The Ascension, 2010

Entrance Praise him as he mounts the skies
Gloria from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Psalm Ps 46 (Shaun MacCarthy)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Alleluia (chant)
Preparation of the Gifts New praises be given
Sanctus, Acclamation D, Amen Spring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Dei Lamb of God II (mcb)
Communion I will see you again (Psallite)
Postcommunion Ascendo ad Patrem (G. P. da Palestrina, c. 1525-1594)
Recessional Alleluia, Sing to Jesus

James Quinn SJ, who died in April at the age of 90, was a prolific writer of fine hymn texts. Among his best known perhaps are Day is done, but love unfailing and Forth in the peace of Christ. Like the latter hymn, Praise him as he mounts the skies reworks a familiar traditional hymn, in this case offering an alternative Ascension Day text to Charles Wesley’s Hail the day that sees him rise; one perhaps with greater theological depth too?

Palestrina’s five-part motet Ascendo ad Patrem is a serene reflection on our Lord’s ascension, and the promise of his Spirit. Angelic alleluias in elaborate counterpoint give way to momentary, arresting bursts of homophony at crucial places in the text: especially mittam vobis Spiritum veritatis (I will send you the Spirit of truth), with repeated articulation of the word Spiritum by several of the voices at once. The piece leads us nicely on to next Sunday’s great feast of Pentecost.

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