We are the “Large Array”

If you’ve ever seen the film version of Carl Sagan’s “Contact,” you’ve seen two of many magnificent earthbound radio telescope installations, namely the Large Telescope in Arracebo, Puerto Rico and the Very Large Array of dish telescopes in the New Mexico desert. Jodie Foster’s character resolutely believes that “little green men” have and are trying to contact “us.” So, she and her crew relentlessly listen for frequencies that are unidentifiably “foreign” to cosmological emmissions.

I’ve had my second bout of bronchitis at a colloquium this year, but got antibiotics called in from California which I got onboard immediately. That allowed me to participate in my schola and choir for each day, amid getting some rest at other points of the day. But, during yesterday’s Mass (Latin OF) and Wednesday’s EF I purposefully sat in the very back- does that make me a real Catholic or just a conscientious PIP?- even though bronchitis isn’t contagious.

The Reverend Doctor Ed Schaefer’s schola chanted the Latin Introit from the very front of the nave on the gospel side. From the back of the church I could hardly hear them without intensive focus on my part. When I psychologically adjusted to that I heard first the men effortlessly sailing through the antiphon in a manner that would suggest an almost sotto voce vocal technique, but it really wasn’t. They sang with what Horst Buchholz says, “sing with two ears, not one mouth.” And then the more accessible treble women took over the antiphon adding the beauty of womenchant with almost sheer perfection. I had to write down, “I’m listening to angelic choirs (literally?) crossing, or permeating the noises and frequencies that reverberate through both the cosmos and our earth. AKA, “Contact.”

It was yet another revelation to me from yet another moment in a colloquium. Actuoso means that, like those telescopes, we have to have our human “operator,” our will and desire, predisposed to listen for those beatific sounds. Maybe all of them won’t be perfect or pretty or pristine, but they’re there at every Mass. And if you don’t understand what I’m saying, get thee to a colloquium.

The Turk and he’s back!

Scott Turkington channeling his inner liturgical dancer

So, we’re about to start second day chant session after a traditionally long (looooonnnnnnnggggg) first night and Scott Turkington walks up to me and my bunkmate and sez, “Do you think we ought to re-arrange the seating, it seemed like some of you guys only had a view of my backside?” Scott’s back!
And he’s, as one would expect, at the top of his form! We’ve got a mighty experienced men’s schola with folks from the UK to Uganda taking in not only the thoroughly founded, but humorously grounded expertise of one of the finest chant pedagogues and practicioners on the planet.
I don’t really have to tell Cafe folk about Scott’s breadth of wisdom and knowledge. But there was an very interesting and telliing little anecdote I’ll share from later in the morning. Among the assigned texts to us was one that employs “mihi.” So as we were sight-reading through the whole proper, those of us who’ve trained with Turkington naturally sang “MEE-kee” as many of us had that conversation years ago. But, of course, its phoneme was challenged. Scott really doesn’t seem to want to have to reiterate the pronunciation again, and the inestimable Fr. Christopher Smith chimes in. Scott asks Fr. Smith upon whose instruction does he cite when his choristers in South Carolina challenge the Hebraic/Germanic “ch” as “that’s how we learnt it!” Fr. Smith didn’t miss a beat, he answers, “I have it on authority of SCOTT TURKINGTON.” Hearty laughter ensues!
But, it really is a joy to have him return to colloquium, he compliments the same generosity and levity as well as true devotion to the cause and the faith that folks like Buchholz, Cole, Morse, Donelson, Treacy, (even Meloche!), bring to the sacred treasury table of tunedom.
And while we on other faculty, Scott and many others (myself included) have been truly inspired by the absolute beauty of the advanced women’s schola under Jonathan Ryan.
There were so many new hands raised at Monday’s gala dinner of first time attendees who have no idea what monumental strides colloquium has made in seven years!
And as a brief follow up to my first report from Indy, in talking to the millenial priests, deacons and seminarians who are here in force, these young men to a person absolutely believe what Fr. Smith foretold of his vision of RotR et cetera: pervasive change for the better will be achieved in this country, if not the world, within this century. Amen, young brothers!

Questions from Fr. Smith’s wonderful plenum address

In order to verify Scelata (G’s) beatific review of a hamburger heaven two blocks down on Ohio St.,

“Punch,” I decided to set out early in search of the perfect burger (I’m really not a burger guy!) *       I thought I could fisk out some thoughts and concerns on the Cafe that Fr. could take or leave and answer here, if he chooses.

Concerning ambivilence-
*Why did Father Smith demur that Sacrosanctum Concillium could have been the crowning achievement of liturgical legislation from 1903 through Mediator Dei to that watershed document?
*That Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI articulated  his opinion that the “doings” of those crafting further documents (ie. MS and the Pauline Missal) was the provenance of a “virtual” council (a Bizarro  Council?) and that the real, true council had started to emerge in the wake of decades of disastrous results in ecclesia, that inference seems to subtlely challenge the licety of the process and misapplication of SC in real praxis, doesn’t it?
*And roughly around the same time as Joseph Gelineau made his infamous quote of the death knell for the Vetus Ordo, saying it was essentially dead, buried and forgotten, the equally famed “Agatha Christie Indult” provided an abrogation of the constitutional integrity that progressives such as Gelineau and others championed. Why were there no bells, whistles and sirens going off then as we were “slipping into darkness?”

