Religious music played an important role in the founding of Québec City. Activities aligned with festivities of the liturgical calendar, while public prayers, processions, and Sunday masses forged a social fabric in an atmosphere of religious fervor. François de Laval (1623–1708), the first Bishop of Quebec, founded the Diocese of Quebec and created new churches, schools, and charities. Quebec Cathedral has been at the center of musical life thanks to its institutional and educational role. Laval brought from France an organ which was installed in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de l’Immaculée-Conception in 1663.
During English colonial rule, church music was gradually adopted by locals or immigrants from Germany and Britain. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (1810) houses the oldest congregation of Scottish descent in Canada. Its origins date back to 1759, when the regiment of the 78th Fraser Highlanders of General James Wolfe’s (1727–1759) army was stationed in Quebec.
The churches were not only places of community where music was played and heard during services, but also provided the framework for ambitious musical initiatives that became the nuclei of ensemble concerts. For example, on 26 June 1834, Stephen Codman, the musical director of the Anglican Cathedral of Holy Trinity, invited 111 choristers and 60 musicians for a sacred concert featuring works by Haydn, Mozart, Handel, Cherubini, and Rossini. The popularity of European choral repertoire led to the creation of the Union musicale in 1866 and the creation of the Société Musicale Ste-Cécile in 1869.
Learn more about Quebec’s musical life in a new entry on MGG Online.
The image above is of Basilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec, and below is a concert choir performance at the cathedral.
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A catalogue of Mass, Office, and Holy Week music printed in Italy, 1516–1770 focuses on the vast repertoire (comprising approximately 2000 sources) of music for the Office, Holy Week, and the Mass published in Italy from 1516 to the cessation of the printing of such repertoire in the latter part of the 18th century. Even by the end of the first quarter of the Settecento, Italian prints of sacred music were quite rare.
A collection of music manuscripts compiled around the middle of the 15th century and currently kept in the northern Italian city of Trento, the Trent codices preserve over 1500 compositions, mostly sacred vocal music. Taken together, these codices comprise the largest and most significant single manuscript source from the entire century from anywhere in Europe.
The choral scholar (ISSN 1948-3058), a peer-reviewed journal launched in 2009 by the National Collegiate Choral Organization, is dedicated to “presenting outstanding scholarship related to the study and performance of choral music”—including such topics as conducting and pedagogy, in addition to musicological research; it also welcomes studies that directly involve choral music from fields other than music. The journal’s first issue includes articles on vocal physiology, performance practice, repertoire, and compositional style.
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