Polyphonic vs Gregorian Ordinaries: How often to do Each
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,587
    Seeing the popularity of the "how much should the congregation sing?" Thread, I think this topic could use some discussion.

    How often do you do polyphonic ordinaries and how do you decide which weekends get each?

    Last year we did (pretty much) alternating weekends - one week Gregorian, one week Polyphony, etc. We changed this pattern whenever a "out of the ordinary" Sunday occurred (like Christ the King). I know this is also the case at the Windsor Ontario Tridentine Mass (which I used to direct).

    Obviously I'd love to also hear from those who only do polyphonic Masses or only Gregorian Ordinaries - perhaps you could shed light on how you choose which Ordinary for which Sunday, etc.
  • stulte
    Posts: 235
    We alternate each Sunday.
    Thanked by 2matthewj CHGiffen
  • At Walsingham we have polyphonic or choral ordinaries only on solemnities.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Blaise
  • Blaise
    Posts: 421
    M. Jackson Osborn,

    But you do have them at least? That is good to know, for at least I won't miss them entirely if I move from San Antonio to Houston, and consequently from Our Lady of the Atonement to Our Lady of Walsingham.

    (Yes, while the Healy Willan congregational setting, Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena is beautiful, I very much enjoy the choral ordinaries at Atonement, sung at the 11 o'clock Sunday Mass and solemnities and occasional observances. The parts of the ordinary sung chorally here include the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Angus Dei.)

    Paul
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • wingletwinglet
    Posts: 39
    We used to have a polyphonic Mass once a month, but now have them (or an orchestral setting) only on special feasts.
  • At the Cathedral Basilica, we sing (or used to) a polyphonic Gloria and Agnus almost every weekend.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    If it wasn't in English, we weren't allowed to sing it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,891
    We have sung the ICEL chant Ordinary since 2011, exclusively. The powers that be have caught on to the fact that it is free, and we can get by without having to purchase expensive replacement hymnals. I'm not complaining, since I don't want MOC back. I haven't heard the new version, but I hear it is like a vampire that will not die but rises from its tomb again and again.
  • My parish sings a limited selection of Ordinaries. (Recently, with the permission of the Choir Director, who was going to be out of town, we sang Mass IV, but this is exceptional). We sing the Byrd Mass for 3 Voices at irregular intervals, and are learning the Missa Caca (I can't make the correct accent appear: it's not Cacka, but Cascha, as I understand it).


  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,374
    Gregorian Ordinary: every day.

    Complete Polyphonic (or Orchestral/Organ) Ordinary: a few times a year: Third Sunday of November (Patron Saint's Mass for Choir); Epiphany; Pentecost.

    Individual Choral Movements: Other High Feasts, ad lib., i.e. Byrd a3 Kyrie with all other movements from Mass VIII.

    Novus Ordo, btw. This November (barring losing rehearsals/people with snow storms or laryngitis) we'll be doing Schubert in G, hopefully with strings.
  • Sung Mass every week (" EF ") Polyphonic, appx 6 in the year
  • We almost always do a polyphonic Kyrie, Gloria, and Agnus. I think sometimes we'll do a chanted Kyrie and polyphonic Agnus but I don't know what the reasoning is because I am but a lowly chorister. Maybe we just do that during Advent and Lent?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,412
    We have Polyphonic Ordinaries once a month, usually but not always with chant Credo.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 303
    We are only allowed to do Ordinaries that the congregation can join in with.
    So Mass XVII in Lent and Advent, De Angelis occasionally, ICEL chant Mass quite a lot. Otherwise newly composed Masses in English;Sir James MacMillan's mass of St Anne is popular.
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 115
    Does one have to choose?

    https://youtu.be/1DCXkIjp6Sc
  • .

    (I did see Cardinal di Nardo!)
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,491
    I had a chart dividing up feasts into four groups - A,B,C,D. According to the four-year cycle I had planned, the letter labels would determine what type of Ordinary would be used for the feast. The differentiation changed every year, and the whole list was on a four-year cycle.

    For example:

    Year 1 (which is 2016 in my book - when my schola started) would be
    A - Regular Chant Ordinary (I, II, IV, VIII, IX, XI)
    B - Alternate Chant Ordinary (any of the other ones)
    C - Regular Chant Ordinary
    D - Polyphonic Ordinary

    Year 2:
    A- Polyphonic
    B- Regular Chant
    C-Alternate Chant
    D- Regular Chant

    And so forth.

    Here's an example of what it would look like:

    Year 1:
    A Holy Cross (Sep 14) - Mass IV
    B St. Michael (Sep. 29) Mass V
    C Holy Rosary (Oct 7) Mass VIII
    D All Saints (Nov 1) Victoria's Missa O Quam Gloriosum
    A Dedication of the Basilica (Nov 9) Mass IV
    etc.

