Thursday, September 13, 2012

To Richard Rice, Cobalt in intensity and beauty

Schola got off the summer wagon and back on the rehearsal bus last night. Boarding was bumpy, jostling among no parking, a large RCIA class, and a larger contingent of RE volunteers in the very small downstairs of the old convent. But even without basses, we had a good first night turnout. We went through a lovely little anthem of John Leavitt, "Come, follow me" which will be perfect for Sunday's gospel. We read through the new SATB version of Jeff Ostrowski's "Glory to God" from the ST. RALPH SHERWIN MASS (CCWatershed). That was of breathtaking elegance. We read some lovely Charles Giffen Christmas Carols including a snappy Czech piece I'll have to ask Chuck for phonetics help. But the capper was our first encounter with this Sunday's Communio, Qui vult veni (Whoever wishes to follow...) from Richard Rice's new CHORAL COMMUNIO collection. When I first encountered Richard in 2006, his Latin COMMUNIO resource collection was my first serious introduction to propers. And I only had glances of him personally. Then he issued the famed SIMPLE CHORAL GRADUALS under CMAA license, and the quasi-orthodox homophony was an instant hit with my group who sight reads pretty well for all amateurs. Over the intervening years, we wouldn't rehearse the SCG until right before Mass. But they still maintained an edifying presence for all. Now, we have in the CHORAL COMMUNIO's a collection that will demand serious attention on rehearsal night, and amounts to a virtual motet as the celebrant receives and then distributes to the deacons, acolytes and EMHC's. If you've met Richard, you'll smile if I say he has such a quirky and enigmatic personality. I think his immediate visage to the uninitiated my smack of one who doesn't suffer foolishness gladly. But I think his sense of humor and affection for family and friends have deep waters. How could he write with prolifically but yet so sensitively and with variety, freshness, poignancy if he wasn't truly inspired. Do invest in knowing the music of Richard Rice.

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