4th Sunday of Easter (Year C, 2010)

Entrance All people that on earth do dwell
Gloria from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Psalm We are his people (mcb)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia (chant)
Preparation of the Gifts Jubilate Servite (Jacques Berthier)
Sanctus, Acclamation D, Amen Spring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Dei from Beneath the Tree of Life
Communion Because the Lord is my shepherd (Christopher Walker)
Postcommunion Surrexit Pastor Bonus (Michael Haller, 1840-1915)
Recessional Praise we our God with joy

As well as a fine assortment of musical sheep and shepherds, we had three different versions of the opening line of Ps 99(100): Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth was in my setting of the Grail translation of the Psalm, All people that on earth do dwell, sing to the Lord with cheerful voice was in our opening hymn, and Jacques Berthier’s Jubilate, Servite set the text in Latin:

Jubilate Deo, omnis terra
Servite Domino in laetitia

We had lots of fun with the Taizé piece: firstly in unison with just the women's voices, then repeated by all; then a couple of goes in two-part canon, and two more in four-part canon; then we switched to the two-part counter melody, and finally (via a modulation up a semitone) combined the original melody and the counter melody for a grand finale, just as the people rose to be incensed at the conclusion of the Preparation of the Gifts. I love it when we get the timing right like that.

3rd Sunday of Easter (Year C, 2010)

Entrance Crown him with many crowns
Gloria from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Psalm I will praise you, Lord (Daniel Bath)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia (chant)
Preparation of the Gifts Let all the earth cry out (Psallite)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Spring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Dei Lamb of God II (mcb)
Communion Come and eat this bread (Marty Haugen)
Postcommunion O Sons and Daughters (traditional, arr. C.V. Stanford)
Recessional At the Lamb’s high feast we sing

My flight’s been cancelled because of the volcano has got to be the all-time best excuse from a missing choir member; at any rate, I can’t imagine what’s going to beat it. But the rest of us made it for our first sung Mass since Easter Sunday.

Our Eastertide music as usual aims for a lighter, brighter touch than our more austere Lenten fare. This year Marty Haugen’s Gloria and my own Spring Sanctus are the staples. There seems to be something irrepressibly cheerful, and eminently Paschal, about 6/8 time.

The Entrance and Communion antiphons were both there, our piece from Psallite at the preparation of the gifts setting the Entrance text, and a second look in for Marty Haugen in his reflective Communion song, building on our Lord’s words in the Communion antiphon.

The choir sang Stanford’s arrangement of O Filii et Filiae, with words by the fifteenth century Parisian friar Jean Tisserand, in J.M. Neale’s translation, and the well-known melody – apparently composed to fit this text – whose earliest source seems to be a collection published in 1623. It mainly uses unison voices, the men and women alternating to tell different parts of the resurrection narrative, with drama added by the florid organ part, and unaccompanied choral harmonies lending moments of graceful reflection. It’s a tune which should feature more centrally in our Easter repertoire.

11.30 Mass at St Nameless’s: 2nd Sunday of Easter (Year C, 2010)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Entrance Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord (Donald Fishel) [2 vv.]
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia (chant) with spoken verse
Preparation of the Gifts Take our bread (Joe Wise)
Memorial Acclamation He is Lord
Sign of Peace Peace, perfect peace (Kevin Mayhew)
Communion This is my body (Jimmy and Carol Owens)
Recessional This is the day (traditional)

The cathedral choir had the weekend off, so I went to the principal Sunday Mass in my home parish. For a large and prosperous parish they have limited ambitions when it comes to liturgical music. The hymns chosen probably all have their place in a Sunday Mass in Easter time, but it’s a shame to find them included at the expense of, say, a sung version of the Holy, holy, or the Responsorial Psalm, or the Gloria. I haven’t heard a ‘song at the sign of peace’ in any other parish in the last twenty-five years, but in my parish they sing this particular song every Sunday, at the expense of a sung Lamb of God.

