ABOUT THE CD
The Matins service was the most extensive of medieval liturgical forms: lengthy, extravagant, a complete experience—all taking place in the early morning before sunrise. Matins carried forward the tradition of night vigils begun in the early church in recollection of waiting at the tomb through the night before Easter. Monastic liturgical enthusiasm extended the vigil to every night of the year; each service entailed an hour or more of chanting and spiritual readings. For more important feasts (such as the feast of All Saints, which we sing here) the service could go on for hours. With its musical richness and unhurried pace, the chant unfolds gently in the pre-dawn stillness.
In 2003 Peregrine prepared and sang a complete Gregorian chant Matins service for All Saints at our St. Mark’s Cathedral home in Seattle. Bowing to the contingencies of modern life, we started the service at 5am (a bit late), and were delighted to be joined by about 30 stalwart and bundled-up audience members who stuck with us for nearly three hours. We loved the colorful and diverse chant settings so much that making a recording (albeit in abbreviated form!) seemed inevitable.
Our service is a hybrid, drawing on chants traditionally associated with the Feast of All Saints on November 1, but also those from feasts for specific categories of saints (martyrs, virgins, doctors of the church, and so on) celebrated on various occasions throughout the year.
Matins chants are grouped into “nocturnes,” each of which includes a group of chanted Psalms followed by a series of readings and responsory chants. For this recording we have represented the readings, so central to the rhythms of the Matins service, with evocative “tone poem” compositions and improvisations by the wonderful harpist Cheryl Ann Fulton.
PEREGRINE MEDIEVAL VOCAL ENSEMBLE
Joseph Anderson, John Bolcer, Mel Butler, Peter Henry, Bill McJohn, Kenneth Peterson
Peregrine was founded in 1993 by Joseph Anderson and Bill McJohn. The group is an Artist-in-Residence ensemble at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle and is also affiliated with the Center for Sacred Art. This is the group’s second CD.
Peregrine explores the Gregorian chant repertoire from liturgical, historical, interfaith, and contemplative perspectives, and has presented chant in educational settings, church services, multifaith gatherings, and meditation events.
Our approach to chant is to discover the flexibility, vitality, and integrity of the melodic line. This emerges organically from our interaction with the possibilities suggested by the music. We offer Gregorian chant as a place of rest and grounding within today’s wildly diverse, dynamic, and loud musical culture. Though our music is certainly on the austere end of the spectrum, we see ourselves as part of that culture, enlivened by it, contributing to it, but certainly not divorced from it. Perhaps we are an “anti-beat” that helps provide a useful contrast to the insistent pulse provided by many of our contemporaries.
CHERYL ANN FULTON
Recognized as a leading pioneer in the field of historical harps, Cheryl Ann Fulton has had an internationally successful performing, recording, teaching and scholarly research career since 1986. She is America’s premier historical harpist as well as a popular performer and teacher of contemporary lever harp and a versatile recording artist who can be heard on over thirty albums A founding member of Ensemble Alcatraz, she has also worked with many early music ensembles including Anonymous 4, Sequentia, Les Idees Heureuses, American Bach Soloists, American Baroque, The Boston Camerata, and Chanticleer. She founded and directs the medieval harp choir Angelorum.