Saturday, May 30, 2009

three years...

I'm planning music through the summer right now, and I'm coming across the readings for August, how the whole month is the "Bread of Life" discourse that we Catholics love so much. We even get three weeks in a row of "Taste and See..."!
And with the three year cycle of readings that we have, I'm reminded that it was exactly three years ago August 3 that I started working at St. P.
How back then, Fr. and I were like accomplices discussing the music together and trying to sneak in the right amount of traditional and reverent music, but still needing to appease some people by incorporating a few (non-heretical) "contemporary" pieces so there wouldn't be too much of a hub-bub about the new music director and all of the "changes..."
And I remember how excited we (well, Father, really,) were about the Eucharistic readings and planning music for August...
wow, three years ago already...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

ugh copyrights

someone at church gave me a old booklet, containing the Missa Orbis Factor (copied from the vatican edition-I know cuz I recognize the accompaniment,) as well as two other Mass settings by not-famous composers. These other two Masses are of particular interest because they are accompanied Latin for two voices, and not terrible. Not really common, but extremely useful in a church of limited resources as mine. The first of the two I did search around online and was listed in a couple places, but not actually available. The second, I could find nothing about the composer or availability. I'm sure they're both photocopies of something, I don't know what, but the booklet contains no other references.
My question comes up in that I would like to make these available for others, which is becoming easier and easier to do with resources such as But as it is, having no information about the composers or when they were written or public domain (I think the first died in 1973,) I can't exactly do that.
And so, they will have to remain in my own personal archives, for my own secretive distribution at a to-be-determined necessary time in the future, when I only have two singers and need a nice Latin Mass setting!

(oh, and I'm not being terribly specific about exactly which pieces they are cuz I certainly wouldn't want the copyright police to come after me for having illegally copied music in my possession!) :-P

Friday, May 01, 2009

The beauty of no electricity

As seems to happen about once a year out in the sticks, there was a series of storms and last Sunday morning St. P was without power.
After my initial freak-out, I realized that this would be a good opportunity to make the best of. I know from experience that Mass without electricity is...beautiful. We are...going back to our roots. The way people lived for thousands of years. (Minus the manually pumped organ bellows :-P )
I knew that the 10:30 Mass with the full choir was particularly an opportunity to make the most of.
Here's the basic program as done:

Entrance Antiphon as usual (English simple Psalm tone) It only would have been more perfect with incense...
Psalm: from Respond and Acclaim, a decent but short arrangement. I sang from the ambo the verses alone, and the choir sang 4-part harmony in the choir loft on the refrain
The Head that Was Once Crowned With Thorns (to the tune Morning Song, I used two handbells, on the tonic and the 7th [flat cuz it's a minor key] where appropriate.)
Sanctus: chanted English
Mem accl: chanted English (psalm tone)
Agnus Dei: chanted Latin
Communion: Communion chant as usual
At the Lamb's High Feast (melody only)
Regina Caeli (this is an awesome 3-part SSA arrangement in the St. Pius X hymnal, my ladies learned it last year, and I had run over it with them last week and taught some of the new members...not knowing how much we would NEED an a capella piece this week!) It was particularly beautiful and received many encouraging and positive comments
Closing: Jesus Christ is Risen Today (melody only, first two verses HA)

all a capella unless noted. It works quite well, especially having the men in the choir. As a matter of fact, I'm sure it makes the congregation sing more; they're like, "oh yeah, we're supposed to be singing here..."

Even though it wasn't really dark, everything down to the candles on the altar were just even more beautiful than usual. No humming of the organ or the fans...every noise is even more noticeable. Silence is beautiful. It reminds you of the sacred. Where else is there silence?