Pentecost sequence.

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Southern Comfort
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Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by Southern Comfort » Thu May 18, 2017 10:55 pm

IncenseTom wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 9:24 pm
My point is that people don't all have to be 'doing' all the time.

When there is a Sequence it is so unusual compared to the routine of Sunday to Sunday that it makes sense to me to retain the option of not feeling obliged to make the congregation do it.
The Psallite Mass "At the Table of the Lord" includes an Easter Sequence which has soloists and a schola singing the verses of the Sequence, but a refrain with Alleluias for everone. That is a good balance. Otherwise you might risk ending up with a piece that is simply a time for the choir (or cantor) to show off. That is the dynamic that every pastoral musician should be trying to avoid. The difference between performance and ministry is one that many of us, alas, still struggle with.

alan29
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Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by alan29 » Fri May 19, 2017 7:52 pm

nazard wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 7:40 pm
alan29 wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 3:38 pm
The only excuse for making a congregation sit and listen is when something is sung exquisitely and and uses music that is beyond the capability of the assembly to whom the text belongs.
An interesting statement. How did you establish the truth of it?
Like most posts here its a purely personal opinion ........ though I would be very interested in a any reasoning that brought together "mediocre choir" and "worthy of the liturgy" in the same sentence.

justMary
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Parish / Diocese: Republic of Ireland

Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by justMary » Sat May 20, 2017 9:04 pm

I would be very interested in a any reasoning that brought together "mediocre choir" and "worthy of the liturgy" in the same sentence
.

How about "To provide music that is worthy of the liturgy, even a mediocre choir is better than no choir at all." Discuss.

I'll say that even with a mediocre choir, you have at least some chance of practise together and learning to do things better - however slim that chance may be. With no choir, you have no practise and no chance at all.

I do think that often a mediocre choir is best dispersed to sit among the congregation during the liturgy: use them to bolster the congregation to sing simple things better than they would otherwise. I can see that happening with a Pentecost sequence.

nazard
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Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by nazard » Sat May 20, 2017 9:55 pm

I think the issue of mediocre musicians, both choirs and instrumentalists, is a very important one. Personally I find badly performed music a great distraction from prayer. I have come across people who say things like:

"it doesn't matter how it sounds, so long as we make a joyful noise to the Lord."

How does a hideous cacophony sound joyful?

Similarly, I have been told that music in the liturgy is not a performance, but a prayer, so standards don't matter. This is used as an excuse for mediocrity or worse. I prefer people to remember those old craftsmen who created beautiful objects and carved AMDG next to them to show why they had done it. It would be good if we could say Ad maioram Dei gloriam about our music making.

My suggestion for the mediocre musician, among whom I number myself, is that we reduce the amount of music, if necessary to a very small amount, and practice it until we can do it well, and then introduce it to mass. Perform it like is the last night of the proms until your congregation have got it, and then learn another item, etc. Work up to singing a high proportion of what can be sung. Urbs Roma die uno non aedificata est...

A final thought. I am all in favour of the congregation singing the ordinary of the mass, and hymns. But I do not believe that it is a good idea to try to get them to sing the proper, including the sequences. They just do not hear them often enough. The original subject of this topic is the Whitsun sequence. "Holy Spirit, Lord of light" to the Webbe tune is just about well enough known to get away with it, so I say stick with it or the younger generations will never get to know it, and in spite of what some people have suggested above, I think it is a good tune.

nazard
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Parish / Diocese: Clifton
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Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by nazard » Sun May 21, 2017 7:57 am

Sorry, it should be "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam." I am as bad at Latin as I am at music...

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Gwyn
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Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by Gwyn » Sun May 21, 2017 9:00 am

What you've said is music to my ears Nazard. I agree wholeheartedly.

alan29
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Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by alan29 » Sun May 21, 2017 1:07 pm

I agree with a whole lot of what Nazard has posted.
One of the greatest gifts any musician can pray for is a decent pair of self-critical ears. Without that we are sunk.
Its the ability to hear ourselves as others hear us.

High Peak
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Re: Pentecost sequence.

Post by High Peak » Mon May 22, 2017 10:50 pm

Two reflections:
1) In my liturgical ambitions, I generally abide by the Dirty Harry philosophy of life - "A man's got to know his limitations". So, because of limitations in numbers and ability, when our singers have harmonisation we generally just have the one line of harmony. Over the Triduum, the entire Assembly sang "Be still, my soul" unaccompanied. From the second verse, some in the choir sang (if memory serves) the bass line (though it was female voices). It worked very well. There is no way we could even contemplate singing all four parts.
2) Some years ago I went on a private, silent retreat to a convent. It wasn't an organised thing - it was just me spending a few days in quiet contemplation. I was warned by a friend, who knows I'm musical, that the singing of the Office was rather poor. Now, this was a small, ageing congregation, and they were never going to record any CDs, but I actually found it quite beautiful and very prayerful. Yes, their voices were weak and uncertain, but plainchant modes are simple and they sang in a transparently prayerful manner.

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