Jenny Donelson, CMAA Academic Liaison, on an upcoming conference:
Esteemed organist and pedagogue Dr. Ann Labounsky and the music department at Duquesne are partnering with the CMAA to present a conference on the subject of improvisation:
The Aesthetics and Pedagogy of Charles Tournemire: Chant and Improvisation in the Liturgy
October 21-23, 2012 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA
Our model? A man steeped in chant and the liturgical traditions of the Church: Charles Tournemire.
In his time, Tournemire’s work as an improviser was well-known throughout the world, and myriad students flocked to him to learn the craft. Being steeped in the French symphonic tradition, having studied Dom Guéranger’s Liturgical Year, served as organist for decades at Ste. Clotilde in Paris, and being keenly interested in the role of the organist as a theological commentator on the action of the liturgy, Tournemire’s shadow rightly extends to this day in his writings, recordings, and lineage of students.
The revitalization of sacred music in our time must take into account not only Gregorian chant and polyphonic choral music, but also the proper role of the organ at Mass, and this role essentially includes improvisation. It’s our hope that this conference will make a significant contribution towards understanding that role through the lens of Tournemire’s magnificent example.
The location? A city filled with a large number of wonderful organs and a wonderful cast of French organ scholars and experts. Pittsburgh is really an ideal location for a conference like this, thanks in no small part to the work and teaching of organists like Ann Labounsky and Robert Sutherland Lord. More information on attending the conference will be forthcoming in June, but for now we’re accepting proposals for papers and recitals that relate to the topic. More information on the conference and the submission process are available here.
The conference will explore the aesthetic, liturgical, theoretical, and technical principles of Tournemire’s improvisations and teachings on improvisation, the use of Gregorian chant in organ improvisation, the role of organ improvisations in the Catholic liturgy, and pedagogical approaches to teaching organ improvisation. It will include liturgies, opportunities for the study of improvisation at the organ, discussion groups, and recital programs and papers relating to the conference theme. Join us!
Below is a sneak peak at some of the morning breakouts we have to look forward to at this year’s Sacred Music Colloquium in Salt Lake City. Remember that if you register during the Octave of Easter a copy of Dr. William Mahrt’s The Musical Shape of the Liturgy will be on its way to you in the mail.
Sister Marie Agatha Ozah, HHCJ, Ph.D.:
Gregorian Chant and World Music: Tensions and Solutions for the Liturgy
Chants are some of the oldest religious music genres of the world, and their centrality in Buddhist, Hindu, Judaic, Christian and Islamic worship cannot be over emphasized. In the Christian Church alone, one can name Byzantine, Ethiopian, Anglican, and Gregorian chants, for example, as indispensable vehicles of religious worship. This lecture explores the significance and uses of chants in some world religions. It will focus specifically on Gregorian Chant in the Roman Catholic liturgy.
The traditionalism and canonicity that Gregorian Chant enjoyed for centuries was disputed by the Second Vatican Council, which encouraged the use of other forms of world music as backdrop in the liturgy. The introduction and use of world music in the liturgy has fostered the continuous decline of the use of Gregorian Chant, an issue that has become a cause of concern among sacred music scholars. The dilemma of whether or not the Roman Catholic liturgy is a common ground where tensions can be resolved persists today.
Vernacular Hymns: The Good, the Bad, and the Heretical
Although sung Propers are always the best choice for the Mass, parish musicians are still often called upon to select hymns for Mass, devotions, and the Liturgy of the Hours. Choosing among the various options can be a daunting task. This lecture begins with an examination of the importance of hymns in the Church from apostolic times, preceding the Reformation by many centuries. Then, individual hymns will be sung and analysed for their usefulness in teaching and evangelization, focusing primarily upon textual and theological considerations.
Matthew J. Meloche:
Maintain and Strengthen Your Position and Program
This practical course will show you how to maintain and strengthen your current position and program, whether you are music director of a large parish or direct a small choir. Special emphasis will be given to changing the direction of a program, with positive advice for how to do so while keeping your leadership role secure.
See the complete list.
The registration deadline for the 4th Annual Musica Sacra Florida Gregorian Chant conference is this Friday, March 30th.
If you haven’t registered yet, find out more and register.
You and your choir are cordially invited to attend the 4th annual Musica Sacra Florida Gregorian Chant Conference, to be held at Ave Maria University on April 13th and 14th. This year’s conference will have two new features.
First, there will be more intensive workshops on the following subjects:
* Semiology (Study of the ancient chant notation)
* Chironomy (Gregorian chant conducting)
* Chant in English
* Church documents on sacred music, and history of sacred music in the 20th century
Second, both forms of the Mass will be offered:
* Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form
* English Mass in the Ordinary Form
Participants will get to sing Latin and/or English chant in the closing Mass of the conference, which will be on Saturday, April 14th, at 5pm. This will be an anticipated Sunday Mass for the 2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday).
The conference is open to musicians, clergy, and parishioners. All are welcome!
There is a world of treasures in the Catholic music world, and they are all there for us if we are willing to take the step. You can discover this whole world and bring your discoveries back to your parish, so that it can become a place where heavenly beauty has a home. Come to the Sacred Music Colloquium in Salt Lake in June. It’s one week that will change your life forever, and provide benefits to your parish for decades to come.
Registration is now open.