    It's nice because it gives enough time between different feasts to learn new ordinaries, as well as offering an opportunity to use some of the lesser-known chant ordinaries as well.

    In addition, Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost would always have orchestral masses. Christ the King would always have the Dumont Missa Royale.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Viola
  • CGM
    Posts: 438
    At one point I was directing a professional choir, and we used to do full choral Mass Ordinaries every week. I tried to change them up per liturgical season: so Renaissance Ordinaries (in Latin) for Ordinary Time, simpler settings (sometimes in English) or chant settings for Advent and Lent, and bigger "orgelmesse" for Eastertide.

    There was also a volunteer choir which sang at a different Mass, at which we sang congregational Mass Ordinaries in English, and there was also a two-man Gregorian schola which sang at yet another Mass, at which we sang all the Gregorian propers (unaccompanied) and only Gregorian Ordinaries (accompanied, for contrast's sake).
    Thanked by 1Joseph Mendes
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,490
    Excellent question!
    Our proportion is roughly 50% Gregorian Mass of the Season, 25% other Gregorian Masses (we're doing 13 on Sunday), 25% composed settings. This can flex a little with the season; Mass XI gets a little old after awhile. If I had the forces, I'd probably do 50% composed. But right now, we're only doing unison masses (Rheinberger op. 62, Griesbacher Rosa Mystica, Willan St. Teresa; we were doing Perosi Te Deum, but were never particularly good at it, and with the loss of several key people, I don't dare). A unison Mass needs to be pretty good before I can make a case for it over a chant Mass, and frankly, most aren't.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 303
    We are trying to get away from chant in Lent and Advent because the congregation were beginning to think of Mass XVII as a penance. The choir liked it though.
    The liturgy committee wants de Angelis (sigh) for Christmas season and Eastertide 2017/8 with a simple English setting for Advent and Lent.
    Actually, please can anyone recommend an alternative chant Mass for Christmas and Easter? It's time we tried something new.
  • nun_34nun_34
    Posts: 63
    We learned the Missa Lux et Origo two years ago and I would recommend it. It is traditionally used during the Easter season.
  • ...an alternative...

    As nun_34 says, Lux et Origo cannot be bettered for Eastertide.
    As for others, I've always been partial to Pater Cuncta. It has a festive sound and would be nice for solemnities and festal seasons.
    For an easy-but-festive Gloria, give the Ambrosian Gloria some consideration.

    For those with English masses who may be tired of Masses XVII and XVIII during Advent and Lent, give some thought to Merbecke.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • >> We are trying to get away from chant in Lent and Advent because the congregation were beginning to think of Mass XVII as a penance.


    Hm. Well yes, and ? Lent and Advent are precisely seasons of penance are they not? (notice the violet vestments, at least in the EF)
  • Perhaps one could use more chant, not less, so that the joy of Cum Jubilo, for example, can be contrasted with XVII or Orbis Factor??
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,412
    @Viola For Christmas, we either do Mass II or Mass IX.

    As a Christmas gift to almost everyone, get rid of the liturgy committee.
    Thanked by 2Viola CHGiffen
  • ...get rid of....

    Was it liturgy committees in XIXth century Russia?
  • I like to do Mass VIII at Christmas - we tend to get a lot of visitors at Christmas, some of whom may not have been to Mass for many years, and they remember it.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 303
    'we tend to get a lot of visitors at Christmas, some of whom may not have been to Mass for many years, and they remember it.'
    I think that's the reasoning of our liturgy committee and I agree that they have a point. And this represents progress; previously they suggested (for the same reason) we should have Mass of Christ the Savior.
    Plainchant was viewed as a penance because it was almost never heard except in Advent and Lent. We are trying to persuade the congregation that it can be joyful too, so doing more of it..
  • >> We are trying to persuade the congregation that [chant] can be joyful too, so doing more of it..

    good for you!!! :)

    you probably already know that for Advent and Lent, Mass XVII offers an alternate Kyrie, which doesn't sound as severe (to my ear anyway).

    For Advent, there are many lovely Gregorian chants (e.g., Creator Alme Siderum),
    and for Lent... well it's Lent... but maybe you can look at one of the versions of Stabat Mater or Vexilla Regis* which alternate chant and polyphony? putting one foot into the water first, as it were...

    (*) The Sixteen sing an alternated Vexilla Regis by Francisco Guerrero which takes my breath away. I haven't found it on CPDL yet, but it must be out there in public domain somewhere
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,490
    You didn't go all the way down to the bottom on cpdl, because they have a link to Guerrero's works at tomasluisdevictoria.org, where we find this: http://www.uma.es/victoria/guerrero/pdf/Guerrero-Vexilla_Regis_Prodeunt.pdf

    It's also in v. 12 of the collected works (Monumentos de la music espanola, v. 66, p. 143 where there are 2 versions of the chant to go with,
  • (I did say 'yet') thanks for your help! :)