Friday, January 04, 2008

Fr. Rob Sings!

Sings the Roman Canon, to be exact. At the Midnight Mass for Christmas, I chanted Eucharistic Prayer I, otherwise known as the Roman Canon, in Latin. This is a step forward for me and my parish: I have used the Roman Canon in Latin several times before, but this is the first time I have chanted it. The source I used was the "Ordo Missae in Cantu" published by Solesmes.

I find the Latin text more "singable" than the English. The Latin "flows" very naturally when chanted. Though I have a M.A. in Classics, I still find my tongue tripping over the occasional Latin word. This is much less of a problem when the prayer is sung.

[Update: I have received some e-mails saying that the audio link here, or in other posts, "aren't working." The link does work, but it appears that my file hosting service is a little slow. What you may need to do is, once you've clicked the "play" button and the stream starts, click it again to pause the playback, then wait about 30 seconds, then click play again, at which point the stream should have caught up and you can listen to the file. Either that, or drag the slider back to the beginning. Sorry about that - it looks like I need to find a different hosting service.]

[Update 2: I've switched to the "Blogcastone" streaming mp3 player, and I'm getting better results with that. Apparently the "Odeo" player I was using is a big kludge. Happy listening!]

Roman Canon

Warning to those of you you who know the Latin of the Mass fairly well: I slipped into using the Classical pronunication a couple of times. I first learned Latin with the Classical pronunication, and old habits die very hard indeed...

A very "high" liturgical celebration we had here. Here's to a joyful New Year for us all!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Somehow I Don't Think The Council Fathers Had This in Mind

This story is a couple of weeks old, but no one else seems to have picked up on it, so it's still new for my purposes:

Mob hurts parishioner, destroys property over language clash in India
BANGALORE, India (CNS) -- A controversy over languages used during Catholic liturgies heated up as a mob hurt a parishioner and destroyed church property in the Archdiocese of Bangalore... Kannada- and Tamil-speaking Catholics in the archdiocese have clashed for more than three decades. Confrontations have often turned violent, especially during the Christmas and Easter seasons. Kannada is the state's official language and local Catholics demand that the archdiocese use it in church services. However, more than 70 percent of the archdiocese's Catholics are ethnic Tamils from the adjacent Tamil Nadu state. They also want the liturgy in their own language.

Hmmm... I can't think of any possible solution to this problem. It's a real stumper, for sure!

More Good Music From St. Stanislaus

In addition to the singing at Midnight Mass, our Organist and Music Director, Gavin Craig, played wonderfully for all the Christmas Masses. The prelude before Midnight Mass was Johannes Brahms' lovely Chorale Prelude on "Es is ein Ros' entsprungen" (Lo, How a Rose e'er blooming):

Prelude: Es ist ein Ros'

Gavin's postlude was Louis Vierne's well-known "Carillon". There's a bit of ambient noise, as people are talking, etc., as they make their way out of church. But Gavin plays it quite well:

Postlude: Carillon

Enjoy the music!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas Music at St. Stanislaus

Me in my White and Gold Festal Vestments

I mentioned in my previous post that we had some beautiful music here at St. Stanislaus for Christmas. And so indeed we had.

For Midnight Mass, we put together an ensemble of 12 men from the parish, and they did a wonderful job of singing! I'm afraid I don't have a photo of them. It's probably just as well, as some of them, I'm sure, would be annoyed at having their pictures posted here...

They sang the Introit for Christmas, Puer Natus Est Nobis. Now, some purists out there might say "wait a minute, that's the introit for Christmas day." And that would be true. But since the guys sang at Midnight, and Puer Natus Est is perhaps the best known of the Christmas chants, it seemed to to me the way to go for a parish that's largely unaccustomed to chant. So you'll have to cut me a little slack, OK...

At any rate, they did a fine job on it, especially since, for most of the guys, it was their first time singing chant:

Introit: Puer Natus Est Nobis

Puer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis. Cuius imperium super humerum eius: et vocabitur nomen eius, magni consilii Angelus.

Ps. Cantate Domino canticum novum: quia mirabilia fecit.

A child is born for us, a son is given to us. Dominion shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called the Angel of Great Counsel.

Ps. Sing to the Lord a new song: for He has done wonderful deeds.

We also sang Kyrie V, which is one of my favorites. It seems especially festive and joyful to me. It's becoming the Kyrie that we use here for special Feasts and Solemnities. We've used it enough now that my parishioners are coming to know it fairly well. That fact, however, wasn't enough to keep me from making a mistake in intoning the second part. However, I think it still came off creditably:

Kyrie: Mass V

For the offertory, the men's ensemble sang the classic Catholic Christmas hymn "Sleep, Holy Babe" (also sung by the school children at the Vigil Mass):

Offertory: Sleep, Holy Babe

The Creche at St. Stanislaus

For Communion, the men sang again, an English version of the 15th century Latin hymn Puer Natus in Bethlehem. It was well-suited for use during communion, with the people invited to join in the repeated refrain "A new song let us sing..." Speaking of the refrain, the men are singing the refrain with an organum-style harmony.

Communion: A Child Is Born in Bethlehem

To Father, Son, and Spirit raise, alleluia:
A never-ending song of praise, alleluia, alleluia!
A new song let us sing, Christ is born,
O come and adore, and let our gladness ring!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas at St. Stanislaus

I had a wonderful Christmas at my parish of St. Stanislaus. A number of volunteers turned out to decorate the church, and as always, they did an outstanding job (click on the photos for enlarged versions):

The Sanctuary Decorated for Christmas

We had some wonderful music for the Christmas Masses as well. At the Vigil Mass, which is traditionally the "Children's Mass", we had an ensemble of the 3rd through 8th grade students sing the old Catholic Christmas hymn "Sleep, Holy Babe", in 3 parts (It had to be three parts, since none of our boys are basses yet!). But the organ filled in for the bass part, and they sounded very nice, as you can hear:

Post-Communion: Sleep, Holy Babe

At Midnight Mass, we pulled out all the stops, and had beautiful music for that Mass as well, provided by a 12 voice men's ensemble we put together for the occasion. But more about that later...

In the meantime, here is a photo of me vested for Mass, in the parish's festive gold and white vestments:

I hope your Christmas was a blessed and joyful one!