Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday of Advent

29 November 2009

Entrance Longing, trusting (mtgf)
Penitential Rite Kyrie Orbis Factor
Psalm 24 To you, O Lord (Marty Haugen)
Gospel Acclamation Salisbury Alleluia (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts There is a longing (Anne Quigley)
Eucharistic Acclamations Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of God Behold the Lamb (Iona)
Communion Bread of Life (Bernadette Farrell)
Final Hark a herald voice

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christ the KIng

22 November 2009

Entrance At the name of Jesus
Penitential Rite St Gabriels (mtgf)
Gloria St Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 92 Lord, you are king (Christopher Walker)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Dulcis Christe (Grancini)
Eucharistic Acclamations Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of God Behold the Lamb (Iona)
Communion Ave Verum (Edward Elgar)
Final Hail Redeemer ( )

Whereas on ordinary Sundays the readings and other texts are the main source for choosing music with Solemnities and liturgical seasons an extra layer is added — our image/understanding of the celebration. There is danger that layer can obscure what is actually being celebrated. For example, a devotional understanding of Lent can contradict the content of the Lenten Lectionary. On this Sunday the juxtaposition may not be that great but Year B offers a different perspective to the other two years. Christ is king through his death and resurrection, one who is a witness to the truth.

The original choice for first hymn was "Rejoice, the Lord is king' (to Gopsal) but it seemed that only I knew it. You can always be surprised by what people do not now (myself included!). So it was changed to 'At the name of Jesus' which as a paraphrase of the Philippians canticle is a song about Christ triumphant through death.

Ave Verum was a response to the end of the gospel and the following line: 'What is truth?' and this is what is true - the body of the Lord. Elgar's version has a regal feel particularly the second section, cujus latus with its steady tread and, potentially, vulgar crescendo.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

15 November 2009

Entrance Let all mortal flesh
Penitential Rite St Gabriels (mtgf)
Gloria St Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 15 Preserve me, God (Christopher Walker)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts How far is the night (Huijbers)
Eucharistic Acclamations Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of God Behold the Lamb (Iona)
Communion Centre of my life (Paul Inwood)
Final Love divine, all loves excelling ( )

When planning music for November it seemed to easy to miss this Sunday - coming in between celebrations of All Saints, Remembrance, Christ the King and then Advent. However the 'Adventness' of this Sunday was hard to ignore. This wa most brought out in Huijber's lovely 'How far is the night?' The lack of conclusion in the text means it fitted this Sunday. Musically, I think it is a good example of Huijber's skills as a composer. Yes, it is simple idea — 4 chords in descending sequence with the 3 parts echoing from voice to voice. It is simple but you still have to have the imagination in the first place. It was good to be able to do sections in 3-equal parts.

The text of Psalm 15 (16) occurred twice in this Mass: the responsorial psalm and at Communion. I am interested in how the meaning of a psalm changes whenit is repeated on different Sundays. Today's psalm with the same response is also heard after the second reading at the Easter Vigil when it might be seen as the articulating the voice of Isaac grabbed for sacrifice by Abraham. Today the response is corporate rather than individual.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Remembrance

8 November 2009

Entrance Eternal rest (mtgf)
Gloria St Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 145 My soul give praise (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Thou knowest, Lord (Henry Purcell)
Eucharistic Acclamations Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of God Behold the Lamb (Iona)
Communion Christ our peace (Marty Haugen)
Final All my hope on God is founded ( )

Remembrance Sunday is the day of special prayer which is most marked in our liturgical celebration; Education Sunday, in comparison, does not get a look in. Though I have mused at other times that Remembrance Sunday is replacing All Souls as the key focus for praying the departed - in part because it is on a Sunday - our celebration remembers those students who died in WW1 and WW2 as well as those who have died in the last year. This year we recalled the 75 who lost their lives in WW2. It is one of the few things that we do that explicitly connects us with the past.

Many years there is the question as to whether we should use the Lectionary readings or there is one Mass permitted for the Dead. Apart from the higher value it seems to me placed on using the Sunday readings and continuity from week to week, it also seems to me that as the guiding theme of the Lectionary is the Paschal Mystery it is likely that the readings can be understood as about death and resurrection. This seems particularly true in the final Sundays of the year. So we used the Lectionary. I was struck that widows implies dead husbands and widows are 'by-product' of wars. I guess, though, that the students we remember were mostly single and mourned by families rather than wives.

The theme of remembrance was the key to most of the choices. Only 'All my hope' tried to draw in the scriptures as well.

My setting of 'Eternal Rest' was written for use on this Sunday. The antiphon text is the familiar one and there are choir verses from psalm 64 as is traditional. Part of the desire was to set a text where people did not need to learn new words. This morning (I note this partly so we might remember next year!) the procession was accompanied by antiphon-verse-antiphon, then there was silence, and then the names of those students who died in WW2 were read out. After each 12 names the second half of the refrain was sung, May they rest in peace… and then the full refrain after the last name. It seems to work. It also seems to be an example of an assembly's long-term memory where they remember a setting they only sing once a year. This is particularly true in the Triduum, I think. Though there may be something effective about the music my guess is that it is the connection between music and liturgical action and the rightness of the connection.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints

1 November 2009

Entrance For all the Saints (Walsham How)
Penitential Rite Mass for 3 voices (William Byrd)
Gloria St Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 23 Blessed are they (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Alleluia Beati (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Good and Faithful servant (Andrew Everson)
Eucharistic Acclamations Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of God Lamb of God 6 (mtgf)
Communion Happy are those — Beatitudes (Russian Chant)
Final Holy God we praise thy name

Choosing which verses of a long hymn to sing is a delicate task. As our Entrance procession usually only consists of 1 person, the priest, not much music is needed. This week he was at the sanctuary by the end of the first verse. Now I guess that it is one of those liturgical-musical dichotomies whether you place greater weight on the liturgical action or on the narrative integrity of the hymn. One of the reasons that hymns are not generally at home in the Mass is that where hymns occurs there is usually liturgical action going on and the Roman Rite in the Eucharist is weighted towards the action. The exception would be a hymn after Communion. In choosing verses from 'For all the saints' I wanted to draw out the eschatological strain found in the readings. It strikes me that though this aspect may seem obvious that Saints are part of a heavenly reality our discourse is about lives of heroic virtues and saints as individuals rather than the communion of saints — a body of the blest.

Good and Faithful Servant was introduced to us by Christopher Walker at the SSG Summer School this year. It is a nicely honed piece, about heroic virtues; its apparent simplicity hiding some good craftmanship. Part of the skill is that it is easy to perform effectively and interestingly it brought a number of postive comments from members of the congregation.