Thursday, July 16, 2015

A New Polyphonic Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The FSSP church in Littleton, Colorado, dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, will celebrate its patronal feast this evening with a polyphonic Mass newly composed for the occasion. The composer, Mr J Lee Graham, has worked together with the church’s music director, Mr Rick Wheeler, to provide not just a Kyriale, but a complete set of Mass propers as well, in alternating chant and polyphony, the two sets of pieces being conceived and written as a unit, and sharing various themes. The website Denver Catholic reports on the project, and includes three really excellent samples from the Mass, which you can listen to by clicking here.
In their own expression of love for Mary and gratitude for their church, the choir at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Latin Rite Parish will perform a one-of-a-kind sound during a solemn traditional Mass July 16. Using Medieval chants and polyphony... the parish will honor its patron Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Rick Wheeler, music director for the parish, said he doesn’t think there’s another Mass with music like it. “As far as we know, no other (polyphonic Mass) in history begins in the way ours does,” he said. He worked with fellow composer and friend Lee Graham to create a music score for the 7 p.m. feast day Mass at the Littleton parish that celebrates the Tridentine Mass. ... The music for the Mass will imitate that of France, Spain and Italy around the 1500s and is inspired by the work of Tomás Luis de Victoria, a famous 16th-century composer in Spain. “We took many examples of polyphonic Masses of the 1500s and 1600s and noticed one specific characteristic that stuck out to us: an alternation of chant and polyphony,” Wheeler said. “Both of us quickly came to the conclusion that the Mass had to be like that very historical style.” The music score for the Mass fluctuates between the Gregorian chants written specifically for the Mass and polyphony written by Graham, sung in Latin—and some Greek—by a choir of more than a dozen men and women, Wheeler said.
The church is located at 5612 South Hickory Circle in Littleton, Colorado; the Mass begins at 7 p.m.

Image from the parish website

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: