Learn About the Mass Music: MusicNotes Oct 15-16

October 15-16, 2011

Prelude- Improvisation: Duo on God is Here! As We Are His People

I will improvise a short duet, based on the tune of our opening hymn. This is meant to not only set the tone for the Mass to begin, but also to represent no more than two voices, God's and His people's, and that this dialogue may yield our unity with God's desires.

Choral Anthem- Give Me Jesus
African-American Spiritual, arr. Will Buthod (b. 1981)

I wrote this arrangement of the moving spiritual,
Give Me Jesus, in August of 2006 for Bethany Christian Church here in Tulsa, where my sister Olivia served as interim music director. This spiritual speaks of the singular and unrelenting need for Jesus, despite the trials, tribulations, and distractions of the world. In the historical context of slavery in the U.S., during which this spiritual was composed and spread, it is not hard to imagine how difficult this conflict really was. Outside of this context, this spiritual reflects the ideas of this week's Gospel, that we are to "repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." We must know who our hearts truly belong to and how our actions in the world show this. In this setting, I have employed rich harmonies and techniques characteristic of spirituals, but finish the piece with a single melody line, all voices united in the sole need for Jesus and nothing else.

Closing Hymn- Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

This long-loved hymn dates back to around 1774, where it appeared in the Ka­thol­isch­es Ge­sang­buch, a Roman Catholic hymnal published in Vienna by Ignaz Franz, a Catholic priest. The hymn text was originally a German versification of the Te Deum, created at the request of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Today, it appears in the hymnals of many Christian denominations, and is a standard and favorite hymn of the church. The Te Deum is a hymn of praise, and we sing it this weekend to reflect our steadfast desire to give God our praise, rendering to God what is God's.

Postlude- Hymne d'actions de grâces, Te Deum (from Trois paraphrases grégoriennes, Op.5)
Jean Langlais (1907-1991)

Continuing from the Te Deum text sung in the final hymn, this composition is based on the Gregorian Te Deum chant. Jean Langlais is one of the most popular French composers of this past century and organist at St. Clotilde in Paris, where composer César Franck played for most of his life. A top notch organist and improviser, Langlias was also blind and never failed to amaze people around the world with his music. When he played a recital in Oklahoma City in 1959, it was reported that 1400 came to hear him. I never had a chance to meet him, but I studied his music for years with his wife Marie-Louise Langlais, who teaches at the Conservatory in Paris and is recognized as the authority in interpreting Langlais' works.

-William Buthod, Church of Saint Mary Music Director


  1. thanks Will for educating us.. It is great..jeannie..

  2. Thanks, Will, for the Music Notes. Putting the music in context with the Mass for those of us who are not musically educated is terrific, and I'm really enjoying your notes about the composers and the arrangements.


  3. I hope lots of people read this before they come to mass - it so enriches our active part in the Eucharist.


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