Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Hauntingly Beautiful, Singable GLORY TO GOD
by Jeffrey Mark Ostrowski of Corpus Christi Watershed
and Chabanel Psalm Renown.

Gloria in honor of Blessed Ralph Sherwin (†1581) from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Mr. Ostrowski seems to possess an innate sense of how graceful motion and forward movement of a chanted melody can be beautifully mirrored in his sparing harmonic assignments, particularly in the movement of the bass line. Note the rising scale of the bass underneath "and on earth, peace to people of good will," suggesting our human aspiring to be "of good will."  And a likewise arsic "longing" reaching its apex on a-DORE You" seems both human and angelic.
An interest expansion from 2nds/3rds to closely clustered 7th chords that progressively radiate outwards in the organ to richer, tonally cadential chords accompanies "You take away the sins of the world" in the first use of that phrase, and then Ostrowski avoids repeating the same technique with the re-utterance of that phrase. And he uses some deceptive cadences in different ways to beautiful purpose. Instead of resolving to the Mixolydian "final" he prepares a lovely double suspension, and then again uses a D minor deception for "Lord Jesus Christ" instead of an F Major. Very compelling.
I believe that congregations will find enough repetitive melodic phrases to intuit where their "going" if they don't actually ever look at the notes.
I wonder if there might be opportunity, down the road to explore some choral options or variations, particular as they approach more solid cadences. But, as new settings go, this is a huge and high bar he's created.

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