Monday, 11 January 2010

Frustrated again....

I am not happy. Having booked 3 days leave ages ago in order to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian Calendar with my Ukrainian friends - what happens? We get the worst winter for nearly 30 years! Needless to say, venturing across to the other side of the Pennines on 7th January was a non-starter, hence my disappointment yet again, having previously missed out on the only Solemn High Mass of Christmas [Midnight] in the EF to be celebrated in Yorkshire (& quite possibly the entire North of England.) I shall make up for missing out on the Ukrainian celebrations by going to the Ukrainian Cathedral in London at the end of the month. It will be the Sunday of the Prodigal Son by then, so not quite the same as Christmas, but as it will also be my first Byzantine Catholic Liturgy since June, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it! ;-)

I'm in London principally to attend this, believed to be the first meeting of its kind. Looking at the map that Joseph has so kindly created (& put a lot of work into), it's quite clear that there's a distinct lack of organised singers who provide music for the EF in North/North-East England. There are other groups around, I can think of one on South Tyneside, the Leeds Schola Gregoriana - the first chant only group that I joined over 20 years ago & the fledgling Schola founded by the indefatigable Fr Bill Charlton based at North Ormesby whose name escapes me at the moment. The harsh reality is though, that the only opportunity for people to hear a Chant Mass in either form with the full Propers taken from the Graduale Romanum or Liber Usualis is from groups like ourselves who travel miles to sing by invitation & therefore put a lot of hard work & money into ensuring that the services are given the due musical solemnity that they deserve.

Still on Chant matters, I had intended to resume the chanting og Compline & Vespers last week also, but due to the weather, postponed that to this week instead. At least it gave me an opportunity to change the times, bringing them more into line with what I'd originally intended. So, Compline will now be at 9pm on Fridays, and Sunday Vespers will be at 5pm. (Term-time only unless my arm's twisted by people desperate to take part....) Whether anyone actually turns up remains to be seen. As I've mentioned here before, York is a very secular city when it come to chant (& polyphony too) in it's proper context. The concert venues thrive with superb performances by the many talented choirs in the area. We also have the National Centre for Early Music here, as well as an excellent music department in the University, but the only full churches you're likely to see will be at Carol Services, or for sheer snob-value, the Minster at major Festivals. (The regular Minster congregation are completely exempt from this criticism!)

OK. Mini-rant over. Let's hope the meeting at the end of January bears the seeds of a gradual recovery to get quality music, not just chant, back into churches where it belongs.

No comments: