The 10 a.m. Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent from the magnificent Cathedral in St. Louis:
Celebrant: Abp. Robert Carlson
Organ: Dr. Horst Buchholz
Proper chants from The Proper of the Mass by Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB
Responsorial Psalm by Jeffrey Ostrowski
Chants for the Ordinary of the Mass from the Graduale Romanum
PS: While we’re mentioning one church named in honor of Our Lady of Walsingham, her National Shrine in England has started 24/7 live streaming of its events, including today’s Mass rededicating England to our Lady as her “dowry”: https://www.walsingham.org.uk/live-stream/
The USCCB Committee on Divine Worship has helpfully published the 2020 Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America (PDF, free download) on their web site.
The Calendar contains Scripture readings for each observance, details about regional variations in holy days of obligation, and an appendix listing patronal days for Latin American countries and the corresponding celebrations that may be observed when they fall on ferial days.
Also mentioned is the new memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church, which falls on Pentecost Monday; this year that will be June 1, temporarily displacing St. Justin Martyr.
In a garden shady this holy lady
With reverent cadence and subtle psalm,
Like a black swan as death came on,
Poured out her song in perfect calm:
And by ocean’s margin this innocent virgin
Constructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,
And notes tremendous from her great engine
Thundered out on the Roman air.
Why would St. Cecilia construct an organ by the shore? We don’t think of that as a hospitable place for delicate instruments. But the earliest known pipe organ, the hydraulis, invented in the third century BC, ingeniously used water to maintain the pressure in its wind chest. This animation illustrates the mechanism:
and this reproduction instrument at Bath illustrates some of its potential for sound:
No wonder the Byzantine emperors used it in their court ceremonies. This German reconstruction sounds more refined:
Musicians looking for an educational event next February may like to consider a conference NPM is putting on February 10-12 in Washington, with Dr. Peter Latona, the director of music at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. The program includes four talks by Dr. Latona, two of them at the Basilica, and features the opportunity to observe a choir rehearsal on site. More information on the program, costs, and accommodations are in the event brochure.
For several years work has been underway to develop a new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) in English for use in the United States. The version currently in use dates from the mid-1970s and is overdue for revision, since the second post-conciliar Latin edition was issued 34 years ago. So the new edition is coming with numerous positive changes, many of them based on the 2001 document Liturgiam authenticam.
One part of the work has reached a milestone: the task of translating the office’s Latin hymns into English has been completed by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) and the results will be up for approval by the US bishops this month at their meeting.
These are great hymns, nearly 300 of them, full of theological significance and suited to the various feasts and daily observances, so they will be a true enrichment for the Liturgy of the Hours. They will replace the English-language hymns, songs, and poems that were used in the current edition, nearly all of them unrelated to the corresponding Latin texts.
As with most things in the world of church music, there is debate. Happily, the hymns are being put into English with an eye to preserving the original meter of the Latin hymns. This will make it so that the original melodies, simple Gregorian tunes, can be used with them. But in a move that inspires misgivings, the hymns are being rendered as unrhymed text.
Here’s an example:
Iesu, redémptor sæculi,
Verbum Patris altíssimi,
Lux lucis invisíbilis,
Custos tuórum pérvigil :
Tu fabricátor ómnium
Discrétor atque témporum,
Fessa labore córpora
Noctis quiéte récrea.
Qui frangis ima tártara,
Tu nos ab hoste líbera,
Ne váleat sedúcere
Tuo redémptos sánguine,
Ut, dum graváti córpore
Brevi manémus témpore,
Sic caro nostra dórmiat
Ut mens sopórem nésciat.
Iesu, tibi sit glória,
Qui morte victa prænites,
Cum Patre et almo Spíritu,
In sempitérna sæcula.
Of course, the decision to avoid rhyme in the English translations of these hymns was not made without reason. In some cases, obtaining a rhyme can force the translator to change conventional English word order. This is commonplace in hymnody and poetry, but, it is said, it could arguably make the text seem artificial for the many clergy who observe the daily office alone, who read it rather then singing it.
One must concede that that is a reason, but it reflects a sad state of affairs: that now, as in the liturgical reform of the 1960s, the celebration of the liturgy with music is treated as something good but secondary, as somewhat less important than the desire to celebrate the liturgy in merely spoken form.
As a consolation, I am told that the new unrhymed English hymns will not be mandatory: that it will be permitted to use other translations, including the classic rhyming translations by greats such as Neale and Winkworth, or more recently those from the nuns of St. Cecilia’s Abbey in Ryde or Stanbrook Abbey.