The Trinity Choir (Trinity Wall Street)


This article revisited: El 3 de septiembre de 2014. Someone wrote me yesterday asking essentially what others have asked about regarding my no longer writing about The Trinity Choir or the Liturgies. I appreciate that some people enjoyed my articles about The Trinity Choir, but I’m just so turned off by that place at this point. I went over to their slow website and checked out the most recent service leaflet from the last Domingo/Sunday en agosto/August. I wanted to watch/see the organ voluntary that was played at the beginning of the Liturgy so I watched the organist until the camera decided to show anything but the organist (such as the ceiling, walls, etc). I was disgusted, and it reminded me of why I don’t go there anymore. With this camera work nonsense, are they striving for the same effect that organist Diane Bish used in The Joy of Music? Is that what they’re doing or trying to do? Sigh. That technique worked for Ms Bish because she was in a different church or cathedral church each week, but even her production people didn’t show the buildings (ceiling, walls, High Altar) at the expense of showing her playing the organ. The focus was on her and her expertise and for a few measures the camera might show the stained glass windows or an interesting ceiling or something. In other words, they didn’t do what Trinity’s production people do. With Trinity, it’s the same church every week so the ceiling and the walls and the High Altar and anything else they show (but the musicians) don’t change, so is there a need to show those things each service when the organist is playing and one would like to see/watch him (they have a new organist finally) playing the organ voluntary? I take it that they at Trinity think watching the organist playing is boring to viewers and the Choir is boring to watch when they’re performing. Ha! That’s what I’ve concluded based on their camera work at Trinity. When I was watching the Liturgies, I didn’t listen to/watch the Homilies/Sermons, but I suspect the camera did not move off the priest giving the Homily and show the ceiling or the walls or the back of the Nave. I suspect that camera was fixed to that priest the entire time. So last Domingo, whenever the camera moved off the organist I skipped forward in the video to where the camera was back on the organist, so frankly I didn’t get to hear/see much of the organ voluntary at all. It was pretty much over right after it started at least for me. And this is one of the many reasons why I’m turned off by Trinity Wall Street. So no, I won’t be writing anymore about The Trinity Choir or anybody else there. Chau.—el barrio rosa

This article revisited: El 14 de julio de 2014. An e-mail I received about Trinity Wall Street:
I read where you’ve stopped writing about TWS and their choir. Sorry to hear that as I enjoyed your articles. Have you at least gone back to watch any of their liturgies?
My response: Hola y gracias. Well, only because you wrote me I went back and watched part of one video on the 22nd of June, I think it was. Unlike previously, I don’t really have anything positive to say about it including the music. The Trinity Choir had 9 voices on that day since it’s Summer. Five of the regular choristers were there with 3 new people (tenors, I think). The Choir’s intonation (the perfect blending of voices) was not good. That’s new, unfortunately. And I heard some vibrato, which I can’t stand…ugh. I listened to the Anglican chant and most of the Offertory Anthem but got so annoyed with the camera work (which sucked) that I fast-forwarded to the censing of the altar. I honestly think the camera people find the Choir boring to watch and to look at so instead the camera people showed the stained glass windows, the ceiling, the High Altar, anything except what they should be showing which was the Choir because they were singing at the time. Their camera work is amateurish. By contrast, Washington National Cathedral has good camera work consistently. I’ve never been annoyed by WNC’s camera work, but Trinity? Ugh. I don’t know where they got these camera people from. This crew is the best available in Manhattan? For the censing of the altar the camera looked like it wasn’t too interested in showing that either, since the beginning of it wasn’t shown. Instead, we saw the table part (with the bread/wine on it) of the free-standing altar. I clicked off in disgust after that. And the thurifer (whom I have liked in the past) seemed in a rush as if she had a time constraint. She didn’t allow people to bow to her before she began censing to those inside the Sanctuary area. She seemed a bit uptight. Why the rush? I don’t think anyone will walk out because she took a few more moments to do the censing in a little slower manner (like los muchachos/the guys do…they don’t rush it). I may go back again at some point but not anytime soon. I know this is pretty much the opposite of what I’ve written about The Trinity Choir previously (excluding the pathetic camera work), but that’s the way it was. And last Summer with 8 voices, they sounded superb. If one didn’t know for sure, one might have thought that The Family Choir was there instead…but they weren’t. Chau.—rosa barrio

