Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

Here is a selection of rep from our parish’s Christmas Masses. All Masses used the midnight readings (plegh, but not my call).

All Masses did:
Entrance: O Come, All Ye Faithful
Gloria: Proulx “Gloria for Christmastime”
resp. psalm: Guimont (midnight - wonderful refrain!)
Alleluia: Chepponis “Festival Alleluia”
Canon acclamations: Mass of Light (I know. But, the parish knows it.)
Agnus: Mass of Remembrance (another example of non-offensive Haugen)
Communion: my setting of the midnight Communion antiphon/psalm
Haugen Ps. 98 (see note above for Mass of Light)
Moore “Taste and See” (ditto)
Thanksgiving: Silent Night
Recessional: Joy to the World

The vigil Mass is usually the “contemporary” Mass. Yes, yes, I know, but I have felt that I am much more likely to be able to introduce chant etc. if I show myself to be amenable to things like drums, bass, etc. I actually played bass, with parishioners on piano, guitar, and drums. The singers were a small group of about 7, and there wasn’t much time for teaching anything very interesting vocally. What we did do, amidst the selection of carols before Mass:

Michael Card “Immanuel” (music not too bad, but I’m not up on the text)
O Holy Night, easy arrangement
Wayne Watson “Child of Bethlehem” (not bad, for being pop)

The midnight Mass had the parish choir (plus a few seasonal singers and new recruits!), handbells, timpani, trumpets, flutes, and clarinet. The choir did:

Dawson “Mary Had a Baby”
Anerio “Ave maris stella” (alternatim w/ chant)
my own arrangement of “Personent hodie” (to use the instruments)
an easy (choral) “O Holy Night” arrangement

The Dawson is quite a bit harder than I thought. It just does not seem to teach easily .... which I now think is because of all the note-finding it requires. My group did ok with it (other than, alas, the opening soprano bars). Anerio turned out well - definitely a piece to keep in mind, since it’s only about 20 bars of polyphony and a fairly easy (short) chant tune.

Much of this required arranging, esp. writing timpani parts. The end results, though, were well worth it!

PT, Gavin - I am curious what, given your antipathy toward Missa Emmanuel etc., you think of the Proulx Christmastime Gloria - one asset that occurred to me is that Catholics who don’t come to Mass regularly can sing it.


At Thursday, December 28, 2006 7:41:00 AM, Blogger Gavin said...

Sorry for the delayed comment.

My take is that I just don't like Glorias with refrains :P I think it makes the text needlessly long, and insults the intelligence of the congregation by implying they can't remember all of the Gloria. And again, why recycle the tune when you just might sing it later in the Mass? There is something to be said for using what people are familiar with to get acceptance for something, but hopefully people accept by now that they should sing the ordinary!

As for me, I tend to think that so long as the notes are there and they can hear a melody, people ought to be capable of singing something. Often it's just a matter of whether or not they'll put forth the effort.


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