It's beginning to look a lot like Advent and Christmas...
  • The new liturgical year dawns with alarming alacrity. This being my second year of building the musical culture at the parish, I am looking to do something a bit different this year. More pieces for the choir, and with a bit more difficulty. We'll also introduce the Entrance Antiphon (using our handy new books-eeeeep!!) in the Christmas season. (For simplicity's sake, this year we'll repeat last year's choral Advent Entrance Antiphon that worked very well. Every week the congregation sings the refrain to the tune Creator of the Stars of Night.) We'll continue to do the Communion Antiphon, and have the choir sing Of the Father's Love Begotten or another simpler harmonized hymn after Communion. We'll go back to using Mass XVII and sing Alma redemptoris Mater before the recessional. (Is there a better place for this, than RIGHT before the recessional? It seems really music heavy, but I don't want to not sing one...)

    Before Midnight Mass, like usual, I'll have the choir sing about thirty minutes of prelude music. In no particular order yet....

    Ave Maria-Arcadelt
    Chesterton Carol-Richard Rice
    Four Old English Carols (maybe not all four. ..)-Gustav Holst
    See, Amid the Winter's Snow-Goss, arr. Noel Jones

    Possibly (did these last year)
    In the Bleak Midwinter-Holst
    Of the Father's Love Begotten

    I have a weakness for English carols and composers...

    Has anyone used these before for Christmas?

    Would any of these be okay for within Mass for Christmastide or Day?

    Any tips? I have a small choir, about 2 per part of varying skill. I picked songs that interplayed solo and choir, and English with sprinklings of Latin. Largely strophic because that's comfortable for them, yet with parts so it isn't totally boring.

    I'd like to have the PSR kids sing something too, but it might just be the chant they learn in Words With Wings. Maybe some simple Christmas carols.

    (Last question!!): What are you doing for Advent and Christmas?
  • EF:
    Mass XVII for Advent
    Haven't decided just what for motets. I have 6-7 "singers". No way can they do parts without organ; hard enough to do 2 parts with organ. I think we'll be doing a lot of chant hymns.
    Christmas Day (1PM) we'll maybe have some recorder and organ prelude. For Offertory we'll do the Piae Cantione Gaudete; for Communion, In Natali Domini from Specialnik (which we'll also do for Lessons and Carols on Ad.3)
  • rollingrj
    Posts: 316
    The new liturgical year dawns with alarming alacrity.

    Welcome to the club! It's the feeling one doesn't have enough rehearsal time before the blocks of liturgy of the "Big Three" (Christmas/Easter/Pentecost). While one has to focus on the weekly task, planning and preparation always has an eye toward these three celebrations. It's a mindset one learns to develop over time.

    IMVHO, the four votive Marian antiphons are ideal as part of the recessional, especially if the parish has a strong affiliation with Our Lady.

    Look at the last verse of "In The Bleak Midwinter". Does that not suggest it might be useful as part of the Offertory?
  • The Holst setting of "In the Bleak...." is lovely, but consider using the setting by Harold Darke this year--a haunting and serene setting, and not difficult. Choirs love singing it.

    Our choir (Episcopal church) will use sing "Four Advent Motets" - Rheinberger this Advent season, and our director will augment Rheinberger with his organ works for preludes and postludes.

    There are also 4 short Introit antiphons for Advent for Unison voices and organ by Daniel Pinkham.

    For smaller choirs at Xmas, there's a beautiful, serene setting of "O Magnum Mysterium" for Unison voices and organ by Gerald Near.

    All of the above-mentioned scores are available through

    Hope these suggestions are helpful.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,679
    Motets/Masses for Advent:
    Alma Redemptoris Mater - Palestrina
    To Thee O Lord - Rachmaninoff
    E'en So Lord Quickly Come - Manz
    Mass for Three Voices - Byrd
    Lord For Thy Tender Mercy's Sake - Farrant
    Magnificat Octavi Toni - Marenzio
    Ave Maria - Quick
    Dixit Maria - Hassler

    Motets/Masses/Polyphonic Propers for Christmas:
    Resonet in Laudibus - Lasso
    Missa super Dixit Maria - Hassler
    O Magnum Mysterium - Lauridsen
    Ave Maria - Arcadelt
    O Magnum Mysterium - Victoria
    Ecce advenit dominator Dominus - Byrd
    Reges Tharsis - Byrd
    Vidimus stellam - Byrd
    Asperges Me - Gruber
    Jesus Christ the Apple Tree - Poston
  • So happy you're using my stuff Matthew!
  • Protasius
    Posts: 468
    The Alma Redemptoris Mater by Bernabei is also very suitable.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,679
    I really like the Ave Maria, Jeffrey. It's on the schedule and we hope to sing it Advent IV... but being that it's Advent IV, there is the possibility that it could get cut. If that is the case, then it'll get pushed to later this year.
  • The first time my schola will be singing is the 1st Sunday of Advent. I'm so excited! This is what we'll be singing:

    Propers from the Simple Choral Gradual by Richard Rice (SATB, unaccompanied)
    For the Ordinary we'll be using Mass XVIII
    Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (unison)
    O Savior, Rend the Heavens Wide (unison)
    Alma Redemptoris Mater (simple tone)
    Hail to the Lord's Anointed (SATB)

    It's always so hard for me to pick Advent music because I love it all so much. It's one of my favorite liturgical seasons. So beautiful.
  • A thought sparked by another thread, as I look for Christmas music. Twinkle Twinkle little star...I know there are more verses relating to the wise men someone. Must go rummage around.