Europe was pretty wonderful. Perhaps the best actual trip I've taken in my life. I'm debating whether or not to link to the photos when I put this up, as I rather prefer this blog to be somewhat mysteriously anonymous. hm.
Anyhow, in terms of music/liturgy (which is what my goal for this blog is,) a couple of interesting things:
Went to Evensong at Westminster Abbey (the Anglican one.) it was interesting as "High Church" experiences go, it was a men's/boy's choir, which was LOVELY to hear, although I wasn't terribly impressed with the actual styles of the music they sang. Something like harmonically Renaissancish 4-part chanting of the Psalms? I'm not really up for analyzing it. I totally coincidentally sat next to guy from the music school at the University (here in Michigan!) that I know. How random is that? We took a picture cuz we figured no one would believe us.
On Saturday morning I went to Mass at Westminster Cathedral because it was some sort of latin/chant Mass with the men of their choir. That was cool, and I actually prefered the parts that were sung in true chant to the Evensong of the night before. However, I was extremely disappointed with myself (and with the training that I have NOT received) that I wasn't able to chant the basic Mass parts in Latin! (They only gave us the words, but they were the familiar/most famous Latin setting, so I should have known them better!)
Then on Sunday, I went to Mass with my friend (who I was staying with.) now, you must understand the religious situation in Europe. It is non-existent. There is truley no money for organists. The church we went to, however, had a wonderful priest who was filled with the Holy Spirit, which I suspect is a rarity in the UK. But, as my friend warned me, the music was seriously lacking. In fact, it was rather hilarious and I had to work very hard to not laugh, and I'm glad she warned me. The organist was this kind of old guy who could NOT play at all! He played the melody of the first line as the introduction (constantly bumping wrong notes,) then fumbled along through all the verses, literally stopping and starting and playing loads of wrong notes as the congregation struggled to follow. However, I was quite impressed by how the congregation DID sing even through all of that, and I would be interested to hear how they would sound without the organist dragging them down! Poor guy, he's probably trying his best, but I do think they could do better without him... He only did 3 hymns, all the Mass parts were spoken. Oh, God help us. This is my vocation...