Mass of the Most Sacred Heart
  • Greetings -- I hope this is of interest to some of you.

    I'm a dir. of music and composer in Chicago; having never written for congregation before, a friend of mine thought perhaps the new Missal translation was the ideal time to give it a shot.


    Recordings, scores and congregational book PDFs are on my site... the Mass may be freely printed and used.

    The setting is based in part on the Litany of the Sacred Heart, and is bilingual (each part works in English and Latin). As I work in a multicultural parish, the Latin settings will be invaluable for our Spanish-English holy days, and will hopefully give us a leg up on learning a chant ordinary in Latin.

    I welcome the thoughtful comments of this erudite forum on my music, as this may not be my last attempt at congregational music.

    Thank you!
    Jacob Bancks
  • This is just thrilling that you have done this! I hope the setting is widely circulated and sung. You deserve every congratulations for your progressive mode of distribution too.
  • Thanks, Jeffrey.

    I'm afraid the current model of getting new church music puts marketing concerns above the Church's stated aims for sacred music. The same can be said of artwork (as my collaborator, Daniel Mitsui will tell you). I'm convinced a better model is for dioceses, parishes, individuals (and some day, hopefully, Rome) to commission composers and make the commissioned music available for the entire church.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,039
    Very, very nice setting - I especially like your use of the chant. The solo duets in the Gloria work well, too, I think.

    I was wondering about two things:

    (1) Are there settings of the Mysteries of Faith available in Latin? (fka the memorial acclamations) I only saw ones in English.

    (2) Were the accompaniments to the priest's parts intended for use at mass? Just FYI, this is not allowed by the rubrics (GIRM #32).

    Again, I echo everything Jeffrey says about it. It's also beautifully laid out. Bravo!

    Sam Schmitt
  • Yes, I'm with you on commissioning works. Fortunately technology allows us to combine commissioning with the decentralized power of commerce, such a this. If we all pay a fraction of what we would otherwise pay to buy music, all the money can go to the artist directly, bypassing the whole racket, if you know what I mean.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Although I prefer to follow the tradition of not accompanying the priest's singing, I do not think the "presidential prayers" referred to in GIRM 32 pertain to the incipit of the Gloria and the Credo. And since these may licitly be sung by a cantor (in fact, circumstances may require it), I don't see anything wrong with providing an accompaniment. While playing "background music" under the Eucharistic prayer is clearly prohibited, I don't think accompanying the priest's invitation to the Mystery of Faith or the Lord's prayer is illicit.

    I do dislike when composers write music that does not allow the more traditional practices. In this ccase, it is clear that the composer has put thought into allowing observation of these practices (e.g., the incipt to the Gloria may be sung by the priest alone) as well as making the settings singable by the congregation (e.g. putting the melodies about to be sung in the organ introductions to he Kyrie and the Agnus, using unison choir at congregational entrances in the Gloria). I'm not sure if I were to choose just one setting of the Ordinary that it would be this one, but I think it's a worthy addition to the repertoire. Thank you for that.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,039

    Thanks very much for your response.

    I suppose GIRM 32 was designed to forbid "background music" while the priest is praying aloud, and thus you are correct - accompanying the priest's singing "The Mystery of Faith" or the doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer is not (strictly speaking) forbidden. However, the traditional practice (and you allude to it yourself) was always for the priest to sing without any accompaniment whatsoever, so I would like to think that this is still the norm. Evidently it is not.

    I wonder whether this interpretation would also allow full accompaniment of the entire Eucharistic prayer (as is seen, for example, in the Mass of Creation) which always struck me as odd - the organ or even the folk group "backing up" the priest as it were seemed out of place. Again, we have a current norm that (for some reason) allows for something contrary to traditional practice.
  • A very lovely setting! And many thanks for your generosity in sharing it, and preparing recordings of such high quality!

    On the topic of accompanying the priest—many seem to see the issue as "either the priest sings a capella or the priest sings accompanied". In many places, the real situation is "either the priest says the prayers, or the priest sings it with accompaniment". I do take issue with "background music," like the second half of the Eucharistic Prayer in the Mass of Creation—I find it very distracting. The rule in my parish is that the organist can accompany the presider when singing prayer—if the presider requests it—but no "background music".
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Again, we have a current norm that (for some reason) allows for something contrary to traditional practice.

    This is one of many. However, in most cases (I say this to be cautious, though no exceptions immediately come to mind) there is nothing to prevent us from following those venerable traditions. Even Theodore Marier, hardly a radical, includes discreet accompaniments for the priest's parts. I think the example of MoC is reprehensible, though apparently quite licit. As a music director, I would never teach a priest melodies contrary to those in the published ritual books. What happens when visits another parish? or a visiting priest or bishop comes to ours? A competent composer could create any number a new works using the standard formulas for the priests (as about 800 years of polyphonic Glorias have demonstrated).
  • Thank you all for your thoughtful listening and comments.
    Sam, excellent questions.

    As for the Mysterium Fidei, I found that setting them in Latin would be relatively unproductive, as most places progressive enough to (a) sing the EP and (b) sing it in Latin, would just use the [way less intrusive] chant from the Roman Missal. If I recall, not having my Gregorian Missal in front of me, Mortem tuam is actually the only MF option in chant in MR? (someone smart, correct me if I'm wrong). My experience with chanted, Latin OF's (particularly the CR's of St. John Cantius, who celebrate it splendidly every week) would feel a little intrusive poking my head in at such a solemn moment, especially one as untested by tradition as the seconds following the consecration.

    Frankly, didn't look at GIRM when I wrote the Mysteries of Faith or Doxology. Mea culpa. My main point in actually writing the Doxology is to prove that this solemn Amen can be "great" yet not bombastic.

    Incantu's observation on allowing for venerable practices in incipits is exactly right. I did not print any indications of this, as I'm aiming really broadly here, and wouldn't want to confuse the curious but uninitiated with the jargon. I even considered, and decided against, writing a generic Alleluia with the caveat, "Provided the proper Alleluia chant is not sung." (The dreamer in me did make it technically possible to separate the Sanctus and Benedictus. You never know when some high-minded Episcopalians will pick it up.)

    And for the record, Incantu, you've dashed my hopes of mine being the next, ubiquitous Mass of Creation that supposedly enables humdinger "participation" at funerals. (in my many funereal travels I have tested this widely-held theory scientifically, and have found no greater participation with MofC -- and often LESS -- than with, say, Proulx's Land of Rest).

    Thanks again, all, for listening.