Georges Mercure

Georges Mercure. Gregorianist, organist, choir conductor, composer, teacher, b Drummondville, Que, 19 Jun 1905, d Montreal 24 Aug 1993. He showed a talent for music from an early age and studied with Arthur Letondal in Montreal, while accompanying silent films on piano.

Mercure, Georges

Georges Mercure. Gregorianist, organist, choir conductor, composer, teacher, b Drummondville, Que, 19 Jun 1905, d Montreal 24 Aug 1993. He showed a talent for music from an early age and studied with Arthur Letondal in Montreal, while accompanying silent films on piano. In 1923, he joined the French Benedictine monks who wanted to establish their order in St-Benoît-du-Lac, near Sherbrooke. He further trained in France, where he studied at the Schola cantorum in Paris, and at the abbeys of Solesmes and of St-Wandrille, where he completed his education in Gregorian chant. On his return to St-Benoît-du-Lac, he founded a choir with which he recorded several 78s and he later published Rythmique grégorienne (1937). A second sojourn in France allowed him to work on harmony and counterpoint with Nadia Boulanger. He subsequently published Polyphonie grégorienne (1958) and began to compose. When the Vatican II Council authorized the use of the vernacular for the liturgy, Dom Mercure undertook to translate the Gregorian repertoire into French. Starting in 1967, he began to set to music all of the Divine Office, a total of 15 volumes containing psalms, canticles from the Old and New Testament, recitatives, new hymns, etc. Dom Mercure also composed liturgical canticles for the sacraments, music for the Holy Eucharist, and all of the responsorial psalms. He also made a few records with the monks of Mont-Laurier and of Joliette. He retired in Montreal in 1978.