This article revisited: El 7 de junio de 2014. I received this kind e-mail recently:
“Hi, I enjoyed reading what you had to say about the services at Trinity Wall Street with the Trinity Choir. You haven’t written anything about them since Ash Wednesday. I had expected you to write about Easter. Just wondering…”
My response: Hola, I’m glad somebody enjoyed reading what I wrote about Trinity. I haven’t written anything since Ash Wednesday because I’m not writing anything more about The Trinity Choir for many reasons. Trinity Wall Street continues to remove some of the videos of their Liturgies. I haven’t gone through every article I wrote about them to see which videos are still on. But they seem to leave videos of the Liturgies on for about 3 months and then delete them (WHY?…when they own the copyright to their own videos!), which gives me dead links on pages and makes what I’ve written about them pretty much irrelevant, because there’s no way to see or hear what I’ve written about. So it’s a waste of my time to write about them. I don’t know why they delete the videos. By their deleting the videos, they have deleted—what I would describe as—many legendary absolutely superb performances, and I’m not exaggerating. The Trinity Choir performed many pieces splendidly (such as the Renaissance pieces they performed for the liturgy on Ash Wednesday 2013) and now those performances are gone. What harm would it have done to have made them available indefinitely with as much dinero/money as this church has? What this tells me is that despite all the syrupy words about The Trinity Choir from some of the priests on occasion, that the “Administration” at Trinity Wall Street does not really appreciate the music and does not have “an ear” for music. Can they even tell the difference between The Trinity Choir and The Family Choir? If they did, they would not conceive of removing those videos of the Renaissance pieces (as one example) as well as others. It disgusts me that they removed those performances. Of course they don’t delete the homilies/sermons. No, they’re all still there. As much dinero/money as this church has they could leave them on for years (like Washington National Cathedral does and WNC has a lot less dinero than Trinity Wall Street). I don’t understand them at Trinity. And they recently “upgraded” that god-awful FlowPlayer they use. I can’t stand that thing and the reviews I found of that player online were not good. On my system, the videos are now jerky when they play so much so that they’re unwatchable. They weren’t jerky before this “upgrade.” The audio is fine but the video is jerky so when Julian is conducting The Trinity Choir, for example, his conducting looks jerky and does not match the music I’m hearing. People walking around in the Nave look jerky when they’re walking. That’s how bad the video quality is. Also, the player takes forever to load, it just spins and spins and spins and spins. Most people are not going to wait that long for it to load. I looked at one video the other day and they’re still showing people receiving Communion—I think we all have the hang of that—instead of showing The Trinity Choir in full singing the Communion Anthem. Someone wrote to me recently and said he had written to Trinity because he had the same criticisms of their camera work as I’ve written about. I think they only followed his suggestions for a short time and have since gone back to their old methods mostly. He specifically said he complained about not seeing the Choir during Communion, also one of my complaints. He didn’t say this but I’ve noticed it, they’ve turned off the mics above The Trinity Choir. Why would they do that? So now the Choir has a different “sound,” (they sound distanced) and they don’t sound quite as refined as they did for some reason. I’m not sure what’s going on with The Trinity Choir either. The Choir is rarely the exact same group of choristers. They come and go and the only thing that stays constant is the name: “The Trinity Choir.” But I suspect that most people at Trinity Wall Street can’t hear the difference between The Trinity Choir and that Family Choir they have even though there’s a big quality difference between the two. They still haven’t found a principal organist. Maybe if they installed a (new) high-quality pipe organ—and that church could afford to buy several pipe organs!—they wouldn’t have any trouble finding a superb principal organist on a permanent basis. Eric (who’s been filling in some and he’s a former organist at Washington National Cathedral and I saw him play when he was there) is superb, especially his improvisations and organ voluntaries, but it doesn’t look like he wants to move to NYC/Manhattan. So, that’s all I have to say about The Trinity Choir and Trinity Wall Street. Gracias for your e-mail. Chau.—rosa barrio

All other updates to this article are now at the bottom of the page.
 

La Dalia Rosa

La Dalia Rosa

El 19 de enero de 2013. Hola. There are very few Anglican/Episcopal Churches with video or audio webcasts internationally. One might think webcasts would be abundant throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion (of which the US Episcopal Church is a part), but even in the UK with the Church of England webcasts of Anglican services are nearly nonexistent and the same for world-wide. One church/parish in the Estados Unidos/U.S. that has video webcasts of their liturgies is The Trinity Church Wall Street in lower Manhattan and this article is mainly about The Trinity Choir.

Below are some videos of The Trinity Choir, the resident Chorus for Trinity Wall Street in lower Manhattan. In the following videos, The Trinity Choir is superb. They are conducted by Dr Julian Wachner who is Director of Music and Arts at Trinity Wall Street. Julian also conducts The Washington Chorus (formerly known as The Oratorio Society of Washington) in the District of Columbia, Estados Unidos. They perform in the Kennedy Center for some of their performances and with the National Symphony Orchestra.

The Trinity Choir generally has about 20 voices, but they can sound much larger than their size and they are not “over-singing.” In these videos, they sound wonderful with very clear diction (which is especially noticeable on the Anglican chants…I could understand every word they were singing and I wasn’t looking at their service leaflet).

The Trinity Choir recently performed Handel/Messiah at Trinity Church and also at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. For those who don’t know, not just anyone can perform at Lincoln Center. Your average church choir could only dream of performing at Lincoln Center and it would be a delusional dream at that. Not about to happen in reality. I was slow to watch Trinity’s Messiah webcast because if I don’t hear Messiah again it would be fine with me. That oratorio is so overdone and it’s unfortunately dragged out every holiday season—because “it’s tradition”—at the neglect of other excellent choral works such as Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Hodie, for example. But because it was The Trinity Choir performing it I wanted to hear their version. I’m glad I watched their performance. I was very pleased with it. If I have to hear Messiah, their performance or one very similar is what I would choose. Julian’s interpretation of Messiah overall reminded me of a version I heard on one occasion in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with the (then) Oratorio Society of Washington (now called The Washington Chorus which Julian conducts as I said earlier) and with members of the National Symphony Orchestra. That performance of Messiah was conducted by the founder and director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Margaret Hillis. The following day, The Washington Post reviewed the Hillis Messiah performance with the headline: “A Brisk Messiah.” Yes it was “brisk” and it was superb. I had never heard an interpretation of Messiah like that performance ever. The Hillis interpretation wasn’t the usual tired, stale, listless, anemic, draggy thing that I had become accustomed to hearing mainly from that big, very over-rated Latter Day Saints choir in Utah, which I no longer listen to. I knew one of the Chorus members of the Oratorio Society of Washington at that time who sang in the Hillis performance and I asked him about it. He told me that Ms Hillis told Robert Shafer (the chorus director at that time) that, “this will be the slowest Messiah on record.” Of course it wasn’t and Ms Hillis only said that so that Shafer would drill the Chorus very slowly on all of the choruses (and especially the runs) in Messiah so that the Chorus would be thoroughly prepared for her brisk tempi when she met them for the first rehearsal. In the performance, The Oratorio Society of Washington rattled those runs off in Messiah with ease/effortlessly, it was nothing for them just like Julian Wachner’s The Trinity Choir did in their performance. Julian’s Messiah was full of energy and polish. And he has the best tenors! I mention that because the tenor section can often be one of the weakest sections in a Chorus. Not with The Trinity Choir. Julian’s Chorus was superbly prepared by him and accompanying was the Trinity Baroque Orchestra. And he used soloists from the Chorus (very good idea, gracias, they were outstanding too). I prefer that—and I wish more Choruses would do that—instead of dragging in some big-named opera singers from one of the major opera companies as bait to get people to show up at the performance. The problem I have with opera singers who are often invited as a soloist for this sort of thing is that they don’t match the sound of the Chorus, and the opera soloists sing with this wobbling vibrato which can often lead the audience to wonder what pitch the soloist is attempting to sing. And of course they sachet out on the stage expecting all the attention they can get. The soloists from The Trinity Choir didn’t do any of that. They just walked out from The Chorus for their solo parts and then walked back and joined The Chorus without any strutting or any of the other stuff that the opera prima donna’s feel they must do.

The only problem I had with the Trinity Wall Street performance was not with the Orchestra and Chorus, but with the traditionalists/sheeple in the audience who—because of that ridiculous tradition—had to stand for the Hallelujah Chorus. Ugh. Give that standing tradition a rest! I suspect if some of those standing were asked why they stood for that, they’d say, “Oh you have to stand for that because that king what’s-his-name stood up for it. It’s tradition, you know.” Yeah, there are many traditions which make no sense whatsoever, so why continue to do them? I read that Robert Shaw (the founder and director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus) couldn’t stand that standing tradition and I can’t either. It’s so sheep-like. It’s loco. Even if some king did stand for that Chorus, for whatever reason—one article I read recently said the man/that king who supposedly stood for the Hallelujah Chorus wasn’t even there at the performance—that doesn’t mean people have to stand today. But it looked like most of the herd did stand at Trinity Wall Street. The words that came to my mind were: Mindless Sheep. But the Chorus had already splendidly sung that Chorus about the sheep: “All we like sheep.”

The Trinity Choir is accompanied by Trinity’s Marshall & Ogletree virtual pipe organ for liturgies. This is a digital/virtual pipe organ. Many people are very closed-minded and prejudiced to digital instruments no matter how authentic they sound to an “acoustic” instrument. There are some excellent digital organs out there, but I’m not convinced they have the best one available. Other than for organ voluntaries, from what I’ve observed they don’t really use the organ to its fullest in liturgies and I’m thinking specifically about the hymn playing. I like the hymn playing at St Thomas Fifth Avenue—that’s my favourite—which is most often rich and full (and very High Church!) and where the organ leads the congregation (without frequently using solo stops in the right hand playing the melody, which is too often Trinity’s style as was the case on 01.13.13 for the principal Holy Eucharist). Trinity’s hymn playing style is usually not like that of St Thomas Fifth Avenue, unfortunately. Too often (at least for my taste) their organists use what I call rather quiet, “thin registrations” as opposed to a “grand and glorious organ sound” (that one hears at St Thomas Fifth Avenue). Also, the hymn playing at Trinity Wall Street can sound rather choppy or detached too often (as if the organist is observing every rest!) rather than the smooth and legato hymn playing at St Thomas Fifth Avenue. At Trinity, the introductions to hymns can sound like the organist is what-I-call “doodling” (improvising) in Baroque style with ornaments and/or fillers even though the hymn is not in Baroque style, and I often think to myself when I hear that: Well, the way you’re playing that hymn, you might as well be on a Hammond. Personally, I’m often frustrated by the hymn playing at Trinity because of the choppiness of the playing and the registrations used. Then I go over to St Thomas Fifth Avenue and I have no complaints about their hymn playing. I did hear the Trinity Wall Street organ sound like a pipe organ on one occasion during Navidad. I think it was for one of the processionals and I think the hymn was Adeste Fideles. The organ at that time sounded full, lush and beautiful, but too often “full and lush” is not used on most hymns (except maybe on the last verse perhaps) and “full” seems to be mostly reserved for organ voluntaries at least from my experience watching/listening. You can get an idea of what I’m talking about as far as “thin registrations” by watching the Holy Eucharist on 01.13.13 at 11.15a.m. (the video is immediately below this paragraph). The organ scholar played for that service and she used rather “thin registrations” with solo stops for playing the melody. Was that to keep the congregation from dragging the hymn tempo? I don’t know, it could be. But that’s not really necessary from my experience. By contrast, they use full lush chords for the hymns at St Thomas Fifth Avenue and their congregation doesn’t drag—and they don’t need a solo stop played on an upper manual to “lead” them on the hymn melody—and St Thomas Fifth Avenue has the best-singing congregation I’ve heard anywhere of those churches and cathedrals with video or audio webcasts. There wasn’t much full organ from Trinity’s organ scholar except for her organ voluntary at the end of the liturgy. I hear thin registrations and choppy playing for hymns used by the Assistant Organist as well. By comparison, one doesn’t hear “thin registrations” often at St Thomas or from Benjamin Straley (Assistant Organist) at Washington National Cathedral. Both St Thomas Fifth Avenue and Benjamin Straley most often use full, lush, rich chords for leading the congregation.

