Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas - Day Mass

25 December 2011

EntranceOnce in royal David's city
Penitential RiteSt Gabriels (mtgf)
GloriaChristmas Gloria (Paul Gibson)
Psalm 97All the ends (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsCarol at Bethlehem Cave (Spanish arr. Walker)
Eucharistic AcclamationsCreation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodChristmas (Ebeling arr. mtgf)
CommunionInfant lowly
Away in a manger
FinalO little town of Bethlehem

For Christmas morning we usually have reduced forces - the Sunday A-Team - and Mass which always feels as though in contrast to Mass during the night is quieter and more reflective. I suspect that is the reflection of someone who attends both and for many people this is their Christmas Mass. Indeed the chapel was full for both. As I may have commented before we are not a very child oriented congregation - this does not mean that there are not any children just there is no particular provision for them. I think, to be shocking to many, this, though it isn't a deliberate standpoint, has an element of truth in it. That was a long preamble to saying that 'Away in a manger' is intended as child-friendly.

A passing though about homilies and rhetoric. It can be a useful device to paint the negative images so that you can than illuminate with the positive but if the imagination of the congregation gets stuck on the negative the device has failed.

Christmas - Mass during the Night

25 December 2011

CarolOnce in royal David's city
ChoirAlma Redemptoris Mater (Palestrina)
CarolWhile shepherds watched
ChoirO holy night (Adam)
CarolO little town
ChoirI saw a maiden (Pettman)
EntranceO come all ye faithful
Penitential RiteSt Gabriels (mtgf)
GloriaChristmas Gloria (Paul Gibson)
Psalm 95Today a Saviour (Bernadette Farrell)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsIn the bleak midwinter (Holst)
Eucharistic AcclamationsCreation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodChristmas (Ebeling arr. mtgf)
CommunionCarol of the Birds
Night of Silence (Daniel Kantor)
Silent Night
FinalHark the herald angels sing

I think there were more changes to this year's Mass than there have been for a long time. For some, the most significant change might have been the new translation. Though I had heard some prophets of doom say that Midnight Mass would be a disaster - with the sudden influx of those who were not aware of the new translation - our experience did not reflect this. There might have been some variety with the initial 'And with your spirit' - it was hard to tell and I would not like to claim either way. That said the responses were as usual good and strong - I am not sure whether this is because of their novelty or because they are on the leaflet. In rehearsal I was thrown by the revised adaptation of the Christmas Gloria to the new translation. The composer has resolved the problem of extra lines by inserting 4/8 bars into each verse of a freshly composed melody - which is a solution. I am not sure ow successful it is but the congregation do seem to enjoy their Gloria refrain and came in loudly.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

18 December 2011

EntranceLonging, trusting (mtgf)
Penitential RiteKyrie Orbis Factor
Psalm 88I will sing for ever (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsNo wind at the window (Irish/Bell/Haugen)
Eucharistic AcclamationsCreation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodAdvent (mtgf)
CommunionAlma Redemptoris Mater (Palestrina)
FinalO come, O come Emmanuel

Monday, December 12, 2011

Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2011

EntranceLonging, trusting (mtgf)
Penitential RiteOrbis factor
Psalm - Magnificat My soul rejoices (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsSong of God among us (Huijbers)
Eucharistic AcclamationsCreation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodAdvent (mtgf)
CommunionOn Jordan's Bank (Monteverdi)
FinalBlest be the Lord (Bernadette Farrell)

On Jordan's Bank is an anglicised version of Monteverdi's Deus tuorum militum from Selva morale of 1640 - I suspect you could fit many Common metre (?) hymns to it. The Gospel was also taken up by one of my favourite pieces by Huijbers - it has a lean simplicity that is beautifully crafted. John the Baptist's final appearance was in the Benedictus at the end - as I am sure I have said before I do think it is important that people sing texts such as this - even as a paraphrase.

The Magnificat setting was new and still needs a little work - the accompaniment was probably a little busy. In the refrain I repeated 'rejoice' twice - this chimed in with Gaudete - partly to give it a slight over the top feel which I think did work.

