Watch full video here. The organ is featured at 11 minutes through the end of chapter 2.
If your parish is considering using the proper texts of the Mass, and if you are not sure how to make the transition from hymns to propers, Hymn Tune Propers might be the solution you are seeking for the upcoming liturgical new year. Charles Giffen and I have worked together to produce this booklet of Advent propers. The texts are my adaptations of the daily and Sunday Entrance Antiphons, rhymed and metered in 18.104.22.168. iambic (Long Meter) verses. Charles has set these verses to familiar Long Meter tunes: Conditor Alme Siderum (Creator of the Stars of Night), Winchester New (On Jordan’s Bank), and, for December 17-24, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel). Optional Psalm verses are provided, in traditional Anglican chant, except for the days of the O Antiphons, and Dec. 24, when the antiphon is followed by the refrain: Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
The Hymn Tune Propers project is envisioned as a “first step” in parish music renewal. It offers an easy and accessible way for parishes accustomed to singing hymns–a majority of parishes–to sing in their familiar musical style, but using the Church’s universal texts. Parishioners on a wide scale can have access to the liturgical texts that are often hidden from them by the custom of singing hymns in place of the processional chants.
In my opinion, this is not a long-term solution for any parish, for both musical and textual reasons. The musical style of hymnody is not flexible enough to foster true cantillation of the liturgical text. In my versifications I have made small compromises in meaning and imagery in order to accommodate meter and rhyme. But it is a useful, easy, non-confrontational first step in helping parishioners become familiar with the existence of propers, to know and love the liturgical bounty they represent, and to have a chance to become more deeply immersed in “the mystery of the liturgical season or festivity” (GIRM para. 47).
“The church of Milan had only recently begun to employ this mode of consolation and exaltation with all the brethren singing together with great earnestness of voice and heart. For it was only about a year — not much more — since Justina, the mother of the boy-emperor Valentinian, had persecuted thy servant Ambrose on behalf of her heresy, in which she had been seduced by the Arians. The devoted people kept guard in the church, prepared to die with their bishop, thy servant. Among them my mother, thy handmaid, taking a leading part in those anxieties and vigils, lived there in prayer. And even though we were still not wholly melted by the heat of thy Spirit, we were nevertheless excited by the alarmed and disturbed city.
This was the time that the custom began, after the manner of the Eastern Church, that hymns and psalms should be sung, so that the people would not be worn out with the tedium of lamentation. This custom, retained from then till now, has been imitated by many, indeed, by almost all thy congregations throughout the rest of the world.” St. Augustine, Confessions
Click here for Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman’s hymn, Praise to the Holiest in the Height
More than any other author, Lewis fuels my Christian imagination.
The rational arguments of the doctors and apologists are wonderful. They can bolster faith and do away with doubts. But, for me at least, they cannot reframe my world, and, in my opinion, reframing the world for believers must be goal of the new evangelization. And it will not be a hard sell. One senses a world-weariness, an information overload. People are looking for meaning, something more, something new–and Catholicism has this to offer.
The Second Vatican Council teaches that music is the most important liturgical art because it is wedded to the words of the liturgy. This is true, and words do become more alive, more urgent and delightful, when set to music. And yet it is also true that music is one of the liturgical arts that can penetrate the imagination to the point of restoring hope to a weary world. Music stirs the emotions, potentially making believers more committed and courageous. It aids that most precious gift of recollected silence. It can provide a sense of unity and coherence with past ages and with all the other believers in the universal Church. It is this kind of coherence that people long for in our age, and try to find in the most inadequate places. The Church has in itself truth and unity and concord, and music can help express this and make it attractive.
A lovely article on the NLM.