O Sacrum Convivium - SATB - Communion Motet
  • Here is another small eucharistic piece for general use and consideration. I have attached a PDF (free to copy and distribute) as well as a rather dreadful synthesizer rendition.

    Our choir has continued to add members, so I have written to accommodate their strengths.

    This interpretation of the hymn O Sacrum Convivium is romantic in harmonic language. It is structured in A-B-A'-C form, the chief musical idea being the modal interplay between the major and minor to (hopefully) symbolize the transformative nature of the Blessed Sacrament.

    I have added some verses from Psalm 34 to help extend and adapt the music.

    I hope someone gets some use out of it! I always welcome thoughts and compositional critique.

  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,696
    Liam, another excellent work. Your parish is so blessed to have you. I am continually amazed by the high-quality of the work you produce. This, too, will very likely end up in front of my choir this coming season.
  • Liam,

    The striking open D chord at the mention of the Passion is poignant.

    I appreciate the interplay between major and minor, and the octave (register) leaps, but I can not stress enough that the verses and the text "O Sacrum" should be in the same language.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,696
    Chris, you and I will have to agree to disagree on the verses being in the same language. There are plenty of reasons (at least when operating outside of the vetus ordo) to have such combinations, not least of which is when you're trying to edify the liturgy by degrees. There are also publications like 'Communio with English Verses' which arrange plainchant in exactly the same way. There are also choirs for whom comfort with latin is limited, and it is possible to teach them a slow-moving refrain, but greater difficulty would arise from asking them to chant quickly and fluently psalm verses that change every time.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Heath
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,137
    Beautifully crafted, Andrew, with wonderful harmonic motion.
  • Serviam,

    Thank you for not throwing me to the hungry hyenas in our disagreement. I understand your approach, and at one point I might have agreed with the wisdom of it. At present, I would advocate handing off the psalm verses to cantors.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,696
    Certainly a valid option, too. I would likely do the same thing, or at least drop down to women-only or men-only. And I'd likely try and prepare two versions, one with english verses and one with latin ones. But these other approaches not-withstanding, I think Liam's setting is great as-is too.

    I've joked to a few souls that "I would be perfectly fine if we all fell down, bonked our heads, and decided to revert exclusively to the TLM tomorrow and never look back." So I assure you I have no aversion to Latin. But I minister in a novus ordo parish now, and I have parishioners who get leery when there's "too much Latin" (however that's quantified). Hybrid works like this have been a nice middle-ground for me, where the schola can do something fancier in latin, but then the PiP's get their dose of english too, so their feathers aren't too ruffled.
    Thanked by 1RedPop4
  • [Twinkle in eye]

    So, Serviam, your thoroughly Vatican II parish rejects the Council's admonition that the Congregation should be able to make all of its responses in Latin? Someone call Pope Francis, who's out this morning with a document about restorationists rejecting the Council!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,696
    Your barb is accepted in the spirit in which it was intended.

    On a more serious note, we are, in fact, well ahead of the curve on that front. The choir sings in latin just about every week, we have solemn latin propers a multiple times a year, and we sing full latin ordinaries throughout all of lent and advent. I include snippets from various magisterial documents whenever I have room left over in the worship aids, which include various reminders throughout the year that Holy Mother Church actually expects us to be singing in Latin, and I frequently lecture the choir about the 'why' we do what we do.
  • Thank you for the comments!

    I have produced an revised edition with latin verses; here are both english and latin arrangements. There are some other minor edits and a slightly different amen as well.

    I suppose, being a "cradle Anglican Use Catholic" and now ordinariate musician, that I am utterly used to macaronic arrangements. I would even say it is inherent to our Liturgy, since the body of sacral poetry and traditional translations like the Coverdale psalter are part of the patrimonial heritage which we preserve alongside the Roman traditions
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,807
    It's really nice, which is about as much musical comment as I can offer. Re: syllabification: I believe it's "Gu-sta-te."
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,137
    I really like this work, Liam. One question (which I had from the start): Have you considered changing the tenor B-flat (last note of m.9) to a B-natural? To me it sounds better and fits the mode better. Having a minor 7th against the soprano just seems better than a major 7th here.

    Sort of reminds me of a recommendation (which I thought was excellent and adopted) that you made to me about raising the pitch of a note by a semitone (in my "If ye love me").
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,137
    Oops! It was Heath that lobbied for raising the pitch by a semitone in my work. Sorry for being a bit foggy.
    Thanked by 1Heath