My computer needs adjustments. According to my cat Belaud, the problem is with the mouse. The mouse is making the cursor move around rapidly and erase entire paragraphs. I will call a computer specialist.
Moreover, according to Belaud, there is a degree of rivalry between my computer and WordPress. Both have a mind of their own. Belaud tells me that WordPress saves my drafts and when the time comes to push the button, the publish button, it has to make a choice between drafts and leaves drafts behind. I try to log out, but a window pops up informing me not to “leave this page.” So I edit the page, in the belief that something has gone wrong.
* * *
Belaud the cat tells me not to worry. If I take action prematurely, says he, there could be dire consequences. He suggests a diplomatic approach to solving this problem and also warns never to publish a text in the evening. Belaud informs me that evenings are to be dedicated to household pets and to rest. Besides he reminds me that I am, at the best of times, a very tired person and should wait until morning before doing anything as drastic as clicking on a publish button.
This is, of course, cheap psychology on Belaud’s part, but given his noble origins and assertive personality, I cannot ignore his caveats. But I believe he is going too far by stating that I am “in denial.” I have told him that it isn’t denial but perseverance and a wish to belong.
* * *
At any rate, I will, at some later point, insert the word Camerata in my last blog, but for the time being, I am being sent to the dog house to reflect on the human condition in general and my fallability in particular.
I will therefore call a computer specialist and then serve my sentence: twenty-four hours in the dog house. But I will rise again.
Take good care of yourselves.
(Click on picture to enlarge.)
December 28, 2011
In 1453, when the Byzantine empire was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, a large number of Greek scholars fled carrying with them many of the works of ancient Greece. This led to a genuine rebirth in Western Europe, aptly called the Renaissance.
The Renaissance has an itinerary. It began in Italy and then spread to France and to other countries in central and western Europe. As scholars became acquainted with the writings of the Greeks, drastic changes occurred in every area: literature, philosophy, painting (perspective, the Golden Section, Divine proportions, etc.), music (monody), literature, philosophy, education…
However let us focus on the Academies.
The name finds its origin in Plato (424/423 BCE– 348/347 BCE), but we still have schools named academy. Moreover in 1635, when he ruled France, Richelieu founded the Académie-Française. At present, l’Académie-Française is one of the five academies constituting the prestigious Institut de France. When Richelieu founded the Académie-Française, he gave it the task of regulating the French language and writing a French dictionary, which it published in the last decade of the seventeenth century.
Camerata: an informal academy
But we must return to Italian-language lands where a large number of formal academies were founded. However, less formal academies, academies resembling salons, began to sprout. The most famous of these academies was Count Bardi‘s Camerata, founded in Florence, in 1573. Vincenzo Galilei was the foremost member of Count Bardi’s Camerata whose membership also included Giulio Caccini.
Vincenzo Galilei was a man of considerable erudition and had studied music under Giuseffo Zarlino (31 January or 22 March 1517 – 4 February 1590), the maestro de cappella at San Marco, in Venice. This was the position Franco-Flemish musician Adriaan Willaert, the founder of the Venetian School, had held and after him, Cipriano da Rore.
Giuseffo Zarlino, the author of Le Istitutioni harmoniche, published in 1558, is arguably Europe’s most prominent theorist before Jean-Philippe Rameau (see A Portrait of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Counterpoint & Harmony) and he had been a good teacher to Vincenzo.
However, a quarrel separated the two when Vincenzo Galilei started to scrutinize Greek texts. For one thing, Vincenzo opposed the extremely complex contrapuntal writing of the Venetian School. You may remember that, according to some scholars, Carlo Gesualdo had destroyed the madrigal when he published madrigals that contained 6 or 7 voices.
Monody and equal temperament
Vincenzo’s preference was for a less complex texture, as was Caccini’s preference as well as Count Bardi’s. In fact, Vincenzo championed Caccini’s monody: one voice or the solo voice, as did Bardi. Count Bardi wrote a Discorso mandato a Caccini sopra la musica antica (1580; “Discourse to Caccini on Ancient Music”) in which “he develops ideas similar to those of Caccini and Galilei.” Giulio Caccini (8 October 1551 – 10 December 1618) is the author of Le nuove musiche (1602; “The New Music”).
