Memorial Acclamation and Amen to accompany Missa de Angelis
  • When singing Missa de Angelis at mass (Ordinary Form), I have always disliked using the mode four version of the Mortem Tuam. I find the contrast between mode six for the Sanctus and Agnus Dei and mode four for the Mortem Tuam kind of jarring. I decided to write a setting of Mortem Tuam to mode six to match. Here is the end result. Comments and suggestions are very welcome.

    I also made an Amen to mode six. I did not write new material, but instead borrowed the opening melody from the Sanctus. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

    I give permission for you sing these at mass as well as write your own accompaniments.
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 465
    Are you sure this is a good idea? It makes sense from one perspective, but what you really are doing is shoe-horning Mass VIII into the paradigm that has been established by all of those modern Mass settings that treat the memorial acclamation and the amen as being on par with the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei: which they are not.
  • Nathan,

    I find myself agreeing with Jonathan, except that I don't think he goes quite far enough. Yes, I understand that the goal is to get more chant at Mass, and more Latin and, at least seen through this lens, what you present is a stepping stone to meatier fare.

    Nevertheless, even admitting that there is a long tradition of something similar to what you've tried to do here, I can't conclude that this is a good idea.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    The Syrian custom of a chant addressed to the Lamb of God was introduced into the Roman Rite Mass by Pope Sergius I (687–701)
    No doubt some objected vociferously.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Hawkins,

    Some probably bleated incessantly that the inclusion of such a chant was, "Bah! Humbug!"?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    Well if you are going to do this the Missa de Angelis is ideal, as it is a modern composition compared to the others!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    One can hear this 'de Angelis Amen' done at Glenstall Abbey : https://www.churchservices.tv/glenstal/archive/recordings/u4CoA7eBsHlUVgX , canon ends about 45:00.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 555
    Something like the Salvator mundi adaption I posted a while back seems to work better, by means of not cluttering up Mortem tuam with yet more arrangements. Having one distinct setting for each acclamation is the best we can do to stave off the nonsensicality (some might say idiocy) of having three options with no way of telegraphing to the congregation which is to be used.
  • Jonathan, could you explain what you mean by the memorial acclamation and amen not being equal to the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei? It was my understanding that they are all part of the ordinary and therefore equal in importance to the mass.

    Hawkins, I didn't know anyone else has already done this with the amen.

    Schonbergian, I chose to set Mortem Tuam since it is my preferred memorial acclamation. I like that it identifies the sacrifice of the cross as the same sacrifice as the mass. We tend to do Mortem Tuam/We Proclaim Your Death most often at Sunday mass. Since we really don't change which text we use, we don't really run into the issue of confusing the congregation.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    Nathan - neither did I, until I started searching for Mass online while we were 'stay at home as much as possible'. Incidentally I notice Glenstal follow that with a rather poor rendering of the Our Father based on Rimsky-Korsakov. Unaccompanied they don't sound good, but if you look at their Saturday evening Office of the Resurrection they do much better with discreet organ to keep them in tune.
    [Aside] anyone know of this Office of the Resurrection? Is it something they have adopted from the Orthodox?
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 555
    The Amen is not part of the Ordinary - it's merely one of the many dialogues of the Mass. I'm honestly unsure as to where this conception of it as a "Great Amen" equal to the other parts of the Ordinary came from.

    As for the Memorial Acclamation, it's a conciliar invention and therefore doesn't feature in any great Masses from the canon, nor "The Eighteen"; the official Gregorian melodies are adaptations of other chants. As well, its placement in the Mass (immediately following the Consecration) would make anything remotely through-composed borderline inappropriate, in my view. (To say nothing of the happy-clappy MAs from Schutte and their ilk. I have to wonder if any of them actually attended Mass or contemplated just what crazy things the priest was doing with bread and wine at the altar at that point, because what some of them consider worthy as a "response" to the Consecration is somewhat hilarious, saddening, and baffling in equal measure.)
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    People say
    The Great ‘Amen’
    St. Jerome once said that great “Amen” is a celestial thunderclap as heaven says “Amen” to this with us. This is the one and only sacrifice re-presented here on the altar and all altars around the world.
    But is it true? Has anybody a reference, and I don't mean to an unsupported remark by Jungmann or any other members of the Liturgical Movement. The Exsultet speaks of the mighty voices of the people shaking the rafters, I like the idea that this refers to the assent of the people at the end of the Canon, but is it (or was it ever) rooted in our liturgy?
  • Schonbergian, didn't the council create the memorial acclamation to end the practice of splitting the Sanctus and Benedictus to create a response after the consecration? My understanding is that the three options for the memorial acclamation better served as this response and restored the full text of the Sanctus and Benedictus to their proper place in the mass.