All in all, it’s a neat indication that there are mountains to be climbed in liturgical formation.

Easter Sunday (2010)

Entrance Jesus Christ is Ris’n Today
Gloria from Mass for John Carroll (Michael Joncas)
Psalm This is the Day (mcb)
SequenceVictimae Paschali Laudes (J. William Greene)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia (chant)
Preparation of the Gifts Now the green blade riseth
Sanctus, Acclamation (A), Amen Spring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Dei from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Communion Confitemini Domino (Taizé) & psalm 117 (Laurence Bévenot)
Postcommunion Haec Dies (Lodovico Viadana, c. 1564-1645)
Recessional (i) Go in the peace of Christ, Alleluia (chanted)
(ii) Battle is o’er

Something went wrong in the preparation of our service sheet for this morning, so that we had the traditional text for the first two verses of Now the green blade, followed by two verses in inferior doggerel:

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.


A happy and holy Easter to readers, whom, since Christmas, I know to number at least six. The choir has a break next Sunday, and we’re back in action in two weeks.

The Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday, 2010)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Service of LightLumen Christi (chanted)
After 1st reading (Genesis 1)Send forth your spirit (Stephen Dean)
After 2nd reading (Exodus 14-15)I will sing to the Lord (Geoffrey Boulton Smith)
After 3rd reading (Isaiah 55: come to the water)We shall draw water joyfully (Paul Inwood)
After 4th reading (Ezekiel 36: I shall give you a new heart)Like the deer (mcb)
GloriaMass of the Creator Spirit (Ed Nowak)
Easter Alleluia + Psalm 117Plainchant, verses by Paul Inwood
Litany of the SaintsJoseph Gélineau, ed. Robert B. Kelly
Blessing of the FontSprings of Water (Marty Haugen)
SprinklingVidi Aquam (Tomás Luis de Victoria, c. 1548-1611)
Preparation of the GiftsAlleluia, Christus Surrexit (Felice Anerio, c. 1560-1614)
Sanctus, Acclamation, AmenSpring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Deifrom Communion Rite: Take and Eat (Michael Joncas/Gary Daigle)
CommunionTake and Eat (Michael Joncas)
DismissalGo in the peace of Christ, Alleluia (chanted)
Final HymnThine be the Glory

For a musical banquet as rich and complex as tonight’s, the fare needs to change slowly from year to year. This year we returned to Paul Inwood’s irrepressibly joyful We shall draw water. Anerio’s Alleluia, Christus Surrexit was brimming with the same spirit.

We remembered the bells at the Gloria this year, as we did on Holy Thursday: Bishop Terence intoned the opening of the Gloria from the Missa de Angelis, and then the bells and the organ rang out Easter joy before we eased seamlessly into Ed Nowak’s fiery setting.

We’ve sung Geoffrey Boulton Smith’s simple and bold setting of the Exodus canticle every year for the last twenty years and doubtless more. I don’t know of another setting to rival it.

Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (Good Friday, 2010)

Friday, April 2 2010

PsalmFather, into your hands (Geoffrey Boulton Smith)
Gospel AcclamationChristus factus est (Felice Anerio c. 1560-1614)
Veneration of the CrossThis is the wood of the cross (Missal tone)
The Reproaches (Brendan Curley)
Vinea mea electa (anon. Spanish, 16th century)
O come and mourn with me a while
Jesus, remember me (Taizé)
CommunionAve Verum Corpus (William Byrd, c. 1540-1623)
Soul of my Saviour

Our setting of the Reproaches was written (if I remember right) in seminary by Fr Brendan Curley, Administrator here at the cathedral just before the job title got changed to ‘Dean’. It mainly uses simple chant melodies, with people’s refrains for My people, what have I done to you? and Holy is God, holy and strong. It deserves to be more widely known.

