December 24/25, 2008

Piero della Francesca, Nativity, National Gallery, London, 1470


Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes

The Nativity of Our Lord


Click to go immediately to:


Andrea del Sarto, Annunciation, Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence, 1528


Bogoróditse dyévo

Bogoróditse dyévo, raduisya,
Blagodatnaya Mariye Gospod s Toboyu.
Blagoslovenna Ty v zhenakh,
I blagosloven plod chreva Tvoyevo,
Yako Spasa rodila yesi dush nashikh.

Virgin Mother of God,
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
Blessed are you among women,
And blessed is the fruit of your womb,
For you gave birth to the saviour of our souls.

During the festival of lessons and carols on Christmas Eve, the Cathedral Singers will perform Bogoroditsye Dyevo, the Russian Orthodox equivalent of the Hail Maria, in the glorious version by Sergei Rachmaninoff from his all-night vigil.

Click to listen to Friday’s Voices singing Rachmaninoff, Bogoroditsye Dyevo.

Performance of the Cambridge Singers, John Rutter conducting. [NML] (Info)

Click to hear Friday’s Voices sing Arvo Pärt, Bogoroditsye Dyevo.

Performance by the King’s Singers. [NML] (Info)




California Boys' Choir
One of Benjamin Britten's very popular accomplishments is his Ceremony of Carols.

Click to read about the Ceremony of Carols.

Click to hear the Ceremony of Carols performed by the California Boys’ Choir.


Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Nativity, Art Association Galleries, Atlanta, c. 1465


Anyone with online access to the Naxos Music Library, in particular cardholders of la Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and members of "Beethoven on Demand" (info ), may listen online to seven different versions of Johann Sebastian Bach, Christmas Oratorio.

Click here
for The First Day of Christmas (the others to follow).

December 21, 2008

Fra Angelico, Annunciation, Convento di San Marco, Florence, 1450

Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes

The Fourth Sunday of Advent


Click to go immediately to:

1) The Music Programme Homepage

2) The Music Calendar for Choral Eucharist and Evensong

3) The Concert Calendar.


This Sunday, the fourth of Advent, The Choral Eucharist will follow the musical norms of a French organ Mass.

The Roman Catholic Low Mass, until the Second Vatican Council, was in general read quietly by the priest with responses made only by the altar server. The congregation might follow along in a hand missal or with private devotions like the rosary. In the German Singmesse the congregation would sing hymns appropriate to the parts of the Mass. During the baroque period in France, it was common for the organ to play background music. The organ could, as well, alternate with a cantor who would sing parts of a Mass setting.

This Sunday at Christ Church Cathedral, in the manner of the French baroque organ Mass, Patrick Wedd will perform, on the Wilhelm organ, movements from Gaspard Corrette, Messe du 8e ton pour l'orgue à l'usage des dames religieuses, and, during the Sanctus/Benedictus and the Agnus Dei, he will alternate with the cantor who will chant verses from an 11th century plainsong setting.


At the Sanctus/Benedictus, Patrick plays the 1st Sanctus, the cantor sings the 2nd Sanctus, Patrick plays the "2nd" Sanctus, then the cantor chants in plainsong to the end of the Benedictus.

For the Agnus Dei, Patrick plays Agnus Dei, then the cantor sings the 2nd Agnus Dei, then Patrick plays the "2nd" Agnus Dei.

At Communion, Patrick will perform L'Élévation: cromorne en taille as a tierce en taille. ("L’élévation" refers to the raising of the Bread and the Cup in the Roman rite after the words of institution have been said.)

The organ prelude will be the Cromorne en taille (Christe eleison) from the Kyrie of the Mass and the postlude will be the Grand Dialogue à trois choeurs from the Offertory.

Click to read about Gaspard Corrette.

A Performance of Gaspard Corrette, Messe du 8e ton pour l'orgue à l'usage des dames religieuses by
Yves-G. Préfontaine on the Tribuot organ of the Church of Saint Martin, Seurre (France). [NML] (Click here for info.)





