SC State Professor’s Article part of the Vatican Library’s Historical Collection

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dr. GrenierDr. Robert Grenier, associate professor of music at SC State, was recently informed that his article “Werner Jaegerhuber’s Messe sur les airs Vodouesques: The Inculturation of Vodou (Voodoo) in a Catholic Mass,” will be included in the historical collection of the Vatican Library.


In 2007, Grenier submitted his article to the Black Music Research Journal, a bi-annual publication that features articles about the philosophy, aesthetics, history and analysis of black music. In 2008, Grenier was informed that his article would be published.


Upon receiving published copies of the article in May 2009, Grenier submitted copies to the Vatican Library and was informed later that his article would be included in the library’s collection.


“You can imagine my surprise upon receiving the letter postmarked Vatican City,” exclaimed Grenier.  “The letter, written on official letterhead and featuring the coat of arms of the Pope, informed me of the reception of my article.  It was signed by Cardinal Raffaele Farina, chief archivist and librarian at the Vatican Library,” continued Grenier. 


Grenier’s article, which took a number of years to complete due to his extensive research and the necessity of reconstructuring the musical score of the mass from the surviving manuscripts, describes how Werner Jaegerhuber, a Haitian born composer of German extraction, selected elements of Haitian vodou (voodoo) and blended these with music inspired by Gregorian chant to achieve an unprecedented coupling of two opposing faith traditions. This odd pairing was inspired by the fact that the mass was commissioned to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the founding of Haiti, the first black republic, in 1804.


In addition to his research and scholarly writing, Grenier spends a considerable amount of time composing music.  Several of his compositions are currently being performed. 


This fall, Ronald Davis, professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia, S.C., performed Grenier’s “Voodoo: Fantasy on Melodies from Haiti” for tuba and piano at USC and the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.  Davis will also perform this composition during the May 2010 International Tuba/Euphonium Conference held at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.


In February 2010, James Ackley, associate professor of trumpet at USC will premier Grenier’s “Trumpet Sonata” in three movements at the final piece of his faculty recital.


Joseph Celmer, tuba player and artist scholar in residence at SC State will perform Grenier’s “Haydn”, the 4th movement from his “Tube Suite”, during a northeast concert tour of six universities in February 2010.


Further, Eddie Ellis, director of bands at SC State has commissioned an arrangement for wind ensemble of Grenier’s, “The Principalities, the seventh movement from “The Book of Angels”, which is a suite of nine compositions for organ, each dedicated to one of the nine choirs of angels. 


For more information about Dr. Robert Greiner’s article or musical compositions call 803-536-8595 or email rgrenier@scsu.edu.