Sunday, April 25, 2010

4th Sunday of Easter

25 April 2010

Entrance Easter Alleluia (Marty Haugen)
Penitential Rite St Gabriel (mtgf)
Gloria Glory to God (Berthier)
Psalm 99 We are your people (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Celtic (O'Carroll/Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Shepherd me, O God (Marty Haugen)
Eucharistic Acclamations Gathering (Paul Inwood)
Lamb of God O Lamb of God (Berthier)
Communion We have been told (David Haas)
Final Hail Redeemer, King Divine

Marty Haugen's Easter Alleluia, like Bernadette Farrell's Lenten Praise to you, O Christ our Saviour written to be a Gospel Acclamation but actually also works as piece in it's own right. The verses of the Haugen are perhaps a little disjointed but they offer a series of Easter images. I particularly wished to use verse 4 - Call us, Good Shepherd this morning.

Hail Redeemer intrigues me. As the author, Patrick Brennan C.Ss.R, died in 1952, I presume it was written mid 20th century and as he was a Redemptorist, I presume its origins, and popularity, are due to parish missions. I would love to know if these assumptions are correct. Also I cannot think of any other Catholic hymn from this period, say post- Terry and pre-1962, that has continued in ordinary parish repertoire — again suggestions welcome.

Monday, April 19, 2010

3rd Sunday of Easter

18 April 2010

Entrance The stone which the builders rejected
Gloria Glory to God (Berthier)
Psalm 29 I will praise you, Lord (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Celtic (O'Carroll/Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Lead me, Lord (SS Wesley)
Eucharistic Acclamations Gathering (Paul Inwood)
Lamb of God O Lamb of God (Berthier)
Communion If you love me (Collegeville Composer's Group)
Final This joyful Eastertide

I was obviously slightly confused last week as I had it in my head that the gospel this week was the journey to Emmaus - I will have to wait another year before hearing that text. Instead it was the catch of fish and Jesus' questions to Peter. Perhaps because of my confusion I found this a hard gospel to choose music to accompany. Wesley's Lead me, Lord was a weak response to Jesus' words to Peter about his future path. The Psallite response at communion was a much closer text. The given psalm was 77 which seemed strangely topical with lines like 'he rained on them food like dust'.

I suggested last week that the Easter lectionary is diffuse. In other seasons I can say what the season/lectionary is about: Lent = baptism and repentance; Advent = preparation for Christ's coming, I am beginning to think the Easter lectionary is about the Church - as a sacrament of the risen Christ. This needs further reflection over the coming weeks.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2nd Sunday of Easter

11 April 2010

Entrance O sons and Daughters
Gloria Glory to God (Berthier)
Psalm 117 Give thanks to the Lord, alleluia (Collegeville Composers Group)
Gospel Acclamation Celtic (O'Carroll/Walker)
Preparation of Gifts We walk by faith (Alford/Marty Haugen)
Eucharistic Acclamations Gathering (Paul Inwood)
Lamb of God O Lamb of God (Berthier)
Communion Now we remain (David Haas)
Final Thine be the glory

There is a challenge in Catholic liturgy: is the Sunday liturgy the primary liturgy of the Church when the whole local church gathers or is Sunday part of an ongoing cycle which the majority of the laity dip into once a week? This is something that strikes me at Christmas and Easter. This time the thought is occasioned by the term 'Low Sunday'. I suspect underneath this is a form of WWJD - a 'what is necessary?' and I guess the participation in the liturgy is not enough (how ever many times a week) it is whether we hear and live the Gospel.

If you wondered what that was all about two further questions might help. How 'low' is Low Sunday? and How do you sustain the joy of the Easter Season over 8 Sundays? I find the hardest Season to give a musical/liturgical shape. This is because I see the Sunday Lectionary as diffuse. It probably isn't anymore than any other season but I bring different expectations because we are lulled into narrative in the first 3 weeks and expect there to be a Sunday by Sunday story of the season (in a way I don't expect the Temptation in the desert to be drawn out over the 6 Sundays of Lent) and then the different readings: Acts, Apocalypse, Gospel can seem to be going on their own trajectory. How might we sing Revelation this year?

A question for this week and next (what's with all the questions!) is how much should the music choices retell the gospel. As we sang O Sons and Daughters ('Thomas' verses) I wondered if the text was a 15th century verbal equivalent of the stained glass - telling the story for those who did not otherwise hear it.

