What are you playing/singing for Christmas Masses?
  • I want to avoid music associated with Christmas as an American holiday, "songs of the season" stuff, the ones people associate with the "Christmas spirit."
  • Protasius
    Posts: 468
    I am pondering to play Nicolas de Grigny's A solus ortus on the organ (the Lauds hymn on Christmas day) or Hans Leo Haßlers Verbum caro factum est adapted for organ.
    Thanked by 1teachermom24
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,341
    O Magnum Mysterium is what I plan to tackle with my choir. If we learn it, we will sing it all season long. Other than that, "There is a Rose," "People Look East," "Ave Maria"-Biebl, "A Maiden Most Gentle," "Kings of the Orient," "Away in a Manger" and the classic Christmas hymns for Mass and the propers from SEP and the Gradual. Midnight Mass will begin with the "Proclamation of the Birth of Christ," found here: http://saintmeinradmusic.org/downloads/ChristmasProclamation.pdf
    Thanked by 1teachermom24
  • donr
    Posts: 931
    Christus Natus Est, we did it last year. I had the choir sing the Latin and I spoke the words in English behind them. It was well received.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I've been thinking of learning the Mulet Noel. It's a very haunting melody.
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    The St. Nicholas Mass of Haydn for the Kyrie and Gloria. Before Mass, Quelle est cette odeur agreable, in the David Willcocks arrangement, the Ave Maria of Franz Biebl, and a rare and hard-to-find gem discovered in the choir library - Caldwell's "Tell Us, Shepherd Maids".
    Thanked by 1HeitorCaballero
  • Thank you all! That's exactly what I'm looking for.

  • redsox1
    Posts: 184
    Handl (Gallus)- O Magnum Mysterium (with Brass as choir 2), Plainsong-Dominus Dixit (Introit), Tye -A Sound of Angels, Nestor-Who Comes?, Victoria-Ave Maria, arr. Lovelace-The Angel Gabriel, Darke-In the Bleak Midwinter, Howells-A Spotless Rose
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    @Teachermom24: Kathy, could you clarify songs/carols that have an association "with Christmas as an American holiday, "songs of the season" stuff, the ones people associate with the "Christmas spirit" and at what portions of Mass, or before Mass such songs would be sung?
  • What I'm referring to are "traditional carols"--Joy to the World; Hark, the Herald Angels; The First Nowell, etc. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with these carols per se but I don't want to include them at Mass because I don't think they aid in worship and realizing what it means that God was born for us.
  • Good luck with not using Christmas carols at mass on Christmas.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Let's dispense with their "associations." At least you weren't talking "Silver Bells."
    Two maxims, very similar:
    1. In all things-charity.
    2. In all things- moderation

    The true "carol" is a unique musical enterprise, and is most generally employed not only with Advent/Christmas/Epiphany but also Eastertide.
    The worst Christmas (Midnight Mass) I've ever experienced was an occasion outside of my own parish wherein the choir sang an esoteric ordo of motets, a performance ordinary, and virtually congregationally prohibitive propers (psalm, alleluia.) As a musician in the pews, it was outrage! I don't know about the tempertature of the PIPs, but my blood boiled.
    Think about how to proportion FACP.
  • Well, my 4-person choir of the aged and the infirm is certainly not able to approach anything "esoteric". And we're limited to OCP for hymns. Our choir will have 30 minutes before the Christmas Eve Mass which I expect 1/2 to be taken up by the organist (who happens to be my son and under my direction. He's an excellent musician but won't have time to prepare anything grandiose).

    I am looking for a couple simple and beautiful, not-trite, pieces for the choir, and then avoid the trite carols if possible for the hymns. We have the Christmas Eve 5 pm Mass and Christmas morning. I'm sure Midnight Mass will be filled with everyone's favorite Christmas carols. For the Mass hymns I'm looking at "Of the Father's Love Begotten", "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming", "Once in David's Royal City", "What Child is This"--things like that.

    Thanks for your input, everyone!

  • See Amid the Winter's Snow (Goss)
    Gaudete (arr. Hurd)
    Run You Shepherds Through the Night (Morley)
    Ave Maria (Arcadelt)

    Last year, we pulled off Lullay My Liking (Holst) and Darke's In the Bleak Midwinter.
  • john m
    Posts: 134
    In 25 years' experience, Midnight Mass is the domain of the diehards: the parish choir, the orchestra, the most active parishioners, as well as the public of little or no faith who come only for the music. They will happily hang around until 2:00 a.m.

    At the Mass in the Daytime on Christmas morning - the choir has returned, a bit frayed around the edges but still in decent voice (perhaps because they've barely slept). The folks in the pews are the regular parishioners who attend the early Sunday Mass.

    But the early Christmas Eve Mass - there's the rub! Many of these are good people who don't go to church, but feel that on Christmas Eve, they should. Many of them go because they are with their families and this is the day and the time they choose to do it - get the Church Thing over with before dinner and unwrapping presents. I am not being derogatory here - some of my best friends and my own sister and her family fall into this category. In my humble opinion, give these folks what they expect. You can't change them nor immediately convert them, so you might as well accept them. By all means let people sing a few familiar Christmas carols. Your list looks good. Now that the malls and stores only play secular stuff, the Church may well be the ONLY place most folks ever hear anything sacred in connection with Christmas. As far as I am aware, no one has ever been injured by singing a few Christmas carols on Christmas Eve, and you never know whether it may bring someone back to the practice of the Faith.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    Gaudete is one of my favorites.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,877
    There is no Rose of swych vertu
  • Over the past two years, I had great success with the following less familiar carols at both the family services...Kenneth A. Christensen, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church

    a. The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came (arr. John Leavitt)
    b. The Carol of the Birds (John Jacob Niles)
    c. How Far Is To Bethlehem? (from Carols for Solo Singers)
    d. O Come, Little Children (Carols for Solo Singers)
    e. Ring, Little Bells (Carols for Solo Singers)
    f. The Snow Lay on the Ground (12 Folk Songs from the British Isles)
    g. The Shepherd's Carol (John Rutter)