Composers Group

Membership of the SSG Composers Group is open to anyone who is interested in composing music or writing texts for the Roman Catholic liturgy.

If you would like to receive information about the Composers Group’s activities, you are invited to join the SSG Composers’ Group email list. Simply click here to email Alan Smith, the Composers Group Secretary, and he will add you to the mailing list and be in touch.

All communication about the Composers Group business will be carried out via email, so do please sign-up.

Report to SSG Trustees, February 2021

There currently 45 composers on the Group’s mailing list.

The scheduled December meeting did not take place, but I have done some useful one-to-one Zoom sessions with some less experienced composers.

For 2021, I am going to assume that we must still meet online for the foreseeable future. I am proposing a series of dates along the same lines as last year. Since it doesn’t seem likely that any of us will soon be back in church to sing our music, I am not going to attempt to suggest that our meetings follow the liturgical seasons, so any liturgical music-in-progress will be welcome for discussion.

With that said, I propose to host Composers Group sessions via Zoom as follows:

Saturday, 13 March 2021: sharing & teaching session (for less experienced composers)

Saturday, 27 March 2021: sharing session (for more experienced composers)

Saturday, 12 June 2021: sharing & teaching session

Saturday, 26 June 2021: sharing session

Saturday, 11 September 2021: sharing & teaching session

Saturday, 25 September 2021: sharing session

I will issue invitations to the Group a month ahead of each of these meetings. Composers will be invited to submit any liturgical compositions-in-progress and, optionally, suggest topics for the teaching sessions.

The Group is grateful for the Trustees’ ongoing support, not least for the subscription to Zoom, which has proved to be very workable and invaluable in the current circumstances. Indeed, like many other organisations, we have found that Zoom meetings, while in no way replacing ‘normal’ sessions, bring their own distinct advantages, such as enabling many more people to take part ‘online’ than were ever able to attend ‘offline’.

Alan Smith

Secretary to the Composers Group

New Publication: RSCM PsalmSongs – Update

As noted in the last issue of Music and Liturgy, David Ogden and I are currently working on a successor to the three volumes of Psalm Songs that Cassell published in 1997. In addition to a good number of new settings, we will be including pieces from the original volumes that have stood the test of time — over 60 pieces in total — all in one volume. Our working title is RSCM PsalmSongs. This book will. be for cantors and organists/pianists. We will also be publishing a melody/harmony edition (for singers and choirs, complete with chord symbols: concert pitch and capo) and an instrumental book, with optional instrumental parts. Finally, OneLicence subscribers will be able to download the refrains, for use on service sheets. Once again, SSG composers will be very well represented in the new volume — one that will take its place in a long and distinguished line of SSG-based liturgical volumes, from A Responsorial Psalm Book, through Music for the Mass and Music for the Mass 2, Psalm Songs, and Baptised with Fire. The new volumes will be published by RSCM and should be available in September.

Software Demonstration Sessions

Three one-hour online sessions have been arranged in April/May for members of the Composers Group with the aim of introducing us to the three main professional music scoring applications. Full details will be emailed to Composers Group members before the end of March.

Session 1: Sibelius (led by Andrew Henderson, Stonyhurst College) — Monday, 12 April at 8pm

Session 2: Dorico (led by Alan Smith, SSG) — Monday, 19 April at 8pm

Session 3: Finale (led by Paul Inwood, composer & liturgist) — Monday, 10 May at 8pm


Alan Smith

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