A Concert for the Feast of St. Michael
Friday, September 29, 2017
St. Basil’s Church
Symphony in G Major Ignacio Jerusalem (1707-1769)
Introitus: Benedicite Dominum Plainchant
(Et in terra-Gratias agimus-Qui tollis-Quoniam-Cum sancto spiritu-Amen)
Graduale: Benedicite Dominum Plainchant
Alleluia: Sancte Michael
(Patrem omnipotentem-Et incarnatus-Crucifixus-Et resurrexit)
Offertorium: Stetit Angelus Plainchant
Villancico: Que le diremos Juan Frances de Iribarren (1699-1767)
Agnus Dei Jerusalem
Communio: Benedicite omnes Angeli Jerusalem
Villancico: El Dìa del Corpus Anonymous (Bolivia, 18th century)
ALL DONATIONS COLLECTED AT TONIGHT’S CONCERT WILL GO TO MEXICAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR STUDENT VOLUNTEERS.
But it turns out that the composer of the Mass, born Ignazio Gerusalemme in Lecce, Italy, was not tempted to Mexico City by a job at the cathedral, but was recruited by the Administrator of the Royal Hospital of Indigenous Citizens, one Josef Cárdenas. The hospital was funded by receipts from the Coliseo, the top theatre in town, and Cárdenas thought the box office could be boosted by having better music. Once working at the theatre Jerusalem was soon contacted to compose villancicos, songs with Spanish sacred texts, for the students of the cathedral’s college, and when the Cathedral Chapter decided to fire their music director, Jerusalem applied for the job. His up-to-date style, though, was a bit much for some of the cathedral authorities and between that and some political struggles about the hiring of musicians and rivals he took some time to drag the cathedral’s music into the nascent Classical period.
Tonight’s Mass Ordinary (that is, the text heard at every Mass) setting was discovered in 1992 in the archives of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Musicologist Craig Russell attributed the setting to Jerusalem from its similarity to works known to be by him and prepared the edition we are performing from this evening. The Proper of the Mass is the plainchant for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, celebrated September 29th.
Prof. Russell also suggests that when the organ part drops out, and the organ has many bars of rests and some whole movements with no music at all, that the chordal accompaniment be taken by the harp and guitar, the instruments which accompanied in the theatre. We can be sure that those cathedral authorities mentioned above that were worried about Jerusalem’s innovations would have been grumpy about the plucked string contingent coming over from the theatre. They might have not been pleased with the vernacular villancicos either, though their incorporation into the Latin Mass is well documented, especially at Christmas. Que le diremos is tame enough but the villancico El Dìa del Corpus you will hear this evening in fact takes as its jumping off point the rhythm and chords of the chacona. This guitar dance was described as ‘irredeemably infectious lasciviousness’ by one disapproving church official in Spain. Indeed, Pedro Cerone, a 17th century music encyclopedist writes of the villancico –
There are some people so lacking in piety that they attend church but once a year, and miss all the Masses of Obligation, because they are too lazy to get up out of bed. But let it be known that there will be villancicos and there is no one more devout in the whole place, none more vigilant than these people, for there is no church, oratory, or shrine that they will not visit, nor do they mind getting up in the middle of the night in the freezing cold, just to hear them.
Well, it might be hard to sleep through the trumpets and drums and spritely strings of the Mass as well.
THE MUSICIANS IN ORDINARY ORCHESTRA
Rezan Onen Lapointe
Borys Medicky - Organ
Julia Seager Scott - Harp
John Edwards - Guitar
Julia Morson - Soprano
Rebecca Claborn - Mezzo Soprano
Rob Kinar - Tenor
Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices have been described as “winning performers of winning music.” A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years. They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Shakespeare Society of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Shakespeare Association of America, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta, Toronto and at California at San Diego, the Kingston Opera Guild, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Christopher Verrette has been a member of the violin section of Tafelmusik since 1993 and is a frequent soloist and leader with the orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University. He contributed to the development of early music in the American Midwest, as a founding member of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Voltaire, and as a guest director with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. He collaborates with many ensembles around North America, performing music from seven centuries on violin, viola, rebec, vielle, and viola d’amore. He was concertmaster in a recording of rarely heard classical symphonies for an anthology by Indiana University Press and recently collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream.
St. Michael’s Schola Cantorum is an auditioned ensemble drawn from students, staff, alumni/ae, faculty, and friends of USMC, and members of St. Basil’s parish choir. We sing three concerts per year, at Michaelmas, during Advent, and Lent. Michael O’Connor is the founding Director of St. Michael’s Schola Cantorum. He teaches in the college programs at St. Michael’s and also directs the St. Mike’s Singing Club. His academic scholarship and practical music-making overlap in the theory and practice of liturgical music.
Concert photos by Sheila Eaton, USMC