This week the repertoire for Sunday’s Organ Mass has a Marian theme. It was such a shame not to celebrate the feast of the Assumption with solemnity today and while the Mass of the day will be XI Sunday after Pentecost, in Scotland the bishops have transferred holy days that fall on Saturdays to the following Sunday and before the 1962 Missal, the Assumption had an octave (yes, I realise that Sundays are not included…) So, those are my excuses, if any are needed for a dose of hyperdulia, for paying musical tribute to Our Blessed Lady, Assumed body and soul into Heaven and reigning as Queen over all!
Introit- Chorale, Suite Gothique, Leon Boellmann
Offertory- Prier du Notre Dame, Suite Gothique, Leon Boellmann
Communion- Ave Maria, Op. 65 Alexandre Guilmant
Communion of the Faithful- Versts on Ave Maris Stella, Improv and Op. 65 Alexandre Guilmant
Programming music for liturgy is a delicate business- the last thing that we want is to have consecutive items which clash in key or style. Although most folk don’t realise it, which is kind of the point, I always programme music that is from one particular style and try to ensure that consecutive items are related in key so as to avoid any subtle yet distracting gear changes!
The current covid-compliant liturgical arrangements have some bearing on the music chosen; mainly that rather than an uplifting ‘sortie’ a second communion piece is required after Mass as the people ‘receive and leave.’ Timing is also a factor since usually I only programme the Prelude and Postlude with only improvisations after the offertory and communion motets (unless we don’t have enough singers for motets in which case I do programme organ music.). This makes timing the end of the music to the end of the liturgical action quite straightforward. With full pieces, there may be a need to improvise an ending if the priest is ready earlier than expected, especially at the moment when playing for Low Mass with no ceremony (no incense etc).
Recent organ Masses have been in the French Classical (what we call baroque) and French Romantic styles with all of last week’s music being by J.S. Bach. This week we have an English flavour with music by the 18th Century London composer John Stanley.
Introit- Adagio, Voluntary IV, D Minor, Op.VII
Offertory- Andante, Voluntary IV, DMinor, Op.VII
Communion- Adagio, Voluntary VII, E Minor, Op.VII
Communion of the people- Voluntary VII, G Minor, Op. V