This Sunday we start singing the beautiful Ordinary for Advent (and Lent) Mass XVII. Videos courtesy of Antoine Daniel. Remember no Gloria in Advent.
I had decided that with the advent (no pun intended) of the new 9.00 Latin Mass we would sing all the propers in English during Advent but last night the choir voted to continue to sing the Introit in Latin from the Graduale.
Introit – Ad Te Levavi
You will notice that the tendency in the music is for the notes to keep rising in great intervals. The notation mimics the neumes as we are encouraged to look up towards heaven and wait, the great theme of Advent. We must sing this piece with great joy, energy and anticipation as we wait for something truely great to happen.
“Unto you have I lifted up my soul. O my God, I trust in you, let me now be put to shame; do not allow my enemies to laugh at me; for none of those who are awaiting you will be disappointed.”
Offertory and Communion Chants – Advent 1 Year B Proper (Seaford Propers)
Offertory – Drop drop slow tears – Orlando Gibbons
Communion – Creator Alme Siderum
This is the Vespers hymn weekdays and Sundays during Advent up to the 16th December. In some collections of the Divine Office, the text is replaced with Conditor alme siderum, the original Ambrosian text from the 7th century. The hymn perfectly presents the themes of the Advent season; “We beseech Thee, great Judge of the last day, defend us from our enemies with weapons of heavenly grace.”
Creator Music from the Parish Book of Chant. This PDF includes the translation.
The best recording I have found is by The Choir of the Carmelite Priory with John McCarthy
You can listen to it on Napster or you can purchase it in full on Itunes. All of the recordings I have found on Youtube are ghastly simply because they all stop for a long break between each line. The best way to sing this hymn is to sing it at a good tempo, allowing the rhythm of the notes to be dictated by the rhythm of the words, and ideally to only break at the end of the second line and then a quick breath at the end of the verse and straight into the following verse. You do not want four long gaps in each verse or the flow of the chant is lost, as you will find with most of the free recordings on the internet.
Recessional – Lo! He Comes with Clouds descending
Father Ray writes on his blog about the difference between Catholic and Protestant music. Sadly it is unavoidable at this time of year not to dip into the Protestant or Wesleyan music cupboards for a great rousing Advent hymn. This wonderful hymn about the Second Coming is sung to the Helmsley tune which was apparently a great favourite of Queen Victoria. Note there are different textual versions of the hymn. There is one particular version (thankfully not in our parish hymn book) which can have Bass sections collapsed in a corner in a fit of giggles but I shan’t elaborate on this any further.