• A new liturgical year has dawned upon us. What are your musical plans for Advent?

    My home parish is pretty much playing it safe this year. The opening hymn for all Sundays of Advent will be two verses of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” When we met in October to plan the music, we figured we’d throw the congregation a bone. It’s one of those hymns that they’ll belt and seemingly don’t tire of throughout the season. The other hymns in the sandwich will be standard Advent hymns. We did plan “The King of Glory” for one Sunday, much to my chagrin. I detest that hymn.

    Per the request of our clergy team, Mass parts will be from the Chant Mass VIII. We typically do that during Advent and Lent. I really wish we’d do it periodically in Ordinary Time so as not to associate chant with the penitential seasons, but I seem to be fighting an uphill battle with that one. On a positive note, the parish has really come around to singing the Sanctus and Mortem tuam. This is a parish that used to be very hesitant toward anything Latin, save for the Agnus Dei. That’s a plus!
  • I’ll be honest: there are two musical trends that bother me: the first is making Veni Emmanuel the entrance hymn on Advent I, and the second is singing it every sing Sunday of Advent. Both of these things seem to be very common, and I simply don’t understand the appeal. Veni Emmanuel is a trope of one of the “O antiphons” which are not chanted until the very end of Advent, which is why I save it until Advent IV, so it roughly coincides with when it would otherwise occur naturally in the liturgy of the hours. The other thing that saddens me about these trends (and I promise I don’t mean to pick on you; as I said, you’re hardly alone in these trends, and I understand there are pressures from others around you at the parish) is that singing O Come, O Come every week also prevents you from being able to sing other wonderful Advent hymns for at least 3 weeks. There are LOTS of good Advent hymns, so singing the same hymn over and over again makes little sense to me, especially when that’s one of a handful of hymns that people will also be hearing outside of church on the radio, etc.


    For our part, we are doing “entrance antiphon hymns” from antiphon renewal every week, followed immediately by one of Fr. Weber’s anglicized versions of the actual proper itself (we also sing the communion antiphons every week) while the altar is being incensed . Our alleluia is one of my own which is derived from the Rorate Cæli Desuper chant https://youtu.be/sF3uz0ypv-0 (on Gaudete Sunday we will temporarily switch to this one which is a trope of Genevan 42 / Comfort, Comfort Ye: https://youtu.be/prc1irTIo1g ) and then every Sunday we will be singing Missa XVII which is the mass proper to Advent on Sundays. (Mass VIII is for weekdays; this we will do at ‘all school masses’ during the week.). We have a series of motets in Latin scheduled for the Advent season, with each one corresponding to either a proper or one of the day’s readings. We end every mass with the Alma Redemptoris Mater which is the Marian Antiphon proper to this season. Soft [preludes and] postludes will book-end the Mass; we want to keep the season penitential, so while I will play, it will be restrained to allow for a contrast with the Christmas Season itself (and Gaudete Sunday).
  • CatholicZ09,

    I'm sad to hear most of what you have written in this post, but most especially the bit about the existence of a committee who choose the music for the Sundays of Advent. The existence of a "clergy team" is nearly as anxiety-provoking.

    I don't know how to embed videos here (and my computer probably wouldn't let me, if I did know) but I'm tempted to put up a Star Trek episode in which Lieutenant Worf and the crew find a group of Klingons who teach their battle songs as mewling lullabies for children.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Chris,

    It’s certainly not glamorous, but that’s the state of the parish at the present. The clergy themselves call themselves the “clergy team,” and I just go along with it. The liturgy/worship committee was started two MDs ago. It has its pros and cons, but overall, it’s been beneficial to the parish. I can see how it wouldn’t work everywhere.

    I will say that there have been a lot of strides made in my time there, but as a committee member and non-MD, I can only make so much change. We are in a better spot than when I started 10 years ago, though. I wish I could do more, but alas, here we are.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Chanting Mass VIII during the penitential seasons seems really strange to me since most parishes (that I am aware of) use it during Easter and Christmas due to its joyful sound and famous Gloria. Also strange since there's an actual Mass dedicated to Sundays of Advent and Lent (XVII).
  • Chrism
    Posts: 842
    If Veni Emmanuel is sung every week of Advent, I'm wondering if the homily repeats as well. Not that that would be a problem necessarily.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CatholicZ09,

    I've seen parish committees and, for the most part, they're abject failures. I'm glad yours works. I'm glad that you've made great strides after 10 years.

