Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

24 April 2011

EntranceJesus Christ is risen today
GloriaGlory to God (Berthier)
Psalm 117This is the day (Marty Haugen)
SequencePraise to the Paschal Victim (mtgf)
Baptismal Promises & SprinklingAmen, amen (mtgf)
Preparation of GiftsChrist the Glory (Lalouette)
Eucharistic AcclamationsGathering (Paul Inwood)
Lamb of God (Berthier)
CommunionI have seen the Lord (Bob Hurd)
FinalThine be the glory

For the musicians it is the morning after the night before and though tired and maybe not in tiptop vocal condition we offer our best. Thanks to all who contributed to the singing and playing.

Easter Vigil

23 April 2011

ProcessionThe Lord is my light (Taizé)
Exsultetsimple (mtgf)
Psalm 103Send forth your spirit (mtgf)
Psalm 15Preserve me, God (Christopher Walker)
Exodus 15I will sing to the Lord (mtgf)
Psalm 29I will praise you, Lord (Paul Inwood)
Psalm 41-42As the deer longs (Palestrina/Bridge)
GloriaCoventry (Peter Jones)
Gospel AcclamationCeltic (O'Carroll/Walker)
Profession of Faith & SprinklingAmen, Amen (mtgf)
Preparation of GiftsFor peace (Antoine Oomen)
Eucharistic AcclamationsGathering Mass (Paul Inwood)
Lamb of God (Berthier)
CommunionOne in Body (Christopher Walker)
FinalChrist be our light (Bernadette Farrell)

One of the ironies of our vigil is that we seem to have more cantors than readers. We had 5 Old Testament readings and Psalms and could have in terms of voices sung a further two. It is fair to note that Exodus 15 is sung by the men and that Psalm 41-42 is sung by the whole choir (as are the psalm verses of the Celtic Alleluia). Psalm 41-42 was new last year and, as I said last year, is a slightly cheeky arrangement of Palestrina's Sicut cervus but it is effective. It also completed our hat trick with Byrd and Victoria. Part of its effectiveness is because it is unaccompanied and so provides a different texture.

And so farewell Exultet - the sadness is not new over old or styles and theories of translation it is familiarity. This is a component of ritual we can participate because we know and recognise or at least we are in the hands of those who know. Though looking at the above the list there will be five items that will need to be replaced by new or revised setting and so much, like the psalms, can remain the same. However we will someways need to learn how to participate anew.

We also sang farewell to the Coventry Gloria in at least its current form. Other current settings will last us the Easter season. The new this year were the fourth psalm - apart from the fact that the settings suited the cantor's voice it is also good not get to stuck with exactly the same readings. One in body was the other piece that suggested itself as I perused the choir library. I think it worked well liturgically (it accompanied the action appropriately) and musically (it suited our resources). Textually it was OK but did sing of the particular mystery being celebrated.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

22 April 2011

Psalm 31Father, into your hands (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationLenten (mtgf)
Passion AcclamationBehold the Lamb of God (John Bell)
Intercessionsresponse (Marty Haugen)
Veneration of the CrossInvitation (A Gregory Murray)
Reproaches (Peter Jones)
O vos omnes (Victoria)
Jesus, remember me (Taizé)
O Crux ave (Rihards Dubra)
CommunionCalvarie Mount (Tallis arr. Charles Wood)
When I survey the wondrous cross

I noted last year that coming changes will particularly affect the intercessions and the invitation to the cross. The procession with the cross was one of those points where the congregation really sang its response. The question becomes is it this tradition (because we have used the same setting over a number of years), this setting (an intrinsic quality in the music) or this context (this a point where the assembly wishes to express itself in song - it makes sense to sing this or at this point)? Like most things it is probably a combination. The first and third are connected - this what we do at this point - it's part of the ritual. For the most part the significant change for most musicians will be parts of the Mass and as those can be established outside the Triduum it means that tradition and ritual can be maintained.

Two motets were new this year. The catalyst for Victoria's O vos omnes from his Tenebrae Responsories was the 400th anniversary of his death. Apart from the pathos he manages to draw from simple means the text from Lamentations seem to add an extra layer to the liturgical moment. To sing All you who pass this way as people process to venerate the Cross add perhaps a further reproach. A challenge for Good Friday which I am not otherwise sure we meet except in the Gospel Acclamation is the glory of the Cross — lament is easier or at least better provided for. The second motet by the contemporary Latvian composer Rihards Dubra also addressed this in a quiet way. The text is taken from Vexilla regis and within the first bar you know that you are in the hands of confident choral composer who is not ashamed to write simply and with warmth.

