Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Year So Far...

Early in January, I relocated work-wise from Selby to the outskirts of York. This couldn't have come soon enough, as I was beginning to get worn down by the constant commuting to work more or less anywhere else *but* York, so it's a blessed relief to travel only 8 miles a day instead of over 40!

Things appear to have been rather quiet on the Rudgate/musical front, but I can assure you that is most definitely *not* the case. :-) A quick resumé follows:

In January 3 of us ventured up to Ampleforth Abbey to take part in an Orthodox Liturgy within the Octave of Christian Unity. A splendid occasion. What is rather unique about this set-up is that the Liturgy is Orthodox (not Byzantine-Catholic), taking place in a Catholic monastery, and the choir, directed by one of the monks, appears to be mainly Anglican.

It's the second one I've been involved in - the first as a singer. There was one back in October which I went to and ended up being official photographer as no-one else had a camera!

Here are some photos of that Liturgy, so you can see what I'm on about..


The rest can be seen here.

I've been in touch with the Director (Fr Alexander) since then, as there are plans for a collaboration with Rudgate to sing Vespers and another Liturgy later this year, towards the end of October.

On the Latin Rite front, we only seem to be involved in EF Masses at the moment as well as Compline (which I'll touch on in a separate post). I'm not complaining of course, as I think that the EF gives us a much better opportunity to present Sacred music in it's proper context than the OF. That said, we would never turn down an offer to go and sing an OF Mass, it's just that those invitations are very few and far between. I think the last one I was involved in as a singer was back in May. 

We've actually sung two Chant Masses so far this year and one with the added bonus of some polyphony, all of which were sung at English Martyrs' in York The latter included some motets by Mozart and a Mass composed by Christoph Dalitz as recently as 1989 which is very Mozartian in style and very singable. If you've never heard of him before, than take a look here. I think you'll find his music very appealing.

Most of the work this year though has been behind the scenes, hence the lack of activity here. We are actively involved in planning for what is believed to be only the second EF Mass in York Minster since the Reformation! (If somebody could tell me when the first was, I'd be delighted to know, because I can't think of any!) 

The Mass itself is in honour of St Margaret Clitherow, and is part of a National Pilgrimage organised by the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales and we're expecting in the region of 500 people descending on York on 26th March. I've already heard of coaches from London, Birmingham, Oxford Allerton Bywater [nr Leeds] and a minibus from Newark & that's before you start adding people from the north of England! Following the Mass, there's a procession going via the shrine in the shambles and past Ouse Bridge, near the site of her execution, ending at English Martys, where we'll be singing for Benediction, during which the relic of St. Margaret will be venerated. It's a huge task & by far the biggest service we've ever done. We have a choir of 25 singing Byrd's Mass for 5 voices + Byrd motets and a Gregorian Chant Schola Cantorum of 14, possibly 15. Spare a thought for those of us singing both - it's going to be very hard work! If you think we're overdoing it with the schola, think again, the sheer size of the building requires a good solid sound. We can't get away with just 2 or 3 here you know... ;-)

Between my sister, myself and the ever helpful Columba Aspexit, we've come up with a souvenir booklet and poster (see below). Both of these have gone through so many versions/editions it feels like we've been beta testing new software releases! The final product though has been well worth the effort.

The booklet has yet to go to press, but rest assured, if you come to York next month, it will be available at the Minster! Do come along if you can, as it promises to be a momentous occasion. 

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