Musical Selections for TLM Requiem Mass
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    I am composing a few Requiem Masses of different varieties to be used specifically for a TLM Requiem.

    1. Organ and single voice
    2. Two- voice a cappella
    3. SATB a cappella

    What (in your opinion) are the optimal selections and what would be the optimal time length of each selection?
  • Francis,

    How are you putting an organ at a Requiem?

  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    Supporting the cantor

    Question:
    Does the Church permit the playing of the organ at the Requiem High Mass?

    Answer:

    At the Requiem High Mass, the Church prefers that the chant be sung a capella. As this may be difficult for smaller choirs, the Church does admit the use of the organ to sustain the voices. But the Church certainly does not allow the organ to be used as a solo instrument at the Requiem High Mass. Thus when there is no singing the organ should remain silent. (Caer. Ep. I. 28, 13.)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    Hi Chris:

    I am curious about your perspective... please respond.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    Here is a sample that I just worked up in the last 30 minutes to demonstrate an organ/cantor arrangement.

    http://www.bizextend.com/transfer/requiemAeternam.mp4
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,565
    This is one place where the Liturgical Movement deep-sixed a lot of repertoire.
    Thanked by 2GerardH CHGiffen
  • Francis,

    I've always understood (perhaps in error) that the Requiem should have no organ, full stop.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,111
    Tell me more, Jeffrey Quick. I don't know if I knew that and would love to see you connect the dots for me :)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    CGZ... has that always been the rubric?
  • Francis,

    Given the Orchestral Masses.... I think there's been at least one loop hole in whatever rubric did exist.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    The 9/3/1958 Motu Proprio (Pius XII), Part F.81.d: :

    [...the playing of the organ and all other musical instruments is prohibited during...] Offices and Masses of the Dead.


    This applies to the EF, of course.

    Today, funerals are Happy Clappy; we all know that when the casket goes out of the nave, the soul immediately hits Heaven. Right??
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    So the rubric is about 60 years old?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,643
    De Musica Sacra after §81 quoted above :-
    83. However, during the seasons, and days just mentioned, the following exceptions to the rule may be made:
    ...
    c) the organ only may be used at Mass, and Vespers for the sole purpose of supporting the singing.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    Yes, but "the days" are specified: "Septua.....Sexa......Quinqua.....and on the Ferials following these Sundays".

    I don't read "offices and Masses for the dead" into "days".
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    my question is, did the rubric hold throughout the centuries that the organ was never employed for the Requiem?
  • De musica sacra et sacra liturgia was NOT a motu proprio! I doubt Pius XII had much more to do with it than signing a document presented to him by the pontifical commission.
  • I would think one would try to model the idea of the Requiem - simple music - in any arrangement. The melodies of the Requiem are not florid for a reason.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    @madorganist: Mgr. Hayburn called it a Motu Proprio. You can look it up. Are you saying that unless a Pope wrote it himself it is not an M.P? That would be novel.

    Francis, there are at least 6 Requiem Masses using instrumentation. It's likely that every one was used in a Church for a funeral and I sang all of those over the years--in a concert hall. The JFK funeral featured Mozart's version, e.g.

    But it's not exactly shocking that Bishops and Cardinals ignore Vatican prescriptions, is it?
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,892
    The requiem for JFK at St Matthew's Cathedral in Washington did not feature Mozart's or any other complete setting for the Requiem Mass, but a composite of divers bits (though the actual record is not fully complete for some reason...*). Suffice it to say it was not one of the great highlights of Catholic sacred music history.

    It was the requiem Mass (broadcast) offered 8 weeks later in January 1964 at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross where the Mozart Requiem setting was used, with the BSO as orchestra under the baton of Erich Leinsdorf.

    * Thomas Day commented here in 2014:

    https://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/comment/137179#Comment_137179
  • Mgr. Hayburn called it a Motu Proprio. You can look it up. Are you saying that unless a Pope wrote it himself it is not an M.P? That would be novel.
    That's literally the definition of a motu proprio. Hayburn is mistaken here.
    The words signify that the provisions of the rescript were decided on by the pope personally, that is, not on the advice of the cardinals or others, but for reasons which he himself deemed sufficient. (Catholic Encyclopedia)
    In Catholic canon law, it refers to a document issued by the pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him. Such a document may be addressed to the whole Church, to part of it, or to some individuals. A document issued motu proprio has its legal effect even if the reasons given for its issuance are found to be false or fraudulent, a fact which would normally render the document invalid. Its validity is based on its issuance by the pope by his own initiative, not upon the reasons alleged. (Wikipedia)
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,565
    did the rubric hold throughout the centuries that the organ was never employed for the Requiem?

