Saturday, March 24, 2007

A short study in a chanted Memorial Acclamation.

During my years at Our Lady of Walsingham Anglican Use Parish in Houston, we used the following Memorial Acclamation:

My predecessor had used it, and I inherited it. I still don’t know its origins. It is quite simple for the people to sing. I also noticed its construction:
1) “Christ has died” – the past tense, and the melody goes down one note and then returns.
2) “Christ is risen” – the present tense, and the melody rises even higher than it lowered previously, and then returns to the reciting note.
3) “Christ will come again” – the future tense, and melody rises still higher, and returns yet again to the reciting note by way of one note lowered.
It seems like a melody that is at once anchored and yet transcends.

Some years after taking the position there, I noticed a much closer translation to the Latin. It was the Memorial Acclamation in one of the alternative Great Thanksgiving Prayers in the new Book of Common Prayer. It went thusly: “We remember his death. We proclaim his resurrection. We await his coming in glory.” I also noticed the choice of the third person rather than the second, and considered that it might show more clearly the Episcopalian belief in the Real Presence. I put my own variation to this text to the same melody, but never used it. I’m not even sure that we could have, since this particular text is NOT included in the Book of Divine Worship. But here it is:

Now, what if the original Latin text were used with this melody? See what you think:


Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina.

I've been leaving comments on other people's blogs for a while now, and I decided that it's time to have one myself. So, I'm new at this. We'll just see how it works.

I am into:

* Roman Catholic Church music - I'm an organist/cantor, and I do chant some Gregorian from the Graduale Romaun with organ accompaniment from Nova Organi Harmonia.

*Organ building - I've been building organs for over 30 years. Currently I am involved in building organs with both state-of-the-art digital stops AND the highest quality pipes. The living, breathing pipe-work is essential for congregational singing, and no church should be without it. But much of the special color of the organ can be beautifully accomplished digitally. This combination makes it possible for small to medium sized parishes to afford an organ. This will be imperative for the success of the "reform of the reform".

* Change ringing - I've been ringing since 1978. There are more change ringing bell towers in Charleston than in any other city in North America. One tower is a RC parish, the others are (surprise!) Episcopalian. I ring at them all whenever I can.

* Bagpipes - Although I'm not a performer, my eldest son is. He and I perform bagpipes & organ together occasioinally. I am involved with running piping competitions at The Citadel (indoors) early in the year and the Highland Games in late September.

I think that posts on any of these topics will be interesting.