    On the melody that I put together for the memorial acclamation, does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve it? Are there any spots that you think would be awkward to sing out anything that could flow better?
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 465
    Historically, when composers would set the ordinary, they would set the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus-Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. Perhaps also the Deo gratias for the final dismissal. A random fact that did stick in my head from music history class, the first musically unified setting of the ordinary is the Messe de Nostre Dame of Guillaume de Machaut, which is from sometime in the 1300's.

    The Benedictus was never a "response", because the consecration was silent as far as what was spoken by the priest. So there was nothing that was being responded to.

    Side note: in De Musica Sacra (1958) there is already a provision that "the Sanctus and Benedictus, if chanted in Gregorian, must be sung without a break".

    The Ordo Cantus Missae is the book describes how the chants of the 1908 Vatican Edition of the Graduale Romanum are to be arranged for use with the novus ordo Mass. The only chants which it provides are new items not present in the GR 1908. In the section "Cantus in Ordine Missae Occurrentes", the old Kyriale Romanum is incorporated by reference, and the selection of tones is thus left as it was in the GR 1908. On the other hand, the memorial acclamation and the amen, along with the priests parts that introduce them, are set forth in full, because they are novelties. For both of these, only one melody is given for the response. If the desire was for these to "match" the melodies of the ordinary, the creators of the OCM would have had to provide such melodies, and they did not. That would have been very jarring: 18-plus melodies being lavished on a newly invented feature, not to mention the hubris of implying that this novelty is of the same significance as texts which have been sung for 1,000 years or more.

    One thing to note, there are two options given for these priest parts in OCM, a simple and a more ornate version, but otherwise basically the same tone: that is why the response is the same either way. I don't know that it is permissible to change the tones which the priest uses, I believe he is bound to use what is in the books. So for a chanted response, you are stuck with what is in the books.

    Once you do something different, you are singing a composed setting, not chant. In this case it amounts to encouraging the congregation to consider Mass VIII as not being chant! (As being just another one of those modern Mass settings with a matching memorial acclamation and amen.)
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,596
    To me the problem is that the Mortem tuam and the Amen are different in function than the Ordinary of the Mass. Unfortunately, the custom has arisen today to refer to anything that the people sing/say at Mass as "responses", even if they aren't really responding to anything, like the Gloria in excelsis. This is anything but true, the Ordinary (K.G.C.S.-B.A.) are distinct chants, prayers which are sung for their own sake, similar to, but distinct from the Proper. The Mortem tuam and the Amen are responses in the true sense.

    Ideally, the priest should be chanting his parts as they are in the Roman Missal/Missale Romanum, and the people's response should be in the same tone. The Mortem tuam is the response to Mysterium Fidei, and the Amen is the response to the Doxology (Per ipsum, &c.), and are, incidentally not so much in Mode IV (although the Mortem is an adaptation of the Mode IV chant "Crucem tuam" from the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday), but simply in what for lack of a better term could be called the Solemn Missal Tone. That is, if you look at the altar missal (including the appendices) the tones for the Sign of the Cross, Greeting, Collect, Lesson, Epistle, Gospel, Super oblata, Preface, Canon (including the Mysterium Fidei and Per ipsum), Praeceptis salutaribus, Embolism, Pax, Postcommunion, and Blessing are all in the same tone (with some variation for various parts). A unique exception to this is the Paternoster which has its own discrete melody, though, if one looks closely, one will notice that the music for Et ne nos, &c., is the same as the other versicles (per omnia..., pax Domini, and so on). (Incidentally, Sanctus & Agnus XVIII are considered the most ancient because they are simply extensions of the "Solemn Missal tone".)