Patrick Wedd will bring to a close Automne Messiaen 2008 in Montreal and finish his reprise of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen on the Wilhelm organ of Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, December 20, at 5:00 pm. Admission free / voluntary contribution.

Patrick Wedd will perform Olivier Messiaen, La Nativité du Seigneur.

To prepare, listen to: Jennifer Bate, Olivier Latry, Dame Gillian Weir.

St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue has online excellent programme notes. Click here, then go to page 7 for the comments on La Nativité du Seigneur.

These programme notes accompany John Scott's Messiaen recitals at St. Thomas. Click here to listen online.


Giotto di Bondone, Resurrection (detail), Cappella Scrovegni, Padua, 1304-6



If you missed the Messiah Sing-along at Christ Church Cathedral, you can at least watch online the December 16th performance of Messiah at Trinity Church Wall Street with the Trinity Church Choir and the Rebel Baroque Orchestra conducted by Andrew Megill. Click here.

Click for the 2006 and 2007 performances.



Master of Flémalle, Annunciation, Musées royaux des beaux-arts, Brussels, 1420s

Click to go to Bach Cantatas for Online Listening and Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 62, performed by soprano: Sibylla Rubens; tenor: Christoph Prégardien; bass: Peter Kooy; Collegium Vocale Gent; Philippe Herreweghe conducting. Also the possibility of versions by Rilling and Suzuki.

December 14, 2008

Robert Campin, St. John the Baptist, The Cleveland Museum of Art, early 1410s


Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes
The Third Sunday of Advent



Click to go immediately to:


1) The Music Programme Homepage

2) The Music Calendar for Choral Eucharist and Evensong

3) The Concert Calendar.


The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday after the opening word of the introit (text) (listen) of the Latin Roman Mass. This Sunday the introit will be sung in plainsong.
The Communion motet, also in plainsong, is the gradual (text)for the Latin Roman Mass of the Vigil (June 23) of the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

Book of Kells, Trinity College, Dublin, 7th-8th cent.




Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming) appears in a variety of forms in last Sunday's Procession of Carols and Lessons and the upcoming Sunday's evensong.

Click to read about Es ist ein Ros entsprungen and listen to several organ and sung versions.



George Frideric Handel


The Annual Messiah Sing-Along will take place at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, December 13, at 5 pm, with the Cathedral Singers and orchestra, Patrick Wedd directing. Soloists are Lindsay Michaels, Jennifer Cohen, Michael Leonard and Normand Richard. Scores are available. Free admission / voluntary contribution.

Click to read about Messiah and access a number of different performances.





Patrick Wedd will finish his reprise of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen on the Wilhelm organ of Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, December 20, at 5:00 pm. Admission free / voluntary contribution.

Patrick Wedd will perform Olivier Messiaen, La Nativité du Seigneur.

To prepare, listen to: Jennifer Bate, Olivier Latry, Dame Gillian Weir.

St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue has online excellent programme notes. Click here, then go to page 7 for the comments on La Nativité du Seigneur.

These programme notes accompany John Scott's Messiaen recitals at St. Thomas. Click here to listen online.


Duccio di Buoninsegna, Descent into Hell, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena, 1308

Click to go to Bach Cantatas for Online Listening and Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 61 performed by Soprano: Sibylla Rubens; Tenor: Christoph Prégardien; Bass: Peter Kooy; Collegium Vocale Gent; Philippe Herreweghe conducting.

December 7, 2008

Domenico Ghirlandaio, St. John the Baptist Preaching, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 1468-90



Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes

The Second Sunday of Advent


Click to go immediately to:

1) The
Music Programme Homepage

2) The Music Calendar for Choral Eucharist and Evensong

3) The Concert Calendar.


Including this coming Sunday, within the last month, three Mass settings for Choral Eucharist will have been the work of Healey Willan.

