Friday, October 31, 2008

All Soul's

I am quite excited about the planned music for this weekend, particularly at our "main Mass." Of course, things can always change last-minute, but here's the plan:
Entrance: "Eternal rest grant unto them..." (to a solemn psalm tone)
(other Masses: Parce Domine)
Offertory: antiphon: "Out of the depths have I cried to you, Lord hear my prayer." (to a simple psalm tone.)
Pie Jesu (2 boy sopranos, I think they're singing the one by ALW, but it might be the one by Faure.)
(other Masses: Keep in Mind)
Communion: Lux Aeterna
Let All Mortal Flesh (Picardy)
choir: God be in My Head (published st. james music press)
Organ Recessional: Duke Street (can't remember who wrote the arrangement. It's very cool. I played it once before.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

indexes (indices? whatever.)

I hate that the Liber doesn't have an index. I mean, I am sure it would be quite large, so I'm not really surprised.
The Gregorian Missal does, but it's subdivided into all the categories for the propers, so you still have to read through each category, but that's usually what I use when I need to find a chant.

However...while I'm on the topic of making an index...what about an index for everything for all Gregorian Chant?

Here's what my perfect index would contain for all the chants:
-by scripture reference
-by Latin first words
-while I'm at it, how about an index containing all of the major Latin words in it (like, this happened to me--I knew the chant I couldn't remember contained the Latin words "king" and "beauty" in it. wouldn't that have been great if I could have just pulled out my index and looked up all the chants containing the word "rex" in them!?)
-and I might as well have an index containing all the English translations of the important words in the chants!

(this all stemmed from the fact that I have an old book from ocp something about "organ meditations on gregorian themes," and the titles of all the pieces are in English! So this one I really liked, was called "you are the honor of your people" or maybe it was "our people," I can't remember. So I was like how on earth am I going to find it? I don't even know how to translate that into Latin! much less what word would be first even if I had a Latin index... well, before I wrote this whole post, it really only took me 5 minutes of doing a few google searches to find that the chant I'm looking from is [I think, but I'll have to check when I have the book with me,] from the Immaculate Conception Gradual, from the middle of it, and the Latin is "tu honorificentia populi nostri.")

eh, who needs an index when you've got the internet?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Rossini Propers

For a while, I read online about "the Rossini Propers," usually mentioned with a bit of disdain.
I was never quite sure what exactly it was referring to musically, and I was even more confused by the fact that I had found in my choir loft two old books written/edited by "Rossini," containing 3 part polyphonic settings of some of the propers (mostly for feasts. I knew they weren't complete.)
I had difficulty believing that these were the Rossini Propers, looked down upon by so many. Trite at times as they seemed, I doubted many choirs could "easily sight-read them."
So, I was somewhat confused about to what everyone was referring!
Until, last August, I held in my hands, for the very first time, The Rossini Propers.
And then I knew what all the fuss was about.
Truly, the texts just set to a psalm tone.
hey, I could have done that! (In fact I do, every week, just in English...)
I suppose I should obtain a copy, for the probable but distant possibility that I might have to use them with a choir for the Extraordinary Form...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catholic Devotions

I grew up with hardly ANY exposure to things "traditionally Catholic." (I am from a very interesting parish, where most people do/did not seem to appreciate traditional music, such as organ and chant.) I got to know some basic Latin texts (such as the Mass) and classical arrangements through singing in various high school choirs. (Our church choir did some traditional works, but that was not the main style of music.)
Really, Eucharistic Adoration with praise and worship music was the extent of my Catholic devotions.
And yet, I still haven't quite figured out exactly why or how, even though people occasionally ask me, somehow I became interested in Latin, and chant, and even the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. (I think it may have had something to do with a combination of reading blogs and certain friends from music school).

But now I feel as thought I missed out on some sort of Catholic developmental-type-thing.
I mean, I didn't know until my current job what was the response to "You have given them Bread from Heaven." (and I still don't know it in Latin...)
And even more applicable to my job...what's a Tenebrae service? 40 Hours Devotion? (well, ok, that's all I can think of for now...)
And then what kind of MUSIC goes with them?! Am I supposed to do something?
We're going to have 40 hours devotion in November...should I take some initiative and get some people to sing at some point?
what about this Tenebrae thing that everyone always talks about during Lent? My boss mentioned a year or two ago we should do it. Does that mean it won't happen if I don't go ahead and do it? (It's not like the choir is bored during Holy Week or anything...)
so am I a bad music director if I don't just go ahead and figure out what I need to do and take initiative?
I feel rather...incompetent.
My point in all this was, I feel particularly incompetent b/c I seem to have missed out on these Catholic public devotions while growing up, and now...if I'm supposed to DO anything for them, well, I am quite at a loss.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

28 Sunday A

today will go down in my mind, for several small reasons, as being one of my worst Sunday mornings so far. I mean, nothing terrible happened, nobody besides me probably even noticed the little things. But strangely, it went well. I was probably stretched in a good sort of way.
+my microphone decided to not work at all today--it was fine yesterday! so at the last minute I had to teach a cantor the Psalm [who had never cantored here before], teach the choir the solo part of the entrance antiphon and Gospel Accl [very last minute] run through 2 hymns with a violinist 10 minutes before Mass who had only played for me once, I just felt SO tired especially for the 1st Mass-I have no idea why; one of my choir members thought it was a good idea to go downstairs and receive Communion-right before I started the choral communion anthem!, I didn't get through nearly as much as I wanted to in the reharsal before Mass, in fact, all of the last minute teaching kind of added up so I didn't do a single prelude before the 10:30! I mean, I knew that I would have to run through with the violinist at the last minute...but everything else took longer than I thought, and then having to teach the extra stuff that I normally pull off myself because of the microphone not working really topped it off! (even though I did have in the back of my mind that I want to start getting someone else singing the Psalm, I just never get around to it cuz there is no time! so maybe today was a needed push-from-Above to get me to let go? hehe...)

here's for the 10:30 with the choir:
Entrance: Si Iniquitates, in English to solemn Psalm tone
Offertory: Faith of Our Fathers
Communion: Aufer a Me
Ave Verum (L. Perosi)
Humbly We Adore Thee (Adoro Te)
Final Song: Come Holy Ghost (Lambilotte)

but, it could have been so much worse...I could have been sick, the organ could have gotten a cipher, none of my choir members could have shown up...etc.

oh yeah, and get this that happened yesterday:
usually Fr. does the announcements and THEN does the final blessing, but yesterday I still have no idea if he gave the final blessing, I just know that he gave the announcements and then announced the last song, but if he HAD already given the final blessing, I had zoned out. So, I was up in the choir loft waving at him to give the final blessing. and he was like, "Mara thinks I didn't give the final blessing. Did I?" and half the people were like "no," (those who weren't paying attention like me.) and half the people were like "yes." And he said he thought he did.
Next time, I am just going to shut my mouth (or, rather, just play the song when I'm told to play it!)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

one thing I hate.

There is exactly one thing that I hate about my job.

teaching songs/hymns/chants to the congregation.
I just feel so disruptive, and it's like no one even cares.
I think that the congregation would pick stuff up after a couple weeks, but my boss makes me teach everything; and even review it the second week we do it!
"Good morning everyone. I would like to take just a minute and teach you this song. It's number blah blah." (wait while 1/4 the congregation shuffles around. The others just stare blankly in front. "Please turn to number blah blah. Ok, I'll sing the first line and then you try it. (la la lah) ok, now everyone (la la lah) ok, good, now here's the second line (la la lah.) actually, that line is kind of tricky, how about you listen to it again. (la la lah.) ok, now let's all try it. (la la lah.) " blah blah blah. there has got to be a better way to teach songs!
there has got to be some sort of osmosis process that would work...
oh wait, that's what I've already stated! I should suggest to my boss that we just try not teaching a song, but give them 4 weeks before we make any judgements about whether they're singing or not. Maybe I'll try that with a new Alleluia.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

three and a half years

3.5 years ago, I started my first job as a real music director.
After years of singing in high school choirs, church choirs, taking piano lessons, playing piano at Mass, and several years of organ lessons, I knew it was time.
It was almost like...what I was made for. (But who God knows my future, only time will tell.)
Someday, I really should type up my whole musical history, how everything has led me towards this, how perfectly it all fits together...and then I think, how exciting! I wonder what will come next...?