The psalm setting from Psallité is good and worth seeking out. I wish there was a complete set of verses for all three years but a little adaptation fitted this Sunday's different verse. It has a memorable refrain and a suitable energy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

4 April 2010

Entrance Jesus Christ is risen today
Gloria Glory to God (Berthier)
Psalm 117 This is the day (Marty Haugen)
Sequence Praise to the Paschal victim (mtgf)
Preparation of Gifts Christ the Glory (J f Lalouette)
Eucharistic Acclamations Gathering (Paul Inwood)
Lamb of God O Lamb of God (Berthier)
Communion I have seen the Lord (Bob Hurd)
Final This joyful Eastertide (Dutch arr. Wood)
Easter Sunday morning sees a return to the usual musical forces and what always appears to be our largest congregation of the year. As a rule the musicians are a little exhausted from the previous three days and the music is therefore not too demanding.
As the beginning of the Easter Season we begin a new set of music. I always find the Easter season on of the hardest to bring off musically/liturgicaly but key is to be tighter with use of Mass parts for just this season. The Celtic Alleluia which has in the past seemed ubiquitous has a freshness when it appears at Easter Vigil for first time for nearly a year.
The Sequence is an arrangement of the melody O filii et filiae with an Alleluia refrain sung by all. It probably says something about me that I am not wholly comfortable when music appears to be sung for its own sake — as with the sequence. It seems to be an interruption into the flow of the liturgy. I am happier using it as part of an extended Gospel Acclamation. Like much liturgical short-sightedness the problem is probably mine rather than the rite.
Christ the Glory is a simple 2 part motet by the French composer Jean Francois Lalouette (1651-1728). It is one of a number of useful pieces edited by the late Richard Proulx.

Easter Vigil

3 April 2010

Procession The Lord is my light (Taizé)
Exultet Simple (mtgf)
Psalm 103 Send forth your spirit (mtgf)
Psalm 15 Preserve me, God (Christopher Walker)
Exodus 15 I will sing to the Lord (mtgf)
Psalm 18 O Lord, you have the message (mtgf)
Psalm 41-42 As the deer longs (Palestrina arr. Barbara Bridge)
Gloria {Berthier)
Gospel Acclamation Celtic (O'Carroll/Walker)
Profession of Faith Amen, amen, I do believe (mtgf)
Sprinkling Amen, amen, I do believe (mtgf)
Preparation of Gifts For Peace (Antoine Oomen)
Eucharistic Acclamations Gathering (Paul Inwood)
Lamb of God (Berthier)
Communion Now we remain (David Haas)
Concerto for 2 Violins: Largo ma non tanto (JS Bach)
Final Christ be our light - Easter version (Bernadette Farrell)

For the last few years there has been one booklet containing Thursday, Friday and the Vigil. It is hoped it helps people to see this as one celebration and encourage those who come to part to come to the whole. This year it became A4 instead of A5 and a brief commentary on various elements was given in a side column. I hope this helped people's participation.

We had 5 readings from the Old Testament. In previous years we have had all 7. We cut down because we did not have enough cantors. we are back in a position where all 7 could be done by a different cantor or group of singers. Ironically it appears that we are short of readers. My experience is that you do not notice the time taken. This is, I think, due to readings and psalms well proclaimed and that we continue to sit in candlelight for the Liturgy of Word - which concentrates the mind. Another factor is the familiarity of the responses - this is the night we sing these melodies.

The Liturgy of the Word, though, was the place for the second new piece — As the deer longs. This is a slightly 'cheeky' arrangement of Palestrina's Sicut cervus by Barbara Bridge. I used the verses in the Lectionary with a simpler chant. We sang it unaccompanied which gave a contrast of texture. A practical reason for using the setting was it allowed our accompanist much more time to get from piano to organ — the organ enters the liturgy for the Gloria.

The sung profession of faith is published in Cantate. The Amen, amen I do believe response is used again for the sprinkling with appropriate verses taken from the Communion Song version. Of the various pieces we have tried for the sprinkling over the years this combination seems to have worked the best. Perhaps, as often seems to be the case, when music and action make sense together people sing.

Following the playing of the Pachelbel Canon at the Jubilee Mass our younger violinist asked if they might do the slow movement from Bach double violin concerto. When young people want offer their talents for the liturgy it seems right that a place is found. Communion at the end of vigil was the place. It was a beautiful moment and provided a space for reflection on what we had celebrated over the three days.

In the new translation obviously the Mass texts will be different, as will all the prayer texts. I will mourn the passing of the present translation of the Exsultet because it is so familiar and has formed me in my faith. I am sure the new translation will bring a freshness to the text and become as familiar.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Good Friday

Celebration of the Lord's Passion

2 April 2010

Psalm 30 Father, into your hands (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Lenten (mtgf)
Passion Acclamation Behold the Lamb of God (John Bell)
Intercessions response (Marty Haugen)
Veneration of the Cross Invitation (A G Murray)
Reproaches (Peter Jones)
I have been crucified (Christopher Walker)
Jesus remember me (Taizé)
Communion Calvarie Mount (Tallis arr. Charles Wood)
When I survey the wondrous cross

It is hard to judge the music for Good Friday. There is a question of tone. Many of the texts given in the missal for singing are about the glory of the cross. There is also a question of logistics. How long will the Veneration last, how much will be needed for Communion? This year the veneration seemed to be slower and we also started singing earlier — I usually like the action to begin before singing so that the focus is on the action. Any I have been crucified which was going to be used as the altar is dressed became part of the veneration and the altar was dressed in silence — a welcome pause. Jesus remember me was the final piece in the time of veneration. We seem to only sing Taizé during the Triduum.

