De Profundis – Out of the Depths

This piece is on my mind at lot this week as we are singing this for a High Mass at the Basilica of Holy Hill next Thursday…enjoy the awesome Gloria Patri at the end!

Psalm 130 is a beautiful Psalm text for Lent. In my small-group yesterday, we talked a lot about the psalms, especially how great they are to pray with. Psalms make great scripture study!

Here is the text of Psalm 130:

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:
Speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Gloria Patri…

From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?
For with you is forgiveness; and because of your law, I stood by you, Lord.
My soul has stood by his word.
My soul has hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch, even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Glory to the Father…

Chant and Jazz

So the last few days I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between jazz and chant. A friend and chant scholar used the term “licks” when we were discussing a schola learning new chants, especially singers that are used to “reading” rather than “singing”. Instead of reading “note note note note note” and sounding like we’re singing a bunch of squares in a row, our singers need to hear the notes in their groupings, the “licks”. This makes perfect sense if we consider that chant was passed on in the context of an oral tradition, not in square notation.

There is a lot in common with the oral tradition of jazz, and the “toolkit” of licks a musician must have ready, practiced, heard, etc to be able to improvise well. It is not about intellectually thinking through every single note of a solo, it is about the idea, the motive, about the group of notes. The compositional methods have a lot in common.

So, in thinking a lot about this, I wrote to the great chant expert Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB to ask what he thought. He said, “Chant and jazz are first cousins!” and sent me a link to this video. Check out this project he was a part of with the Thomas Merton Society. I hope you enjoy!

Gaudete!

The Third Sunday of Advent takes its name from the entrance chant at Mass:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.

— Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1

A little something for Mary…

…on today’s Solemnity, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (this year moved to today because of the 2nd Sunday of Advent). This is my most favorite setting of the Ave Maria, and I love how Franz Biebl set a portion of the Angelus text with its Hail Marys. I hope you enjoy this one of many online recordings of this gorgeous work.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us.

“Tradition and the future”

I saw this excellent video posted over at the Chant Café. In it, Fr. Joseph Kramer, FSSP. provides great insight about young people and the liturgical tradition of the Church.

More and more often in my own experience, I see and hear of young people excited about the liturgical tradition of the Church, especially the tradition of Sacred Music. Young couples want to hear chant and organ at their weddings, and kids think that music that has survived many centuries is “cool.” Strong Catholic identity, especially in  liturgical expression, is attractive.

The attractive power of the truth?