Juridical pressure-
*The Millenial generation may be forecasting and projecting fearless audacity since Summorum Pontificum. But even prior to HHFrancis’ ascendency, innumerable individual bishops and conferences have inculcated suppressive atmospheres towards the faithful priesthood of all Christ’s people, locally and globally. And recent, newsworthy sanctions reported in Catholic Blogdom have mitigated an even more subdued sense of a burgeoning grass roots movement.

*What the heck happened in seminaries between 1966-75 with the Boomer generation of clergy besides the Baltimore guys strumming new tunes out for Mass in the crypt churches? Roger Cardinal Mahony wasn’t the only prelate (nor Weakland) who influenced my generation’s clergy to be so openly disdainful for chant, Latin, ars celebrandi and their trappings in so uniform a mindset that I’ve encounter for over three decades. Were the “Greatest Generation” of priests who murmered thousands of Low Masses from the Depression forward form the Boomers to embrace the cult of the NO and make it their (and THE PEOPLE’S) own? I know plenty of now-deceased SJ priests who not only helped open the windows, but almost were iconoclast-happy to break the stained glass with bricks we’re now picking up and recycling.

Lastly, Fr. made no mention of the current crop of bishops nor the USCCB’s seemingly AWOL effect upon the national sensus fidelium regarding worship. What is up with that do you think, Father?

Thank you for a most stimulating and challenging address.

*PS, I had the Thai Peanut Butter Ground DUCK (well done) with pepper jack. Oh my.

Colloquium Predux

Reminding upon all CMAA events of the past whilst sitting in a very inexpensive but accommodating hotel near the Indy airport…

The first and imperial memory I have is of Duquesne II, Thursday. I had bronchitis. JT gave me a whole new Z pack Tues/Wed., but I hadn’t recovered a chant voice. Wendy was at her third Colloquium with me, soaking up the grace, and her schola was chanting for an EF. I made the decision to not chant with JMO (like he needed me) and just be PIP. Best decision of my life.

In Chicago, both W and I benefited by the chubby FSSP celebrant’s homiletic expiation of the VO (the new nomenclature replacing EF and Usus Antiquior or EF) and it was artfully brilliant. But as I chronicled here (I think) I became a child of God that Thursday in Pittsburgh.  

I suppose in a word I would say I “got” Sacrosanctum Consilium in its fullness right there in Pittsburgh, PA., of all places where the dubious efforts of Msgr. Rossini were legend, save for those who have his books and can read the reality.

So, from  the discount ho tel the night before registration, praying, hoping,  begging that this week for which I’ve done no preparation, don’t have a clue what didactic benefit(s) might fall my direction this week , and  which maybe my “last colloquium” I will doubtless behold the glory of God which then I hope bring home to the homespun folks of the San Joaquin Valley of California, a glorious The foretaste….

Oh Wally, Wally! – How to Define Profanation?

Wally (right) and Beaver, no so vexed!

Over at CCW’s blogsite
our CMAA Indy colleague Andrew Motyka (busy guy!) has the third installment of different folks’ take upon (Portland) Archbishop Sample’s now well-known “Letter on Sacred Music.” Some of the archbishop’s concerns not only focus upon the music in and of itself, but upon the “performance practice” of that same music. Is a bell-tree acceptable when singing a Ricky Manalo song, but a drum kit an absolute travesty? If we have to sing Scholte’s “They’ll know we are Christians…” must we use the infamous “strum diddy strum strum” pick pattern on a thousand guitars, or could we lipstick the pig by using a reggae back-beat which the folks will grin ear to ear over? Well, that’s not where I’m going to go in this response.

The concern about profanation of musical aspects within the Mass (and presumably all ritualized worship such as the LoH) has vexed the Church likely before the recognition of the parody Mass (L’Homme arme comes to mind.) I have to wonder what set of circumstances is in play when the fulcrum point of profanation is finally overwhelmed by secular association to certain musical motifs, that it should be obvious to all present “hearing” Mass in any particular moment? Familiarity with secular musical motifs is subjective, not easily quantifiable, and more often than not culturally based.

