Winter 2010 Sacred Music discussion---Choral Vespers
  • Blaise
    Posts: 422
    I noticed an article dealing with Catholic life before VII, namely one including a discussion of Vespers. Does anybody know of any Catholic church in the U.S. which regularly does Vespers on a weekly basis? I know that OLOW in Houston does Evensong using BCP some edition or another.

    My apologies if this is a repeat discussion.
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN chants vespers everying Sunday at 3 pm. It is mostly according to the traditional office, but with some adjustments, e.g. the hymn is moved to the beginning as in the LOTH. I am not aware of any more elaborate choral vespers at St. Agnes.

    The Minnesota Compline Choir sings Compline from the green Lutheran Hymnal every Sunday night at Hamline UMC in St. Paul. It is well done with a variety of good choral selections, now under the direction of James Biery.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I believe Vespers is still sung in some of the SSPX chapels. The afternoon Sunday Mass killed Vespers and Benediction even before the liturgical changes of Vatican II. There was a comment in another thread by someone with the SSPX chapel in Calgery about the liturgical practice there.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 422
    Yeah, I would like to see something going here in San Antonio, TX. It could be used as an additional form of public worship for Catholics (in this day in age, with all the strife in the world, we need all the prayer we can get, right?), together with Benediction of the blessed sacrament, as well as a way for Protestants from non-liturgical backgrounds to be introduced to liturgical worship. You can even use a deacon instead of a priest if necessary....and when seen beautifully done, worshippers might start wondering about the Mass they attend.....

    I was amazed at all the comments which even the anti-Catholics made in regard to our worship, namely the Mass, as stated in one of the articles of Sacred Music. Oh, if only they were true.....

    Now, we at OLOA used Attwood's Magnificat and some version of Preces and Responses; I don't know if this would be usable in a Roman rite Latin Vespers. Does anybody know any suitable settings, if rendered chorally, for the Roman rite Vespers?
  • Dan, why would they move the hymn for traditional vespers?
  • While not regular, our schola sings Traditional Vespers a few times a year. Next up is 2nd Vespers for Purification at St Patrick Catholic Church in Palm Beach Gardens (Feb 2 at 7:00). It will include the Ave maris stella of Liszt and falsobordone of Viadana.
  • This discussion might help - a little old, perhaps:

    http://musicasacra.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=1039&page=1#Item_0

    The hymnal "Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Canticles" includes Morning and Evening Prayer as well as Compline (nos. 478ff). It is almost entirely set to English chant, with some choral parts for the psalm verses and some responses.

    Sam Schmitt
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    Michael,
    I don't know. I've been maybe 2-3, and it was before I was familiar with the traditional office. It's possible I'm mistaken.
  • G
    Posts: 1,387
    St John Cantius in Chicago, Vespers sung every day.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • mahrt
    Posts: 508
    A small group from my choir sings vespers each Sunday evening. We sing it in the old rite (as if straight from the Liber usualis). We began in 1974, and until about five years ago, simply sang it in chant. Since then, we have added polyphony: a polyphonic response to Deus in adjutorium, falsobordone settings for alternate verses of psalms (on two or three of the five psalms) a polyphonic hymn, alternating chant and polyphony, the Magnificat in faburden, and a motet upon the conclusion of the vespers. Someone cooks dinner for the singers after vespers (usually the same person since 1974, occasionally myself), and we sing compline afterwards at her house. A smaller group sings lauds before Mass on Sunday (at my house, the church is always busy Sunday mornings).

    Attendance at vespers is pretty sparse; at first this was a disappointment, but I became reconciled with the fact that the Divine Office is principally the worship of the singers; it is conducted without congregation in many monasteries. Among the benefits are a radically different sense of the psalm texts of the Mass propers for the singers, which comes from chanting whole psalms regularly, as well as a much expanded view of what the liturgy is about.
  • How is vespers in the old rite handled in the absence of a priest?
  • Ironically , only Tenebrae (the portion of the old office which was eliminated) is still consistently celebrated in most church's around here, though in a hybrid form, yet generally the easier new office or the old, seems to be ignored.
    I did attend All Souls' Compline at St. Stanisluas sung beautifully by the Immaculate Conception Schola. It was well attended but had also been advertised as a "concert."
    The LOH, new or old, is a great benefit to all and because it is ecumenical.
    it could be prayed in the absence of clergy,
    and contains an element of prayer that is missing from the Mass yet flows from the Mass.
    I have always had a desire to return to church by Sunday evening for vespers.
  • Dr. Marht - Where do you and your choir sing Vespers?