    While your settings are quite good, and when sung (without the priest's parts) in connexion with Mass VIII, make sense, how will they sound if they are preceded and followed by the priests proper (i.e. correct) chant (which is vaguely in Mode IV)? To me, they sound out of place.

    And, frankly, I think that the "Great Amen" needs to go the way of the dodo, and the sooner the better. (We deep-sixed the G.A. about four years ago and haven't looked back.)
  • Sidebar warning:

    deep-sixed the G.A. about four years ago and haven't looked back.)


    When I see this response called the Great Amen, I can't help thinking of a parish simply eons ago which sang "Ay-men; Ay-men; Ay-men; Ay-men;Ay-men; Alleluia" [rinse. repeat] by Joe Wise?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,839
    @Nathan_the_Organist
    didn't the council create the memorial acclamation to end the practice of splitting the Sanctus and Benedictus to create a response after the consecration? My understanding is that the three options for the memorial acclamation better served as this response and restored the full text of the Sanctus and Benedictus to their proper place in the mass.


    Well older Liber Usualis have older Rubrics that 'suggested' that the Benedictus to be sung after the Consecration. Whether this make sense is another matter... but the Gregorian settings had all been re-unified by De Musica Sacra (1958) so this was done a few years before the council.

    The problem for the EF is that the Sanctus is sung by the choir while the priest is reading the Canon, in most cases by the time we have finished singing the priest is ready to begin the Consecration, Polyphonic settings are usually split as they take to long and can delay the Mass. But what do you do with the silence after the Consecration...
    Do you do what we do and split the Sanctus and sing the Benedictus?
    Do you sing some other motet such as the Ave Verum, that was probably written for this time during the Mass?
    Do you do what the Schola Sainte Cecile do and sing the O Salutaris to the tone of the season?
    Do you do what a friend in Europe does and play an organ improvisation of the Benedictus? (He liked our practise but was banned from splitting the Sanctus!)
    Or do you just sing Polyphonic settings?

    Of course we could embrace the silence... or perhaps the crying of children etc.

    As for the N.O. Mass, the addition of the Response to the Mysterium Fidei seems to be added to give the congregation something to do... or to wake them up.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 866
    Firstly, I agree very much with the sentiments expressed above...

    With regards to this offering itself, I personally find the setting of the "mortem Tuam" to be very awkward.

    Beginning with the first neum of "Domine," there is trouble, because repeating that do, with Mass VIII in mind, is very unnatural and confusing.
    "Domine" would either need to begin on re-fa, or just cut out the do-re and begin on fa (possibly even being syllabic, just to show that the change is intentional, and not trying to be the Agnus Dei).

    From there, it feels odd to jump backwards to the "melody" of the +Benedictus, when you're coming off an introductory phrase belonging to the Agnus Dei... it just doesn't flow from one melodic idea to the other, when each is so obviously belonging to something else.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Salieri, I didn't know that the Mortem Tuam melody came from the Missal itself. I always assumed it came with Jubilate Deo or another similar resource. That does change how I feel about using that melody during mass. I also noticed the similarities between it and the Crucem Tuam from Good Friday.

    Tom, thanks for the explanation. I knew a little of the history of it, but not all.

    CCooze, thanks for the input on the melody. I have very limited experience in writing music and appreciate you taking the time to point out a couple of those spots. I may try to rewrite it, though given what Salieri said about the other melody coming from the Missal itself, I may give up on trying to write a setting of Mortem Tuam.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,596
    I would suggest that you continue working on it---even if you never end up using it at Mass, it is still good as an exercise to hone one's skill in the composition and adaptation of plainchant.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,221
    Wow, I can't believe that so many of you are so critical! First off, the poster made it clear that this was for the ORDINARY form, and ALL of you started right off talking about whether this was proper (no pun...) for the EF.
    I don't understand the criticisms at all about "authenticity" the MDA is clearly a hodgepodge anyway from like 200 years of chant.... What is "Authentic" about this?
    I share the questions about the memorial Acclimation and it's "unhistoricity". However we are stuck with it, and the poster is just trying to offer something practical to solve an obvious problem. Give the dude a break!
    Thanked by 1ncicero
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 465
    @ghmus7, contrary to what you say above, we have indeed been discussing the idea in the context of the OF, and the arguments are in no way specific to the Missa de Angelis.

