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.


  1. Further to your post Martin, I'm not sure I actually understand the need to change 'cup' to 'chalice' in the first place as it adds nothing further to the meaning. The Ancient Greek word was POTERION and this has always been translated as cup. The only reason I can think off is to create a link with the term 'chalice' employed in its specific meaning as the wine cup used in the Christian Eucharist. But I find that a weak argument for changing it. In other languages 'cup' is still used, e.g. "ceci est la coupe de mon sang". And it makes it harder for composers to compose music on, as 'chalice' just doesn't seem to flow as readily.

  2. Agreed.There's some kind of agenda to do with having to use fancy words, otherwise we won't feel we're doing something special. But there's no reason for the two to be connected; in fact it feels like a cheap trick to me. Paul Inwood points out in a useful discussion on Pray Tell:

    "Just for clarity, it’s worth repeating that we have been previously told:
    (a) that ICEL’s choice of word was “cup”,
    (b) that this is what bishops’ conferences apparently approved,
    (c) that the word “chalice” is, however, being imposed by Vox Clara, a body with no track record of pastoral common sense thus far.
    All criticism should be directed at this small coterie of bishops and advisers who, as I have said before on this blog, are not accountable to anyone."

  3. p.s. How about a blog post from our organist, telling us what he's been playing lately, and why? :-)

  4. Oh thanks for that interesting information. Good idea re what I have been playing. I'll have to try and get a bit more into this blogging business