Congregational English Mass Ordinaries: Looking for recommendations
  • GerardH
    Posts: 154
    So I know there have been several discussions on this in the past, but it seems to have been a few years since the last one, so hey, wouldn't want to miss out on anything recent.

    Before I took the reins as music director, my parish alternated between Mass VIII (de Angelis) and Richard Proulx' Community Mass, but with only illegal photocopies of the latter. When I was hired, the previous pastor refused to fund scores for copyrighted music, so I refused to use anything not PD. Continuing on two years and he's been replaced, but we're still using PD ordinaries - ICEL and chant masses VIII, XI and XVII (now with colour-coded pewcards!).

    I have decided its finally time to introduce a vernacular non-chant ordinary into the mix. The new pastor is on board and happy to pay.

    So I'm looking for a Mass setting. Preferred characteristics are:
    • English language
    • Congregational
    • Organ accompaniment
    • SATB choral sections
    • Comes with congregational pewcard
    • High musical quality

    Now the Richard Proulx Community Mass fits this bill almost perfectly. My only issues with it are that the assembly edition is an 8-page booklet stuffed with unnecessary inclusions, and that it sounds like Ben Hur. I'm not convinced it's the best setting I could choose.

    Please, recommend settings only if you've experienced them in regular congregational use. I'd prefer settings by established and successful composers, rather than amatuerish attempts. I'm expecting to pay, since I find most settings offered for free are mediocre at best. Links to score vendors or recordings most appreciated! :)
  • Proulx's Simplex (completed by O'Connor IIRC) fits the bill except for not having choral parts, and is one of the most intuitive for a congregation.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • You can purchase a OneLicense and just print the parts you are using from Community Mass in your own pew card. You can purchase a permanent license just for those pew cards or go the annual route depending upon if you are planning on multiple settings in a somewhat permanent pew supplemental hymnal type booklet.

    My Mass setting recommendations are:
    Proulx - Community Mass
    Proulx - Mass for the City
    Weismann - Mass in Honor of St. Ignatius
    Clark - Mass of the Angels
    Keil - Mass of St. Frances Cabini
    Latona - Mass of the Immaculate Conception
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • davido
    Posts: 257
    Mass of St Francis - Horst Buchholz. Tuneful, choral, beautiful, unpretentious. Published in Adoremus Hymnal, but he holds the copyright and has in the past given me permission to use it. Check it out via scores and recordings at Adoremus Hymnal’s page.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • I recommend Peter Latona's Mass of the Immaculate Conception. You can hear most of it here—

    As I remember, if you contact him you pay a one-time fee to license the use of the setting in your parish for the choir, organist, and assembly.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • PolskaPiano
    Posts: 169
    Mass in A Minor- Strassburger

    Liturgical Press has a few more that fit your list if you don't like that one.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 134
    Not sure if there are pewcards available, and there's no SATB sections (I guess you could put the choir on the keyboard harmonisations) but the Belmont Mass by Christopher Walker is one of the nicer things that OCP has put out - in fact it's quite lovely.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • I don't get tired of suggesting the Mass of St. Philip Neri:
    Thanked by 2rich_enough GerardH
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,641
    Leblanc Mass in Honor of St. Benedict
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • GerardH
    Posts: 154
    Thanks everyone, plenty to check out here. I'll keep you updated on how I go with it.

    @OrganistRob320 I hadn't thought of the OneLicense route. I'll have to investigate.

    Has anyone had any experience with the Masses by James MacMillan?
  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 388
    The mass he wrote for Bellahouston is pretty nice.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 794
    Missa pro editione tertia by forum member Chris Mueller is one of the best out there, with beautifully crafted choral parts. (And he's managed to avoid that "marchy" feel you hear in so many of the vernacular settings.)

    You can hear samples and purchase it here.
    Thanked by 1CGM
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,142
    Community Mass is indeed fairly good for your purpose. If you have a reprint license, you could make your own pew card for the Community Mass fairly easily, or one of us would probably help you.

    I think Horst Buchholz's Mass of St. Francis is fairly good, and you can see it for free here on the MSForum, since it's been uploaded as a PDF. You can hear it at the Adoremus Hymnal's website, beginning at #200:
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 352
    James MacMillan's Mass of St Anne is very approachable. It can be done in unison or SATB. We have used it frequently; the choir and congregation like it.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    James MacMillan's Mass of St Anne works very well for us as well, but it is particularly Scottish - folk tune and 'catch' ornamentation.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • RedPop4
    Posts: 23
    I am using Proulx's A Community Mass right now for Ordinary Time. In the past five or six years I also used Richard J. Clark's Mass in Honor of Pope St. John Paul II which I dearly love. I never really got the time or opportunity to teach it to my little quintet/choir before we changed pastors or co-pastors for two years. But both agreed it was a bit too sedate for their tastes in 2016, and I still mourn its loss.

    Parish will celebrate its centennial in 2021, although we do not yet have a date. I plan to change the Mass ordinary, and have started teaching the divisi parts of Brian Michael Page's Holy Angels Mass which, nearly the whole group has now heard me play the Gloria, and they all seem to take to it. We have a year, at least, to make it ready.

    I will second the Mass in A Minor from above as well as nominate Mass in Honor of St. Ralph Sherwin.
    Thanked by 1GerardH