Click to read about Healey Willan and listen to his Missae breves No. 2 in f for Advent; No. 7 in g, O Westron Wynde; and No. 11, Sancti Johannis Baptistae. Scroll down to go to Healey Willan, "O" Antiphons.


"O" Antiphons are an important element in Advent liturgy since the ninth century. A number of them will be sung in plainchant during this year's Procession of Carols and Lessons for Advent.

"O" by Eric Gill

Click to read about "O" Antiphons and listen to them in plainchant sung by the Dominican students of Blackfriars, Oxford, as well as versions by Healey Willan and Arvo Pärt.

George Frideric Handel


The Annual Messiah Sing-Along will take place at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, December 13, at 5 pm, with the Cathedral Singers and orchestra, Patrick Wedd directing. Soloists are Lindsay Michaels, Jennifer Cohen, Michael Leonard and Normand Richard. Scores are available. Free admission / voluntary contribution.

Click to read about Messiah and access a number of different performances.




Patrick Wedd will continue his reprise of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen on the Wilhelm organ of Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, December 6, at 5:00 pm.

Patrick Wedd will perform Olivier Messiaen, Livre du Saint Sacrement V-XI.

To prepare, listen to: Jennifer Bate, Olivier Latry, Dame Gillian Weir.

St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue has online excellent programme notes. Click here, then go to page 30 for the comments on Le Livre du Saint Sacrement.

These programme notes accompany John Scott's Messiaen recitals at St. Thomas. Click here to listen online.



The Casavant organ of Nôtre-Dame Basilica


The centenary of the birth of Olivier Messiaen is December 10, 2008. Messiaen’s complete organ works will be performed on the Casavant organ of Nôtre-Dame Basilica from 9 am to 5 pm. Patrick Wedd and Thomas Annand will perform Les Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte-Trinité at 1:15 pm and Donald Hunt will perform La Nativité du Seigneur at 2 :30 pm. Admission free all day.

Louise Bessette will perform Olivier Messiaen, Les Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus at la Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, on December 10, at 7 pm. Admission free/laissez-passer required.

Click to go to online performances of Messiaen, Les Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus, by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Håkon Austbø, Peter Hill, Joanna MacGregor and Roger Muraro. There are also YouTube excerpts by Yvonne Loriod, Alfonso Gómez and Roger Muraro.

Louise Bessette's performance is available online to those with library access to Naxos Music Library [NML]. The recording may be borrowed from BNQ. Click for availability.


Baciccio, The Preaching of St. John the Baptist, Musée du Louvre, Paris, c. 1690


Click to go to Bach Cantatas for Online Listening and Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 167 performed by Soprano: Joanne Lunn; Alto: Wilke te Brummelstroete; Tenor: Paul Agnew; Bass: Dietrich Henschel; Monteverdi Choir / English Baroque Soloists; John Eliot Gardiner directing.

November 30, 2008

Marc Chagall, Isaiah's Prayer, etching, 1931-39

Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people (NRSV, Isaiah 64:9).


Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes
The First Sunday of Advent


Click to go immediately to:







The organ voluntaries for Choral Eucharist, November 30, are Sleepers Awake by Johann Sebastian Bach and Emma Lou Diemer.

Click for a number of different interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme,
BWV 645 (Sleepers Awake).

1972 Vierdag organ, Bethlehemkerk, The Hague


El Greco, Annunciation, Colección Santander Central Hispano, Madrid, 1608-14

Click to read about the Advent Prose to be sung at both Choral Eucharist and evensong this Sunday, November 30, as well as read about the Introit of the Roman Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent and listen to a number of musical selections.




Conditor Alme Siderum (Creator of the Stars of Night) is the quintessential advent hymn. During advent it is always sung at Roman Catholic vespers. The prelude and postlude at evensong this Sunday, November 30, are organ versions of the hymn.

Click to read about Conditor alme siderum and to listen to a number of choral and organ arrangements.




This year the Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols will take place on the 2nd Sunday of Advent, December 7, at 4:00 pm.


