måndag 11 mars 2013

Laetare Sunday went off nicely

Mass yesterday went better than I expected, with the introduction of the new translations and the new Cecilia. We got off to a bad start with "Den kärlek du till världen bar" (Cecilia 276), which is not right for the fourth Sunday in Lent, when the rigours of the season are relaxed, with the Introit Laetare Jerusalem (Rejoice Jerusalem). But we had the Swedish version of Mass XVII to sing from in Gregorian chant notation (unfortunately not how it is written in Cecilia), and that sounded fine. The high point was a rendering of Illumina oculos meos at the Communion, sung by the director of the Gosskör, who has studied the additional neum notation to the chant in the Graduale Triplex. It gives an exciting, exotic and slightly oriental edge to the music which lifts it a level above the ordinary method of singing Gregorian chant. When Gregorian chant was put into the notation invented by Guido d'Arrezi 1000 years ago, a lot of the ornamental detail could not be written down. There was probably even more, such as the quarter-tones used in music in the Middle East. Perhaps it was remembered for many years but eventually got lost or forgotten.

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