On my way to creating a complete cycle of psalms with refrains based on hymn tunes, I’ve decided to start a list of currently available settings with video recordings. This post will be updated as I have more material to include.
After a few years of sitting figuratively “in the closet collecting dust,” I finally had an opportunity to brush up and record this composition for organ and brass quintet which I composed in 2014 for the wedding of my brother-in-law. This was written as the entrance procession for the attendants and bride to enter. There is a second movement for the recessional that I hope to get recorded as well.
The service, reminiscent of its English heritage, is sung in a candlelight setting by the Cathedral Choir. Traditional Carols and anthems celebrating the joy of the Christmas season will be offered. Wm. Glenn Osborne will serve as director and organist for the celebration. In addition to traditional carols arranged by David Willcocks and John Rutter, the program includes Babe of Bethlehem and God, We Would Hear the Angels Sing.
Returning this year to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen is the 13th Annual Holiday Brass Concert. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the International Women’s Brass Conference. Included on the concert will be the premier performance of Here This Christmas Night. Scored for soprano, trumpet, and organ, the music was composed by Wm. Glenn Osborne for text by John Dalles.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 410 337-7539: Adults $26.00, Seniors/Students $23.00.
Jazz and Roman Catholic are two worlds that don’t meet up very often. Jazz has been used in other worship traditions, but the liturgical structure of Roman Catholic worship provides challenges for the free improvisatory nature of jazz. Yes, there are Jazz Masses that have been composed, but even most of those would be considered concert works and vary from the imposed structure of a liturgical celebration.
When we celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on Homecoming weekend, we are including Evening Prayer on Sunday afternoon. All of the music will be in the jazz idiom and accompanied by the Kevin Myers Quartet. In order to fit the liturgical requirements for the celebration, I composed two psalms, a canticle, and some other incidental responses. We had a first rehearsal with the singers and band leader Kevin Myers last Friday. Here are a few samples from the celebration. I hope to post videos from the celebration after it is over.
The Chrism Mass is the annual celebration where the archbishop blesses the oils for use throughout the archdiocese and the priests renew their vows of service. It is one of the events that generally fills the Cathedral every year. As with other special diocesan celebrations, these are people that have chosen to be here, so are willing to sing and participate. Here’s the responsorial psalm (from the Audubon Park Psalter)recorded by my iPhone placed on the organ console in the balcony. Brass are to my right. Choir is on the left, and the cantor is in the pulpit half-way down the building.
The music for this composition is included in the Feasts and Solemnities volume of the Audubon Park Psalter.
This is my first video recorded at the Cathedral of Mary, Our Queen in Baltimore. There are two identical consoles for the organ at the cathedral and pipes at each end of the building. This excerpt from my Suite in French Classical Style on Vexilla Regis was recorded from the console in the sanctuary using only pipes from the gallery. Watch carefully to notice the delay between my fingers and the audio!
The Audubon Park Psalter presently consists of four volumes: one for each of the liturgical years (A, B, and C) and a fourth for Solemnities, Feasts and other holidays. It uses the new Revised Grail Psalm translation for the verses with the ICEL refrains. Each volume is 60-70 pages and contain over 50 psalm settings. A shorter fifth volume containing palms for weddings and funerals is in preparation.
After several years of leading very eclectic music programs, I felt the need for a psalter that would raise the standard of music available and that could be adapted to many different settings. The Audubon Park Psalter is designed to be flexible instrumentally and vocally. The verses are written most often in a one pulse per measure chant style (like Gelineau) so that a consistent tempo may be kept between the refrain and the verses. Having chant style verses makes the singer’s task of learning multiple verses easier than a through-composed setting, but by keeping a pulse, it is possible to have much more interesting melodies than a common 3-5 note chant settings would offer.
Because the verses are most often written in traditional four-part harmony, a choir could sing the text or accompany the cantor by singing on a neutral syllable. A string quartet or woodwind ensemble could also read the vocal lines for additional accompaniment colors. Because of the consistent rhythm, a skilled ensemble of piano, guitar and drums, could take many of these settings into different jazz or contemporary styles. Written with a harmonic language that is interesting, yet accessible, these settings are designed to be singable, playable and achievable for most any parish music program. Check out the list of recordings to hear some live performances from the psalter.
TIFF and JPG files of the refrains are available for download. You may search by occasion or first line:
For the wedding of my brother-in-law (my wife’s brother), I will be composing the entrance and exit music for organ and brass quintet. I also will be writing a new setting of Psalm 145 for the celebration. Links to pages about the individual pieces will be provided once the compositions are complete.