[Unfortunately, this video and one I had embedded below have been removed from Trinity's website. I don't understand why. They give people the option of embedding their videos into one's website (which I did below) and then they later delete the video. Why would they do that? They own the copyright to the video. It not only messes up this page/article I wrote about them but it creates dead pages and "404" type pages within Google. Chau.---rosa barrio]

Most churches—if they have any ear for music at all—would be in amazement that The Trinity Choir is a church choir—based on the videos below—because most church choirs from my experience don’t sound at all like The Trinity Choir as seen/heard in the following videos.

Also, The Trinity Choir’s 2010 “Israel in Egypt” (Handel’s oratorio) performance is superb as well (and it has been nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award in the category of “Best Choral Performance.” A Grammy Nomination for Trinity. I watched “Israel in Egypt” (often referred to as “the oratorio of choruses”) after I watched Messiah. Julian chose the rarely-performed 1756 version of the oratorio and if you’re not familiar with that version there are extra choruses in that work that one may not have heard before. I especially liked the chorus at approximately 30 minutes into the video. I had not heard that before. It’s lovely and they performed it beautifully. The last chorus in the oratorio, “The Lord shall Reign for ever and ever,” I don’t think I’ve heard it performed quite as quickly as Julian took it. It was superb and the Chorus and Orchestra performed it “gloriously” (which is also part of the text in that section). When you’re singing the word “glorious” you have to make what you’re singing really sound “glorious,” and they did. You can watch that performance here too:

Trinity Wall Street Videos

There were several choral pieces I was planning to recommend from Trinity’s webcasts that people might want to listen to, but ever since Hurricane Sandy and the damage it did to lower Manhattan, Trinity has been having some problems with their webcasts and many of them don’t play unfortunately. One that does play—at least at this time—is from el 23 de diciembre de 2012 of the Holy Eucharist. Go to 58.52 in the video (immediately below) and you can listen to the Offertory Anthem which is the Magnificat from the St Paul’s Service by Herbert Howells. It’s superb! Some background: The English composer Herbert Howells traveled around England and wrote canticle settings (Anglican services) tailoring each setting/service to the acoustics and choir of the building he was composing for at the time. So for the St Paul’s Service, the harmonic changes in the music are rather slow to accommodate the vast acoustics of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The St Paul’s Service takes a lot of breath and breath support to handle those long phrases, and The Trinity Choir performed it beautifully. It was lovely.

Also, the St Paul’s Service is part of what is known as “The Big Three” canticle settings of Howells. They are the most often performed settings: Collegium Regale (written for King’s College, Cambridge), St Paul’s and Gloucester (written for Gloucester Cathedral where Herbert Howells served as organist). The Collegium Regale Evening Service/canticles are over-performed in my opinion at the neglect of lesser-known canticle settings by Howells that should be performed but aren’t. Of the “Big Three” my favourites are St Paul’s and Gloucester. So I was pleased that Julian chose the St Paul’s Service. You can listen to that in the video down the page.

And I do want to mention this: It seems that the cancer of politics (and corporatism) infects nearly everything. We in the pink barrio did not agree at all with Trinity Wall Street’s approach to Occupy Wall Street. We agreed with Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

A Statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In particular, the rector of Trinity Wall Street at the time said, “there are no facilities at the Canal St lot.” I thought: Well put some in! Don’t they allow Porta Potties in Manhattan? (What do construction sites do in Manhattan for “facilities?”)

Trinity Wall Street could have stood in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street by allowing OWS to use their property and by providing porta potties to them as a minimal gesture, but unfortunately Trinity took what appeared to be the corporatist approach. Despite the hollow sweet words heard inside the church in liturgies, Trinity Wall Street is an extremely wealthy corporatist church. This statement is from Wikipedia:

Trinity Church (Manhattan)
“As of 2009, the parish’s annual revenue from its real estate holdings was estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars, making it perhaps one of the richest individual parishes in the world.”

Yet they refused to provide “facilities” to Occupy or allow them to use any of their properties. Pathetic.