    The Catholic church music publishers of the early 20th century printed a plethora of Requiems with organ, including for solo/unison voices. These were independent (though usually simple) organ parts, not continuo or "for rehearsal only". If there were a rubric against use of the organ, it was being flagrantly disregarded by publishers who needed to be observant about such things. This is before we consider the several centuries of orchestral Requiems before that.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,643
    As the title shows, De musica sacra ... is not motu proprio nor papal.
    De musica sacra et sacra liturgia
    Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy
    Sacred Congregation for Rites - September 3, 1958

    It explains at the end
    This instruction on sacred music, and the sacred liturgy was submitted to His Holiness Pope Pius XII by the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. His Holiness deigned to give his special approval and authority to all its prescriptions. He also commanded that it be promulgated, and be conscientiously observed by all to whom it applies.
    A papal document motu proprio contains words like this (from Tra le Sollicitudine):-
    We do therefore publish, motu proprio and with certain knowledge, Our present Instruction to which, as to a juridical code of sacred music, We will with the fullness of Our Apostolic Authority that the force of law be given, and We do by Our present handwriting impose its scrupulous observance on all.

    Given that De musica sacra ... claims to be simply a consolidation of existing legislation, we still need a source for the prohibition of the organ at a requiem before we can fully understand it.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • we still need a source for the prohibition of the organ at a requiem before we can fully understand it.
    Predmore cites the Caeremoniale Episcoporum and S.R.C. 2959, 1; 1490, 8; 4243, 5, and notes that "However, the organ may be used at these times and for these Masses as an accompaniment for the singing. Silent organa, cum silet cantus." The Catholic Encyclopedia also mentions that the organ may be used to accompany singing during Advent and Lent and at Masses for the dead, but that it must cease with the singing. It goes without saying that ecclesiastical legislation on music is often modified by custom and local regulations.
  • ecclesiastical legislation on music is often modified by custom and local regulations.ignored when inconvenient
  • ignored when inconvenient
    That too! In all seriousness though, it's right there in the text:
    Local Ordinaries may determine more precisely the application of these prohibitions, and permissions according to the approved local or regional customs. (De musica sacra 83)
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,643
    But was there any legislation on this particular point? I don't have Predmore (Sacred Music of the Catholic Church, 1934), but I see that the summary of Chapter 13 (the Funeral Service) says
    ... The organ is not to be used to express the sorrow of the occasion, but only to sustain the singing.
    so neatly expressed by the aphorism cited by madorganist.
    I don't have Heyburn's compendium of legislation either. What, if anything, does that say?
  • But was there any legislation on this particular point?
    Yes, in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum: https://www.ceremoniaire.net/print/caer_ep/Caeremoniale_Ep-latin.pdf
    p. 51 ff., some of which may have been modified by subsequent legislation.

    The regulations for the Province of Rome were more restrictive and specified that the organ may be used to accompany the singing during Advent and Lent and at Masses for the dead in a subdued manner only in cases of real necessity (no. 26). The current FSSP Ordo also includes the words if necessary (p. 40), but the former Ecclesia Dei Commission answered several dubia about sacred music including a question about whether the custom of congregational singing accompanied by the organ throughout the year is considered sufficient to constitute "necessity":
    Dubium: In churches where the congregation sings parts of the Ordinary of the Mass antiphonally with the schola cantorum, and where the faithful are accustomed to rely on the sound of the organ as their cue to sing, is such use of the organ sufficient to constitute "necessity" during Advent and Lent and at Masses for the dead?
    Responsum: In the affirmative. (Protocol N. 39/2011L)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    Why do I have the gut wrenching feeling this is going down a rabbit hole and I will never get clarity?
  • Organ accompaniment is unobjectionable so long as "when there is no singing the organ should remain silent" is observed. Anyone who says otherwise either 1. doesn't know what he's talking about, 2. is stuck in another century, or 3. both 1 & 2. It would be straining at gnats to argue that organ during a half measure of vocal rest violates this principle.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    wow madorganist... you ARE appropriately named.
  • Francis I was thinking the same thing. How often do questions from an original post go unanswered? More frequently than you might imagine.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    so......................

    is it a considerable task to compose a full Mass in the style I have posted above? or will it meet considerable opposition and be frowned upon? I suspect both.