    A comment, I can't remember when I heard it, but in my memory I think maybe it was David Hughes, who observed that whereas historically the Mass ordinary set by composers was:

    Kyrie
    Gloria
    Credo
    Sanctus-Benedictus
    Agnus Dei
    [possibly Deo gratias]

    The stereotypical modern composer instead has usually set:

    Lord have mercy
    Glory to God
    [No Creed]
    Holy, Holy, Holy
    Memorial Acclamation
    Great Amen
    Lamb of God

    If the absurdity of this is not readily apparent, that is only because this is what so many parishes have become used to over the past fifty years or so. The chants provided by the novus ordo Missal/OCM/Graduale do not follow this trend, and rightly so.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    JonathanKK I can see why composers do not now set the Creed - GIRM 68. "The Creed is to be sung or said by the Priest together with the people ...". And the Memorial Acclamation and 'Great' Amen were new elements which as Taft observed are likely to attract greater creativity. So it was predictable, the absurdity is less obvious to me.
    Judging by the eventual official treatment of Sequences, after the great flowering of these under Notker of St Gall and Adam of St Victor, the church will eventually find a point of balance for these novelties of our age (though we will be dead).
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    In the USA, singing the Creed was actively discouraged in non-legislative guidance and even 2007's "Sing to The Lord" provided:

    170. The Creed is said by the entire assembly. Because it is an expression of faith by “the
    whole gathered people,” the participation of all present should be carefully safeguarded,
    whether it is said or sung. “If it is sung, it is begun by the Priest or, if this is appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir. It is sung, however, either by all together or by the people alternating with the choir.” The use of a congregational refrain may be helpful in this regard.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    GIRM(1975) #44. Recitation of the profession of faith ... . If it is sung, as a rule all are to sing it together or in alternation.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    And GIRM (2011-USA), after STTL:

    68. The Creed is to be sung or said by the Priest together with the people on Sundays and Solemnities. It may be said also at particular celebrations of a more solemn character. If it is sung, it is intoned by the Priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir. It is then sung either by everybody together or by the people alternating with the choir. If it is not sung, it is to be recited by everybody together or by two choirs responding one to the other.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Music in Catholic Worship (1972):

    69. This is a communal profession of faith in which". . . the people who have heard the Word of God in the lesson and in the homily may assent and respond to it, and may renew in themselves the rule of faith as they begin to celebrate the Eucharist." It is usually preferable that the Creed be spoken in declamatory fashion rather than sung. If it is sung, it might more effectively take the form of a simple musical declamation rather than an extensive and involved musical structure.

    [Liturgical Music Today (1982) didn't update/modify this guidance.]
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    The Amen at the end of every Gloria* and Creed, in both GR and GS, is more elaborate than that given for the EP , I would say at least the elaboration of Gloria XV is warranted by the supreme importance of the EP. Acknowledging that it must match the sobriety of the chant of the prayer itself.
    *(one exception, the more hispano in GS)
  • Though, wouldn't the GIRM be the most authoritative document on whether the Creed can be sung? Since it permits singing the Creed, the other documents (such as Sing to the Lord) are unnecessary to determine the validity. Documents like Sing to the Lord, as pastoral guidance, could be used to determine best practice within the legal options. But even then it would vary with the individual parish and what they have the ability to sing.
    Thanked by 2JonathanKK tomjaw
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 555
    A refrain-based Credo might be one of the worst ideas I've ever heard.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    Haas composed one (under the title "We Believe") in 1988 for a set of music for Christian Initiation, using the Apostles Creed as reference text. The refrain went "We believe in one God. We believe in one Lord. We believe in one Spirit." The last word was shoehorned into the melodic rhythm, and the whole thing was beyond awkward. It's the only one I encountered.

