Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

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High Peak
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Parish / Diocese: Diocese of Nottingham
Location: Derbyshire

Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by High Peak »

In previous years I have had up to three Psalmists for the Easter Vigil. But this year it is looking like I will be the only one.
I am not altogether comfortable in taking on all the Psalms - too much of one voice. So do any of you fine people have any ideas of what we can do?
alan29
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by alan29 »

They can be read, or replaced with silence.
Southern Comfort
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by Southern Comfort »

alan29 wrote: Fri Feb 11, 2022 9:37 pm They can be read, or replaced with silence.
Don't think it's a good idea to add yet more readings to a liturgy already heavily laden with them.

I would consider going down the route of singing each psalm so that it sounds different. For example (1) sung a cappella, (2) [Canticle of Moses], sung accompanied, (3) chanted recto tono or tonus in directum at a lower pitch, (4) etc... That way you get some sonic variation even with the same voice.

I've also heard of people trying having a different person read a psalm over quiet organ background in the mood of the psalm.

Lucky the parish that can call on three psalmists! It's worth noting that many parishes are in a situation where there is only one person capable of being the cantor, and they get by with it. In fact, I hear that people are generally grateful for the ministry of that person (as long as they're not showing off or anything like that, obviously).

So if High Peak sings with his natural modesty, all should be well.
alan29
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by alan29 »

Point taken about reading the psalms. I was actually thinking that a combination of one sung, one read and one replaced with silence might work, especially if it made for a contrast before the Alleluia. We are fortunate to have five psalmists, six if I can persuade the bobby to get his shifts sorted!
NB, is it significant that my autocorrect changed psalmists into pessimists?
pdsfd
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by pdsfd »

Years ago we used to sing 'Send forth your Spirit' to Dom Gregory Murray and 'I will sing to the Lord' to Boulton Smith, as a congregation rather than using a cantor, it worked very well.
High Peak
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by High Peak »

Thank you all for taking time to reply.

We have built up the Triduum liturgies over the last few years, especially the Easter Vigil, and I really wanted to maintain the singing tradition.

SC, I had to look up your musical Latinisms :D but that is very much what I was looking for - sonic variation with the one voice. We have managed to avoid accompaniment for the Psalms but, on this occasion, it may be desirable.

pdsfd, I had considered the whole assembly singing; thank you for the suggestions which I will endeavour to seek out.

Now, where did I put my natural modesty? It must be around here somewhere! :wink:
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VML
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by VML »

High Peak, well done for having all 7 readings and psalms, as we used to do, until change of PP in lat 2017. We have had HWEs with him, with a responsorial Exsultet, and only 4 readings and psalms. No music at all last Covid year. all over in 40 minutes!
I was privileged, especially as a woman, to sing the Exsultet 10 times over 30 years, and we have had 4 or 5 cantors some years. We tend to sing the Red Sea one all together. BTW do any parishes now go from Gloria end Maundy Thursday to Gloria fanfare at the Vigil without accompaniment? I grew up with it, and when I took over we did it for 30 years. Before that there had been no music over the Triduum for a few years.
My point here is that one voice could sing the psalms, and even all 7 would not be much more that the Exsultet plus one.
We are down to two cantors, me and the other music leader.
Southern Comfort
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by Southern Comfort »

VML mentions singing the Exsultet as a woman. Brava!

This is one area where clericalism has once again reared its head in recent years. Deacons feel, or are told by priests, that they should be singing it, even if they are completely incapable of it. The chant version, particularly as messed up in the latest Missal, is not easy, even for an experienced and competent singer.

Since 1969 the Roman Missal has contained a provision for the Exsultet to be sung by the priest or another concelebrating priest if the deacon cannot manage it, or by a lay minister. This provision, together with others in the Easter Vigil (e.g. the Lumen Christi and the solemn Alleluia) and during the Triduum (e.g. the Procession of the Cross on Good Friday) where a lay person is permitted to sing, all point to a recognition that the important thing is for these things to be sung well, rather than that a particular liturgical minister has to do it regardless of talent or aptitude.

When these things are sung badly or with a lack of confidence, the result is that the people are at the least uneasy, in extreme cases even cringing. The supreme value ought surely to be the enabling and supporting of the prayer-life of the community, and not reserving certain chants to certain ministers just because they happen to be ordained.

If, however, it is deemed vital that a deacon should sing the Easter Proclamation, then perhaps one might consider using a different setting altogether. One such was originally compiled in 2010 for a deacon of limited attainments and has been used by numbers of others since then. It used a Gregory Murray psalm tone for the text, and is punctuated at intervals by refrains for the assembly based on the same tone. https://www.magnificatmusic.com/pubs_3.htm gives a revised version with the text itself and the refrain texts modified to accord with the latest incarnation of the Missal.
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VML
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by VML »

I used an earlier Exsultet version from Dom Gregory Murray in 1987 the first time I sang it, as I did not at that time have the confidence to sing the Missal tone.
John Ainslie
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by John Ainslie »

The permission for a cantor to sing the Exsultet can be found in the document Paschalis Sollemnitas of 1988:
84. The deacon makes the Easter Proclamation which tells, by means of a great poetic text, the whole Easter mystery placed in the context of the economy of salvation. In case of necessity, where there is no deacon, and the celebrating priest is unable to sing it, a cantor may do so. The Bishops' Conferences may adapt this proclamation by inserting into it acclamations from the people.
It's a bit odd that it provides for the inability of a priest to sing it, but not of a deacon.

Incidentally, this document has excellent guidance for the celebration of Pam Sunday and the entire Triduum.
Hare
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by Hare »

In my last parish, my first PP used to sing the Exsultet fairly successfully (No deacon at the time) His successor read it. Thereafter for a number of years we did a version with two congregational responses, and two psalm tones for the cantors (I used two cantors - one for the text and one to lead the responses) It always went well. (I can't remember who it was by though - it was published by Decani...?) Then we got a deacon, who couldn't really sing it but did!
alan29
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by alan29 »

We used to do a version for two soloists with the first section swinging along in 9/8.
The new translation b*ggered that up - as with so much else.
Hare
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by Hare »

One PP once asked for a version with responses that he'd heard elsewhere (can't remember who it was by) IIRC there was an instruction in it that the cantor raised an arm when they reached the phrase that the assembly were supposed to repeat. I seem to remember that it went quite well, although I was uneasy as the text incorporated Alleluias - which of course should not feature at that point in the Vigil liturgy.
alan29
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by alan29 »

Has anyone else had to accompany the missal tone for the Exsultet because the priest who insisted on sing it (the long version at that) was so musically challenged that he was likely to set off somewhere in the alto register and end up like a Russian contra bass?
Hare
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Re: Limited supply of Psalmists for the Easter Vigil

Post by Hare »

alan29 wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 7:15 am Has anyone else had to accompany the missal tone for the Exsultet because the priest who insisted on sing it (the long version at that) was so musically challenged that he was likely to set off somewhere in the alto register and end up like a Russian contra bass?
Yes! Didn't make any difference though 🤨🙈
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