As for Vincenzo Galileo, he is the author of a Dialogo della musica antica, et della moderna (1581; “Dialogue about Ancient and Modern Music”) in which he differed from his former teacher not only regarding monody, but also on the thornier matter of just intonation (tuning).
Most listeners cannot hear the difference, but there is difference between F sharp and G flat, even though these pitches are produced using the same key: the first of the three black keys of a piano keyboard. Now, it is possible for a violinist to give this pitch its just intonation, but keyboard instruments do not have that flexibility.
The matter was resolved by dividing the interval, or space, i.e. between ‘do’(C) and ‘si’ (B) into twelve equal tones or temperaments. Vincenzo Galilei favoured this slightly distorted division because it allowed instruments to play together. According to the author of the Encyclopædia Britannica‘s entry on “equal temperament,”
Vincenzo Galilei (father of the astronomer Galileo Galilei) proposed a system of equal intervals for tuning the lute.
Copernicus and Galileo Galilei made what is perhaps the most important discovery of the Renaissance. They discovered heliocentrism. But Vincenzo’s contribution to music cannot be triviliazed. He created the ensemble, instruments playing together,.
In 1722, Johann Sebastian Bach published a first set of twenty-four preludes and fugues. Twenty years later, in 1742, he published a second set of twenty-four preludes and fugues which, combined with the initial set, constitute the forty-eight Preludes and Fugues of the Wohltemperierte Klavier (BWV 846-893): the Well-Tempered Clavier. JS Bach’s was not a theorist, but a Kapellmeister, a teacher, and one of history’s finest composers. His “Forty-Eight,” as they are often called, demonstrate the usefulness of the somewhat artificial, but very practical, equal temperament. Twelve-tone music has survived, which is a tribute to Vincenzo Galilei’s inventive mind.
I have reflected on the ability to create the appropriate illusion. It belongs to the realm of ingenuity and creativity. In fact, and ironically, illusion is often the better and sometimes the only way of conveying the truth. Jesus spoke in parables. He used obliqueness. But isn’t art always somewhat indirect, metaphorical?
 “Giulio Caccini.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 27 Dec. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/87773/Giulio-Caccini>.
 “Giovanni Bardi, conte di Vernio.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 27 Dec. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/53135/Giovanni-Bardi-conte-di-Vernio>.
 “equal temperament.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 27 Dec. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/190596/equal-temperament>.
© Micheline Walker
28 December 2011
Marian hymnology and the development of polyphony
Not only is Marian hymnology an immense domain, but it is also an integral part of the story of polyphony. For instance, in the Middle Ages, as polyphonic music was developing, monophonic hymns were sometimes transformed into Motets, a popular polyphonic form. Monks sung and still sing the four Marian Antiphons during the Canonical Hours and do so in Gregorian Chant, hence monophonically, but composers have drawn inspiration in Mariology. The Ave Maria is my best example. This explains the inclusion, in my last post, of polyphonic versions of the four Marian antiphons: Handel, Vivaldi, Mozart…
The Hymns to Mary
There are about 32 songs celebrating the Virgin and these contain the four antiphons. All are listed in Wikipedia, so I will provide the required link: Hymns to Mary.
It is not possible to enter into a discussion of all Marian hymns. For the purposes of this blog, I have therefore chosen to focus on the four prayers that are included in the daily liturgy of Notre-Dame de Paris. The Notre-Dame website is particularly informative. However, services at Notre-Dame are more numerous than in ordinary Parish churches. Some Christians attend Mass daily, but most do so only on Sunday and on Feast days.
Antiphons and Prayers
At Notre-Dame de Paris, Marian hymnology includes the antiphons, named antiphonies, but daily liturgy also comprises four prayers to Mary: the Hail Mary (Ave Maria), the Angelus, the Magnificat and the Ave Maris Stella. These are canticles (cantiques), not psalms. I have listed them chronologically and all four are recited or chanted before the antiphons or antiennes. I will therefore confine this presentation to the Ave Maria, the Angelus, the Magnificat and the Ave Maris Stella.
1. The Ave Maria or Hail Mary
The Hail Mary or Ave Maria is a prayer composed by Eudes de Sully who was the archbishop of Paris between 1196 and 1208. Eudes composed the Hail Mary by adding a conclusion to the Marian antiphons “sung during the Annunciation and Visitation festivals.”[ii] The text is based on the words spoken to Mary by the archangel Gabriel.
2. The Angelus (Wikipedia)
The Angelus is a prayer introduced by Saint Bonaventure, a disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone (1181/1182 – 1226) and a professor of theology in Paris from 1248 to 1257. Saint Bonaventure was also a friend of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He included the Angélus in the services of Franciscan monks when he became general minister of the Friars Minor, in 1257. The Angélus was sung in praise of the “Incarnation of the Son of God three times a day.”[iii] At Notre-Dame, the Angélus is recited each morning before the first mass and it is also recited at noon.
3. The Magnificat
The Magnificat was sung by Mary to her cousin Elizabeth after Elizabeth told Mary she was bearing a child, Saint John the Baptist, at a rather late age. As for Mary, the archangel Gabriel had announced to her that she would bear and give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. The text of the Magnificat “uses the words of several Old Testament songs.”[iv] It is a Thanksgiving or Action de Grâces hymn sung at Notre-Dame in Vespers services. The Magnificat could be the earliest Marian hymn.
4. The Ave Maris Stella (FR-Wikipedia)
The Ave Maris Stella (Mary Star of the Sea) is probably, after the Magnificat, the oldest hymn dedicated to Mary. It has been attributed to Bernard de Clairvaux, but it may date back to Saint Venantius Fortunatus (530 – 609) who lived in the sixth century, or to Paulus Diaconus (Paul le Diacre or Paul the Deacon) who lived in the eighth century. The Ave Maris Stella contains seven (7) stanzas, 24-syllable each. Guillaume Dufay (c. 1397– 1474) wrote an Ave Maris Stella. (Wikipedia)
It is unlikely that prayers and hymns to Mary I have mentioned constitute a complete répertoire of Marian hymnology. Some undoubtedly belonged to an oral tradition and are lost. In other words, many were not written down, nor were they notated (music). Notation, as we saw in another blog, starts, quite primitively, with Guido of Arezzo, the author of the Micrologus.
It would be my opinion that what an examination of Marian hymnology reveals, first and foremost, is the degree to which Christians worship the mother of God. The word “intercession” may well hold the key to this phenomenon. Mary is viewed as kind and motherly. She is therefore considered as more likely to hear one’s prayers and convey them to a sterner God the Father and to Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God.
All the great medieval Cathedrals of Europe are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, an eloquent tribute to Mary’s presence in the mind of most Christians.
(Please click on the title to see the video or hear the music.)
- Ave Maris Stella, Bernard de Clairvaux, or Venance Fortunat or Paulus Diaconus (embedded)
- Ave Maris Stella, Guillaume Dufay
- Magnificat, Bach BWV 243. Nr.1 “Magnificat anima mea”
- Magnificat, Pergolesi
- Ave Maria, Schubert
[i] “Mary”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 26 Dec. 2012
© Micheline Walker
25 December 2011
Hymns to the Virgin Mary, or Marian hymnology, as I will call it, constitute a substantial part of sacred music. Moreover, Marian art is abundant. Mary’s main feasts are the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception, three of which are related to the Nativity Cycle. The exception would be the Assumption. Mary did not die. She ascended into heaven.
1. The Annunciation
The Feast of the Annunciation commemorates the day on which the Archangel Gabriel visited Mary to announce that she would bear and give birth to the son of God. The Feast of the Annunciation (see Rubens, below) is celebrated on 25 March, exactly nine months before Christmas Day, when Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. The above image is by Paolo de’ Matteis (9 February 1662 – 26 January 1728).
2. The Nativity
The central Marian feast is the Nativity. The Nativity is in fact a celebration of the birth of Christ, but Marian feasts are rooted in the Nativity cycle. Where Marian art is concerned, the Nativity includes portrayals of the Shepherds in adoration, of the visit by the Kings of Orient, as well as portrayals of the Presentation of Jesus as firstborn son, and the Purification of Mary. Just below, I have inserted a visit by the Shepherds, by Gerard van Honthorst (4 November 1592 – 27 April 1656), a Dutch Golden Age artist who is also called Gerrit van Honthorst.
