3rd Sunday of Easter (Year B, 2012)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Entrance At the Lamb’s high feast
Gloria Mass of the Most Sacred Heart (Jacob Bancks)
Psalm Ps 4 (James Walsh)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Gospel Acclamation (Brian Luckner)
Preparation of the Gifts Now the green blade riseth
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Spring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Dei Lamb of God II (mcb)
Communion Touch Me and See (Psallite)
Postcommunion Et Resurrexit (Claudio Monteverdi, 1567-1643)
Recessional Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendour

We resumed where we had left off on Easter Sunday, with At the Lamb’s high feast, as if underlining the continuity of the “week of weeks” that makes up the Easter season.

Today’s Gospel reading includes the words

you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead

and one of the Communion antiphons echoes the same words:

Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day.

Monteverdi’s cheery duet from Selva Morale e Spirituale of 1641 sets the similar phrase from the Nicene Creed et resurrexit tertia die. In my arrangement, the duet is shared alternately between soprano and alto and then tenor and bass: in the first half the women’s voices lead the way, with the men responding, then in the second half the roles are reversed. The final phrase sedet ad dexteram Patris breaks into four parts, in a way I trust Monteverdi wouldn’t have minded.

Easter Sunday (2012)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Entrance Jesus Christ is Ris’n Today
Gloria Mass of the Most Sacred Heart (Jacob Bancks)
Psalm This is the Day (mcb)
SequenceVictimae Paschali Laudes (J. William Greene)
Gospel Acclamation Easter Gospel Acclamation (Brian Luckner)
Prayers of IntercessionMiserere Nobis from Missa Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Preparation of the Gifts Surrexit Christus (Taizé)
Sanctus, Acclamation A, Amen Spring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus Dei Lamb of God II (mcb)
Communion Now we remain (David Haas)
Postcommunion This is the Day (Anon., c.1600)
Recessional (i) Go in peace, Alleluia (chanted)
(ii) At the Lamb’s high feast

Happy Easter, everyone!

The Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday, 2012)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

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)With joy you shall draw water (Bob Hurd) with chant verses (mcb)
GloriaGlory to God (Peter Jones)
Easter Alleluia + Psalm 117Plainchant, verses by Paul Inwood
Litany of the SaintsMissal chant
Blessing of the FontSprings of Water (Marty Haugen)
SprinklingVidi Aquam (Cristóbal de Morales, c.1500-1553)
Prayers of IntercessionMiserere Nobis from Missa Ubi Caritas (Bob Hurd)
Preparation of the GiftsChristus Resurgens (Orlande de Lassus, 1532-1594
Sanctus, Acclamation A, AmenSpring Sanctus (mcb)
Agnus DeiLamb of God II (mcb)
CommunionConfitemini Domino (Taizé) & Ps 117 (Laurence Bévenot)
DismissalGo in peace, Alleluia (chanted)
Final HymnThine be the Glory

For the first time in living memory we had a baptism and receptions at the Vigil, and so even with the Old Testament readings pared down to three, we were kept busy for two and a half hours. I was amazed, mind you, at how quickly the time passed. Our singing celebrants were magnificent: Canon Anthony Kay took the new Exsultet in his stride, Fr Ged Byrne sang the Gospel, and Bishop Terence intoned the Gloria, the Alleluia and the Dismissal.

We didn't have the Solemn Alleluia from the Missal: I completely agree with this poster that a musical line as elaborate as the solemn version can only reduce the congregation to silence. We had the simple chant melody usually known as the Easter Alleluia, which appears in the Gradual as an option for Postcommunion. This was within the reach of both the celebrant and the assembly, and it seemed obvious to me that the symbolic value of Bishop and people in joyful dialogue comprehensively outweighed the aesthetic merits of the more elaborate choir-only chant.

Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (Good Friday, 2012)

PsalmFather, into your hands (plainchant, arr. Geoffrey Boulton Smith)
Gospel AcclamationChristus factus est (Johann Ernst Eberlin, 1702-1762)
Adoration of the CrossBehold the wood of the cross (Missal tone)
When I survey the wondrous cross
Vexilla Regis (chant) with verse 6 O Crux Ave (Rihards Dubra, 1964-)
O Sacred head ill-usèd
Jesus, remember me (Taizé)
CommunionAve Verum Corpus (William Byrd, c. 1540-1623)
Soul of my Saviour

We haven’t sung the Passiontide vespers hymn Vexilla Regis on Good Friday before (at any rate, not in the last twenty-odd years). Coupled with the Latvian composer Rihards Dubra’s haunting and beautiful setting of the text of verse six, it juxtaposed the stark simplicity of the chant with the prayerfulness of Dubra’s neo-Romantic minimalism, which made for a compelling combination.

Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday, 2012)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Opening Hymn The glory of the cross (John Ainslie)
Gloria Mass of the Most Sacred Heart (Jacob Bancks)
Responsorial Psalm The Blessing Cup (A Gregory Murray)
Gospel Acclamation Glory and Praise (mcb)
Washing of Feet If there is this love among you (Barry/Murden)
Prayers of Intercession Lord, in your mercy (John Bell)
Preparation of the Gifts Ubi Caritas (Maurice Duruflé, 1902-1986)
Sanctus Mass XVII
Memorial Acclamation BMissal Tone: When we eat this Bread
Agnus Dei Mass XVII & Missa Brevis (Antonio Lotti, 1667-1740)
Communion O Sacrum Convivium (mcb)
Procession Pange Lingua (plainchant)
Stay with me (Taizé)

The end of an era, of sorts: this was the first time in at least seventeen years that we didn’t sing A new commandment for the Gospel Acclamation. It was a last musical trace of the family-oriented celebration we had in Bishop Kelly’s time. For a few years we were accompanied in this celebration by “music group” resources (guitar, piano, flute and the like), and it was a distinctive occasion, even a moving one, in our annual musical calendar. I’d like to think we haven’t lost touch with that part of our musical repertoire. A new commandment will be back before long, anyway.

The Mass of Chrism (2012)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Opening HymnO God, beyond all praising (Michael Perry/Gustav Holst, arr. Richard Proulx)
KyrieMissal tone in English
GloriaGlory to God (Peter Jones)
Responsorial PsalmO Lord, I will sing of your constant love (Christopher Walker)
Gospel AcclamationGlory and Praise (mcb)
Procession of the OilsO Redeemer (Paul Ford/mcb)
Preparation of the GiftsCrucifixus (Antonio Lotti, c.1667-1740)
Sanctus, Acclamation C, AmenMissal tone in English
Agnus DeiMissal tone in English & Missa Aeterna Christi Munera (G.P. da Palestrina, 1525-1594)
CommunionTake and Eat (Michael Joncas)
God so loved the world (John Stainer, 1840-1901)
Recessional HymnHoly God, we praise thy name

This time last year I was expressing my doubts about the chant setting of the Mass ordinary given in the (then forthcoming) new translation of the Missal, feeling that the simple chant setting (my reservations mainly concerned the acclamations in the Eucharistic Prayer) was too bland to inspire committed singing from the assembly. I take it back. The missing ingredient last year was organ accompaniment, and this year we remedied that, courtesy of the arrangement generously made available by the music department of Leeds Cathedral. The singing of the Eucharistic acclamations was strong and confident, and after today’s experience I can well imagine using them again for a big occasion. The Kyrie and Agnus we kept unaccompanied, and these were fine that way, even if it jarred a little to switch from English to Latin and back as we digressed into Palestrina.

Peter Jones’s excellent reworking of his setting of the Gloria comes with a powerful brass arrangement, and Celebration Brass were on hand to do it justice. Peter is evidently a stadium rocker – his arrangement calls for three trumpets, three trombones and four timpani – probably the result of all the papal Masses he’s been involved with. I slimmed his version down to five brass players (2 Tpts, Hn, 2 Tbns) and three timps, which perhaps made it more suitable for playing indoors. And very successful it was: it felt as though this was the version the near-thousand-strong assembly had been singing for the last thirty years.

Palm Sunday 2012

Entrance Hosanna to the Son of David (Chris Mueller)
All Glory Laud and Honour
Psalm Ps 21 (John Ainslie)
Gospel Acclamation Glory and Praise (mcb)
Prayers of Intercession Lord, in your mercy (John Bell)
Preparation of the Gifts Crucifixus (Antonio Lotti, c.1667-1740)
Sanctus Mass XVII
Acclamation Missal Tone: Save us, Saviour
Agnus Dei Mass XVII & Missa O Quam Gloriosum (T.L. de Victoria, 1548-1611)
Communion Father, if this cup (Stephen Dean)
Recessional My song is love unknown

Chris Mueller’s fanfare-like setting of today’s opening antiphon is robust and colourful, and it made for an arresting beginning to today’s celebration, as we gathered outside in some rather chilly April sunshine.

The Palm Sunday Mass shifts in mood from the acclamatory tone of the procession with the palms, to the grief of the passion. Musically we marked the change from joy to pain with Lotti’s haunting and atmospheric setting of lines from the Nicene Creed (to which we reverted today after gradually becoming familiar over the Sundays of Lent with the Apostles’ Creed), and Stephen Dean’s plaintive setting of the Communion antiphon. I’m glad that Stephen’s setting prefers the word cup to the chalice of the new Missal translation, which runs:

Father, if this chalice cannot pass without my drinking it,
your will be done.

We continued with our Lenten Gospel acclamation, with the refrain Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus, you are the Word of God. Today’s instalment incorporates my setting of the verse text Christ was humbler yet published in Decani Music’s Resurrexit, which until now had felt to me incomplete without a people’s refrain. The two settings seem to meld together agreeably.