Beginning this weekend, the music ministry will begin introducing the new Mass setting to the congregation. The changes in the mass responses require changes in the music as well. St. Mary will be primarily employing the Mass of St. Frances Cabrini, written by Kevin Keil. Musicians and cantors from the Tulsa diocese voted almost unanimously on this setting back in August, and it will be employed throughout the Diocese for this first year, along with the English plainsong setting and a Latin setting. The tunes are memorable and very sing-able, and should aid all of us in learning these new texts. For the next few weekends, we will have brief teaching sessions directly preceding mass to help familiarize the congregation with this new set of responses.
Opening Hymn- For the Beauty of the Earth
This week, we are trying something different with the opening hymn. We will hear from our Elementary Vocal Choir again, as they, along with St. Mary's Choir, will present an arrangement of this familiar hymn. Dale Wood, a prominent composer of sacred music, created this hymn arrangement one year before his death in 2003. The texture is very simple and stays true to the original hymn, while re-harmonizing the melody in surprising and beautiful ways that reflect the text being sung. This opening hymn is meant to set the tone for the mass by inviting us to celebrate all that God has given us. He has given all of us gifts that are meant to be used to glorify God and to build up His kingdom. This is the first time this year the young singers will join the adults, but there is much more to come!
Choral Anthem- Blessed Are the Men Who Fear Him Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Based on the Psalm text for this weekend, this piece comes from Mendelssohn's larger-than-life oratorio, Elijah. This anthem features long, beautiful melodies and overlapping phrases that seem to never end, floating above constant motion in the piano accompaniment. Mendelssohn wrote Elijah in 1846, originally in English, and based the entire work on the life of the prophet Elijah, coming mostly from 1 Kings and 2 Kings. Not many oratorios were being written at the time, and this style reminded listeners of the oratorios from the Baroque period. Mendelssohn was very influential in the revival of Baroque music, especially the music of J.S. Bach. This movement of the oratorio speaks of the importance of knowing the source of all our gifts and talents, and aligning our steps with God's, that we might walk closer to God's path for us.
Postlude- Prelude and Fugue in G, BWV 557 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Although it is being used here as a postlude, Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G was one of many that he wrote to fit a particular compositional style. Preludes were most often paired with fugues, as were toccatas, and together they acted as stand-alone compositions, and not preludes to a larger work or event. This prelude presents contrasting slow and fast sections, while the fugue takes a simple theme, or subject, and intricately develops it with four separate voices. I chose this postlude to reflect the final hymn, Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service. There was no humbler servant in church music than J.S. Bach, who devoted his entire life to writing some of the most beautiful music the Church has ever heard. He was a perfect example of someone who took the talents given him by God and employed them through faith in a way that magnified those gifts and gave glory to God.
Director of Music
Church of St. Mary
(918) 749 2561, ext 120
1347 E. 49th Pl.
Tulsa, OK 74105