I’ve just finished a project I started more than a month ago—writing a brief introduction to the propers of the Mass. I attempt to explain what the propers are, what the church says about them, why we should sing them, and where settings can be found.
It looks as though we have at least four who can sing Sept. 13, the vigil for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Below are links to some resources you’ll need. I’ll bring copies Tuesday night, but if you’re so inclined, you can download your own beforehand.
I’d like for us to learn Liszt’s setting of the ancient Latin hymn Vexilla Regis. Liszt includes two of the verses, here in English translation:
Abroad the regal banners fly,
now shines the Cross’s mystery:
upon it Life did death endure,
and yet by death did life procure.
That which the prophet-king of old
hath in mysterious verse foretold,
is now accomplished, whilst we see
God ruling the nations from a Tree.
We’ll definitely sing the Chabanel Psalm for the day and a chanted alleluia verse, as we did on Aug. 14.
The Communio is Per signum Crucis. The antiphon text (translated) is "By the sign of the Cross, deliver us from our enemies, O our God."
We may sing the Salve Regina chant.
And I’d like to learn a three-voice bit of polyphony if we can swing it. Good choices include Asola’s setting of Christus factus est and a Lasso setting of Adoramus te, Christe. Both are appropriate to the feast. Indeed, the Christus factus est text is the same as that of the Graduale for the day. The Graduale is the proper that is typically replaced these days by the responsorial psalm.
Count on a dignified hymn or two.
To listen to sound files of some of the pieces mentioned here, click this link and investigate the pages.
Last night three of us focused on Gregorian chant: the Communion chant from the Roman Gradual for the fifth Sunday of Lent, a couple of the four seasonal Marian antiphons, and the chant hymn Ave verum corpus. I realize that the Communio was a bit out of date, but it’s a nice one, and I already had copies in the music binders . . .
Unless you hear otherwise, assume that we will rehearse at Our Lady of Fatima for at least the next several Tuesday nights, 7 to 8:30 p.m. I’d like to get us on the schedule to sing a Mass seven or eight weeks from now. That’s plenty of time for us to master the music but not so much time that we get discouraged because the goal seems too far away.
I’ll keep you posted.
This afternoon we’ll be looking at the material we went over last time . . . and also I hope to introduce the chant hymn Ave Verum Corpus and the Kyrie of the Byrd Mass for three voices. (Here’s the Agnus Dei from the same Mass, if you’re interested.)
Those who would like to listen to a midi version of the Kyrie, visit Sheila Crossey’s site.
Or, better still, get thyself to Amazon or iTunes and purchase the Tallis Scholars’ disc with Byrd’s Masses for three, four, and five voices. I’ve had the good fortune to perform the Mass for four voices (my favorite) with Harmonia Vocal Quartet and the Mass for five voices with the Knoxville Chamber Chorale. So I guess it’s time to learn the next one.