Agnolo Bronzino, St. John the Baptist, Galleria Borghese, Rome, 1550-55




1730 Trost organ of the stadtkirche in Waltershausen, Germany

Click to go to Advent organ music programmes archived by Pipedreams: 2006 - 2004 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - 1998.





Patrick Wedd will continue his reprise of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen on the Wilhelm organ of Christ Church Cathedral this Saturday, November 29, at 5:00 pm.

Patrick Wedd will perform Olivier Messiaen, Livre du Saint Sacrement I-IV, XII-XVIII.

To prepare, listen to:

Jennifer Bate, Olivier Latry, Dame Gillian Weir.

St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue has online excellent programme notes.

Click here, then go to page 30 for the comments on Le livre du Saint Sacrement.

These programme notes accompany John Scott's Messiaen recitals at St. Thomas.
Click here to listen online.


Olivier Messiaen, Le Quatuor pour la fin du temps, is being performed by Simon Aldrich, clarinet; Louise Bessette, piano; Olivier Thouin, violin; Yegor Dyachkov, cello; at three Maisons de la culture, free admission, laissez-passer required, on Thursday, November 28, at 8:00 pm at Côte-de-neiges; on Friday, November 29, at 8:00 pm at La Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur; on Monday, December 2, at 8:00 pm at Frontenac.

To prepare
click to read about le Quatuor and listen to three different performances.

William Blake, Angel of the Revelation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, c.1603


Olivier Messiaen, Les offrandes oubliées, will be performed by the McGill Symphony Orchestra, Alexis Hauser conducting, as part of a concert including Rachmaninoff, Concerto pour piano no. 3, op. 30 (Lana Henschell, piano) and Stravinsky, Petrouchka, on Friday, November 28, and Saturday, November 29, at 7:00 pm, in Pollack Hall. Admission $12.

To prepare, if one has online library access to the Naxos Music Library, listen to a performance of the piano version by Håkan Austbø. [
NML]




McGill Autumn Noon-Hour Organ Recital Series

The Wolff organ of Redpath Hall - Admission Free

Friday, November 28, at 12:30pm: Hank Knox, harpsichord & organ. Works by Frescobaldi.


Fra Angelico, Christ Glorified in the Court of Heaven, National Gallery, London, 15th cent.


Click to go to Bach Cantatas for Online Listening and Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 36, performed by Boy Soprano: Soloist of the Wiener Sängerknaben (no name); Alto: Paul Esswood; Tenor: Kurt Equiluz; Bass: Ruud van der Meer; Wiener Sängerknaben & Chorus Viennensis (Chorus Master - Hans Gillesberger) / Concentus Musicus Wien; Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting

November 23, 2008

Good Shepherd, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 5th cent.

As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness (NRSV, Ezekiel 34:12).

Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes

The Reign of Christ / Feast of the Dedication

Click to go immediately to:
1) The Music Programme Homepage
2) The
Music Calendar for Choral Eucharist and Evensong
3) The
Concert Calendar.



Both anthems at evensong this Sunday, November 23, use the text of Glorious and powerful God.

Click to read about Orlando Gibbons and to hear his version, sung by the Clerkes of Oxenford, David Wulstan conducting (text).

Orlando Gibbons




Then click to read about Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and his version, performed by the Trinity Church Wall Street Choir (text).

Click again for the canticles for evensong: Orlando Gibbons, Second Service. Unfortunately the organ voluntaries by Stanford are not available for online listening.
Sir Charles Villers Stanford



Cipriano de Rore, of Franco-Flemish orign, was a prolific Renaissance composer of madrigals, Masses and motets while in the service of the Este family in Ferrara. His Jubilate Deo is the introit for Choral Eucharist this Sunday, November 23.

Click to read about Cipriano de Rore and listen to a variety of his madrigals and motets performed by the Ensemble Weser Renaissance Bremen.


Patrick Wedd will continue his reprise of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen on the Wilhelm organ of Christ Church Cathedral this Saturday, November 22, at 5:00 pm.

