Funeral Propers as Hymns
  • For those of you who are, like me, in a situation where you can't freely use any sort of chanted proper, especially at—gasp!—funerals, I hope this is of some help. I've just finished adapting all of the propers for the Funeral Mass into hymns, using common tunes, for use as a sort of default repertoire in my parish until chant can be used. They will also be available on my website, which is currently under construction, along with just their texts (in case you wanted to use a different tune, but didn't want the hassle of downloading and working from the PDF). Enjoy!

    Adam
  • This sounded like a sort of outlandish idea at first...but they really work! Great idea. Thank you for sharing this.
  • It's not ideal, that's for sure, but it certainly beats my parish's "dreaded six," as I like to call them.
  • rob
    Posts: 147
    I think so, too. Next, the nuptial Mass?
  • I think these are really fine, and provide for a perectly licit and at times desirable alternative while yet singing The Propers. Many of us would allow as how they may be set to non-Gregorian music, whether 'hymnic' as yours are, or polyphonic, or ..... there is ample historical precedence for this.
    I like what you have done. Other tunes might ultimately be considered, but the ones you have chosen match reasonably well with their texts.

    I second the motion for the Nuptial Propers.

    Further, I suggest an entire graduale! It could conceivably acquire a wide acceptance.
    Don't stop!!
  • WLP puts out a book of Introit hymns, which are similar settings of all the Introits in the Graduale. Tietze's choice for Requiem Aeternam was LAND OF REST, which I think works well, too.

    I haven't seen any other propers coming from him, though. *SHAMELESS PLUG* Check out the All Souls option from communionantiphons.org for another Communio.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,423
    "And to the Spirit, source of rest"--that is a splendid expression, and very fitting!
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,424
    1)
    I think this forum has reached its limit of composers named Adam. I propose a ban on future entrants.

    2)
    These are really cool.

    3)
    What are the dreaded six?

    I'm assuming...
    Eagles Wings
    Amazing Grace

    what are the other 4?
    Thanked by 1Hilary Cesare
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    I would guess:

    3. Shepherd Me, O God
    4. You Are Mine
    5 . Be Not Afraid

    . . . ?
  • Heath
    Posts: 892
    Adam, very nice! It's certainly good to see composers filling "gaps" in the repertoire . . .
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,423
    How Great Thou Art
    Ave Maria (Schubert)
  • Heath
    Posts: 892
    Adam, I found one "the" that should probably be "thee" in the first verse of "May the Angels."

    And if I were you, I would ask Kathy/Adam Wood/et al. very nicely for their suggestions on polishing the text. Lots of talented folks on this forum that can help you out . . .
  • 1)
    I think this forum has reached its limit of composers named Adam. I propose a ban on future entrants.


    This echoes a possible earlier ban on Jeffrey as well.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,423
    We're getting close to the limit of Charles-es, too. No offense.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 346
    What a great alternative to the main 6!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,646
    There are two kinds of Charles on this forum - me, the nice kind. And that other one! LOL.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Mark: I know Mendelssohn's choral music is sometimes, well - a touch Victorian, but what's so wrong with 'Be Not Afraid'?
  • 6. Here I Am, Lord
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,423
    Mendelssohn. Lol.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,424
    7. Danny Boy
    8. Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,423
    The Wind beneath My Wings
  • ClemensRomanusClemensRomanus
    Posts: 1,018
    I Can Only Imagine
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,646
    For funerals of people I didn't especially care for, I always liked, "Father, We Thank Thee, Who Hast Planted." ;-)

    BTW, I saved those funeral hymns, and think they are a good alternative.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    Any chance of you making a second PDF with the words "her" for the Song of Farewell?

    It would be very convenient (and keep elderly Funeral Choir singers from singing him for a woman's funeral).
  • CtB,
    I infer I am "other kind" of Chazes, as have Kathy, Horst, Wilco, Msgr Wadsworth and likely countless other Colloquium participants....sigh

    OTOH, I thereby have joined the illustrious Inglourious b*stardi brigade of CMAA Irregulars.
    I am the Church Illiterate-Ignominious-Idiosyncratic.
    I need an ordinariate maybe?

    That sixth song, btw- Happy Trails
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,646
    Charles, I hope we meet sometime in the future. I think I will thoroughly enjoy it.
  • First, I think that these are great, and I was actually trying to do something similar for my own situation not too long ago. This never went anywhere though.

    Second,

    I think this forum has reached its limit of composers named Adam. I propose a ban on future entrants.


    Lol! I say bring the Adams on though. We need to compete with all the bloody Jeffrey's here!
    Thanked by 1Hilary Cesare
  • Whoops! I keep forgetting to check back here. The other forum I frequent has email notifications that tell you when someone replies to a topic you've participated in, but I couldn't find anything like that here. Is there?

    To answer a few posts:

    1) I appreciate everyone's feedback, positive and negative. As for the typo, I'll fix the PDF and upload it to my website. What a great idea re: the nuptial propers! I'll get cracking on that. I don't know if I'm up for an entire gradual yet, but maybe in the future. I could start with the big feasts, I guess...

    2) In my parish, the big six for funerals are "Here I Am, Lord," "On Eagle's Wings," "I Am the Bread of Life," "How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace," and "Be Not Afraid." We also get a big call for Schubert's Ave Maria, but I have yet to be asked for Danny Boy (knock on wood!).

    3) CharlesW, I wish my congregation knew "Father, We Thank Thee Who Hast Planted." That's always been one of my favorites, and I plan on teaching it to them at some point while we're still in pre-propers phase (as I like to call it—wishful thinking, I know, but someone's got to take the initiative).

    4) I am both happy and humbled to have joined the ranks of composers named Adam. Shall we be "adamant" in overtaking the Jeffreys?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,569
    Adam

    If I might be so bold as to suggest that you also set the Song of Farewell to the tune CHARLESTON (a beautiful, simple, intuitive American tune, perhaps best now known as the tune for "All Who Love and Serve Your City" but which I first encountered as the tune for "Gently, Lord, O Gently Lead Us", which is all about finding a place of rest with God).

    Of course, you can also set your Common Meter hymns to New Britain; you get lovely tune without the quibbling over text!

    And, a handy online metrical index of tunes resource for people who've not happened upon it:

    http://hymntime.com/tch/mid/met/met.htm
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,569
    Correction: Charlestown, not Charleston!
  • Thanks, Liam. The basic idea was mainly for the lyrics, which could then be set to any tunes that fit the meter. I just chose these because they're well-known in my parish. If you'd like a copy of the Song of Farewell set to Charlestown, though, I'd be happy to oblige. I'll put it up on the website with the others (and matthewj's female version of Song of Farewell) in a bit.
  • rob
    Posts: 147
    Again, wonderful; and, thanks.

    Apart from the nuptial propers, if I had the talent personally to attempt this with the "big" feasts, I would start with the propers for Christmas, especially the Mass during the day, since otherwise the liturgy tends to be overwhelmed by mere seasonal hymns and most of the musical effort has been directed towards other Masses.

    Then, I'd move to the other holy days of obligation in the U.S. (based on my location), since it is often difficult to prepare the propers given the placement of the feasts in the calendar and to find hymns which would truly qualify as "alius cantus aptus."

    If I had not been exhausted up by then, I think I would next try the communion propers, which I think are especially neglected in most OF parishes in favor of generic eucharistic hymns and the ubiquitous "meditation" song. I'd probably concentrate on the seven ad libitum communions figuring they'd give me the most bang for my buck, and because the texts are so rich and lovely I could happily linger quite a while just on them.

    Just my two cents.
  • OK, they're up on my site in one big file. I didn't do New Britain adaptations because the tune is too familiar as "Amazing Grace." Most funerals have enough of a protestant presence already. If it works for your parish, though, by all means do it.

    Thanks for the suggestions, rob. I'll definitely keep those in mind.
  • Heath
    Posts: 892
    BTW, check out Christoph Tietze's "Introit Hymns" resource published by WLP . . . he's set metrical texts to tunes for all the Sundays and solemnities of the liturgical year. I'd hate for you to reinvent the wheel, for the entrance hymns, at least. But I think the entire list would encourage you to push on with this great project!
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,569
    Thank you so much!!
  • Thank you, Adam; these are excellent and I am certain will get used at the parishes with which I am affiliated.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    Adam, I'm sorry I didn't read this before now: I've been on vacation. Still remember reading your nuptial Mass motet at Wilko's rehearsals: so fun!

    Anyhow, a question for you: what do you do as far as printing these? It sounds like you have a similar situation to me, and have to make do with some sort of hymn. The problem for me would be that we only have the OCP books. We DO print a weekend worship aid in the bulletin, but of course that does not help for funeral Masses. There is an expectation that there be copies for the families/friends/funeral attendees to sing from (though they seldom do sing in real life.) Any suggestions? I'm interested in hearing of your particular situation.
  • I'll usually print up a separate aid for each funeral. Sometimes, it's as simple as a list of the hymns we're using in the style of a holy card (picture of the Crucifixion on front, hymn list on back). Other times, it's a full-blown, several page program, depending on what the family wants. I've attached an example from when I first got here--sorry, but it's a bit of a rush job.

    Ideally, you'd want to set the texts to tunes that are rather well-known to your parish. In that case, you could probably just print out the texts themselves without any music, since once the congregation hears the tune they'll be able to sing along. That is, if they want to. I've noticed, like you, that no one really seems to sing at a funeral. It's too bad we're not more freely allowed to do the propers, because that's exactly what most people need at a funeral: quiet reflection on something beautiful.
  • Oh, and by the way, I'm almost finished with the Nuptial propers (I'm meeting with a couple on Saturday and wanted to pitch the idea to them). I'll post again when they're up on my site in case anyone is interested.