Same text, same instrument, a cappela, same intended venue: two different worlds
  • This makes a fascinating comparison

    This (composed for the Cafe by Bartlett) vs. this (the winning NPM Mass).
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    I have issues with this winning setting.

    As most of you know, I don't have an automatic problem with the style/genre here, but... this setting is kinda... just there. It's alright. But the Gloria strikes me as difficult for a congregation to sing, and the "enjoyment factor" doesn't seem high enough to justify that difficulty. Nor does the quality seem to justify the cost of purchasing music or the deliberate deviation away from Gregorian Chant. In this style, I can think of a half-dozen settings I like better (I haven't heard their updates yet, so maybe that's a mute point).

    On the other hand- Adam B's setting is just gorgeous. To my (untrained in Chant) ears, it seems to retain the best qualities of Gregorian chant- meditative, relaxing, text-centric- mystical, timeless. It also, to my (very familiar with Catholic pop and folk music) ears, actually has the best qualities of those genres as well: accessible, easy to sing, intuitive melodic shape, unironic joyfulness, lightness of being. I know others would balk, but I bet a well-conceived classical guitar accompaniment would make this an excellent "transitional" piece for folk-music parishes.
  • in the NPM Mass, 'you take away the sins of the world' sounds nasty. it is cheap, poorly written, wrong (modality-wise), and unworthy of the house of God. there is no comparison between bartlett's setting and the NPM attempt.
  • The Bartlett setting sounds timeless and effortless; the other already sounds dated and laborious.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    The appeal here is that anyone with one year of class piano, or who can read chord symbols on the guitar, could play this.
    Just looking at the page, it resembles the type of writing one finds in "easy piano" arrangements of showtunes and popular songs. When you're asking a large group of people to vote on "most popular," how can you expect anything but the lowest common denominator? If you were to ask instead which setting best exemplifies the "laws of sacred music" as specified in Musicam Sacram, you would come up with a different answer. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the goal for many pastors and music directors.
  • I'm not overly fond of the repeated "Glory to God" in the NPM Gloria--it sounds too Mass-of-Creationy.

    Seriously, what's wrong with a simple, through-composed setting?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,860
    The setting favored by NPM forces the words into 6/8 tempo, and the result seems strained and mechanical. I suppose the composers used a repeated refrain in order to give the congregation something easy to sing without learning much, but what's the point when that refrain itself is so uninteresting?

    Hammering out eighth notes, it gives little time to the words "Glory" and "God"; it lingers longer on the following phrase: "on EARTH, PEACE to PEOple OF good WILL". Surely this is a failure to put emphasis where it belongs. What theology of the Gloria downplays God and His glory, while considering peace on earth more important?
  • The Bartlett Gloria is simple and yet through-composed, graciously amplifying the text at every turn. As a singer trained in various languages, I want to know that the text (especially a Gloria!) is respected with sensitivity, and grace. IMO, Kudos to Adam.

    The NPM winner does sound dated, almost a revamp of MOC... It involves a choir, BUT, like MOC, will most often be sung without a choir singing the parts, and it will become more redundant when it is dressed down to melody-only. I'm left with the feeling of, 'I've been here before, and I was hoping to move beyond it'. Nothing fresh. Nothing timeless. Sorry to be so harsh, its just my impression.

    Leaving aside which holds more qualities of the sacred, the practical question for me becomes- which one can *everyone* sing, choral resources or no? The Bartlett, hands down.
  • I agree with Chris Allen. It's time to put the Refrain-type Gloria to rest, at least for a few centuries. After listening
    to the Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey, I am reassured that settings in English do not have to sound "trite."
    All we have to do is honor the rhythm and natural accents of the language. As in the best of the chants, the music
    blossoms from the text.
  • Samuel et al, I think the repeated "text refrain" also needs retirement. Years ago, I believe Aristotle posted on some success with utilizing the intonation of the De Angelis "Gloria" as a refrain. Tried it with mixed success.
    But, there is another compositional trait that I believe could be much explored and mined on behalf of congregations. Rv. John Schiavone (Holy Family Mass) used the device of a repeated melodic motif in the longer ordinary movements with the text remaining "through." I also have clung to Proulx's Missa Oecumenica for the same reason. Fr. Andres Gouzes, I believe, also employs a repeated motif in his two known English Masses. The intent is similar to psalm tone stabilty, but not merely restricted to fauxbourdon repetition.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 652
    You know what, though? It's pretty obvious that the "Mass of Renewal" is trying to sound more like various bits of traditional polyphony and even like chant. (At least to untrained ears like mine.) Similarly, the new "Kneeling Angel" logo that the publishers are adopting seems to be an attempt to look more Catholic. (It even is a scriptural reference to the prayers of the saints, for goodness' sake.)

    Apparently, we're past denial and anger and rapidly approaching acceptance and attempted co-opting. :)