Healey Willan's Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena
  • Have any of you used the revised version of this? It was revised by a priest from St. John Cantius in Chicago in collaboration with Healey Willan's daughter. It's one of my favorites and a "war horse" in the Episcopal church. I would love to use it at my parish. I'm very interested in your thoughts and comments.
  • Steve, I'm unfamiliar with the revised version of this Willan Mass. I sing in an Episcopal church, and we use the setting in the 1982 Hymnal---which I assume is not the revised version. It's definitely a "war horse" in the Episcopal church, as is a number of Willan's choral and organ music. We sing 6 mass settings from the "1982", and my favorite of all is the Mass by W. Mathias. If you can get your congregation (or have already) to move beyond the Vermulst, Haugen, Proulx, Olstott mass settings, you'd do yourself, and your congregation a big favor to learn the Willan Mass. Good luck! and best wishes! :)
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • What does 'revised' mean in this regard? Does it mean that it is adjusted to fit the Catholic translation? Or what?

    Here is another kudo for the above-mentioned Mathias setting in the 1982! It is an excellent example of something modern (and not at all difficult) as opposed to contemptably 'contemporary'.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    The sheet music, adapted for the new Roman Missal text, is offered for sale at the Cantius Web Store:

    Also, the Cantius fathers are now entrusted with the musical estate of Healey Willan: http://www.canons-regular.org/go/healeywillansociety/
    Thanked by 2R J Stove Mark Husey
  • Had never even known of this Mass setting before I saw this thread, much less been familiar with how it sounds. But Willan's music for solo organ is in my experience unfailingly fine, though all too few of my fellow Australians have encountered it. (If anything, they tend to be even more clueless about Canadian culture than about culture in the States.)
  • When it comes to organ music in the Episcopal and Roman churches, there was an old adage from my younger years: The Episcopal organists play Healy Willan, and the Catholic organists play Flor Peeters. I think that the Episcopal-Willan adage still holds true. Regrettably, Peeters' organ music seems to have "passed away" save his "Thirty-Five Miniatures" for organ. Most of his mass settings are out of print, except for his "Jubilee Mass", "Mass to Honor St. Joseph" and "Missa Festiva". Luckily much of his organ music remains available, and his chorale preludes on Gregorian hymns are worth the effort to learn. Peeters love of Gregorian chant and modality are prominent in his choral and organ works. He was known for his organ improvisations at Sunday mass on the chant themes of the day. Peeters, Tournemire and Langlais are the great losses to the Roman church. Hopefully the pendulum will swing again in their direction at some point.
  • We purchased the revised Willan mass from St. John Cantius. I have yet to teach it to the congregation/choir, but hope to this summer or fall. Fr. Haynes, who revised the mass, is working with us on creating scores that we can print in our worship aid.
    The revised mass appears to preserve intact Willan's music, it is more a redistributing of the melody to fit the current ICEL text.
    As far as the music, it is excellent: lovely, singable melodies and interesting harmonies, all with the touch of a master craftsman. Eminently congregational, yet noble and profound at the same time.
  • Looks as if Willan and my fave post-1945 novelist (from any land), namely the great Robertson Davies, might have known each other in Toronto. Can anyone confirm or refute this?

  • cantorconvert: I ordered it from Biretta several months ago and couldn't wait to see how it was modified. While they are no major changes, I still had to be careful when I was playing it. I have the original memorized from my Anglican days....35 years ago!

    I originally wanted to introduce this during Advent however, I'm still waiting to hear from Fr. Haynes, so we can use the mass in our worship aids also. I hope we can start learning it in the Summer.

    I was able to introduce a new Mass setting by Kevin Kiel, "Mass of St. Francis Cabrini", when we changed to the new ICEL texts. While a huge improvement from the Alstott "Heritage" mass, (they've used it for 30+ years!) it's time to move on to the Willan. I'd like to see that one stay around for 30 years!

