Francesco Bergamini (1815-1883): Reading the Choir Notes


Christ Church Cathedral – Montreal, QC


Choir Notes


December 23, 2007 – 4th Sunday of Advent


Click to read about "O" Antiphons, associated with the singing of the Magnificat at evensong in the final week before Christmas, and to listen to them sung in Latin by the Dominican Students of Blackfriars Hall (godzdogz), Oxford, and in the German version of Arvo Pärt by Polyphony.                                                                           "O" by Eric Gill


To launch the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Olivier Messiaen, Patrick Wedd will perform the nine meditations of Messiaen's La Nativité du Seigneur on the Wilhelm organ of Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, December 22, 2007, at 5:00 pm.  Admission free.  Donation requested.              Click to read about Olivier Messiaen, hear his  La Nativité du Seigneur, Les Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus and some of his other music.



Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 

with the music of a French baroque organ Mass

from the 17th century.


The organ of St-Merry in Paris where Nicolas Lebègue was titular.


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, following the French baroque organ Mass, Patrick Wedd will perform on the organ Nicolas  Lebègue’s Messe des festes solemnelles, alternating with Cantor Normand Richard who will chant verses from the plainsong setting, Missa XII Pater cuncta.


At Communion, Patrick will perform Lebègue, Trio a l’élevation. (L’élevation refers to the raising of the Bread and the Cup in the Roman rite after the words of blessing have been said.)


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 organ version by Jean Titelouze (1563-1633) (MIDI file) will provide the prelude and postlude at this Sunday's Eucharist.  The congregation will sing the hymn during the offertory.

The French organ Mass is said to have reached its climax in François Couperin, Messe des paroisses pour les festes solemnelles.  Click to see and hear Michel Chapuis perform the Benedictus on the Riepp organ of the collegiate church of Notre-Dame in Dole.


For excerpts from Couperin’s other organ Mass, Messe des couvents de religieux et religiouses, click to see and hear Nuno Oliviera perform on the Flentrop organ of the Sé Patriarcal (cathedral) of Lisbon.  Click for the Offertoire sur les grands jeux.


Click for the Latin and English texts of Conditor Alme Siderum.  Click to hear Conditor Alme Siderum sung by the Dominican Friars of France in plainsong.  Click to see and hear Libera do its version.



Advent in the Castle Chapel, Weimar

Click to hear and follow the text of                          Bach Cantata No. 132                                                The 4th Sunday of Advent                                         Bach-Collegium Stuttgart                              Helmuth Rilling, conducting           






CHRISTMAS MUSIC GALORE:  Click to listen to a wide variety of sacred music in preparation for the Christmas season.  Latest addition:  William Byrd's Mass for Three Voices with his Propers for the Nativity.