Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tenebrae at Longbenton

Holy Week started this morning at 10 with Tenebrae at SS Peter and Paul`s Longbenton. This was according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (1962). Three of the schola were present and were augmented by Alan from Glasgow, another disciple of Mary Berry. Many thanks to Ian, Dorothy and Sheila. I wasn`t expecting a large congregation but a few souls turned up to give it a try. Ian said he had not sung Tenebrae since the days of the famous `Glover Holy Week` on Palace Green in Durham, twenty years ago when the whole office of the triduum was sung in its pre-reformed form (!) and attracted people from all over the country. It is a wonderful service to be part of although it does require stamina. Much as I love the settings of the Lamentations by Couperin or Charpentier or the Victoria responsories I can imagine that if these were introduced the whole office would take at least three hours! This morning it lasted two and a half hours.
Here is a picture taken on my phone showing the hearse and altar candles. Sorry we didn`t have unbleached candles for the altar but I was glad we had them for the hearse.


Anonymous said...

I've posted a picture of the Oratorys..

Anonymous said...

I understand the grand 'French' celebrations of Tenebrae lasted considerably longer than three hours and at Versailles six was the norm.

At the modest Tenebrae I sang at on the South Coast the service on Wednesday and Thursday evenings took one and a half hours and that on Friday an hour and a quarter. We cheated rather and only psalm-toned the responsories(as was the Glover practice some years) but with only two main singers I think this was perfectly reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the phone shot.

The 'hearse' looks remarkably like two extended 'benediction' candelabra standing next to each other on a table to my untrained eye.

Old Believer made a hearse out of timber which was quite effective. The idea of using 28mm copper pipe as sockets for the candles cannot be recommended as a difficulty arises in making holes to take these (unless one has some fancy carpentry kit). A satisfactory solution was to use 4" brass screws as prickets.

Fr Michael Brown said...

It was indeed made up of two Benediction candelabra. Maybe if this is going to be a regular event we`ll investigate making a hearse as you describe. I saw a similar arrangement on the NLM blog at a Dominican Tenebrae (