Vinea mea electa was a happy find via the CPDL web site. We sang it as a brisk dance flanked by stately repetitions of the opening declamatory rebuke. Sung that way it positively fizzed with energy, the phrase ut me crucifigeres (that you should crucify me) leaping out at the listener in sudden aggrieved reproach.

But, as usual, the most prayerful musical moment in the whole liturgy was the whole congregation taking up the refrain Jesus, remember me in an unstoppable tide of sound. It was moving.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Maundy Thursday, 2010)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Opening Hymn The glory of the cross (John Ainslie)
Gloria Mass of the Creator Spirit (Ed Nowak)
Responsorial Psalm The Blessing Cup (Sue Furlong)
Gospel Acclamation A New Commandment
Washing of Feet If there is this love among you (Barry/Murden)
Preparation of the Gifts Ubi Caritas (Maurice Duruflé, 1902-1986)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Mass XVII
Missal Tone: When we eat this bread
Missal Tone
Agnus Dei Mass XVII
Communion O Sacrum Convivium (Thomas Tallis, c. 1505-1585)
Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Procession Pange Lingua (plainchant)
Stay with me (Taizé)

John Ainslie’s hymn text The glory of the cross we sing fits well with today’s entrance antiphon We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We sang it in procession, to the tune Gonfalon Royal. The reponsorial psalm was the Irish composer Sue Furlong’s setting from the first volume of Music for the Mass, and with that and both If there is this love during the washing of feet, and Ubi Caritas at the preparation of the gifts, we had a fair proportion of the proper texts from the Missal forming our sung prayer.

For the procession to the altar of repose, we had Pange lingua as usual, with the men’s and women’s voices alternating for the first four verses, then coming together for Tantum ergo, which made its impact all the stronger.

There’s nothing prescribed in the Missal to be sung during the adoration, but walking away in silence would feel more like an end than a beginning to the period of watching. Jacques Berthier’s Stay with me, sung unaccompanied in semi-darkness, was, I thought, an effective way to lead us into the heart of prayer.

The Mass of Chrism (2010)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Opening HymnPraise to the Lord, the Almighty
KyrieKyrie 2 from A Community Mass (Richard Proulx)
GloriaGlory to God in the Highest (John Bell)
Responsorial PsalmI will sing for ever of your love (mcb)
Gospel AcclamationPraise to you, O Christ (James Walsh)
Procession of the OilsO Redeemer (Paul Ford/mcb)
Preparation of the GiftsThe Beatitudes (Bob Chilcott)
Sanctus, Acclamation, AmenSpring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus DeiMass XVIII & Missa Brevis (Antonio Lotti, c. 1667-1740)
CommunionO Lord, I will sing of your constant love (Christopher Walker)
O Sacrum Convivium (Thomas Tallis, c. 1505-1585)
Taste and See (Richard Proulx)
Recessional HymnPraise to the Holiest

The Mass of Chrism is the celebration that feels most like an annual gathering of the whole diocese. The rain held off, to allow us to process through the courtyard and along Chapel Street into the Cathedral, while Anthony gave us the Te Deum by Jean Langlais. (He played Bach’s Great Fugue in G Minor at the end, with a little competition from someone with a very poor sense of timing trying to make an announcement over the PA. Anthony won, I’m very pleased to say.) We were joined by Celebration Brass as usual, and the musical fare was our trademark mix of ancient and modern, choral and congregational.

Thomas Tallis’s O Sacrum Convivium seems to have started life as a piece for instrumental consort, with the addition of the text a later adaptation. I think it shows, in a positive way: in place of the long intricate lines that characterise his earlier Latin church music, here Tallis gives us something much more direct, the five-part counterpoint still allowing the text to speak with transparency. For Tallis, it’s quite Byrd-like.

Cardinal Newman’s majestic Praise to the Holiest, its famous text taken from The Dream of Gerontius, and sung to Sir Richard Terry’s tune Billing, was an obvious choice for an occasion like today’s, in this of all years especially.