“Cantor” goes to a Tridentine Mass
Well, I did it. I hadn’t been to a TLM in some years, so upon the invitation of a friend, I got my lazy bones up in time to be at the local parish that regularly offers a TLM - heh, in this case, the TLM for Immaculate Conception was at 8am. (Cue the rant about the inconvenient times at which the TLM is offered.)
Full Gregorian propers and Ordinary were used (though I think it technically was still a low Mass). “Alma redemptoris mater” was sung as an offertory anthem, and I believe it was Victoria’s Ave Maria they sang as a postlude. The organ was used only to give a pitch to the priest, and I think just once.
A few observations:
1) I can see why people get swept up in the grandeur/mystery of what I witnessed; however, as many point out, none of these things is an innate difference between the OF and the EF.
2) The introit was good, and the communion was done ok. Much of the other singing (esp. the Gloria and Sanctus) was marred by one or two voices that were consistently off pitch. As I often tell my choirs, singing unison is like walking a tightrope - mistakes become very noticeable! Lots of the vowels got “splatty” - a pet peeve of mine. There was a nice delicacy in the musical lines.
3) The homily was nice and short. Good. The priest didn’t feel that it was his calling to prepare a lengthy oration, just to expound on the Mass texts.
4) Before I dismiss the practice of reading the readings at the altar ad orientem, can someone attempt to justify the practice to me (other than by tradition)? I can kinda see proclaiming the readings from different places, but why not facing the people
5) The first part of the homily was the reading of the readings in English; the congregation even made the motions and responses as if it were a regular part of the Mass. ISTM if we’re going to proclaim readings in Latin (an idea that I don’t dismiss!), we ought just to let them be as-is, hopefully also providing translations somehow.
6) The case for ad orientem would be strengthened in many parishes by the use of amplification and of using altars closer to the people than the far wall - neither of which was the case here.