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.

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