3. The Assumption
Mary did not die. She ascended into heaven and her Assumption is celebrated on 15 August. In the Eastern Church, Byzantine Emperor Maurice selected 15 August as the date of the feast of Dormition and Assumption. The 15th of August is also the Acadian’s Feast Day. Acadians are the French-speaking inhabitants of Canada’s Atlantic provinces. Their national anthem is the Ave Maris Stella.
(Please click on the picture to enlarge it.)
4. The Immaculate Conception
According to Roman Catholicism, Jesus was conceived without stain or macula. This dogma is disputed as it is linked with the notion of an inherent fault, the original sin, the sin committed by Adam and Eve. Newborns or infants who die before Baptism do not go to heaven. They are sent to Limbo.
THE FOUR ANTIPHONS (Antiennes)
As for Marian hymnology, it originally consisted of four antiphons (antiennes, in French) sung in Gregorian Chant. Two (the Alma Redemptoris Mater and the Salve Regina were composed by Hermann of Reichenau, and would have been Gregorian chants. The four Marian antiphons are in fact linked to the Liturgy of the Hours, the Canonical Hours, and commemorate the four seasons.
- Alma Redemptoris (Advent through February 2)
- Ave Regina Cælorum (Presentation of the Temple through Good Friday)
- Regina Cœli (Easter season)
- Salve Regina (from first Vespers of Trinity Sunday until None of the Saturday before Advent)
Antiphons are “responsories” or the response by the choir or the congregation to a psalm or hymn. But they may involve responsorial singing by alternating choirs. Simply expressed, antiphons resemble a refrain. “The refrain was called an antiphon (A). The resulting musical form was A V1 A V2…” Antiphons are not restricted to Marian hymnology. We should also note that Marian feasts are associated with the seasons, as are other Christian feasts. Antiphons are not restricted to Marian hymnology.
The Marian liturgical calendar is divided as follows:
- first, of Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Pre-Lent, Lent, Easter Triduum, Eastertide, Ascensiontide
- second, of some 32 feast days
(Please click on the picture to enlarge it.)
DETAILS ON THE ANTIPHONS
Traditionally, the Alma Redemptoris Mater is sung at the end of Compline, one of the Canonical Hours. It is said to have been composed by Hermannus Contractus (Herman the Cripple) (1013–1054).
Traditionally, the Ave Regina Cælorum has been sung at the end of each Canonical Hours, but mainly Compline, between 2 February (Candlemas or Chandeleur in French) until the Holy Week. Candlemas is the day commemorating the Presentation of the Jesus at the Temple and the Purification of the Virgin Mary.
The Regina cœli
The Regina Cœli or Cæli (Queen of Heaven), is a night prayer (Compline or Vespers). Its authorship has not been determined but it was sung by Franciscans in the twelfth century. It was sung in place of the Angelus from Holy Saturday through Pentecost. It is therefore associated with the celebration of Easter.
The Salve Regina
The Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) is sung at Compline from the Saturday before Trinity Sunday until the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent. (Wikipedia). It was composed by German monk Hermann of Reichenau, the above-mentioned Hermannus Contractus (Herman the Cripple) (1013–1054), the composer of the Alma Redemptoris Mater.
However, to the four antiphons, we may add the above-mentioned Ave Maris Stella, Mozart’s breathtaking Ave Verum Corpus, various Ave Maria‘s, the most famous of which are Schubert’s Ave Maria, and the Ave Maria Charles Gounod composed on the first prelude of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Wohltemperierte Klavier (BWV 846-893). I will discuss these in my next blog.
(Please click on the title to hear the music.)
- Alma Redemptoris, Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548 – 27 August 1611)
- Alma Redemptoris, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525 – 1594)
- Alma Redemptoris, Antifona gregoriana, t. simplex, Studio di Giovanni Vianini, Milano, Italia
- Alma Redemptoris Mater Gregorian, monophonic
Ave Regina Cælorum, Andrea Mattioli, Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor
- Salve Regina in G minor HWV 241, by Handel (1685 -1759)
- Salve Regina, Tomás Luis de Victoria
- Regina Cæli Lætare, Antifona gregoriana, Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis, direttore Giovanni
- Regina Cæli Lætare, Tomás Luis de Victoria
- Regina Cœli, Marco Frisina (b. 1954)
- Regina Cœli, Mozart (1756 – 1791)
 “antiphon.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 23 Dec. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/28480/antiphon>
© Micheline Walker
3 February 2017
— Wild Turkey, National Geographic
Mutiny in Congress: ship them to Guantanamo!