Patrick Wedd will perform Olivier Messiaen, Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité.

To prepare, listen to: Jennifer Bate, Oliver Latry, Dame Gillian Weir.


St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue has online excellent programme notes. Click here, then go to page 23 for the comments on Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité.

These programme notes accompany John Scott's Messiaen recitals at St. Thomas. Click here to listen online.

ATMA Classique is releasing a Messiaen disc on Tuesday, November 18: Fête des belles eaux and Feuillets Inédits performed by Louis Bessette, piano; and L'Ensemble d'ondes de Montréal.


Click to read about and listen to a performance of Fête des belles eaux (artists unknown).


Click for a YouTube version of the 4ème Feuillet inédit played by Jean-François Zygel (piano) and Thomas Bloch (ondes Martenot).


This year the Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols will take place on the 2nd Sunday of Advent, December 7, at 4:00 pm.




Agnolo Brozino, St. John the Baptist, Galleria Borghese, Rome, 1550-55





McGill Autumn Noon-Hour Organ Recital Series
The Wolff organ of Redpath Hall - Admission Free

Friday, November 21: Eduoardo Bellotti (Milan). Works by Old Italian Masters.


Christ of the Deesis, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, c. 1200


Click to go to Bach Cantatas for Online Listening and Johann Sebastian Bach,Cantata 182, performed by Alto: Paul Esswood; Tenor: Kurt Equiluz; Bass: Robert Holl; Tölzer Knabenchor (Chorus Master: Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden) / Concentus Musicus Wien; Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting.

November 16, 2008

Unknown Catalan Master, Christ and the Twelve, Barcelona, c. 1100

Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes
The Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost



The Introit for Choral Eucharist this Sunday, November 16, Awake us, Lord (C.S. Terry), is set to the music of the Chorale which closes Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 22, Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe / Jesus took the twelve to himself.

Click to go to Bach Cantatas for Online Listening and Johann Sebastian Bach, Cantata 22.



The Mass Setting, Missa brevis No. 7 in g, "O Westorn Wynde" and both anthems at evensong are the work of Healey Willan.

Click to read about Healey Willan, listen to the Missa brevis No. 7 in g, "O Westorn Wynde," Hail, Gladdening light and other music.




All four organ voluntaries for Choral Eucharist and evensong for this Sunday, November 16, as well as the Communion motet are by Percy Whitlock.

Click to read about Percy Whitlock and listen to all seven of Sketches on verses of the psalms, the Plymouth suite as well as other organ music.



Patrick Wedd will continue his reprise of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen on the Wilhelm organ of Christ Church Cathedral this Saturday, November 15, at 5:00 pm.

Patrick Wedd will perform Olivier Messiaen, Verset pour la fête de la dédicace, Monodie, Livre d'orgue.

To prepare, listen to:

Verset pour la fête de la dédicace: Jennifer Bate, Olivier Latry, Dame Gillian Weir

Monodie: Olivier Latry

Livre d'orgue: Jennifer Bate, Olivier Latry, Dame Gillian Weir.


St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue has online excellent programme notes. Click here for the comments on Verset pour la fête de la dédicace, Monodie, Livre d'orgue and then go to page 19.

These programme notes accompany John Scott's Messiaen recitals at St. Thomas. Click here to listen online.

ATMA Classique is releasing a Messiaen disc on Tuesday, November 18: Fête des belles eaux and Feuillets Inédits performed by Louis Bessette, piano; and L'Ensemble d'ondes de Montréal.

Click to read about and listen to a performance of Fête des belles eaux (artists unknown).

Click for a YouTube version of the 4ème Feuillet inédit played by Jean-François Zygel (piano) and Thomas Bloch (ondes Martenot).


McGill Autumn Noon-Hour Organ Recital Series
The Wolff organ of Redpath Hall -
Admission Free

Friday, November 14, at 12:30 pm: Yves-G. Préfontaine. Works by Titelouze and Reinken.