Last night I had a wonderful opportunity to go to a TLM in a certain city, (and don't even try to guess where, cuz it is not anywhere near where I live!)
and, well I know there has been a rather heated discussion about this on the MS forum, I did get a chance to witness a very small choir with a couple of talented people and a couple of less-so singing a VERY HARD polyphonic Renaissance Mass setting!
I'm not quite sure how to describe it... I mean, it was very nice that they attempted it, and I quite admire them for it, but there was quite a few places where someone was out of tune, or I was trying to tell if they were just going along trying to get back in place...
I mean, I'm singing in an "Early Music" choir this semester, and here you have a roomful of music school students who can barely get through these pieces with 5-parts that are completely independent. It is HARD!
Of course, I don't know the choir at this church at all, or how much they worked on this Mass setting or anything else, but it does make me wonder if it would have been better to have found a simpler setting. (a 3-part Mass? or even one that was more chordal/homophonic?)
Perhaps part of the problem is that there are SO MANY Renaissance Masses written in the former style, and relatively few in a more simple style.
Anyhow, it was a lovely experience. However, I find that whenever I attend a TLM Mass, I am SO focused on "figuring out what's going on," that I can barely pay attention. In my case, I'm trying to know what's going on precisely because I have to understand it enough to be able to play organ for it! So, yesterday was a perfect experience to refresh my memory on all the things that I will need to prep for next weekend. (oh yes, let's figure out a 9-fold Kyrie. maybe a slightly fancier Agnus Dei then we do regularly? and I'll have to teach that priest AND choir the Ite Missa!)