6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C, 2010)

Entrance Be not afraid (Bob Dufford)
Kyrie Kyrie II from Paschal Mass (Alan Rees)
Gloria Glory to God in the Highest (John L Bell)
Psalm Ps 1 (Paul Inwood)
Gospel Acclamation Sing a New Song (John L Bell)
Preparation of the Gifts The Kingdom of God is justice and joy
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Community Mass (Richard Proulx)
Agnus Dei Mass of Christ the King (mcb)
Communion This is the Bread (Psallite)
Postcommunion The Beatitudes (Bob Chilcott)
Recessional Tell out, my soul

The Beatitudes again this week, this time St Luke’s version as recounted in the Sermon on the Level Ground, as Fr Frank called it in his homily. (He reckoned St Matthew had better PR people working for him.)

Verse 3 of Bob Dufford’s Be not afraid is a good, if abbreviated fit for Luke's text (like Luke it talks of the poor rather than the poor in spirit, for instance). Like a few songs of the St Louis Jesuits, its textual merit – putting the words of scripture into the mouths of the singing assembly, at a time when this was still a new and revolutionary idea – is offset by the lack of editorial polish in the published musical arrangement. But it’s a strong tune, once you iron out the unfriendly semiquavers and the homespun awkwardness of the part-writing. My arrangement smooths out the rhythms to nothing shorter than a quaver, and has SATB harmony that I’d like to think would make it past the GCSE examiners.

Bob Chilcott’s choral setting, this time of St Matthew’s version, is a very different kind of piece, encapsulating the paradoxes of the text in a dramatic and colourful miniature. The music reaches a climax of power and pathos in the words –

Blest are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

and then subsides into a peaceful and serene conclusion on the repeated word Blest.

I liked our Communion song from Psallite, setting verses from the same psalm (77(78)) as today’s antiphon. We took the refrain much slower than the indicated metronome mark, and this gave the piece a bit more time to gain momentum as prayer. Unusually for a Psallite piece, only three verses of the psalm were included; three more would have worked nicely for our Communion procession.

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