    In contrast, Mozart's Missa Brevis in F, K. 192, famously featured his Do-Re-Fa-Mi signature for "Credo" at hinges in the text.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zus7UlSTZp4
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 555
    And Mozart's use of the same idea is decidedly inferior to his treatment of the same text in the same summer (K. 194). At least the point in Mozart was thematic unity, despite being done better by other examples of his work. In a congregational setting, all it does is reduce the Creed to something simplistic and ultimately meaningless.
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 465
    @a_f_hawkins, the elaborateness of a chant does not necessarily correspond to importance. It is more a matter of musical form. In this case elaboration in the chant is not warranted, because it is a response to the priest's words which are sung in one of the preface tones.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw hilluminar
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Either of the attached Amens work perfectly with Missa de Angelis
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,221
    I am with you all concerning the incongruous and unhistorical nature of the Memorial Acclamation and the great amen.
    However, I believe that we are not free to simply ignore those in a NO Mass.

    As Fr. March used to say "The great amen? What's so great about it?"
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 555
    You can "ignore" the "great" Amen by simply reciting it or using the Gregorian formulae, neither of which harm the rite or its prescriptions in any ways and will, at worst, damage the egos of composers who composed them and didn't know any better.

    As for the MA, I use the chant settings as lightly accompanied as possible, usually unison only.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    It feels unsatisfactory to me when the doxology of the EP is sung that the rest of can't join in the culmination of the sacrifice we have offered (meum ac vestrum sacrificium) in a less terse manner. The Missal Amens match the two note orations, not the four note range of the doxology.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,596
    The problem with the Great Amen as it is set by composers these days (Shenk, Proulx, Joncas, Hass, et al.) is that it intrudes. It isn't a grand utterance, like the Gloria or Sanctus, only one word (and that usually repeated ad infinitum). Has anyone really listened to how odd it sounds for a priest to chant the Missal tone for the Doxology, outlining a pentatonic scale, and then having the organ and people (plus brass or whatever) blast out the Great Amen in one of the usual settings?

    I never thought anything of it, myself, until after the Missal Translation changed and we were using the Missal tone for the Mystery of Faith (Save us, Savior...), I began to feel that the Danish Amen or the Shenk "Mass of St. Therese" Amen that we had been using before seemed out of place with the Mystery of Faith from the Missal (I didn't like any of the re-adaptations for any of those Masses, and the pastor wanted to use only form C): With the Old ICEL/ICET version, the Acclamation and Amen (Christ has died/Amen) were always a set. Now that we have only been doing the simple chant Amen (and the Missal tone Acclamaiton), I always find that the through-composed Amens connected with various Mass settings seem out of place, too grand. Too much amPHASis on the wrong thing.

    Sometimes the most important parts of liturgy are shown by their simplicity. After all, the Gospel Tone is the simpler than the Epistle Tone; The Canon (including the words of institution) used to be said silently; The Orations are all set to simple tones, but the Graduals are highly florid. Personally, because of the importance of the Eucharistic Prayer, I feel that the Amen after the doxology should be simple.

    (This, of course, is not to denigrate the work of the composer who started this thread.)
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    I agree, not elaborate, just more substance than for the orations, on these lines :image
    I suggest that is sufficient to show the relative significance, but I do think it needs to be shown.
    408 x 112 - 2K
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 465
    Well, that is just not how it is. And I think that its significance is thus different than you would suppose.

    The "Great Amen" does seem to get a lot of hype in novus ordo circles of thought. I am not sure to what extent the documents call for this. But the chant does not play this game. You can say that those responsible for preparing the official chant for the novus ordo failed in not creating something special to go along with this great new emphasis that was in the air; I say that they had sense enough to leave things be.

    A thought:

    If textually this is the conclusion of the Canon, yet musically it is a beginning, and preparatory to what follows.
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • I say that they had sense enough to leave things be.


    The rest of the reform program would seem to give this idea little support.
    Thanked by 1CCooze