Thursday, 19 February 2009

Music in church

Specifically referring to the Latin rite here, as the Byzantine/Eastern Rites are completely different here in so far as they are always sung. There's an excellent article by Michael E. Lawrence over at the Recovering Choir Director. Whilst this particularly referred to the Tract for the 1st Sunday in Lent, it's true for any Graduals & Tracts which are often the longest [& most beautiful] items of chant in a given Mass.

When we provided the singing for the EF Masses in York before their temporary suspension pending a new Celebrant, I was always conscious of time, especially if the priest singing the Mass had come a long way, and regrettably, the Gradual or Tract, and occasionally even the Alleluia verses, were curtailed to psalm tones, either basic or from Rossini, to save time. Even this wasn't good enough for some people who complained that there was too much music & they would rather have Low Mass all the time, despite the norms indicating that Sung or even High Masses are the ideal.

Sometimes you just can't win, no matter what you do!

It is hoped, that when EF Masses resume, with the proposed new Celebrant, who is now here, once he has been fully trained, and is confident enough to start celebrating Sung Masses, we will sing the full Gregorian Propers from the Liber/Graduale. I for one, won't be clock watching to see how long it takes!

Meanwhile, I urge you to read Michael's post. It really deserves a wider circulation.

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