David (Plouffe), it’s a game, but it’s a nasty game…
Congress did not pass a bill that would have prevented an increase in taxes and, once again, I see the robotic naysayers, Tea Party and hardline Republicans, rearing their not-so-pretty head.
I have suggested in earlier blogs (see Obstructionism and Scapegoating) that these naughty Republicans are trying to find fault with President Obama, by fabricating “errors” he has made: the classic set-up. They have nothing to pin on him, and this last “error” is proof of bad faith on their part. At the last minute (it’s always at the last minute: debt-ceiling crisis, etc.), when members of Congress are preparing to go home for the holidays, the robotic naysayers object to what they would normally accept and, once again, those who will be burdened are the ordinary people.
This is systematic and abusive posturing. It shows callousness and I hope sincerely that US taxpayers can see despite the smokescreens. Members of Congress can oppose a bill, but when members of Congress do so systematically and contrary to what they would normally do, they have crossed the line.
Moreover, the current situation calls for changes in the Constitution. It is obvious that the President of the United States should be allowed to help his nation, but his hands are tied. Basically, the President of the US is little more, which is a lot, than Commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the public face of the United States.
* * *
Sorry, but President Obama should also be able to care for the Nation that has elected him into office, but he is facing systematic obstructionism and scapegoating. As I wrote above, the naysayers in Congress will say no and are now saying no to what they would otherwise approve. That shows that they are robots and that the only game in town is politicking. The welfare of millions of Americans should not be irrelevant.
* * *
“Just watch me,” Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Therefore, I would suggest that President Obama take the bull by the horns, say: enough, basta, genug and ça suffit, and bring in public opinion to remove unconscionable Republicans from Congress. President Obama would be dealing with an enemy within, but an enemy of the nation is an enemy of the nation. When dissenters do not know how far they can go too far, let the President declare the American equivalent of Canada’s War Measures Act, now the Emergencies Act (1988) and say, “just watch me,” as did Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in October 1970: the October Crisis.
These naysayers are acting so irresponsibly that merely sending them to Camp Shelby, Mississippi,* might not suffice. They should be sent to Guantanamo where they belong. If the President can be impeached, it would seem that disorderly and dishonorable conduct on the part of members of Congress should also be impeachable.
*as General Russel T. Honoré (ret.) suggested last summer
Although tacit, the “good-father-to-the-nation” clause is constitutionally acceptable and imperative. As we all know, there is both the spirit and the letter of the law, and the spirit overrides the letter. J.-J. Rousseau’s concept of “natural justice” (The Social Contract) would also support rebuttal on the part of the President and his administration.
* * *
Dear President Obama
Dear President Obama, you have no choice. The nation should not act against itself during your presidency. Get on the airways and pounce on the villains!
December 21, 2011
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (4 January 1710, in Jesi – 16 or 17 March 1736, in Pozzuoli), whose real name was Draghi, was an Italian composer, an excellent violinist and an organist. His family had moved from Jesi to Pergola, hence the name Pergolesi.[i]
Pergolesi died at the age of 26, probably of tuberculosis. But, between the time he started to study music, c. 1720, at the Conservatorio dei Poveri at Naples and his death, a mere sixteen years had elapsed. Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791) died at a young age, 35, as did Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828), who died at the age of 31.
In 1732, Pergolesi was appointed mastro de cappella to the prince of Stigliano, and, in 1734, he became deputy maestro de cappella, in Naples.
Pergolesi was such a fine violinist and composer that, during his own life time, he was called the “divine,” by his followers. For musicologists, he is, first and foremost, the composer of the Serva padrona (“The Maid turned Mistress”), an opera buffa, or comic opera, composed in 1733. But if we exclude the circumstances that made his opera buffa and its composer famous, he is remembered mainly for his Stabat Mater, a sacred work he composed the year he died, in 1736.
The Stabat Mater was commissioned by the Confraternità dei Cavalieri di San Luigi di Palazzo, a group of pious and generous gentlemen. However, by 1736, Pergolesi had also written a Mass in F and his long and very mature Magnificat in C major. In Naples, he composed his Mass in D and his celebrated Stabat Mater.
Pergolesi also composed instrumental music: a violin sonata, a violin concerto, a concerto for flute, and other instrumental works. But doubt lingers concerning the authorship of some of the instrumental music attributed to him. Investigators are at work.
So, we now come to his operas. In Naples, Pergolesi had written Lo frate’nnmmorato, an opera buffa (comic opera). But he had also composed an opera seria (serious) entitled Il Prigioner superbo (The Proud Prisoner), a work which contained a two-act comedia buffa, La Serva padrona (The Maid turned Mistress). It is this opera buffa that made him a celebrity, albeit posthumously.
La Serva padrona, an intermezzo, was in no way subversive It had been composed to a libretto (the words) by Gennaro Antonio Federico who gleaned some of his material from a play by Jacopo Angello Nelli. In fact, not only was it not subversive, but it had already been performed in Paris, on October 4th, 1746, without attracting much attention.
But in 1752, circumstances had changed. For one thing, the August 1st, 1752 performance of La Serva padrona (“The Servant turned Mistress”) took place at the most elegant venue in Paris: the Opera, or the Académie royale de musique. Moreover, it was performed before an élite audience. As a result, this one performance led to an unpredictable two-year quarrel (1752-1754) that opposed the most brilliant minds among the “lumières,” including d’Alembert, Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778). But Rousseau is the person who threw the first stone, except that the “querelle” was a paper war.
Sense and Sensibility
The “Querelle des Bouffons,” or “Quarrel of the comic actors,” was indeed a paper war. It took the form of an exchange of letters and pamphlets, totalling sixty-one documents, all written by the most erudite “philosophes” of the French Enlightenment, not to mention a bevy of salonniers and salonnières. It was the event of the century, prior to the French Revolution.
Yet, it would not be altogether fair to give circumstances the leading role in the “querelle.” Pergolesi’s Serva padrona is an opera buffa, but it had been composed by Pergolesi, the “divine,” and talent supersedes genre. In other words, the performance of the Serva padrona was a catalyst in the “querelle,” but it is unlikely that a lesser opera buffa would have unleashed a fury. No greater compliment was ever paid Pergolesi. The Serva padrona was so delightful an opera buffa, that Geneva-born French encyclopédiste and musician Jean-Jacques Rousseau could use it to oppose French opera.
There had long been tension between Italian music and French music, then dominated by Jean-Philippe Rameau, the author of a Treatise on Harmony, published in 1722. As you know from an earlier blog, this treatise remains authorative. But although the “querelle ” could be considered as yet another battle in the war between French “ramistes,” the name given supporters of Rameau, on the one hand, and lovers of Italian opera and commedia dell’arte, on the other hand, it may be best to suggest that it opposed reason and sentiment, or sense and sensibility.
The supremacy of reason had been disputed by Pascal, among other thinkers, but since the publication of Descartes‘s Discours de la méthode, in 1637, the fashion for sentiment had suffered. Although Voltaire (b. François-Marie Arouet), 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778, was extremely witty and entertaining, as a philosopher, he was an advocate of reason. Be that as it may, Rousseau rather enjoyed shedding a tear or two at the opera, as did a substantial number of his companions involved in the “querelle.”
In short, because Pergolesi’s Serva padrona was exquisite in its genre, it was the perfect weapon in a war against “ramistes,” which means that if sentiment and the Italians won that particular battle, the “querelle” also constituted abundant praise of Pergolesi’s talent. Without this weapon of choice, the Serva padrona, there may never have been a “Querelle des Bouffons” for sheer lack of ammunition.
Claude Gillot (28 April 1673 – 4 May 1722)
YouTube allows one to listen to and to view the Serva padrona in its entirety, but Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater remains the centrepiece. I hope you enjoy listening to some music composed by a forever young Pergolesi who died in poverty in a Franciscan monastery, at Pozzuoli, near Naples.
