Prelude- Improvisation: Basso Ostinato on LAUDATE DOMINUM
To help set the tone for mass, I have chosen to improvise a basso ostinato, or variations over a repeating bass line, based on the tune of the opening hymn, Sing Praise to the Lord. This form has been used since the 17th century, and ostinati are still in use today, especially in popular music. Famous classical examples include Pachelbel's Canon in D Major and Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor. I chose this form to emphasize the constant, unchanging nature of God, our foundation as we enter into the Mass with praise and thanksgiving. As Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law in the Gospel reading, we are shown again how powerful God is, that the wonders of our living God never cease.
Anthem- Come to the Water, John B. Foley, S.J. (b. 1939), arr. Jack Schrader
This beautiful anthem comes from Foley's hymn of the same name, found in Gather on page 349. The text invites all those who need healing, restoration, and renewal to come to the Lord. As we prepare the table for the Eucharist, this song is meant to invite the poor, the hungry, the weary, and the heavy laden to the table of God, where all souls can find rest. This also echoes the Gospel lesson, as we are reminded of Jesus, our healer. Foley, an American Jesuit composer of Catholic music and Director of the Center for Liturgy at St. Louis University, wrote this song in 1978, around the same time that he wrote another popular hymn, One Bread, One Body.
Postlude- Iste Confessor, Thomas Tallis (1505-1584)
After the final hymn, I will play Tallis' setting of the 8th century Latin hymn, Iste Confessor. This hymn, originally written in honor of St. Martin of Tours, can be found, in an altered form, in Worship, on page 666. Although the feast day of St. Martin of Tours does not occur this weekend, the Easter message of the hymn certainly parallels our Gospel lesson, and inspires us to leave Mass with this message in our hearts. The translation of the original text follows.
This, the confessor of the Lord, whose triumph now all the faithful celebrate, with gladness erst on this feat-day merited to enter into his glory. Saintly and prudent, modest in behavior, peaceful and sober, chaste was he, and lowly, while that life's vigor, coursing through his members, quickened his being. Sick ones of old time, to his tomb resorting, sorely by ailments manifold afflicted, oft-times have welcomed health and strength returning, at his petition. Whence we in chorus gladly do him honor, chanting his praises with devout affection, that in his merits we may have a portion, now and forever. Glory and virtue, honour and salvation, be unto him that, sitting in the highest, governeth all things, Lord and God Almighty, trinity blessed.
Thomas Tallis was one of the most significant early composers of church music in England. Very little is known about his life, except that he composed for Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth I, taught William Byrd, and wrote some of the most beautiful music the church has ever heard. Tallis is honored with a feast day in the Episcopal Church, and was even fictionalized as a character on the Showtime TV series, The Tudors.
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