Friday, December 4, 2009
Reworked Musical Settings of the Mass or New Settings?
Friday has arrived. Christmas tree purchase and decorating begins tomorrow. This morning, we woke up to a light dusting of snow here in Chicago. This is a beautiful city year-round, but there is something even lovelier during these first few snowfalls. I'm sure my tune will change by mid-January!
I'd like to address one of the comments from yesterday's post. Chironomo wrote this:
When you speak of "revised" settings, are you speaking of current settings with the new words fitted in? I thought that idea was rejected initially by a number of composers. Is it now back on the table?
For several years, I have asked parish musicians what their gut instincts were when it came to this issue. At first, the majority of musicians said that they wanted the Masses that they loved simply reworked. Some said things like this: "I could never give up my Mass of Creation." Once I began to share some of the reworked WLP Mass parts with them, their tune began to shift. More and more thought that the new settings were the way to go, so that there wouldn't need to be the process of unlearning and relearning.
What have we done here at WLP? We have several newly commissioned musical settings of the Mass that will fit the needs of parishes with a wide variety of musical resources. The new ICEL chants will be included in each of our worship resources. What about our most popular Mass settings? We have gone back to the composers about these. The Sanctus has proven to be a rather easy fix, since the changes are minimal. For the Gloria, the composers decided on complete rewrites, but kept with the genre and general musical sense of the entire Mass. They needed to do the same with the Memorial Acclamations. We are fairly certain that only the three Memorial Acclamations that appear in the Order of Mass will be approved by Rome, and that "Christ Has Died" will be gone forever.
The composers of several of our Masses are deceased. With these Masses, we enlisted the help of a prominent composer to work with these settings.
None of us knows how all this will work itself out. I'd like to ask you a question. When you do decide on which Mass or Masses you will be teaching your assembly, would it be helpful for you to have a CD recording of that Mass? Just wondering. Feel free to comment.
I am looking forward to celebrating the Second Sunday of Advent at St. James. I hope that wherever you are, your celebration is marked with expectant joy.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.