Monday, March 16, 2009

Highest Call, Birmingham, Alabama

The St. Cecilia Schola, of which I am a member, is singing the Mass celebrated by the Bishop at the Highest Call meeting, March 21, Birmingham, Alabama. The Mass is at Saturday noon, and so we faced a number of choices over proper texts and motets.

Before Mass, we will sing a few motets appropriate to the season, and then begin with the Entrance antiphon. We've chosen an English setting by Richard Rice. It features some thick writing and beautiful textual movement followed by the Psalm and Gloria patri. It will surely be an unexpected opening to Mass for people who have probably never heard anything but a processional hymn before Mass, but it will serve to underscore the importance of the day and the liturgical function of the entrance.

The Psalm, by way of contrast, will be straight plainchant in English, by Arlene Oost-Zinner, while the ordinary will be in Latin. Following the offertory proper, the Schola will sing Tallis's massive setting of Sancte Deus -- a text which the Roman Rite associates with Good Friday (Reproaches) but which is used all year in the Eastern Rites (to my understanding). The piece is large and larger and quite an undertaking for a small nonprofessional choir.

Another point of music we look forward to is the Communion proper, which we chose from the 3rd Sunday of Lent: Passer Invenit, which is nearly symphonic in its scope and has the famed passage that seems to replicate the sound of the turtle doves in the text. We will also sing Domine non by victoria, and the Marian antiphon for Lent, which every living Catholic should know.

We are all looking forward to this!

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