A Gloria for Christmas
  • What do you typically use as your Gloria for Christmas/Christmas season? My home parish is using Gibson’s “A Christmas Gloria” that utilizes the refrain from “Angels We Have Heard on High”. I’m not particularly thrilled about it, but I guess it could be worse. We typically use Chepponis’ Gloria from his Jubilation Mass, but that was a favorite of our former music director. I’m not sure how our new one feels about it.

    What is typically done where you are?
  • The Gloria from the Mass for the Shepherds by Pietro A. Yon is pretty lively. Only thing is it's in Latin...I don't know if there's an English text around.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,039
    We will use the Heritage Mass Glory to God, which is the most dignified setting my parish and choir knows and is also fairly common in my diocese for the higher ranking celebrations or seasons.

    I don't like refrain Glorias, and I especially don't like the Christmas variety that uses the Angels We Have Heard on High melody for the Gloria refrain and then sets the rest of the Gloria's text to something resembling the melody of the verses in that same carol.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • Refrain Glorias toe the line of being outright illicit, if they aren't already.
  • Mass for the Shepherds by Pietro A. Yon

    That’s what we use.
  • For better or for worse, we have not changes any ordinaries since we came back from shut down. My pastor wanted to keep things simple and easy. We are not currently allowed to hold rehearsals due to diocesan restrictions so we are sticking with the Gloria from Mass for a New Congregation. With a nice organ accompaniment, it can be made quite stately.
  • Echoing Schonbergian, I believe that so-called 'refrain' Glorias had been disallowed - made illicit.
    If they haven't been, they should be.
    They are oh-so-cute and silly, and are an insult to all involved - including he whom we would be worshiping.
    Besides all that, they are literary savagery. Such violence to ritual texts is abhorrent.

    And, on the save vein, any mass that I have seen or heard that is a cute contrafactum of some hymn or other is generally tasteless and of no musical or aesthetic value.
  • @MarkB, the Gloria from Heritage is decent. We use it often in my parish for Ordinary Time. Nice, easy, and most importantly, sung-through.

    @PolskaPiano, I do think Andrews’ Gloria from A New Mass for Congregations is a nice step above Alstott’s Gloria from Heritage Mass. As you said, it’s very stately with a nice organ accompaniment. It’s one of my favorite English Gloria settings.

    @M. Jackson Osborn, I’ve read that when the new translation of the RM was implemented back in November 2011, Glorias with refrains were to be banned, but I guess no one ever really followed through with that, so here we are.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,039
    Sing to the Lord says this about refrain Glorias: “The addition of refrains to the Glory
    to God is permitted, provided the refrains encourage congregational participation.”116
    While through-composed settings of the Gloria give clearest expression to the text, the addition of refrains is permitted, provided the refrains encourage congregational participation.

    Footnote #116: BCL, Policy for the Approval of Sung Settings of Liturgical Texts.

    So the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy appears to have made an authoritative determination that refrain Glorias are permitted.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,707
    except... congregational participation is discouraged on account of breathing!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,409
    [Removed and corrected below}
  • Francis is right, in this time of COVID we need to refrain from the refrain. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself).

    However, even in normal times, I rather dislike them. Afterall, the ordinary is written in a setting that is simple enough for the congregation to sing. Why then would a refrain be necessary to encourage participation? They are already at a difficulty level that the congregation can sing. The hard stuff like the propers is left to the choir/schola/cantor/etc. However, maybe I'm assuming too much about people's willingness to sing at mass.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,039
    Yes, I agree: if a Gloria needs a refrain to be singable, then it's a failed composition.
  • So, it is said that the good bishops have indeed given their approval to so-called 'refrain glorias'. This is one more evidence that they are not infallible and that, collectively, they have neither taste nor respect for the sacred ritual text. The people must 'participate', no matter the utter banality of what they are participating in. Musicians with any integrity would forswear progamming these idiotic ditties whether they are or are not 'licit'.
  • Sing to the Lord also has no legislative weight whatsoever.
  • It was my understanding that they were disavowed, which is why there are many well-beloved mass settings from the last few decades (I didn't say they were good, just "beloved") that were butchered a few years ago in an effort to get them to more closely follow the true text once the new translation of the missal was promulgated in the US. There are many mass settings I learned as a young lad (raised on an [un]healthy diet of Ritual Song,) that have been utterly, savagely mangled to cut out refrains and use the proper translation; to the point that I can hardly follow a piece I once knew very well by wrote (to both sing, and play).
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,409
    Sing to the Lord (2007) is not a legislative text. Even if it had been it was superseded by GIRM in 2011, the US version says :
    53. The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is a most ancient and venerable hymn ... The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other. ...
    Huius hymni textus cum alio commutari nequit
    Though few people heed that. Some repetition of phrases is tolerated of course in many polyphonic settings, but not I think wholesale displacement as in repetition of a refrain.