    I spoke directly to an FSSP priest this morning and he suggested the same as what you are saying madorganist.

    ALTHOUGH, the use of the organ is probably enlisted to support the Gregorian Chant, not a completely new composition.

    http://archive.ccwatershed.org/media/pdfs/17/03/31/18-52-23_0.pdf
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    Frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn. I can say with certainty that if I am ever asked (again) to be the musician or choir director at an EF Funeral Mass, THERE WILL BE NO ORGAN, NO PIANO, NO FLUTE...........nada. Zero. Zip.

    Unlike some others here, I don't worship "progress," so the Mass (and the regulations) of the last 1500 years are just fine.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    dad...

    apparently you have had a bad experience.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • I haven't had a bad experience, but I am one of those that things like Mozart's requiem are NOT the ideal for requiem Masses. Another poster made a reference to my opinion on the matter: given the official music (i.e. the ordinary and proper chants given for a requiem), the requiem Mass is supposed to be more simple and subdued. I suppose that wouldn't necessarily mean the organ can never be minimally used, but to my mind that would mean, especially given the legislation over the centuries, it shouldn't feature as an essential part of the music.

    Polyphonic settings, while unaccompanied and more desirable than orchestral Masses, are likewise not the ideal.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    OK, I reviewed the tape. Hayburn did NOT refer to the 9/1958 Instruction as a "Motu Proprio." I mis-transposited a line.

    Since it's merely an "Instruction" given by the highest Vatican authority, well.........who cares??

    @Francis: yes. I'm more and more understanding of "the democracy of the dead"--Tradition--and the rules (actually, safeguards) emplaced by that 'democracy.' We've seen "progress" and have been part of it. It doesn't work.
  • Since it's merely an "Instruction" given by the highest Vatican authority, well.........who cares??
    Exactly - an instruction given by the highest Vatican authority explicitly mentioning the lawfulness of organ accompaniment when solo organ playing is forbidden and explicitly authorizing local ordinaries to regulate its provisions, both prohibitive and permissive, according to approved local or regional customs. Sounds like a hard pill to swallow for some here!
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,892
    Hermeneutic of continuity....
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 235
    Hermeneutic of continuity....


    ....means that all the propers at Requiems are to be sung to a psalm tone by the organist, except the sequence, which is sung at ♪=180; the ordinary a hair slower.

    On a less facetious note, Francis, I would think organ/solo voice would get the most use. The rare sort of people who would care to spend hundreds of dollars on a pro quartet, or yet more on a choir, for their funeral, probably already want Victoria or Mozart or Fauré or Duruflé's Requiems. Soloist and organist probably already are included in most parishes' funeral fees, and are pretty much the default forces at hand for Catholic funerals in the US. Thus, if you want your work sung more often, I would write for that combination.
    Thanked by 2madorganist francis
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,892
    Gamba: Be sure to make A4=277Hz.
    Thanked by 1Schönbergian
  • I'd love to hear what you come up with on any of those combinations. Agreed that organ and voice would get more use, including at OF Masses.

    I know there are a lot of requiems out there, but rarely do most actually work for liturgical use, so any addition to the repertoire would be amazing.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,565
    I think it's time for a purple text refresher course.
    lessthan font color=purple greaterthan YOUR TEXT HERE lessthan /font color greaterthan
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,111
    I agree that a lovely addition to the repertoire would be terrific, especially if it were accompanied.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,968
    the Mass (and the regulations) of the last 1500 years are just fine.
    Still waiting on the regulations, aren't we? As to the Mass, my impression is that even apart from 'concert Requiems', so-called, organ alternatim verses were the weekday norm for Dies Irae: they're abundant in 18c-19c sources and testimony, from Goethe's stage directions in the cathedral scene in Faust I to Delacroix's account of what he listened to while painting St. Suplice.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,210
    Or, as Jeffrey remarks:

    <font color=purple> YOUR (purple) TEXT HERE </font>

    Which results in: YOUR (purple) TEXT HERE
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,380
    OK... here is a sample of the chant set to a simple organ accomp. let me know what you all think if i were to set the entire Mass in this fashion.

    The idea of course is to keep the organ to the bare minimum with very little intrusion into the harmonic structure of the chant. It is just as a support and only adds a very small amount of harmonic color.
    2202 x 2882 - 158K
  • I like that very much! I can't wait to see and try out the final arrangement.
    Thanked by 1francis