For those 3.5 years, "Today's Liturgy" has been my friend, to varying degrees. Originally, I used almost all of their song suggestions (it helped that the church I was working at also had OCP hymnals, whereas now I can't even use some of the songs if I wanted to; they're not in the Ritual Song!)
but now I pretty much glance at them, see if there's any possibilities, and just use the spaces they give to write down my own song/choral plan for upcoming weeks.

My point in this whole entry, is that over the past 3.5 years, I would occasionally think about the 3-year lectionary cycle, and how neat it would be to finally have gone through a whole cycle...and technically never have to plan another Mass! I have saved all of those issues of "Today's Liturgy..." And yet, I somehow passed the 3-year mark without even a passing thought.

It amazes and terrifies me to think of how my song selections have changed over those past 3.5 years. Most of what I programed 3 years ago, I hope and pray that I will never (or never have to,) use again. I know it was filled with songs like "We Remember," "Be Not Afraid," even "Sing of the Lord's Goodness," (the one that sounds like Take 5. My choir director at the time found it, and was like "let's teach this!" so we did, and I liked it, and even the priest told me to use it a lot, cuz the people liked it. This was at the church where I was the only person under 50 ever in attendance...)

Anyhow, my heart feels faint at the thought of even opening up those old issues of "Today's Liturgy" where I recorded the weekly music selections. (much less would I even consider using my selections from the same Sunday 3 years ago, so I dodn't have to plan the music again!)

but I will save them, so that some day, when the recent past is ancient and fascinating history, rather than a reminder of my younger days.
however, I couldn't have done it any differently. I had to use those songs. The people weren't ready for anything else, although I did introduce some good songs to them (I have no idea what happened after I left.) and the priest certainly wouldn't have supported anything different.

and I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have such a great job, with a priest who has a similar mind to mine, and a congregation (mostly) interested in good, high quality Sacred Music.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Perosi, Recruiting, and Teaching

The Laudate Dominum by Perosi went excellently yesterday
I'm not really familiar with him, but the choir will be singing a Ave Verum next week by him, and there is a very interesting looking Ave Maria
who is he?
I am definitely a fan of 2-part music!
My choir has been going better than I expected a month ago. After an aggressive recruiting drive (involving sending lots of facebook messages to people I had never met,) I have 4 or 5 new members, bringing my Sunday regulars up to about 11 singers!
After struggling to find a time that people could rehearse, most of the choir has started to rehearse Sundays from 9:10-10:15am. That's when some of the new recruits are able to rehearse, (actually, everyone can rehearse on Sunday before Mass!) but having them there is making the older members realize that they actually are missing out on they show up even if they already attended the Thursday rehearsal! Let's hope this keeps up.
It has really been great, even some of the choir members who don't really like latin enjoyed the energetic but still pretty easy Laudate Dominum.
I know some would question the orthodoxy of dividing up the men and women into just 2 parts, (for example for the Soprano-Alto Laudate Dominum, I put Sopranos and Tenor on the top line, and Altos and Bass on the bottom line. ) [notice the singular. it was intentional...]
With my small numbers I have difficulty doing anything SATB, it takes too long to teach the one or tenors or bass very much on their own, I would rather just have them sing with their corresponding women's parts; I think it still gives a nice, rich sound.

Ok, I read about him.
too bad they don't teach you about guys like him in music school...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

27 Sunday A (10:30am)

Entrance: English translation of Proper Introit, set to solemn Psalm tone
Offertory: Sing Praise to Our Creator (Gott Vater Sei Gepriesen)
Choir: Laudate Dominum (2-part; Perosi)
Communion: In Salutari Tuo
Jesus My Lord, My God, My All
Where Charity and Love Prevail (Christian Love)
Last Song: Crown Him (Diademata)
Postlude: Lobe den Herren (Micheelsen)