Pressure On Trinity Church To Call Off Occupy Wall Street Trespassing Charges

Quote from article:
“When a list of the church’s vestry leaked last winter, it included executives of Brookfield Properties, AIG, Citigroup, and BNP Paribas. That roster was shaken up this past March, however, when 10 of the 22 vestry members quit. The walkout was only the latest round of turmoil under the leadership of Trinity’s rector James Cooper. Press accounts make Cooper sound like the modern Episcopal version of a Borgia pope. He received compensation of $1.3 million in 2010, awarded himself the supplementary title of CEO, and picked out a $5.5 million SoHo townhouse for himself, paid for by the church. And his Scroogely actions extend well beyond stiff-arming Occupy Wall Street: he shuttered Trinity’s homeless drop-in center in 2009, then announced plans to borrow church money to build luxury condos on top of a palatial renovation of the church’s offices. Cooper’s excesses were too much even for some of his high-flying vestry, and they asked him to resign. When he refused, many quit. They’ve since been replaced by members more aligned with Cooper’s way of doing things.” END QUOTE
(My comment about that: I’m reminded that at every Sunday principal Holy Eucharist that the rector of Trinity Wall Street says—what seems like on auto-pilot—before the Offertory Anthem, “In the words of our lord jesus christ, it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Based on his own actions, I guess those words don’t apply to this rector; they’re only for other people. We are living in a Age of Hypocrisy!)

Episcopal Clergy arrested after entering Trinity Church Property

As someone wrote in their comment, “As the third largest holder of real estate in Manhattan, it’s clear where Trinity’s priorities lie…”

All of this sort of reminds me of some of the “peace and love” hippies from the 1960s who today are corporatists and work for corporations. And some of the “peace and love” crowd from the 1960s are now working for/supporting corporatist politicians of and for war.

NY church suspends ambitious music program of DC choral director
“All this costs money, and Trinity Church evidently decided it needed to rein in expenses – somewhat abruptly, in mid-season.” (This from a massive New York landowner with an estimated $1 billion in real estate holdings).

Turmoil at Trinity Church Amid Board Member Exodus

After Fiscal Woes, Trinity Church Revives Lunchtime Series

Bien, enjoy la música from The Trinity Choir and on to the St Paul’s Service (Magnificat) by Herbert Howells which begins at 59.00 in the video immediately below. Chau.—rosa barrio

[Unfortunately, this video has also been removed from Trinity's website. So, we'll have to hear the St Paul's Service the next time they do it. Chau.---rosa barrio]

And here is the Mass liturgy/Holy Eucharist for Navidad (12.24.12) and the works performed by The Trinity Choir were:
Bach BWV 243/Magnificat (I especially enjoyed this.)
Charpentier/Messe de Minuit
Herbert Howells/A spotless rose and Sing lullaby
Poulenc/O magnum mysterium

UPDATES TO THIS ARTICLE:

El 5 de agosto de 2013. NOTE: Trinity Wall Street has completely redone their website in Flash. Bad idea. To me, their website is now more difficult to use (how unusual!). All the links that I had embedded in this page for The Trinity Choir no longer work because the new website designer didn’t keep any of the links the same for the new website (ugh). Also, I see no way that videos can be embedded now. There’s just the link to the page that they have the video embedded on and that’s it. So…maybe when I have the time sometime, I will go through this page and insert the new links if the videos are still there, but I don’t feel like doing that now. I’m tired of fucking with and having to delete links from embedded videos they delete. Interestingly, they keep the sermons on but not the music. Aren’t most people interested in the music over sermons? Chau.—rosa barrio

El 26 de junio de 2013. UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
Hola. Well it’s definitely the Summer season at Trinity Wall Street. The Trinity Choir is reduced to 8 or 9 voices with a couple of people/voices whom I don’t remember seeing in the full Trinity Choir. But I have to ask (which is why I’m writing this update): What’s up with the soprano section vibrato all of a sudden? It doesn’t sound good. The Choir as a whole doesn’t sound as polished with this vibrato shit going on. The full Trinity Choir doesn’t use vibrato which is one reason in particular I especially like them. There’s nothing worse than hearing wobbling sopranos/vibrato because they sound like your “average church choir” in my opinion. The same thing is happening, unfortunately, at Washington National Cathedral. The Cathedral Singers (The Men of the Cathedral Choir with women’s voices added) sing during the Summer when the Cathedral Choir School is closed and this Summer the sopranos at WNC also have vibrato. WTF? Did the Anglican Communion issue some requirement that sopranos in Anglican choirs must use wobbling vibrato for the Summer 2013 season? Well that can’t be it because they’re not using vibrato at St Thomas Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, even with the auditioned/visiting Anglican Choirs. No, the musical standards remain the same high quality level at St Thomas Fifth Avenue regardless of the time of year. Note to Trinity and Washington National Cathedral: TURN OFF THE VIBRATO, POR FAVOR. It sounds terrible. The Offertory Anthem at Washington National Cathedral on 06.23.13 was “Jubilate Deo” by Giovanni Gabrieli. It was awful because of—what sounded like—one squealing wobbling soprano who ruined it. You might ask: Why didn’t the Choirmaster tell her or the sopranos “NO VIBRATO?” I don’t know. I would have. To their credit, the Men of the Cathedral Choir did all right, I think. I could only take so much of that piece because of that soprano (or the section). I had to fast forward to the hymn following the anthem. One wonders: Are the sopranos trying to emulate an opera chorus? If so, WHY? You’re not in an opera but rather an Anglican liturgy. The vibrato sounds unrefined and amateurish, unless you like sounding like that. But I suspect you don’t. The one positive aspect of the liturgy at Washington National Cathedral was the outstanding (as usual) artistry of the Assistant Organist, Benjamin Straley. He should be the Principal Organist. I always look forward to seeing Benjamin at the organ console because of his creativity, his improvisations, interludes, and “High Church” fanfares. He doesn’t play the hymns in a “dry as dust” manner the way somebody else does. Benjamin Straley is an artist, just like Assistant Organist Benjamin Sheen at St Thomas Fifth Avenue. Chau.—rosa barrio

El 4 de junio de 2013. UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
Hola. Just wanted to make mention of the Trinity Chamber Choir (that’s what I call them) and their performances this past Sunday (The Second Sunday after Pentecost). The Trinity Chamber Choir consisted of 8 voices (two of each voice part: SATB from the full Trinity Choir…I guess the rest of the Chorus had the day or the Summer off?). The Trinity Chamber Choir should feel very pleased with themselves. The Offertory Anthem (Beati quorum via, Op. 51, No. 3, by Charles Villiers Stanford) and the Communion Anthem (If ye love me, keep my commandments by Thomas Tallis) were beautiful. I’ve said before that The Trinity Choir has the best tenors and I should just say they have the best (choral) singers because from what I can tell by watching them they mix and match vocal parts—I’m thinking specifically of the men—so sometimes a chorister will be singing more than one part in a piece (not at the same time of course). For example, I’ve seen one or more of the basses sing the bass line and then switch to the countertenor line. I enjoyed their performances this past Sunday. Also, since I’m an “incense person” I appreciate that the Vicar (The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee) took her time with the incense after the Offertory Anthem. She didn’t rush through it like somebody else does. If an Anglican church is going to have incense, then have incense and don’t rush through it as if you can’t be bothered by it. Some of the other priests rush through it as if they can’t be bothered such as before the Gospel Reading and again after the Offertory Anthem. And the Thurifer did well too. There was lots of incense. There’s never too much as far as I’m concerned. Chau.—rosa barrio
Here’s the main webcast link and if you’d like to watch the Liturgy and hear The Trinity Chamber Choir it’s this video:
Sunday 11:15am Holy Eucharist 06.02.13 at this link:
Trinity Wall Street Webcast Videos (Scroll down a bit when you get there to see the list of videos).

El 8 de mayo de 2013. UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
Hola. I forgot to make mention of this at the time. On the Fifth Sunday of Easter (04.28.13) The Trinity Choir sang the following pieces:
Offertory Anthem: O God, Thou Art My God (Henry Purcell) and the
Communion Anthem: Jesu, The Very Thought of Thee (Cecilia McDowall)
Both were superbly sung (of course). I especially liked the Purcell and the Chorus seemed to really get into that, which I like to see. By the way, the Anglican hymn tune “Westminster Abbey” (text: Christ, is made the sure Foundation) comes from the Alleluia section of this Purcell piece. Then this past Sunday (when the Family Choir was there…as I previously wrote about) the processional hymn was Westminster Abbey. The Cecilia McDowall anthem was also beautiful. She has a signature style and I guessed the piece was by her before looking at the service leaflet. The Trinity Choir sang another one of her pieces awhile back. Chau.—rosa barrio

El 5 de mayo de 2013. UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
Hola. Well in walked the inferior Family Choir today (I just had a feeling they were going to be there), and one choir member (the one who played the cymbals for La Navidad) was not carrying any scores or singing. There are obviously some serious politics in this church, as I’ve suggested before. Why do I say there are some serious politics in this church? Well, when dead weight is allowed in your choir such as is the case with The Family Choir. The stellar Trinity Choir does not have any dead weight whatsoever. This has happened before with The Family Choir. One of the men in The Family Choir today held no scores in his hands (I noticed it in procession) and did not sing. He just stood there in the choir. Why was he there? As usual, he was just there to occupy space because of some church politics I suspect (he wants to be in the choir and that’s sufficient reason). He doesn’t have to do anything but stand there. There are others in The Family Choir who look like they barely sing. And for their size, The Family Choir sounds very weak mainly because it’s being pulled along by the few members of The Trinity Choir who are also in it. The Offertory Anthem today (John Ireland’s Greater love hath no man) was too difficult for them in my opinion so The Trinity Choir members—there are about 6 or so of them in The Family Choir to serve as support/foundation and The Family Choir needs all the support and foundation they can get!—essentially carried the anthem and one bass and one soprano (she sang the high “A” in the piece) turned on vibrato (ugh!) to match the wobbling sound of The Family Choir. That’s as far as I got in the liturgy and I may not watch the rest of it. It’s just not the same without The Trinity Choir there because the musical standards lower when The Family Choir is there. Then I saw the very “Low Church” rector rush through the incense as he always does. That man can’t be bothered with incense! That’s High Church. Also, his idea of bowing in an Anglican liturgy is a slight head nod. Don’t put yourself out, rector. This piece-of-work rector leaves me with the strong impression that he’s there only for the dinero/money and he can’t wait for the whole thing to be over so he can get out of there and back to his luxury townhouse that the church paid for. (See down the page for the financials). He’s also full of a lot of hot air by some of the things he says which sound like sheep pabulum and sales. Hopefully the superb Trinity Choir will be back next week. Chau.—rosa barrio

El 22 de abril de 2013. UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
Hola. Check out the liturgy for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (21 de abril). The Trinity Choir performed (thank goodness!). As of this writing I’ve only gotten as far as the Gospel reading (with lots of incense this time) but will likely add more to this later after I hear the entire Mass/Choral Eucharist. The processional hymn was “Glorious things of thee are spoken.” From experience, I knew there was a descant for that hymn and was hoping they would sing the descant. They did!, but in a rather unusual and cleaver way. Julian had the tenors/baritones double with the sopranos for the descant (in their own register/octave). So the descant was done in octaves. From what I could tell, the basses were singing the melody with the congregation which would figure. I assume the altos were with the congregation too now that I think about it. I’ve heard lots of descants but none where the tenors/baritones sang the descant with the sopranos. It was a very nice effect. Made for a stronger descant. Julian comes up with some good ideas and that’s one of them. Listen to it (the last verse of the first hymn). The Anglican Chant they sang with impeccable diction was the Bairstow setting. I could understand every word The superb Trinity Choir sang and I wasn’t looking at the service leaflet. I’ll probably write more later after I hear/watch the rest. 04.23.13: So I started with the reading of the Gospel today and I have a suggestion for Trinity: Why doesn’t The Trinity Choir sing the responses before and after the Gospel reading? That’s what they do at St Thomas Fifth Avenue and their musical responses are very nice. The response after the Gospel reading is especially “glorious” with the boys at St Thomas. Trinity could even use the same responses as St Thomas. I would think that John Scott at St Thomas would be happy to send Julian a copy of them (even though Julian could probably write them down by ear from listening to a St Thomas webcast). Musically they are very basis but they would add so much to the liturgy and be much better than hearing everyone mumble: “Glory to you, lord christ” and “Praise to you, lord christ” before and after the reading of the Gospel. The link to the videos is here:
Trinity Wall Street Webcasts/Videos (and you want the Fourth Sunday of Easter, 04.21.13.) Chau.—rosa barrio

El 11 de abril de 2013. UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE: Hola. What I’m about to say falls under the “Complaint” category.

Do you know that on the Trinity–>Webcast–>Video page that they delete the Liturgies (which is the complete Holy Eucharist service) after what-looks-like about a month, but they keep the sermons? Why would they do that? One can scroll through the full Holy Eucharist video and find the sermon if one wants to watch/hear the sermon. The clergy won’t like what I’m about to say but I suspect most people come for the music (that’s why I go online). Therefore, why delete the full liturgy videos? As much dinero/money as this church has (see information down the page for the financials) I wouldn’t think that server space/costs would be a problem. I’ve already had to delete three embedded videos from this page. They give other websites the option of embedding their videos and then Trinity deletes the videos from their website (which creates a dead link)! Last night I went to watch one of the liturgies to hear The Trinity Choir. That video is gone. But there’s a sermon there for that day. Maybe the outstanding Trinity Choir will do those pieces again in the future (“Ne irascaris” composed by William Byrd and “The Lord Is Good” composed by Cecilia McDowall).

By contrast, Washington National Cathedral keeps their full liturgies On Demand going back to 2006, and Washington National Cathedral has less dinero/money than Trinity. This is what Washington National Cathedral has on their website about On Demand videos:

“The Washington National Cathedral worship archive includes multimedia links for sermons dating back to 1999, as well as video of full Sunday services and related service leaflets dating back to mid 2006.”

Why can’t wealthy Trinity do the same thing? Considering this information about the Rector:

Press accounts make Cooper (he’s the Rector at Trinity Wall Street) sound like the modern Episcopal version of a Borgia pope. He received compensation of $1.3 million in 2010, awarded himself the supplementary title of CEO, and picked out a $5.5 million SoHo townhouse for himself, paid for by the church. And his Scroogely actions extend well beyond stiff-arming Occupy Wall Street: he shuttered Trinity’s homeless drop-in center in 2009, then announced plans to borrow church money to build luxury condos on top of a palatial renovation of the church’s offices. Cooper’s excesses were too much even for some of his high-flying vestry, and they asked him to resign. When he refused, many quit. They’ve since been replaced by members more aligned with Cooper’s way of doing things.” Source: Pressure On Trinity Church To Call Off Occupy Wall Street Trespassing Charges

What a piece of work! No wonder he seems like he’s just going through the motions of being a priest and rushes through the incense as if he can’t be bothered (by contrast the Vicar takes her time with the incense, she doesn’t rush and she’s much more respectful of the liturgy). And based on some of the words one hears during the Holy Eucharist—such as the rector’s words before the Offertory Anthem where he says on automatic pilot, “In the words of our lord jesus christ, it is more blessed to give than to receive”—as compared with the rector’s action, there is some major hypocrisy going on in this church.