Maundy Thursday

21 April 2011

GatheringI have been crucified (Christopher Walker)
EntranceFor God so loved the world (mtgf)
Penitential RiteUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
GloriaSt Gabriels (mtgf)
Psalm 115The blessing cup (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationLenten (mtgf)
Washing of the FeetFaith, hope and love (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Eucharistic AcclamationsNo Greater Love (Michael Joncas)
Lamb of GodRemembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionTake and eat (Michael Joncas)
Ave verum Corpus (Byrd)
ProcessionPange lingua (Ricky Manalo)
Tantum ergo (chant)
WatchingLay down your head (John Bell)
Stay with me (Taizé)

I reflected last year that change in the musical choices was gradual and evolutionary rather than radical. This year the changes concerned communion. It was request that we might sing Byrd Ave verum always a welcome choice but we also need something to accompany the communion procession. Two changes this year came from looking through the choir library and being reminded of pieces that might not otherwise have been chosen. In some ways there is a wealth of music about communion/the Eucharist. I did want something though that was about 'tonight' and the refrain of Take and Eat good enough for that. We did it with the men starting while the women went to communion and then vice versa.

Pange lingua was last year's innovation and though people seem not to do singing in procession it was being sung well once we reached the altar of repose - as if we had always known it.

There was a slight temptation to try the new, for example, to test a revision of the Gloria but in preparing we decided to enjoy our current texts and settings. It is probably farewell to No Greater Love Eucharistic Acclamations. There are some settings that I will let go of without a tear, they may have served their time well, others, and I would include No Greater Love in this category will be a loss. I have an idea what we might do next year in its place but we shall see. I am not sure how the new translation will affect everything else - though it might be a good opportunity to reflect on the Missal texts and see how we respond to them. Whatever happens the change will most likely be gradual.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Passion [Palm] Sunday

17 April 2011

EntranceHosanna — Gathering (Paul Inwood)
Psalm 21My God, my God (Christopher Walker)
Gospel AcclamationLenten (mtgf)
Passion AcclamationBehold the Lamb of God (John Bell)
Preparation of GiftsCalvarie Mount (Tallis)
Eucharistic AcclamationsUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Lamb of GodRemembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionOurs were the griefs (Stephen Dean)
FinalMy song is love unknown

This Holy Week will be tinged by a certain poignancy as we celebrate using the present translation of the Missal for the last time. It is perhaps ironic that some settings we have used for Mass parts may live on once a year as acclamations. For example, Behold the Lamb of God we gave up as a Lamb of God in the Autumn but it is retained as a Passion acclamation.

We hoped to sing Christus factus est by Anerio but were short of one part and has I have noted before polyphony is less forgiving of absence than other music.

I think today's psalm setting is a good example of a long response where the congregation has something to get it's teeth into. Listening it is sung with the quiet intensity that the composer asks for and acts a suitable contrast to the more dramtic verses.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

5th Sunday of Lent

10 April 2011

EntranceFor God so loved the world (mtgf)
Penitential RiteUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Psalm 129 God of compassion (Scott Soper)
Gospel AcclamationLenten (mtgf)
Preparation of GiftsYou are mine (David Haas)
Eucharistic AcclamationsUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Lamb of GodRemembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionI am the resurrection (Bob Hurd)
FinalPraise the Lord, ye heavens adore him

Considering the importance of these Sundays in the rites of Initiation and that (in theory at least) many parishes are using these texts most years as the prepare catechumens for baptism at Easter I don't feel overwhelmed by the possible choices of music. The David Haas song though not explicitly connected had a number of glancing references and I associated 'Lazarus, come out' with 'I have called you each by name'. The Bob Hurd as part of his Lenten Journey in the verses makes connections between all the readings.

The final hymn might have seemed that Lenten to some but this is a Sunday where Christ prefigures his own resurrection and conquers sin and death - not the material for a lament. As what the Church offers on the Sundays of Lent is not a 'misery-fest' it begs the question how doe we know this season to be different to others - to which the answer should be the sound should be different and we are heading somewhere. There is always room to develop and deepen. The specific images were 'for he hath spoken' (though the following couple of lines is very much of its time) and 'sin and death shall not prevail'.

Today's psalm was one of the few times we sing the psalm chorally. Though Scott Soper's setting could be sung by just a single cantor the variety of the different voices I hoped brought out some of the contrast in the text.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

4th Sunday of Lent

3 April 2011

EntranceFor God so loved the world (mtgf)
Penitential RiteUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Psalm 22The Lord is my shepherd (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationLenten (mtgf)
Preparation of GiftsSong of the man born blind (Bob Hurd)
Eucharistic AcclamationsUbi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Lamb of GodRemembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionShepherd me, O God (Bob Hurd)
FinalBe thou my vision

Light and shepherds were the key ideas. The gospel for these three Lenten Sundays are so rich both in their similarities and their differences. Again you might that psalm such as 26 - The Lord is my light and my help - might be first choice but the Lectionary offers a richer set of images: the one who is anointed, who is a light in the darkness, who leads to water and banquet.

I wondered if the Opening song for these weeks should more be an acclamation rather than a statement to echo the acclamations of faith in the gospels - You are the Christ…