Choral Gloria and Credo Intonations
  • If, in the EF, the priest must always intone the Gloria and Credo, how liturgically would it work to begin, say, the Gloria from Rheinberger's Mass in E Flat Op. 109 or Poulenc's Mass in G?

    Likewise in the NO? I don't see nearly as much of a problem since many English Glorias have their own congregational "incipits". I've also sung the Rheinberger in the NO.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,308
    It's common to have the priest intone the first phrase of the Gloria with the melody from Mass VIII, in a suitable key for what follows.
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  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 715
    It's sort of like how nearly all the Credos give the option of just using the Credo I incipit, rather than the one written with that particular chant.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 621
    You should really match a major mode incipit to a major key choral setting, and a minor mode incipit to a minor key setting. For the Credo: Use Credo I (et al.) incipit for minor settings, with the first note of the incipit on the fourth degree of the minor scale, which winds up on the fifth of the scale; or on the lowered seventh degree of the scale, which winds up on the tonic. Use Credo III incipit for major settings, with the first note of the incipit on the fifth degree of the major scale, which winds up on the tonic; or on the second degree of the scale, which winds up on the fifth.

    The same sort of calculation would apply to the Gloria, with many more options. Gloria VIII (starting on the fifth or second) and IX (on the tonic or fifth) are good for major settings; Gloria IV (starting on the lowered seventh or third) and XI (starting on the tonic or fifth) work for minor settings.

    All geared toward a reasonable range for your priest, whether tenor or bass. The point is to keep the mode of the incipit and the mode of the choral setting related. I am thoroughly annoyed at major key Credos that use Credo I incipit, and minor key Glorias that use Gloria VIII incipit.

    But that's just me.
  • Why would otherwise devout and liturgically savvy composers write works intended for church use that set the intonation in the first place?
  • Why would otherwise devout...
    I should take this as evidence that these works were not intended by their own composers for liturgical use. This is particularly true of the grand formally bloated masses of the XIXth century. I say 'formally bloated' not necessarily as a pejorative, but as an objective fact. To my mind works like Beethoven's Missa solemnis or Bach's b-minor are acts of worship, though not in a ritual context. There can be little doubt that the mass ordinary is an icon of Gottes lob in the West, and is not necessarily limited in its scope to the liturgy and ritual which are its true and natural context. Understood thusly, it is a composer's highest creative act as an artist, a composer, and a believer.

    I did, though, many years ago (when I was serving my Lutherans), attend Bach's b-minor mass in a liturgical context - albeit the congregation were all musicians and this was at a liturgical seminar at the Lutheran seminary in St Louis. It was quite moving! Probably, high-church Lutherans are the only people who would do something like that.
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    As far as intonations and incipits for these masses go, Richard R's advice is sterling.
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