Sunday, February 27, 2011

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

27 February 2011

For the first time since in over 12 years, I think, there was no music at Mass this morning. The singers went with the College Choir for the Church Colleges Choir Festival in Lincoln and our organist was on vacation in New York.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

20 February 2011

EntranceBrother, Sister let me serve you ()
GloriaSt Augustine's (Christopher Walker)
Psalm 102The Lord is compassion (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodRemembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionLove one another (mtgf)
FinalGod is love, his the care

Two baptisms this morning. I sometimes wonder if the congregation realise this is a surprise — the lack of reference to them in the Mass leaflet is the clue. Our deacon suggested before Mass that he could not make any connections between the readings and baptism so he would reflect on the MIddle East instead. Though he is experienced enough to weave some references to Baptism into the homily but the focus was regime change. And the connection with music? Well it seems to me that there is a balance between relating the gospel to current events, particular an area one has an interest in and making a judgement about the congregation that will hear it. First and last hymns were chosen was because there were two large baptismal parties and as is often the case many seem not over familiar with participating in Mass. The Servant Song because it is something the congregation knows well and it is suffused with baptismal imagery. The final hymn because I find it is well know and it is 'upbeat'.

I wondered today about the language of the Rite of Baptism given the recent debate in the Anglican General Synod. I find this a hard question, partly because I cannot listen without my 'informed' ear, but there is also a question of people's expectations. The danger is however you describe how language works in liturgy it sounds like a defence of impenetrability - for example if you suggest it may not all be meant to be taken in instantly. I also guess there is a divorcing of text from context - as this gives meaning.

A final passing thought. For another context I was wondering Ubi caritas: Hurd or plainchant? And realised I think of the chant as strongly linked to Maundy Thursday and would not be right at another time whereas Hurd (etc?) I am quite happy with elsewhere. It is not wholly rational this liturgy stuff.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

6th Sunday in Ordinary

13 February 2011

EntranceYour words are spirit and life (Bernadette Farrell)
Penitential RiteSt Gabriels I (mtgf)
GloriaSt Augustine's (Christopher Walker)
Psalm 118They are happy who follow God's law (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsIn perfect charity (Randall DeBruyn)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodRemembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionTeach me, O Lord (Christopher Walker)
FinalPraise the Lord, ye heavens adore him ( )

The lateness of Easter means that we are into a series of Sundays that usually fall into the gap of the liturgical year. One of the strokes of genius in the reform of the liturgical year was to make Ordinary Time one season — exploring the life and teaching of Jesus — with some Sundays which are never celebrated each year. For the church musician this means psalms which if they do not recur in the Sunday cycle are rarely sung and Gospel that are heard less often. So today we had a simple setting of the responsorial psalm but the opening song was a similar meditation on the law and at Communion we sang a more expansive setting from Psalm 118. I was interested to note that my instinct if we are singing a second psalm setting is to place it at Communion rather than the Preparation of Gifts. As is often the case the act of Communion adds a level of meaning to the psalm - so the way we should follow is the procession to receive Christ's Body and Blood.

In perfect charity has a text based or inspired by St Francis of Assisi by the composer Randall DeBruyn. It is sung to a fine, long, well-constructed melody which he has arranged to make a satisfying choir piece.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

6 February 2011

EntranceGod, whose almighty Word
Penitential RiteSt Gabriels I (mtgf)
GloriaSt Augustine's (Christopher Walker)
Psalm 111Good people are a light (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsReturn to God (Marty Haugen)
Eucharistic AcclamationsMass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodRemembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionBread for the world (Christopher Walker)
FinalChrist be our light (Bernadette Farrell )

I am often aware that much of my knowledge of scripture comes from singing it and so it was with the first reading today. This means that the reverse can also happen. On reflecting on the passage a melody came to mind and so we sang Marty Haugen's Return to God.

Light was the dominant theme today - salt is a seemingly less attractive option for text writers - and light was there in all the musical choices.