I noted that the psalm response does not actually occur in John's version of the passion - but is found in Luke. It also struck me that Behold, the Lamb of God which we sang, as on Sunday, a couple of times in the passion is more a response than an acclamation.

Calvarie Mount is drawn from a English Catholic post reformation text. In Early modern Catholicism: an anthology of primary sources it is described: 'Calvary mount is my delight identifies the suffering of the persecuted Catholics which that of Christ. Probably written by a priest to encouraged his oppressed flock, the ballad expresses a fervent wish for martyrdom.' 'Let me from prison pass away/ On hurdle hard to lie/ To Tyburn drawn without delay/In torments there to die.' is part of the full text. It is sung to Tallis' First Mode Melody. Usually we sing it in a simple 3 part arrangement this year I took Charles Wood's arrangement in his St Mark Passion and further arranged it so that the violinists intertwined chromatically in the second verse and took the wonderful descant in the third verse.

Looking ahead to the new translation - well, there will be new translations of the Intercessions and for the texts of the Veneration, including the Reproaches. We will need a new, or adapted, setting of the invitation (This is the wood of the cross) and though other setting may not have to change it would be probably a good time to review them.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Holy Thursday

Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

1 April 2010

Entrance For God so loved the world (mtgf)
Penitential Rite Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Gloria St Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 115 The blessing cup (mtgf)
Gospel Acclamation Lenten (mtgf)
Washing of the Feet Faith, hope and love(Christopher Walker)
Preparation of Gifts Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Eucharistic Acclamations No Greater Love (Michael Joncas)
Institution narrative (Michael Joncas)
Lamb of God Mass of Remembrance (Marty Haugen)
Communion Call us to your table (Christopher Walker)
Procession Pange lingua (Ricky Manalo)
followed by plainchant Tantum ergo
Watching Lay down your head (John Bell)
Stay with me (Taizé)

I was very struck by a post on the Gotta Sing, Gotta Pray blog - Preparing the Triduum: Fighting the 'Disney Approach'. It's about building on last year and not changing much rather than what can we do 'bigger and better' this year. Change is evolutionary rather than radical. This means that both musicians and congregation are basically familiar with what is being sung and so helped to pray through their participation.

I am always surprised when putting the music out how much music is sung tonight. Some is drawn from our Lenten Sundays, some particular to this night, some, I fear, is musical indulgence. For Communion there is a wide range of possibilities. Call us to your table was possibly one of the indulgences. It was piece we had worked out and it was good to be able to do it with a rich texture of singers and instruments.

The significant change this year was the Procession to the Altar of Repose. Over the years we have sung: Pange lingua to the chant melody but in English; Our blessing cup (Bob Hurd) which though familiar did not seem to have been picked up. It was one of my reflections after last year's Triduum that this moment needed reconsideration. I remember using this as example of reflection and long term planning at a music day and mentioning I was looking at the Manalo setting and being encouraged by someone who was using it their parish. We made sure that musicians supported the procession - with instruments upstairs, piano in the crypt and the inevitable time differences. My impression was that people picked it up and sang it. There were a number factors that I think helped. The piece itself - an ostinato refrain is much easier to sing than a hymn, the pace seemed also to be about right. Above all, and I intend this as a compliment, it feels like Catholic schmaltz! It manages to seems to be one of those melodies you already knew. Liturgically the procession did not start until we had a full playthrough which may sound obvious but I think helped to link action and music rather than something the musicians while we are moving to the crypt.

I am aware this year of the forthcoming new translation of the Roman Missal and how that will affect our celebration of the Triduum. Will it require evolutionary or radical change?

My impression is that the new translation will not be in use until after Easter next year but by 2012 we will definitely be in new territory. So yes, prayers and people's texts will then have changed. Though I think this will be an opportunity to reflect on our choices once again in the light of the translation as, for example, both Faith, hope and love and Ubi caritas are adaptations of the current Missal texts they will continue to adaptions of the new texts.

What will change is the words of the Gloria and so the setting needs to be adapted or a new setting found. Perhaps most significant will be the Eucharistic Prayer. The Holy, holy is slightly different and the Memorial Acclamations are more so. I would hate to lose having part of Eucharistic Prayer sung as it adds to the solemnity of the occasion. There will be work to be done to continue this good practice.