6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 2014)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Entrance Christ is made the sure foundation
Kyrie (Dinah Reindorf)
Gloria Mass of the Redeemer (mcb)
Psalm Ps 118 (Martin Hall)
Gospel Acclamation St Agatha Alleluia (mcb)
Preparation of the Gifts Eye has not seen (Marty Haugen)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Belmont Mass (Christopher Walker)
Agnus Dei from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Communion Teach me, O God (Christopher Walker)
Postcommunion God so loved the world (John Stainer, 1840-1901)
Recessional Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore him

Songs by Marty Haugen and Chris Walker that exactly fitted the Lectionary selections today, as three years ago. One of the Missal antiphons for Communion was John 3:16, and we sang Stainer’s beautiful setting of that verse and the next from St John’s Gospel. And our opening hymn wasn’t a bad fit for the Entrance antiphon from the Missal, I thought:

Be my protector, O God,
A mighty stronghold to save me.
For you are my rock, my stronghold!
Lead me, guide me, for the sake of your name.

Salford Cathedral's Makin Organ finds its New Voice

A little over 12 years ago, Salford Cathedral had its brand new, state of the art digital organ installed following removal of the pipe organ some months previously. The organ speakers were the first part of the organ to be fitted, in their permanent places under the clerestory windows, in the central crossing, above the entrance porch and at ground level behind the choir. All that remained was for the actual organ console to arrive from Johannus' factory in the Netherlands. So when the small truck emblazoned with the Johannus logo finally pulled up outside the cathedral one fine autumn morning therefore, it was quite an exciting moment, especially for the organist. When the organ was delivered to the cathedral, it came with the default factory settings. This included the voicing of the stops. So in order for the organ to sound more like a typical English cathedral, the organ was fine-tuned by voicing expert, Jeremy Meager, who did a fine job with the sampling technology available at that time.

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 2014)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Entrance Come, ring out your joy (17th c. Peruvian, arr. Martin Foster)
Kyrie Kyrie for 3 voices adapted from Byrd (mcb)
Gloria Mass of the Redeemer (mcb)
Psalm Ps 111 (Martin Hall)
Gospel Acclamation Here in our Midst (Peter Jones)
Preparation of the Gifts Beati Eritis (Giovanni Croce, 1557-1609)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Belmont Mass (Christopher Walker)
Agnus Dei from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Communion Blest are they, the poor in spirit (David Haas)
Postcommunion O Quam Suavis (Joseph Turner, 1853-1897)
Recessional Thou whose almighty word

Light featured again this week as a theme in the readings, though this time it was as an attribute of the faithful servant, rather than of our Lord directly. The good man is a light in the darkness for the upright, ran the psalm response, the Gospel reading said you are the light of the world, and in Isaiah we heard if you give your bread to the hungry, ... your light will rise in the darkness. So I passed over Shine, Jesus, shine again (but it can’t be long now). Instead we had the words let there be light in our closing hymn. I don't know too many songs that treat light the way today’s readings did, though after the event someone mentioned Marty Haugen’s Bring forth the kingdom. Maybe next time.

Other musical choices reflected the antiphons in the Missal, Ps 94(95) at the entrance and O Quam Suavis at Communion, the latter echoing the words the hungry he fills with good things.

The other Communion antiphon for today in the Missal was from the Beatitudes (Mt 5:5-6), and as well as David Haas’s setting during the Communion procession, at the preparation of the gifts we sang Croce’s setting from a few lines later:

Blessed are you
when people insult you
and persecute you
and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely
on account of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward is great in heaven.

The Presentation of the Lord (2014)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Entrance, Blessing of Candles and Sprinkling Rite Christ, be our Light (Bernadette Farrell)
Gloria Mass of the Redeemer (mcb)
Psalm Ps 23 (mcb)
Gospel Acclamation Here in our Midst (Jones)
Preparation of the Gifts Nunc Dimittis (G.P. da Palestrina, c.1525-1594)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Belmont Mass (Christopher Walker)
Agnus Dei from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Communion Where two or three are gathered (Liam Lawton)
Postcommunion A song of the light (Simon Lole)
Recessional Tell out, my soul

Today was the first time since 2003 that the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) had fallen on a Sunday. The Missal calls for a procession with candles, but with the long-heralded building work finally under way in Cathedral House, it was judged that there was nowhere from which we could have processed into the Cathedral. The creative alternative was a blessing of all the candles (most of them still in their boxes) to be used during the coming year – evoking the annual blessing of the oils at the Mass of Chrism on Maundy Thursday. The candles are a link to our Baptism, Fr Anthony told us, and we underlined the connection with a sprinkling rite. The musical accompaniment was Christ, be our Light, which, I realised when the singing began, is a popular favourite up there with Hail, Queen of Heaven and Here I am, Lord. (A good indicator is when I try beginning with an unaccompanied choir verse, and the people take it up after a few notes. Jesus, remember me, on Good Friday, is also firmly in this league. What is it about songs with commas in their titles?)

Two Sundays in a row dealing with the theme of Christ, our Light, completely exhausted our supply of songs on the subject (though I wish I’d thought of Graham Kendrick’s Shine, Jesus, Shine). As well as the Farrell, we had a swift re-run of Simon Lole’s lyrical paraphrase of Hail, gladdening light, and Palestrina’s four-part Nunc Dimittis, in an edition from CPDL by Adrian Wall with an added editorial polyphonic setting of verse 3. We sandwiched Palestrina’s setting between repetitions of the chant antiphon for the blessing of candles in today’s liturgy, Lumen ad revelationem gentium, itself a line from the Nunc Dimittis:

A light for revelation to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A, 2014)

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Entrance Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Kyrie Kyrie for 3 voices adapted from Byrd (mcb)
Gloria Mass of the Redeemer (mcb)
Psalm Ps 26 (Paul Inwood)
Gospel Acclamation Here in our Midst (Peter Jones)
Preparation of the Gifts Cantate Domino (Giuseppe Pitoni, 1657-1743)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Belmont Mass (Christopher Walker)
Agnus Dei from Beneath the Tree of Life (Marty Haugen)
Communion The Lord is my light (Marty Haugen)
Postcommunion O Nata Lux (Thomas Tallis, c.1505-1585)
Recessional Forth in the peace of Christ we go

The first reading, psalm, Gospel reading and one of the Communion antiphons all made reference in some way to the Lord, our light. In addition to Paul Inwood’s setting of Ps 26(27), we had Marty Haugen’s paraphrase of the same text.

We also had Tallis’s setting of the office hymn for Lauds of the feast of the Transfiguration:

O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with kindness deign to receive
the praise and prayer of supplicants.
You who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be made members
of your blessed body.

Tallis’s bold harmonic language throws up repeated discords in passing – F♯ against F♮, E♭ against D – each providing fleeting glimpses of a light too dazzling to look at directly.