Music for Foot Washing?
  • musicmom
    Posts: 10

    I'm new to the forum, as a poster anyway. I've been reading quietly for some time, and soaking up as much knowledge as I can. I have a question for all you more experiences liturgical musicians though.

    Our parish does not yet have a choir (something we are working on, but that is a topic for another day). My husband and I have to handle the singing and organ playing between the two of us for major feasts and most ordinary days. My current dilemma is Holy Thursday. I'm trying to find some non-trippy music to use for the Washing of the Feet (OF Mass) - either musical settings of the antiphons given, or something else appropriate - and am having no luck whatsoever. It needs to be something that can reasonably be done with the congregation, or by a solo voice. I'm just lost - and wondering if anyone has any suggestions for me while I still have a week to learn it! (Since I don't have to teach a choir, this is possible). So, what do you, or would you use in my situation?

    Thanks for your help and input!
  • Jevoro
    Posts: 108
    The "new" Graduale romanum (OF) proposes a serie of antiphones singing the feetwashing episode (p.164-167). Why not sing Ubi caritas (P.168-169) during the feetwashing, in stead of singing it as Offertorium (as proposed)? (As offertorium, you may sing the EF-offertorium of MaundayThursday, "Dextera Domini" p.267.)
    Or did you want some polyphonie for two voices?
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    The "Mandatum novum" chant is actually quite simple. I'm having my volunteer choir sing it (they learned it in 5 minutes), with verses in English (from By Flowing Waters) sung by a solo voice. Cantica Nova publishes an SATB arrangement of "Maneant" (harmonized chant with newly composed verses) in Latin and English which could be, if you absolutely have to, played on the organ. If you want something the congregation can sing, there's the "Ubi caritas" ostinato refrain from Taize (with English verses), the chant-like hymn "Where Charity And Love Prevail" that can be done completely unaccompanied, and as much as it pains me to say it "Faith Hope and Love" by Christopher Walker. There's also a setting of the same text by Peloquin, for which I've seen verses set to a psalm tone.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    Not sure if this meets your definition of 'trippy,' but the Taizé Mandatum novum is not bad. It covers several of the foot-washing antiphons and has a somewhat mesmerizing recurring refrain: "Mandatum novum do vobis dicit Dominus." You need a good cantor, and it's good if you can do the canonical stuff, but not indispensable.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    By "canonical" I mean moves in canon, not "according to canon law." Not that anyone would be confused . . .
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    Dom Gregory Murray wrote a very nice version of "Ubi Caritas" entitled "God is Love". Both the text and tune are his, and the tune is very singable by a congregation. Not many RC hymnals have it, but you can find in the "The Hymnal 1982" or in "Hymns III" one of the supplements to "The Hymnal 1940". I've been using it off/on ever since I discovered it. And I believe that the original Latin text can fit his tune as well. If that's an option anyone would like to pursue, let me know and I'll get to work in Finale.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 312
    Theodore Marier's "Where Abideth Charity and Love" is also lovely, and it works well with or without organ. It can be found in "Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Canticles" and that earlier forerunner of HP&SC... "Cantus Populi" is it? In any case, if you need a copy, I might be able to put it up in pdf later today.
  • always an option....I faced the difficulty last year of following well-meaning people who supplied background music for confirmation...and had to press a bit to get the ok to just let people be confirmed in silence, letting the congregation hear the words...

    If people are uncomfortable with silent periods during communion and other times during the liturgy, it may be a sign that they need more silence.

    Good luck with your work in the church...just showing up and being there is a ministry.

    noel at
  • We are doing this this year:

    Mandatum novum - choir men
    Taizé “There Can Be No Greater Love” - choir/congregation
    Si ego Dominus - choir women

    With two priests doing the washing, this should be enough music, and we can repeat verses of the Taizé if needs be.

    Also look at Bob Hurd’s “Ubi caritas”, a well-written congregational song based on the hymn.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,200
    Just a little detail, but "Ubi caritas" and several other versions of this text have been mentioned as an option during the washing of feet.

    This text is really more appropriate to the offertory (in fact in the OF it is the appointed text for this point in the Mass).

    And, I concur regarding Hurd's setting. Can't quite put my finger on it, and despite the fact that I run around with my hair on fire about the majority of the junk the "Big Three" put out there, I must confess I like this setting.