    I haven't seen the Mathias setting, but will try to find a score. Thanks everyone for your input.
  • Thanked by 1G
  • Good music! But! Why, instead of seeing the choir, the church, and the organ, are we presented with these cretinesqu light shows which don't seem to have any relationship to the music? They are boring to watch and are have not the remotest bearing, rhythmic, pictorial, or thematic, to the music which they rather trash

    This sort of presentation accompanies much of the music on the Forum. We should be able to assume that musical presentations here will be of impeccable taste and sense.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    MJO, if there's any light show with that mp3, it's produced by the audio player on your own PC. The mp3 file is only an audio file with no video content. If you don't want the "visualization" produced by the audio player, you can turn that off locally.
  • Thanks, ScottK....very nice!
  • Is there a way to see snippets of the music or congregational parts?
  • We used to use this at St. James Anglican Catholic. The whole thing is congregational. You can see the first page of the old version here, and there are YouTubes.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    The music is the same as the "Second Communion Service" as printed in The Hymnal 1940, ##708 – 713 (the Benedictus and Creed are omitted in the hymnal). The melody parts also appear in The Hymnal 1982 at S91, S114, and S158.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    at S91, S114, and S158.

    Thanked by 1barreltone
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    ScottK, thanks for that recording - I was impressed with how deftly the composer avoids what a child I know insists sounds as if the whole congregation is cursing in some of the most frequently heard settings of the Gloria around these parts, (the second iteration of "Jesus Christ.")

    Save the Liturgy, save the World
  • Does anyone have experience with the Latin version of this setting? OUP apparently still prints it.
  • I really don't think MSMM has every BEEN published in Latin, but I was wondering if anyone had tried the Sanctus and Agnus... the Kyrie has been rendered into Greek already.

    Talk like a pirate day has come and gone, Adam. You must have missed it. We'll put a reminder note on the calendar for next year, ok?
    I don't understand: why aaaaargh?

    Not that the 1982 can hold a candle to the 1940...
    except that the front liturgical section is an improvement,
    and there are a VERY FEW good hymns and tunes that the 1940 doesn't have;
    although this doesn't make up for the better ones that got left out,
    and the awful ones (worse than the awful ones in the 1940) that got included.


    I was not aware that the Willan had ever been published in Latin:
    Dear me!!! um, can English music and chant be put into Latin without destroying its pristine ethos??? It was, after all, conceived of with the structure and cadence of the English language in mind. (Etc., etc.) We just can't, um, uh, we just can't have this. (!)

    That said, I would be interested to see it.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    I don't understand: why aaaaargh?

    A Mass setting should be found at sequential numbers in a hymnal, not smeared all over kingdom come.
  • cberry
    Posts: 19
    We'd be interested in knowing when the worship aid-ready copies are available. If you're able to let us know I'm sure many of us would be grateful. Thank you.
  • The Gloria is S202. And I also can't stand the way that the settings are all over the place in the '82.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood CHGiffen
  • One of the shocking things about the 1979 Prayer Book revision is that some parts of the ordinary are made one of several optional items for their respective places in the eucharist. Gloria, for instance, may be replaced with any of several canticles or even a hymn of praise; Agnus Dei, likewise has other alternatives. It occurs to me that, perhaps, the irritating 'all over the place' arrangement in The Hymnal 1982 is reflective of this development, and that, to the editors of the hymnal, the concept of 'an ordinary' was dispensed with. Whatever the rationale (if one can attribute rationality to such thoughtless savagery) it remains an unwelcome innovation.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen barreltone
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,350
    if one can attribute rationality to such thoughtless savagery

    One cannot.

    I really can't stand the 1982. Like any hymnal, sure, it has some good things in it (I particularly love its pairing of 'Take Up Your Cross' with the shape-note tune BOURBON).

    But for the most part I find it ridiculous and stultifying. It is neither traditional enough nor contemporary enough, neither orthodox nor progressive. It's missing key pieces of music (hello?! Come Holy Ghost?!) and is chock-full of stupid and goofy crap.

    A traditional-minded Episcopal or Anglican-use church would do much better with the 1940.

    In a more liturgically 'progressive' parish (such as the one I serve) I'd prefer to have the 1906 for the golden oldies and something like WLP's We Celebrate to fill out with the better of the newer stuff.