In a series of Saturday morning online presentations, Dr. Philip Cave, associate conductor for Chapel Music, explores notable pieces of sacred music. These "Sacred on Saturday" presentations place the music in its context, and examine its construction and musical language, so as to enrich the listener’s experience of it.
Details for each session are below, including links for free registration for future sessions and recordings of past sessions.
The Greatest Story Ever Sung: A Short History of Passion Music
Saturday, March 27, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
In this session, the focus is on musical settings of the Passion from medieval chant to more contemporary works, with music by Victoria, Schütz, Gesualdo, Handel, Pärt and Penderecki.
This session will focus on musical settings of Psalm 130, which begins "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord" (NRSV). The presentation will include the English settings of "Out of the deep" by Purcell and Morley; German works by Schütz, Bach, and Mendelssohn; and several European settings of the Latin text "De profundis" including music by Josquin, Charpentier, and more modern works by Schoenberg and Pärt. Watch a recording of the session:
Advent and Christmas
Saturday, November 28, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.
Packed with imagery, the first few weeks of the liturgical year offer wonderful inspiration to composers to portray the anticipation of Advent, and the celebration of Christmas.
In this session, Dr. Cave will present and comment on music of "The O-Antiphons." These ancient, prophetic texts were originally sung each day at Vespers during the last week of Advent. Each begins with a salutation using names given to the Messiah in the Old Testament: Wisdom, Lord of Israel, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of All Nations, and Emmanuel. Dr. Cave will focus on the first of these, "O Sapientia" in Latin, with music from ancient plainsong to music from this century. Composers include Robert Ramsey, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Healey Willan, Bob Chilcott, and Nico Muhly.
The session will also include Christmas music by Michael Praetorius, Philippe Rogier, Johannes Brahms, Herbert Howells and others. Watch the recording:
All Saints and All Souls
Saturday, October 31, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.
Sometimes obscured by the frivolity of Halloween are the two liturgical Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. Commemorating the blessed and the departed, the church celebrates these days with music of remembrance and thanksgiving. In addition to plainsong chant, the music includes pieces from composers Tomás Luis deVictoria, Orlande de Lassus, William Byrd, Charles Villiers Stanford, and Johann Sebastian Bach. Watch at recording of this session:
Saturday, October 10, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.
This first session considers music of public and private lamentation. Composers across the ages have responded to sorrow, be it personal loss or national crisis. Settings of texts from the Lamentations of Jeremiah have provided music that both expresses and comforts grief. The music is from Thomas Tallis, Josquin des Prez, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Heinrich Schütz, George Frideric Handel, and others. Watch a recording of this session: