Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sacred Choral Works and Other Liturgical Resources from Peter Kwasniewski

In addition to rescuing the forgotten treasures of our Catholic musical tradition from the dust-heap of history, our regular contributor Dr Peter Kwasniewski somehow finds the time to make his own original contribution to it, in the midst of his teaching and writing. His collection of Sacred Choral Works was published by Corpus Christ Watershed in 2014, a treasure-trove of choral music in Latin and English, written in an accessible style.

Recently some new videos of a number of pieces in the collection have been put up at YouTube, and we are happy to share them with NLM readers. We have also decided to add this title to the sidebar of recommended books, in the category Other Liturgical Books, along with his Missal for Young Catholics, and the reprints of Roman Guardini’s Sacred Signs, and the Cantus Mariales about which he wrote on Monday. Here are the videos:

O Clarissima Mater

O Salutaris Hostia

Tantum ergo

Mandatum (in English)

My Jesus Mercy

Thee, O Mary, Will I Praise

Kyrie eleison

(From the Preface): This volume gathers together choral compositions from 1990 to the present. The vast majority are from recent years; many have been sung by the Wyoming Catholic College Choir. A large part of this volume consists of “service music,” that is, music prescribed by the liturgy itself. Examples would be the Mass settings, Gospel acclamations, doxologies (which might be linked, on a special occasion, to the chanting of the Entrance or Communion antiphon), the O Salutaris Hostia, the Tantum ergo, Psalm responses for Palm Sunday and Pentecost, the Mandatum antiphons for Holy Thursday, the Reproaches for Good Friday (of which there are three complete settings), the Vidi Aquam for Paschaltide, and the Requiem Introit. The remaining works are motets and hymns—the motets intended as Offertory or Communion meditations when time permits, the vernacular hymns and carols as pieces that could be sung congregationally or used in the manner of motets. When not directly taken from Scripture or the liturgy, the texts utilized in the motets, hymns, and carols are orthodox in doctrine and traditional in piety.

The motets and hymns fall into two broad categories: those that would be suitable for use at any time during the Church’s year (Motets for General Use, Eucharistic Motets, Marian Motets & Hymns, and a number of other hymns) and those meant for a particular season such as Christmas or a particular day such as Holy Thursday. The scores have, accordingly, been arranged liturgically and thematically, as indicated in the table of contents, although the back cover provides an alphabetical index for quick lo-cation of pieces “on the job.”

Most of the compositions assume an SATB choir. There are a few works for equal voices (SSA/SAA or TTB/TBB): the Missa Brevis; the first stand-alone setting of the Kyrie; the sixth setting of the Tantum ergo; and the Introit of the Mass for the Dead. The Miserere Refrain and several Lenten acclamations are scored for SAB choir. 

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: