Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chant Sunday

Being the first Sunday of the month we had a `chant Sunday` at the 10.30 Mass. The first Sunday of the month is also the Sunday when the young people do the readings and take the collection. Today the first two readings were read by children while adults helped with the parts in the Passion reading. The children today used a hand-held microphone which greatly improved their audibility. I too have improved mine by discovering a few weeks ago that a portable microphone has to be directly in front of the mouth instead of round the side of the chasuble neck. This puts an end I hope to `Fr Brown: the Inaudible Years` which have gone on for quite a while now.

This time before Mass Dorothy, our organist, led the congregation in a practice of the Sanctus and Agnus Dei of Mass 18. I`m glad to report that there were definitely people singing the Agnus Dei but the Sanctus may take a little longer to become familiar. Still, Rome wasn`t built in a day. During the distribution of Communion, Ian sang the Vexilla Regis as a solo before the congregation sang `The Servant King`. When people are not familiar with chant it naturally takes time to learn anything new but I hope by incorporating it with a lot of familiar hymns the shock will not be as great. In the meantime I must get into school with some simple chants as I`ve said I`d do. I was trying to find a recording of Mass 18 to take in for the teacher but on the occasions I`ve looked I`ve not found anything suitable.

Many thanks to Ian and Dorothy for their labours.

9 comments:

A musician said...

Congratulations to you, Father Brown, for bringing in the Latin chants. Too often the traditional (popularly fusty, fuddy-duddy and "bad" )is disregarded in favour of the modern (we get told it's more jolly and "good") I tend to strongly dislike modern hymns of which "Servant King" is an example. The words are typically unpoetic and whilst not irreverent, certainly not reverent eg "Precious babe". The music is typically repetitive and predictable. Occasionally, however, one does find among them a rare gem, proving that one should always keep an open mind about other people's tastes and be willing to participate with good grace. So, how refreshing to see that in the one Mass you are introducing a bit of the sublime to the mundane. Getting used to the Latin chants should prove no more difficult than learning an unfamiliar new hymn. A little practice beforehand and, if it's in a foreign language, an explanation of the meaning, are really all it takes, and a bit of repetition so that it sinks in.
Don't listen to those who might hold their children up and say that they won't understand so it's all irrelevant to them. All it needs is a bit of explaining.
You are to be congratulated, Father Brown. You took account of diverse preferences and you had "Servant King" alongside the Latin chants, which is the best thing you could have done. You didn't just impose on people the traditionalists' choice and nothing else. I do hope this diversity was appreciated and I everyone went away from your Mass taking with them something they liked.
You can't please everyone and some dare to say you shouldn't even try, but you have tried and I hope your efforts were appreciated and gained you increased respect.

Anonymous said...

Father - I got the following CD recently on ebay - it's cheap and has common chants for mass on it. Go to ebay and type in catholic mass chant and you should come to THE CATHOLIC MASS - Brotherhood of St. Gregory - NEW CD.

If you are not an ebayer post a comment here - i'll buy it for you and send it to you by post....all the way from the South coast of England!

Anonymous said...

PS By the way I meant to stress that I'd send the CD as a gift - no charge just a small way of supporting your ministry

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks musician for your interesting comments.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Anonymous, thank you for your kind offer. I have the disc Plainsong for Parishes which I bought at Farnborough abbey but it doesn`t have Mass XVIII. I found some mp3`s on the internet but they were not very good quality. If your disc has that Mass setting I`d be interested and more than happy to send you the cost. I could try and record the schola but that would be more complicated.

roydosan said...

An excellent version of Mass XVIII (though with organ accompaniment) can be found at the following website. It is in Volume 8 which is the complete kyriale on three CDs.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks Roydosan, that is very useful.

Deesis said...

Introducing chant to the parish is great! Letting children do readings is however totally innappropriate. It is an abuse!

Deesis said...

Introducing chant to the parish is great! Letting children do readings is however totally innappropriate. It is an abuse!