We have been singing the 3rd acclamation, Save us Saviour, for Advent. It seems to me the least successful mostly because of the ¾ bar which does not yet feel natural.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Immaculate Conception

8 December 2011

EntranceThe Angel Gabriel ()
Penitential RiteSt Gabriels (mtgf)
GloriaMass of the Angels and Saints (Steven Janco)
Psalm 97Sing a new song (John Bell)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsAdam lay bounden (Boris Ord)
Eucharistic AcclamationsCreation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodMass of Remembrance (Marty Haugen)
CommunionNo wind at the window (Irish/Bell/Haugen)

The Immaculate Conception is our titular Solemnity - our Feast Day. In recent years the Mass has moved to early evening followed by a meal and then retiring to the SU bar. It usually falls in the same week as the Carol Service and so the musical economist manages his music carefully. Again musicians are drawn from Sunday musicians and the College Choir and so music is chosen which in some cases suits all and in others allows one group to take a lead. The keen eyed will notice similarities with the Carol Service, Remembrance Sunday (when the College Choir sang at Mass) and last year's celebration - preparation is organic business.

The only item wholly new to us was the psalm. I took the rare decision to have a choral psalm. John Bell's setting is unaccompanied and joyful with an Alleluia refrain for the congregation.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Carol Service

5 December 2011

Part 1 - Prepare a way for the Lord

EntranceLitany of the Word (Bernadette Farrell)
Opening Responses
Reading Isaiah 40:1–5 The prophet Isaiah tells the people of Israel to prepare a way for the Lord
Song My soul in stillness waits (Marty Haugen)
ReadingMark 1: 1-8 St Mark writes of John the Baptist who prepares a way for the Lord
HymnO come, O come Emmanuel

Part 2 - Behold the virgin will conceive

ReadingIsaiah 7: 10-14 The prophet Isaiah tells of the coming of Emmanuel — God is with us
CarolAdam lay ybounden (Boris Ord)
ReadingLuke 1: 26-38 St Luke tells of the Incarnation of Jesus
CarolNo wind at the window (Irish/Bell/Haugen)
CarolO little town of Bethlehem

Part 3 - Today is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord

ReadingLuke 2:1-14 St Luke tells of the birth of Jesus
SongO holy night (Adolphe Adam)
ReadingLuke 2:15-20 St Luke tells of Mary who treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.
SongNight of Silence (Daniel Kantor)
CarolSilent Night

Part 4 - The Word was made flesh and lived among us

Reading1 John 1:1–4 St John reflects on the Incarnation
MotetCantique de Jean Racine (Gabriel Fauré)
IntercessionsHolden Evening Prayer Marty Haugen
Lord's Prayer & Blessing
CarolO come all ye faithful

This year we tried something different. Firstly I wanted to establish a pattern or structure that we could use each year. Secondly we included Christmas. This came from two things: a suspicion that for some this maybe the only time they hear the Christmas story proclaimed; secondly observing the delight some (non church going) students took in singing carols. The structure was in four parts and in my original notes it went: Expectation, Mary, Birth, Consequences. I wonder if sometimes there is a naive fallacy at work - pretending that the birth did not happen whereas we know that God's promises have been and so will be fulfilled.

Musically, it needed to include items sung by the College Choir, the Music Group and all. I hope there was enough contrast. The 3rd section was probably a little too saccharine for my taste but I suspect it was the highlight for many. We began with a candle light procession with the Litany of the Word slowly building up.

For the prayers and final blessing we used texts from the new translation and for the scripture readings we used the English Standard Version which is being considered as the base translation of the Lectionary. On the whole it proclaimed well it was only a couple of phrases in the Annunciation that seemed awkward - but may be that was just unfamiliar.

The evening was finished off by mulled wine and mince pies in the cafe and a rendition of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Second Sunday of Advent

4 December 2011

EntranceLonging, trusting (mtgf)
Penitential RiteKyrie Orbis Factor
Psalm 84Let us see, O Lord (mtgf)
Gospel AcclamationSalisbury (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of GiftsRorate Caeli (chant)
Eucharistic AcclamationsCreation (Marty Haugen)
Lamb of GodAdvent (mtgf)
CommunionBread of Life (Bernadette Farrell)
FinalCome, thou long expected Jesus

Being unaccompanied does shape the musical choices. Longing, trusting came back and the congregation seemed to remember it and it sound fine with accompaniment. I was considering a setting of the Benedictus for the end but was less sure that this would be sung with confidence - it may appear next week. Rorate caeli, of course works well unaccompanied as pure melody. Bread of Life sounds effective enough with the refrain in harmony and the verses sung by cantor.