Mulberry Street
Here are some audio samples
- Henry Gorecki – Amen (MP3 – 5.97MB)
- Gustav Holst – Nunc dimittis (MP3 – 3.45MB)
- James MacMillan – A Child’s Prayer (MP3 – 4MB)
- Arvo Pärt – Da pacem domine (MP3 – 3.49MB
- Thomas Tallis – O nata lux (MP3 – 1.75MB)
- John Taverner – Christe Jesu (MP3 – 3.5MB)
- Charles Wood – Hail, gladdening light (MP3 – 3.2MB)
I received several mystified emails: surely you made a mistake that this chant you call Laetare Jerusalem is suitable for the processional? My answer is: not only it is suitable; it where the day gets the name. It is normative because it is the first choice of the GIRM, which is consistent with Vatican II’s placement of Gregorian chant as primary, and, moreover, is the only introit to grow up alongside the existence of the day itself. So not only it is suitable and normative; anything else, and least of all some random hymn with an entirely different text, doesn’t quite do it.
I like this presentation because it is unadorned with accompaniment, and it happens to be beautifully sung as well.