(please click on title to hear music)
- The “Querelle des Bouffons” (comments in Italian about the commedia dell’arte)
- Pergolesi – Violin Concerto in B Flat Major – Mov. 1/3
- Pergolesi – Violin Concerto in B Flat Major – Mov. 2&3/3
- Pergolesi – Konzert G-Dur für Flöte und Orchester 1
- Pergolesi – Konzert G-Dur für Flöte und Orchester 2
- Pergolesi – Konzert G-Dur für Flöte und Orchester 3
- Pergolesi – Laudate pueri Dominum (2)
- Pergolesi – Salve Regina in C minor (1)
- Pergolesi – Stabat Mater, Jaroussky & Gens
- Pergolesi – Magnificat in C Major
- Pergolesi – La Serva padrona -II
[i] “Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia BritannicaOnline. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Dec. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/451597/Giovanni-Battista-Pergolesi>.composer: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (4 January 1710 –16 or 17 March 1736 piece: Stabat Mater
performers: London Symphony Orchestra, 1985 Margaret Marshall, Soprano; Lucia Valentini Terrani, Contralto conductor: Claudio Abbado © Micheline Walker 20 December 2011 WordPress Scène, Claude Gillot
Ordinary of the Mass or Eucharist
Proper of the mass or Eucharist
Ordinary (in bold) & Proper of the mass
Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Alleluia or Tract, Sequence (on major feasts), Gospel, Sermon, Credo, Offertory, Prayers, Secret, Preface, Canon, Sanctus, Pater noster (The Lord’s Prayer), Agnus Dei, Communion, Postcommunion, Ite missa est
Mass as a Musical Form
- parts sung by the choir:
- Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, [Gradual, Alleluia or Tract, Sequence], Credo, Offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, [Communion], Ite missa est
- parts intoned:
- Collect, Epistle, Gospel, Preface, Pater Noster (The Lord’s Prayer), Post Communion
- parts spoken:
- Sermon, Prayer (Confiteor), Secret, Canon
- J. S. Bach – Bist Du bei mir, Andreas Scholl
Fauré – Requiem: Libera me, David Bižić
Pergolesi – Stabat Mater
(Please click on the title to hear the music.)
© Micheline Walker
18 December 2011
Liturgy as a Musical Form
I often encounter persons who tell me they love a certain piece of Christian liturgical music, but feel embarrassed because they are atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. We should note, therefore, that Sacred Music is not only liturgical, but that it is also, and officially, a musical form.
The Daily Liturgy
The Canonical Hours: Daily Liturgy
As we have seen in an earlier blog, Benedictine and other monks observe the Canonical Hours, thereby following the directives of Benedict of Nursia, the father of monasticism. But monks also celebrate Mass, the more important service of daily liturgy.
The Canonical Hours could be defined as a Vigil. During his agony, at Gethsemane, as he was about to be taken by the Romans and later crucified, Jesus was alone. One of his disciples had betrayed him and now everyone slept. Therefore, monks have long kept Hours.
The Mass: Daily Liturgy
Mass (liturgy)* is the central service of the Church and it commemorates the Last Supper, or the last time Jesus and his disciples broke bread and drank wine together. This explains why Mass is also called the sacrament of the Eucharist. The priest and the faithful take communion in remembrance of the Last Supper. Praticing Christians, Catholics at any rate, do not usually observe the Hours, except Vespers, occasionally. But they attend Mass every Sunday and on feast days, such as Christmas.
The Catholic Mass
The Ordinary of the Mass: Permanent Components
There are as many masses as there are days in the year, if not more, but all contain the Ordinary of the Mass. The Ordinary of the Mass is not variable and it comprises the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Ite missa est. The Ite missa est (Mass is finished) is sometimes replaced in Requiem Masses, Masses for the dead or Masses commemorating the dead. Mozart’s Requiem is considered one of the foremost examples of the genre.
The Proper of the Mass: Moveable Components
There is also a Proper of the Mass, which is variable. For example, Christmas Mass differs from Easter Mass. Moreover Masses are said in honour of apostles, martyrs, saints, archangels, etc. So the Proper of the Mass changes accordingly. The Proper contains the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia or Tract, Sequence, Offertory, Communion. These components are added to the Ordinary of the Mass.
The Accentus ecclesiasticus: more Moveable Components
The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postcommunion was probably introduced by Andreas Ornithoparchus in his Musicæ Activæ Micrologus, Leipzig, 1517. Parts sung by the entire choir (mass ordinary, hymns, psalms, alleluia) form the concentus.
Mass is incorporated in the Liber usualis, but masses are usually the main content of the Missal.
The Four Seasons: Soltices and Equinoxes
Although the moveable parts of the Mass can be used to honour an apostle, a martyr, a saint, or serve some other purpose, the liturgical calendar also corresponds to the seasons or, more precisely, the solstices and the equinoxes, as we have seen in earlier blogs. But let us repeat that, traditionally, Christmas has been celebrated near the longest night of the year. In 2011, the winter solstice was on December 22nd.