Based on that paragraph above about the financials, I wouldn’t think that server space or related costs would be a financial issue/problem for them, would you? I don’t think I’ll be embedding any more of Trinity’s videos into this page because it’s a waste of my time and I don’t feel like having to come back and delete them because they no longer play. Chau.—rosa barrio

UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
El 08 de abril de 2013. Hola. Yesterday was the Second Sunday of Easter. By looking at the procession at Trinity Wall Street, I could tell that The Family Choir (Ugh) was there. I knew that the processional hymn had a descant for it and was wondering whether the soprano section of The Family Choir was going to attempt the descant. They did. I was thinking: Sigh. If only The Trinity Choir were there and singing the descant it would have sounded glorious, as opposed to unstable, weak, insecure with wobbling sopranos that one unfortunately often hears in your “average church choir.” I’m not sure why they have this thing called The Family Choir (an odd name for it…usually choirs of this type are called The Chancel Choir or The Adult Choir). I have trouble listening to them. I suspect they exist because of church politics. The problem with their singing for liturgies is that the musical standards drop and don’t remain consistent at Trinity. When one is accustomed to hearing the very best at Trinity (The Trinity Choir) and then the next week in walks The Family Choir, well…For example, across town at St Thomas Fifth Avenue the musical standards remain consistent, period. Even if they have a guest Anglican Choir performing, their skill level (the guest Choir chosen probably by audition by the Choirmaster/Organist at St Thomas) is comparable to the high quality level of the St Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. So the congregation at St Thomas hears the same high quality level all the time, regardless of the time in the Church Year. If only Trinity had the same standards! They would have the same standards if they used The Trinity Choir only, or even just the Men of the Trinity Choir, for example. Julian Wachner and The Trinity Choir are superb, but with The Family Choir Julian can only do so much with what he has to work with! The muchacho is not super-human, although his Trinity Choir is. Chau.—rosa barrio

UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
El 07 de abril de 2013. Hola. I realize it’s the Second Sunday of Easter, but if you missed the superb singing by The Trinity Choir on Ash Wednesday you can still hear it in the video immediately below. I liked it all, but especially liked the Offering Anthem which was “Hear My Prayer, O Lord” by Henry Purcell, and the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei from
Missa pange lingua by Josquin des Prez. The Sanctus was especially lovely. When I lived in the District of Columbia, Dr Paul Traver’s University of Maryland Chorus performed regularly with the National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center and at Wolf Trap, and a friend of mine would say, “that Maryland Chorus can sing the shit out of choral music.” Yes, they could. He and I loved the outstanding University of Maryland Chorus. So did conductor Antal Dorati…they were his favourite Chorus. I bring all that up—not to bore you but—because in my opinion the same thing can be said about The Trinity Choir. They are absolutely astounding. Just superb! I don’t think they can get any better! Does Trinity Wall Street honestly realize how extremely fortunate they are to have a Chorus of this caliber? By the way, I’ve heard the Tallis Scholars sing the Sanctus from the Josquin des Prez and I prefer The Trinity Choir’s performance. Chau.—rosa barrio

UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:
El 16 de marzo de 2013. Hola. I just wanted to make mention of the Offertory Anthem (“Ne irascaris” composed by William Byrd which begins around 52.20 into the video below) and the Communion Anthem (“The Lord Is Good” composed by Cecilia McDowall at 69.30 in the following video from Trinity Wall Street (on the Fourth Sunday in Lent on 03.10.13). The Trinity Choir sang superbly. I can’t imagine these pieces sung any better…by anyone. I don’t know how long Trinity will keep this video on their site. But as of this writing, it’s there and playing. Chau.—rosa barrio

Final Note: I read that the Rector of Trinity Wall Street is leaving. That’s the good news. The lord works in mysterious ways doesn’t she? Her wonders to behold! The bad news is that this hombre is not leaving for two years. WHY? WHY does it take this hombre two years to leave? Something financial to gain in those two years? As someone from the parish said: the pope only took two weeks to leave yet it’s going to take this rector two years to leave. He’s a piece of work and that’s being kind. From observing him, I see him as nothing but an actor playing the role of an Anglican priest and not even doing a good job of that. “Casting” would find somebody else to play the role more authentically! He just goes through the motions, if that. He doesn’t even bless himself when he says, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” and have you seen how he (does not) bow to the altar? Don’t put yourself out, rector, for your $1.3 million/year salary. What a piece of work! And he rushes through the incense as if he can’t be bothered with any of it. I won’t miss him. Then there’s his hypocrisy of his statement before the Offertory Anthem where he talks about it’s more blessed to give than to receive, when this hombre lives just the opposite in his life. (“…Cooper’s helped himself — with demands for a $5.5 million SoHo townhouse, an allowance for his Florida condo, trips around the world including an African safari and a fat salary. See links below) He is one big hypocrite. Hopefully, Trinity Wall Street can find a Rector who is more like the Bishop of New York who is there for the right reasons, versus dinero/money/$MILLION$.

Related:

Rector of Manhattan’s Trinity Church to Step Down

Trinity Church’s board in open revolt against Rev. James Cooper’s extravagant ways
“Instead of helping the poor, Cooper’s helped himself — with demands for a $5.5 million SoHo townhouse, an allowance for his Florida condo, trips around the world including an African safari and a fat salary.”

Parishioner Jeremy Bates’ Trinity Wall Street Legal Complaint

Trinity Church Split on How to Manage $2 Billion Legacy of a Queen