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Roxanne R. Reed

[Delois Barrett and the Barrett Sisters]

Gospel trio. Its members were Delores [Delois] (soprano), Billie (alto), and Rhodessa (high soprano) Barrett. Hailing from the Southside of Chicago, they grew up with seven other siblings and were members of the Morning Star Baptist Church where they sang in a choir directed by their aunt. As the Barrett–Hudson Singers, Delores and Billie had performed in a group with a cousin, whom Rhodessa later replaced to form the Barrett Sisters. Delores, the eldest and the group’s leader, started singing at the age of six. Her professional career began in earnest after graduating from Englewood High School, when she became the first female to join the Roberta Martin Singers (1944; see martin, Roberta ). Billie and Rhodessa received some formal training, but it was through the Roberta Martin Singers that Delores learned technique and honed her individual style, along with the unique ensemble quality known as the Roberta Martin sound. Delores continued to sing with Martin from time to time, even as the Barrett Sisters took shape. Getting their start as an African American gospel trio, the Barrett Sisters first recorded with the label Savoy (...

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Article

Nicholas Temperley

The two halves of the choir (in an architectural sense) in an English cathedral or a large church or chapel: decani is the south side, cantoris the north. The names mean ‘dean’s [side]’, ‘cantor’s [side]’, and refer to the two highest officials of the chapter of a medieval cathedral. The Cantor, or precentor, ranked immediately after the dean in secular cathedral establishments. The dean’s stall was at the west end of the choir, facing east, just to the south of the central aisle; the cantor’s was opposite, north of the aisle. For certain duties the choir (in a musical sense) was also divided into two equal halves. The singers on the dean’s side – decani – took the leading part one week, those on the cantor’s side – cantoris – the next; during the seasons of the three great festivals the alternation was daily. Psalms, canticles and hymns were sung in alternation between the two halves. Together with much other Latin terminology, the names survived the Reformation, and have been used ever since in cathedral music to signify the two halves of the choir....

Article

Friedrich W. Riedel

Benedictine abbey near Krems, Lower Austria. It was founded in 1083 by Bishop Altmann of Passau as a monastery for prebendaries. In 1094 it was taken over by Benedictines from St Blasien in the Black Forest, and rapidly became an important centre of religious and intellectual life. After a period of decline during the Reformation, Göttweig flourished in the Baroque era, particularly under the abbot Gottfried Bessel (1714–49), who, after a fire in 1718, instigated the rebuilding of the monastery in Baroque style. Despite the misfortunes which befell the monastery during the Enlightenment and the Napoleonic Wars, and the disruption caused by World War II, Göttweig remained an important religious and cultural centre. It has a long musical tradition; choral singing was fostered from the abbey’s foundation, and its choir school dates from the Middle Ages. By the 15th century an organist had been appointed, and polyphony was sung in the 16th century. An inventory of ...

Article

Cedric Dent

Ring shout performers. The group formed in the Bolden community of McIntosh County on the coast of Georgia to promote the survival of the Ring shout —the oldest African American performance tradition in North America. The group performs after church worship services and on special occasions at a local church, Mt. Calvary Baptist. Because of space limitations in the sanctuary, an annex was built behind the church to accommodate performance of the ring shout, which employs call-and-response singing, percussive rhythm, and expressive and formalized dance-like movement in a counter-clockwise ring. Presumed to have died out in the 20th century, the tradition was rediscovered in 1980 when the group consented to perform at the Sea Island Festival on St. Simon’s Island in Glynn County, Georgia. The repertory is often Biblical in nature and consists of a special song type, at one time called a “running spiritual,” and believed to be a precursor to the Negro spiritual. In ...

Article

Melk  

Robert N. Freeman

Town in Lower Austria. The strategic location of the fortress Medelica (Melk) on a slope overlooking the Danube led the Babenbergs, Austria's medieval rulers, to establish their court there in 976. Monks from the Benedictine abbey of Lambach were invited to join the court in 1089; shortly after 1110, when the Babenbergs moved to Klosterneuburg, the Benedictines became the owners of Melk and a large area of land. This link with the Austrian monarchal line made the wealthy abbey one of the Empire's most powerful institutions.

Soon after their arrival the Benedictines founded a boys' choir; pueri are mentioned as early as 1140 and a cloister school, training boys for singing in processions and daily church services, is described in a manuscript dating from 1160. The scriptorium was most productive in the first half of the 13th century. A great fire (1297) destroyed most of the manuscripts recording this formative musical period. 133 codices survived intact, about half of which originated at Melk, including the ...

Article

Adolf Layer

revised by Johannes Hoyer

Benedictine monastery in Bavaria, Germany, founded in 764. There is evidence of music making in the monastery from the 12th century. In the first half of the 16th century Ottobeuren was receptive to humanist ideas; it had its own printing press and in 1543 founded its own Benedictine university, although this lasted only a few years. Abbot Caspar Kindelmann (1547–86) encouraged polyphony and instigated the construction of a large organ by Georg Ebert von Ravensburg in the new abbey chapel; he also appears to have been a composer. Kindelmann employed the organist Vitalis Brelle and the choirmaster Christian Frantz, whose manuscript of mainly four-part sacred music (1577) survives. In the 17th century the Catholic revival aroused new interest in choral music, and in the following century the monastery's music reached a peak of splendour, primarily in the field of sacred music, although musical dramas were presented in the abbey school. In ...

Article

Terry E. Miller

[bin bādy]

In Cambodia, the primary classical ensemble played at court ceremonies, some Buddhist festivals, to accompany the large shadow theatre, masked drama, and dance drama. Both the ensemble and its name are closely related to similar ensembles in Thailand (piphat) and Laos (sep nyai/piphat). Ensembles vary in size from minimal (five instruments) to large. A basic ensemble consists of ...

Article

Seises  

Robert Stevenson

(Sp. ‘sixes’)

From the 16th century to the 19th, the choirboys who sang polyphony in the cathedrals of Seville, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Mexico City, Lima and elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world were called seises – six being their traditional number at Seville and Toledo cathedrals. The earliest papal bulls designating the income from a prebend for a master of the choirboys in Seville Cathedral were Eugene IV’s Ad exequendum (24 September 1439) and Nicolas V’s Votis illis (27 June 1454). Throughout the next three centuries Seville Cathedral (which set the pattern for the Spanish Indies) had both a master of the altar boys who sang only plainchant, and a master of the seises, generally the maestro de capilla or his deputy. The master of the seises boarded and taught them. When their voices changed, and upon receiving a certificate of good behaviour, they were entitled to a few years’ free tuition and other benefits in the Colegio de S Miguel or in the Colegio de S Isidoro maintained by the Sevillian Chapter. Similar ...

Article

Cedric Dent

[Nightingales]

Gospel ensemble. It was formed by Barney Parks (formerly of the Dixie Hummingbirds) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1942 to sing black religious quartet music. It began as the Nightingales, with Parks as manager (he had retired from singing), guitarist Howard Carroll, and singers Paul Owens, Ben Joiner, and William Henry. It disbanded after a few years, and Parks reassembled the group in 1946, adding JoJo Wallace, Carl Coates, and the lead singer Julius “June” Cheeks. Cheeks sang with an intensity associated with the Sanctified Church, exemplifying the gospel style of quartet singing popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Audiences responded favorably to his impassioned solos leading to the group adding the word “sensational” to its name. They began recording in 1952 for Peacock Records. Cheeks temporarily left in 1954 to sing with the Soul Stirrers and again in the 1960s to sing with the Mighty Clouds of Joy. He retired in the early 1970s, after which the group continued, with Charles Johnson replacing Cheeks, and signed with Malaco Records in ...