    You say you're not the Music Director, but you sit on this committee, and have voice and vote. What's your position?
  • Things more or less as usual with my tiny group. We use the organ to play parts that were originally for voices (no independent accompaniments) or to accompany congregational singing, and that's it. Mostly doing old pieces. We'll be doing a composite 2-voice mass by Lotti: Kyrie (and Gloria) for TB bc, and Sanctus-Agnus originally TB unaccompanied, which I added continuo to. Probably this weekend, unless a certain key member can't make it. We were working on the Michael Haydn HM551 Missa pro Quadragesima, but I decided today that we weren't going to learn it in time. It looked like something totally in our wheelhouse: Note-against-note chant harmonization, with a continuo where we could leave parts out if necessary. But the S is just a little higher than the ladies are used to, the other parts are pretty angular (*I* have to work), and it's kind of elusive musically. We did a boildown of a Palestrina Conditor alme (not the one on YouTube) Sunday which could have gone better.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,605
    prevents you from being able to sing other wonderful Advent hymns
    I'd better speak up for Veni Emanuel, which for me has pride of place among 'wonderful hymns'.

    We use GIA's Catholic Community Hymnal and our three hymn sandwiches (Int, Post Comm., Recess.) this year were:

    Creator of the stars of night
    [the announced Taize Wait for the Lord made way for an extra Communion verse]
    Come O long expected Jesus

    Come O long expected Jesus
    The King shall come when morning dawns
    On Jordan's bank

    O come, divine Messiah
    Lo how a Rose
    Now bless the God of Israel (FOREST GREEN)

    Savior of the nations, come
    O come, O come Emanuel (vv.1-3)
    (vv. 4-7)

    What we might have made room for from that book were "People look east" and "My soul in stillness waits", both on the first Friday school Mass. Dodged a bullet with "The King of glory comes" though, and I'm almost ecstatic that "The first Noel" will have to make way this year ;-)
  • As it turned out...

    Proper: Full Gregorian

    Ordinary for Sundays: Mass XVII, Credo I

    Ordinary for Immaculate Conception: Hassler, Missa Secunda, Credo III, Et incarnatus est, J. Flaherty

    Ordinary for Rorate Caeli Mass: Lassus, Missa ad imitationem moduli "Tous les regretz" a 6

    Marian Antiphon (post-Mass): Alma Redemptoris

    Motets: Dufay, Conditor Alme; Thompson, Rorate Caeli; Palestrina, Alma Redemptoris; Connolly, Ecce Virgo; Grieg, Ave Maris; Arcadelt, Ave Maria; Rheinberger, Marienhymne; Veni Redemptor Gentium, plainchant; Rathgeber, Offertoria for Advent II & III;

    Hymns: Hark! A Thrilling Voice; Lo, He Comes; The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky; Immaculate Mary; The Angel Gabriel; Ye Who Own the Faith of Jesus (ST PETERSBURG, w/o pickup); Comfort, Comfort Ye; O Come Divine Messiah; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel;
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen rich_enough
  • I'd better speak up for Veni Emanuel, which for me has pride of place among 'wonderful hymns'.
    I never said it shouldn’t be sung! I just said that I don’t think it right to do so at every advent mass, and I also think it a bit silly to schedule it as the first hymn of Advent I. I absolutely love the hymn itself, and schedule it every year without fail.
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • I also think it a bit silly to schedule it as the first hymn of Advent I.

    Then I, sir am a bit silly. I understand the notion of waiting until Advent IV. But even the small remnant of Catholics who know what the O Antiphons are, do not connect Veni Emmanuel to them as a paraphrase, and it makes no more sense to keep the best of all Advent hymns in reserve that it does to only sing Holy God We Praise Thy Name in the Office or on New Year's Eve.

    What am I missing?
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • Jeffrey,

    the best of all Advent hymns

    Hyperbole aside, what diet of hymns have you, such that your statement can/should be taken as true?
    But even the small remnant of Catholics who know what the O Antiphons are,

    Synod on Synodality, anyone?
    Teaching not received, and so not ....?
  • Chris:
    Yes, there's some hyperbole there. And stiff competition from Fr. Luther's crew. But in terms of doing what a hymn is supposed to do... Perhaps I should say "best loved".

    Perhaps Catholics SHOULD know what the O Antiphons are. My peeps do, because I've been doing then for the Offertory of Advent IV since 2014. But they're also TLM. which means they're self-selecting for fondness of tradition. Step into Our Lady of Low Ceilings and ask around, and you'll get different results. That may not necessarily be from lack of exposure. Maybe the O Antiphons aren't "all that".