Gregorian chant education in Southwark

Mulier Fortis has an interesting item from her native Archdiocese of Southwark, where His Hermeneuticalness is not yet the Archbishop… alas…. but I digress.

At the Cathedral of St. George a Gregorian chant schola is producing educational CDs for the singing of chant.

Chants of the Ordinary (Cantus Angeli) Volume 1 is the first of three educational CDs of Gregorian Chant designed for use in parishes. The Chant is performed by a small group of singers from the Choir of St George’s Cathedral, London, under the direction of Nick Gale. Nick is a UK-based teacher of Gregorian Chant and the Director of Music at St George’s Cathedral. Volume One features complete performances of seven Gregorian Masses, the Ambrosian Gloria, the Asperges and Vidi Aquam, three Credos and a selection of alleluias with verses.

The chanting is clear, as befits its educational purpose, and has a haunting quality, which its rival, Plainsong for Parishes, lacks. I am keen to find out when Volumes 2 (Advent – Candlemas) and 3 (Lent – Trinity) are due to be published.
My one gripe is that the Kyrie is the double form (for the Novus Ordo), not the triple, which might catch a few people out… however, it’s not impossible to work out what to chant for the Extraordinary Form, and I suppose that it would have been harder to do the other way around…
The website advertises Gregorian chant tuition sessions, both one-day and residential, which Nick Gale leads. The testimonials page indicates that he has taken the workshops far and wide, and they have been very successful in giving confidence to parish choirs of all abilities.

[mp3]10_03_07_asperges.mp3[/mp3]

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2 Responses to Gregorian chant education in Southwark

  1. Archicantor says:

    That’s a lovely sample track: flowing, good tempo, plausible as a “live” practical rendition (e.g. audible staggered breathing) worthy of imitation. And as you note, Father, something of a “haunting” quality. My one small quibble is that the singers have a slight case of what the late, great Dr. Mary Berry called “the ha-ha’s”, i.e. a tendency to introduce a slight aspiration on each note of a neume or melisma (as in this track on “mi-hi-hi-serere mei de-u-hus”). This especially afflicts boy choristers in English cathedrals. Dr. Berry always insisted on a seamless legato as the ideal.

  2. gmarie says:

    A friend of mine in the choir just purchased this last week for our choir in hopes that our director will allow us to do more chanting rather than just the cantor (which is me) doing it (after all, Gregorian chant is much more beautiful done by a skilled choir than as a solo). This CD is a good resource to help train the novice chant choir. I highly recommend it.