As for Easter, the most important celebration of the liturgical year, traditionally, it has been celebrated near the vernal equinox, when night and day are the same length. The summer solstice, the longest day, is St. John’s Day, celebrated on the 24th of June. As for the autumn equinox, it used be called Michaelmas, but Michaelmas has disappeared. However, on September 29th, Christians still celebrate the feast of Michael the Archangel.
In order words, nature has been the mold in which feasts were, metaphorically speaking, poured. This eased the transition between “paganism” and Christianity. Roman Saturnaliæ and the Greek kômos (comedy) were replaced by Christmas.
To sum up, although Sacred Music is liturgical, it is also a musical form. As a musical form it contains the daily liturgy, i. e. the Mass and the Canonical Hours, but it also includes oratorios (Handel’s Messiah), motets, cantatas, canticles, for the Virgin Mary especially, such as the Magnificat and the Ave Maria, and other forms or genres.
Sacred music has in fact proven an enduring musical form. John Rutter composed the music that was sung at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and is also the composer of a Requiem, as is Andrew Lloyd Webber, or Baron Lloyd-Webber.
Moreover, the story of sacred music is also the story of polyphony “music in which voices sing together in independent parts”[i] in which it resembles the story of the Madrigal, to which composers kept adding voices.
This blog is now rather long, so I will end it. But I will include several musical examples from which you can choose.
(Click on title to hear music.)
- J. S. Bach – Messe en si: Marc Minkowski & les Musiciens du Louvre
- J. S. Bach – Mass in B minor: Kyrie, Hengelbrock
- J. S. Bach – Magnificat, Tarja Turunen
- Hector Berlioz – Grande Messe des Morts: Lacrimosa
- Hector Berlioz – Grande Messe des Morts: Dies irae
- Georges Bizet – Agnus Dei, Luciano Pavarotti
- Gabriel Fauré – Requiem, Movement 1: Introit & Kyrie
- Lloyd Webber – Requiem: Pie Jesu, Anna Netrebko
- Machaut – Messe de Notre-Dame, Ensemble Gilles Binchois
- Mozart – Requiem: Lacrimosa
- Mozart – Requiem
- Palestrina – Nunc dimittis, The Tallis Scholars
[i] J. P. Burkholder, D. J. Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music, 7th edition (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company), p. 87.
© Micheline Walker
15 December 2011
Let me summarize it. I wrote
- that an Obama-Clinton ticket might prove a good combination. But I also wrote that
- no one could know whether or not Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would have been a better President than President Obama. And I said that
- members of the Tea Party and hardline Republicans systematically oppose proposals brought before by President Obama, which is unacceptable.
In other words, anti-tax extremism being at the centre of the current debate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would also have had difficulty ensuring the debt is paid without making substantial cuts in essential areas such as social programmes.
Yet, I think an Obama-Clinton ticket is a very good idea.
However, I may not have seemed very kind to the electorate. Those Republican members of Congress who say ‘no’ systematically to proposals put before them by President Obama were elected by the people.
But it would be my opinion these voters were probably blinded by the candidates who needed their votes. As soon as President Obama was elected into office, Sarah Palin was telling Americans that if the health-care reforms the President wanted to put into place were signed into law, grandmothers would be killed. Grandmothers were not about to be killed, but panic-mongering is very effective.
In other words, I hope I didn’t offend anyone. And if I did, I apologize.
I want to make very sure my readers know why I oppose anti-tax extremism. The answer is simple. I do not think the poor and the middle-class should foot the entire bill, i.e. repay the debt incurred by a previous Republican administration. It would not be just.
* * *
But, let me add that, if united by a common purpose, Americans do what needs to be done. When Europeans were fighting a demented dictator: Hitler, Americans and Canadians gave their lives to liberate Europe. During the year I lived in Normandy, I saw the vast fields of little white crosses and marvelled at the courage Americans had shown. Not to mention that having liberated Europe, they went on to rebuild it. Remember the Marshall Plan.
There are so many dimensions to reality and so many shades to every colour, that it is dangerous to allow oneself to be dogmatically one-sided.
December 14, 2011