    Ralkph Bednarz - Where is that church - St. Stanisluas?

    Paul Viola - Do you sing in the choir at OLOA?
  • Blaise
    Posts: 422
    Ken of Sarum-Yes, I do sing with the Atonement adult choir. We do choral evensong every year for All Soul's Day, and chanted evensong with Benediction is offered during Lent. I would like to see it offered more often, include more done chorally.

    I've never been to Roman rite choral/chanted Vespers though.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I always think there was be a good chance of getting people to Sunday Vespers in the South if we could eliminate the "last chance Mass" on Sunday afternoons. The dominant (in many areas) Baptists and evangelicals all go back to church on Sunday at 6 p.m. Catholics could do the same and throw in a light supper.

    If it weren't a 3,000 mile commute to Dr. Mahrt's choir, I'd certainly be in the congregation on Sunday evenings.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 422
    Mjballou,

    We have Mass at 6 p.m. at Atonement, but I don't really think of it as a "last chance Mass"---the other three are celebrated according to Anglican Use but this one is OF Roman rite in Latin. It offers something different from the other Masses we use, including Mode V Kyrie, Gloria, and Credo, and full Latin chanted propers with a schola of 4 men. It is not offered on Easter Sunday. That being said, other churches may have a "last chance Mass" and consider it as such.

    A couple of years back, we had the seminary schola cantorum chant a concert after this Mass.
  • At St Stephen, the First Martyr in Sacramento, Calif., an FSSP/Extraordinary Form parish, Vespers is sung every Sunday along with the resident clergy and is followed by Benediction. We started this about 5 years ago, and at first there were very few who attended. However, we reminded ourselves that the Office was not dependent upon numbers in the congregation, and doggedly soldiered on. Now, the typical number in the congregation on a given Sunday is somewhere between 40 and 50. In the beginning, there were often more people in the sanctuary than in the congregation, so we are pleased by the those numbers!

    During the week, Lauds too is sung daily and Compline twice a week. I would encourage all those able to sing office in their parishes to do so, and not be concerned about numbers attending these services, always press on, doing your best, and I know God will reward your efforts.
  • mahrt
    Posts: 508
    Ken of Sarum: We sing at St. Ann Chapel.
  • mahrt
    Posts: 508
    Daniel Page: EF vespers does not require a priest; that is why the leader of the vespers is called "officiant"; I think that traditionally this was to accommodate convents of nuns, one of which would officiate at the vespers. From the point of view of clerical status, nuns are lay people. Thus, a lay person can officiate at vespers.
  • I've often wondered about the clerical requirements for traditional vespers. We've been fortunate to have 3 priests serve with us and it really adds that other dimension to the service. Congregations have been numbering around 75-90, but we only do this a few times a year. My guys need a few weeks to learn the chants properly (all are amateur singers, but reasonably good ones) and adding part music has pushed us a bit in getting everything ready.

    I also remind my folks that this is a prayer for the world and the only folks that need to be there are us. If anyone else comes, that's a joy too. I think sometimes the new mentality of Mass (and many priests) is that the liturgy much "reach" as many as possible. The cynic in me sees priests as trying to build financial strength in the parish, but I also see very clearly a protestant ethos where the priests feel that the purpose of Mass is get their sermon out to as many as possible. The Office is so beautiful in its essence of a community at prayer.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,181
    We are slowly moving toward weekly. We will be doing weekly Vespers during lent on Wednesday. People are very interested in it. I am awaiting my Mundelein Psalter. During Christmas I created our own booklets using the text from Universalis.com.

    Once we have them singing plainchant, then we will slowly move toward more Latin. During Advent I chanted the O Antiphons straight out of the Liber. For one of the Vespers I sang it in English, but then I quickly got the request to sing it in Latin again.

    My next inclusion of Latin will probably be the Pater Noster and then perhaps the Doxologies. Slow and steady wins the race!