A year on, what are we singing?

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Nick Baty
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by Nick Baty »

Nearly seven months on from my original post, I have to report that progress has no been too good in this particular part of Britain's first city.

We have six sets of acclamations which we're rotating at, roughly, three-weekly intervals but they're already beginning to pall. I can sense the assembly's "Oh no, not this again...." The fact is that while people like to (and should) feel comfortable with frequently recurring texts, the frequency and familiarity can take away their effectiveness.

But it's the Gloria which is really causing us problems. We have three settings – one through-composed, one cantor/assembly and one choir/assembly. The assembly likes the first (which I can't stand) and sings it vigorously. I like the third, which the assembly really isn't comfortable with. And noone seems to like the second.

So, while we are desperate for more eucharistic acclamations before we all collapse from boredom, the Gloria has to be the priority. And, to be honest, I'm really not much taken with much that's out there.

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contrabordun
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by contrabordun »

I have to report that progress has no been too good in this particular part of Britain's first city

But Liverpool isn't in Birmingham. At a stretch, I suppose you could say it was a suburb of Wolverhampton, but I don't see how you could say it was part of Birmingham.
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JW
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by JW »

And there was me thinking that you were talking about Canterbury, surely Britain's first city in religious terms?

One of the issues raised a year ago was the number of different Mass settings we were using before the new translation, so now we only use 2 at any one time. We started with Missal Chants and St Rita. In January we dropped the Missal Chants and learnt Glendalough. We have just dropped St Rita to go back to old familiars: Duffy Gloria and Celtic (Walker) Liturgy though I think the Lamb of God is new. The problem with refrain Glorias is that people tend to join in the refrain with fewer singing verses - but perhaps that's the nature of the beast. The Missal Chants were received lukewarmly (to put it mildly,at least one person refused to sing them) - though some liked them. St Rita went down quite well, because, I think, of its simplicity. Glendalough seems to be the favourite so far - we used it for our diaconal ordination, but it's not that easy. You can build real anticipation for the refrain by having a big rit at the end of each verse. One of our choir was impressed with the revised Coventry Gloria when singing it at a diocesan bash at Aylesford.
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Hare
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by Hare »

quaeritor wrote:How many parishes actually follow the prescription that no Mass on a Sunday should be without music? - How do they resource it?

Q


In my parish I am on duty Saturday 18.00, Sunday 08.30 and 10.30; holydays 10.00 and 19.30. It can be done! :)

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Nick Baty
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by Nick Baty »

But it's a lot, Hare. I couldn't do Saturday AND Sunday - I need a day off. Although this usually spent working, at least it's more flexible. (One of the reasons I don't do weddings unless absolutely necessary.)

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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by Hare »

Nick Baty wrote:But it's a lot, Hare. I couldn't do Saturday AND Sunday - I need a day off. Although this usually spent working, at least it's more flexible. (One of the reasons I don't do weddings unless absolutely necessary.)


It is a lot of work, but I enjoy it. :roll:

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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by JW »

I'm afraid I'm only prepared to prepare, rehearse and lead music for one Mass on a Sunday. Volunteering means that I work on my terms and I have no intention of giving over every weekend to the parish. This was made clear when I took over the post. As Nick says, what we are prepared to do is personal to each of us; if we end up doing too much we will cease to enjoy it and that could lead to no music at all.

Our Saturday evening Mass has hymns which are led by a member of the congregation. Our Sunday evening Mass has had no music for decades. Thus there is plenty of scope for young people to lead some of the music-making in the parish - even if it's the style that Damien Thompson thinks young people want - as expressed in his Telegraph column last Saturday (I'd like to see the stats the bear out his claims). The main problem I see is that young people aren't really bothered... they have other things to do with their time.
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musicus
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by musicus »

Let's try to get back to the topic now, please.
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JW
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by JW »

Apologies but I'll make the case for being on topic. One Mass singing a good deal, one Mass hymns, one Mass nothing! :oops:
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musicus
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by musicus »

No apology necessary, JW; it's all good stuff, but I just have to pull us back now and again!
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Hare
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by Hare »

JW wrote:Apologies but I'll make the case for being on topic. One Mass singing a good deal, one Mass hymns, one Mass nothing! :oops:


Oh dear - so much I could say, but it would be off-topic and upset people.

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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by justMary »

Nick Baty wrote:But it's the Gloria which is really causing us problems. We have three settings – one through-composed, one cantor/assembly and one choir/assembly. The assembly likes the first (which I can't stand) and sings it vigorously. I like the third, which the assembly really isn't comfortable with. And noone seems to like the second.


Can you tell us which one the congregation likes?

And if it will make you feel better, in my corner of the west of Ireland, we have picked up the Holy Holy, one acclamation and the Amen from the Glendalough Mass - and that's all so far. I've decided that even suggesting to try learning the refrain from its Gloria wouldn't be a good idea as yet, the range is just too wide for people to feel comfortable.

Also, our African's are none to oimpressed with the idea of using Latin ("your missionaries came and made us learn Engligh .. on top of our native language and French ... then they wanted us to learn Latin as welll"), so I don't think we'll be doing that any time soon!

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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by JW »

There are popular refrain Glorias out there that don't take the congregation up to top E - e.g. the revised Duffy Gloria. You don't need to sing the Glendalough Gloria if you are singing the Glendalough acclamations - you can sing another one - Liturgy of the Word and of the Eucharist don't need to have the same Mass setting.

If the Duffy annoys your congregation because of the Latin, well there are others without any Latin. St Rita (which is free) worked for us to get the new translation started, though we've moved on now.
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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by promusica »

As JW says, you don't need to stick with the same mass setting throughout. The three Eucharistic Acclamations - Holy, Holy; Memorial Acclamation; and Amen - should really be part of the same mass, as the composer will probably have a thematic link (or at the very least the same key) which will help unify the entire Eucharistic Prayer. The danger with doing an entire mass setting throughout is that much of the music might sound similar (not that there's any harm in that), but that having the same key throughout for Penitential Act, Gloria, Gospel Acclamation, Eucharistic Acclamations, Agnus Dei might be a bit wearying. I don't think composers really intend their full setting to be done in its entirety - rather it allows choice and flexibility. In the Sing the Mass book that you're using, there are a number of other Glorias, some through-composed, some responsorial, which work well with a variety of music groups, as well as plenty of others. And of course, check the range - the octave-and-a-fourth in the Glendalough Mass mightn't work that well at a 9am mass; best to leave it until the voices have well warmed-up!

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Re: A year on, what are we singing?

Post by HallamPhil »

promusica wrote:As JW says, you don't need to stick with the same mass setting throughout.


Yes, I agree too.

I note that Dan Schutte's Mass of Christ the Saviour is finding some popularity. This is a setting which would benefit from the kind of approach being advocated here. It tends to feature the same harmonic and melodic progressions throughout which whilst effective in individual elements of the setting may become irksome if deployed in its entirety.

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