MusicNotes Mar 10-11

March 10-11

PsalmPsalm 19:8-11, Anglican chant, William Buthod, John Blow (1649-1708)

The Psalm for this weekend will be responsively sung by the choir at the 10:30 mass. This response to the first reading comes from Anglican chant, a 16th century tradition that was based on Latin plainchant. Anglican psalms, usually sung antiphonally by two choirs, added harmony to un-metrical texts, and followed the natural rhythm of the spoken words. I wrote and added a simple melody for the refrain to encourage your vocal participation, but we invite you to also follow along with the text of the verses in your Worship hymnal as we all respond to the word of God together.      

AnthemWho Will Keep God's Lambs?, Antonín Dvořák (b. 1841-1904), arr. Greg Gilpin

The elementary vocal choir will present the anthem during the preparation of the gifts at the 10:30 mass. This piece uses a familiar melody from Dvořák's 9th Symphony, the "New World," and the text, referencing the twenty-third psalm, pleads with us to rededicate ourselves to God. This week, as we see Jesus' ministry continuing to Jerusalem, where He calls us to re-examine ourselves, we hear the song asking us if we will feed, lead, love, and protect the fold of God. Jesus is calling us not only to be blessed by the inheritance of God, but also to be His disciples, to show God's care through our treatment of each other. Dvořák was one of the most important composers of the late romantic period, and the melody used in this anthem comes from his most popular piece. Greg Gilpin is a well-known, ASCAP award-winning choral composer and arranger living in Indianapolis, with hundreds of publications to his credit.

AnthemSeek to Serve, Lloyd Pfautsch (1921-2003)

The St. Mary's Choir will present this piece during communion. Just as this weekend's Gospel calls us to open our hearts to better serve Christ, this short musical prayer asks God to work through us. It is a prayer for the will to serve, to be vessels for God's love and for His word. The simple, unison melody comes from a 12th-century Gregorian chant, the Kyrie from the Missa IX, Cum jubilo. The composer maintains the sparse, meditative texture of the early chant, while accompanying it with minimal but poignant harmonies. Selecting this piece also serves to maintain the musical tone already set for Lent this year, which includes chant and chant-based music every week (see musical changes below). One of the most respected university choral conductors and teachers in the country, Lloyd Pfautsch served as Professor of Sacred Music and Director of Choral Activities at Southern Methodist University from 1958-1992 and also directed the Dallas Civic Chorus for twenty-five years. His music was widely published and is still regularly performed all around the country.   

Some musical changes in Lent-

Instrumental music will not be played during Lent, except for on Laetare Sunday. It is appropriate for instruments to remain silent during Lent, except to accompany singing. For Laetare Sunday (fourth Sunday of Lent), also known as Rose Sunday, instrumental music is acceptable. Laetare comes from the Latin for "rejoice," and is a mid-Lent time of relaxation from the Lenten stricture, as the hope of Easter now comes into sight.

Dialogues/Acclamations/Litanies- English Plainchant and Kyrie orbis factor

To help signal the transition to the new season, we will be singing a different set of mass parts during Lent (Kyrie, Gospel Acclamation, Holy, Memorial Acclamation, Lamb of God). The words will be the same, but most of the tunes will come from the plainchant found in the new Missal, and, for the Gospel Acclamation, the Gregorian chant tune to the Kyrie orbis factor. The melodies will be simpler and shorter than the ones we were using in the last season, but they will help us focus on the words and remind us to come closer to God; to simplify our lives in ways that allow God to work through us. Chant can sometimes seem foreign to our ears. It sounds very different from every other kind of music we hear on a regular basis, but it also forms the backbone of the history of Catholic music, and is an important part of our tradition. When sung with heartfelt joy and reverence, chant can be quite beautiful and powerful, and it can bring us deeper into prayer.

Will Buthod
Director of Music
Church of St. Mary
(918) 749 2561, ext 120
1347 E. 49th Pl.
Tulsa, OK 74105

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