For example, I have never programmed Jaime Cortez’s immensely popular “Somos el cuerpo de Cristo” for decades as off the page, not to mention the recording, I couldn’t disassociate its refrain from the Beatle’s “Oob la di, oob la da….” (I won’t finish the line out of respect for the subject matter.) Sometimes the instance verges on near-plagarism as in the case of one song in OCP’s library by a very popular “Spirit and Song” composers that interval by interval almost quotes George Harrison’s “Here comes the sun.” Other lit-wags have excoriated songs such as “Here I am, Lord” (Schutte) repeatedly for its resemblance to the theme music for the “old” TV comedy “Gilligan’s Island.” Let’s move onto more serious considerations. Would we sing “What Child is This” during Christmastide had not RVW written his famed “Fantasy on Greensleeves?” For that matter, if we knew the exact source of the amalgam hymntune KINGSFOLD, would that make us less inclined to use the nobler hymn version we generally associate with “I heard the voice of Jesus?” We know of patriotic and worship tunes whose genesis is “Bar the door, Katy!) certifiably within the confines of public houses all over Europe. I have a student volume of folk songs from the British Isles compiled by Stanford that is rife with tunes, some well known, others obscure, that are now found in popular hymnals. Do we thank St. Thomas More’s Chris Walker alone for that reality. Not really. But let’s confine the rest of discussion to the factors concern profanation to “isle tunes” for brevity’s sake.

The likely candidate for most prominent secular tune that’s successfully crossed over many times is O WALY WALY. If one thinks of just the music, it’s an oddity. It demands sheer lung power for each phrase, it has a tessitura demand beyond many other songs, and despite other concerns, it is constantly set and reset to new texts and sung well. Now, the test of profanation has to include the text wedding of the original tune. Like many of those Stanford-collected songs, the original text likely remains a lost love lament common to popular song since Morley madrigals. I’m sure text and tune crossed the pond in the 17th century quite in tact, so it became cross-cultural as well in the colonial south. At this point I want to ask then, why haven’t I encountered a hymntext set to BARBARA ALLEN or SHE WALKED THROUGH THE FAIRE? (Maybe Dr. Ballou has, as a harpist and musicologist, had that fortune, I haven’t personally.) Let’s face it, would anyone be singing Bell’s “The Summons” if there was a pervasive knowledge and association with the original lyrics of KELVINGROVE? Who’s to say? But where does one draw a line between appropriating SUO GAN or ASHGROVE (from Wales) for famed texts, and Walker deciding “SKYE BOAT SONG” (Scotland) would make a nifty vehicle?

On this side of the pond, has anyone ever encountered a hymntext set to “The streets of Laredo?” On the other hand, though I’ve never found one, it wouldn’t surprise me if there is a hymn set to “Shenandoah” somewhere out there. Here’s the deal, unlike the Beatles or Gilligan associations proximity to recent cultural memory, no such association exists for these seminal, beautiful ballads I’ve mentioned. Is it only time passage that mitigates a profanation association? One can parrot “O say can you see” having its origins as a flagon-hoisting huzzah song in old Brittania pubs, but when played or sung with reverence and dignity at any ballgame or historic gathering, its integrity (sorry, couldn’t resist using that word) holds strong by the strands of tears on peoples’ faces. Well, I think that’s enough grist for the mill of discussion as regards how we discern and discriminate such issues. Were it just as easy as we old hippies used to think it was when someone drags up that somebody somewhere (not me) used “My Sweet Lord (doo lay doo lay doo lay)” or “Jesus is just alright with me” back in the day in the crypt church!

It does, however, lend a lot of weight to the PiusX/Marht/Kwasniewski paradigm arguments of sticking pretty darn close to the musical patrimony, no?

Is P&W Music “More Than a Feeling?”

I mentioned over at the Musica Sacra Forum that between visiting two Masses as “Music Director” not leader on Trinity Sunday I had the inclination to walk across the boulevard to check out the 9am Service at the megachurch Assembly of God. I didn’t actually enter their sanctuary, but observed from cozy nooks with large flat screens and state of the art audio setups that ostensibly serve as cry rooms in the main “narthex.” I have to simply say that I was underwhelmed by the couple of songs that were stretched beyond their usefulness for P&W in my estimation, and then by the less than deft transition to the opening prayer by the pastor who serves as the church’s CFO. So I was relieved when a couple and their infant pulled up in their Escalade-like stroller and slinked out and back to the second Mass. I didn’t want to really fisk out what little I’d observed there, it wouldn’t be fair. But this morning my eye caught a headline link to an article at the eminent Catholic blog/magazine, First Things: “In Praise of Praise Music” by Stephen H. Webb, one of their contributing columnists. As First Things is primarily a subscription-based publication, I won’t reprint much of the article at all. However, Mr. Webb made four rather pointed concerns that compel me to respond. I was mildly surprised that his article was accepted by the editorship for its content alone, but hey, who am I to question authority? He does qualify the context of his premise by this quote:

A note to the trads no doubt already heading for the comments: I am not talking about liturgical music.

Let’s look at his concerns. I will try to be brief with my remarks.

So why do so many Christians have such a condescending attitude toward praise music?

Because, for the most part, within or without it’s context as a congealing agent in a worship serve, it barely qualifies as “music” in the first place. Even the maligned (on YouTube) Kanon in D has melodic expeditions that are purposeful attempts to demonstrate how many layers of clothing the otherwise naked emperor can bear to wear. Webb makes a comparison between the “authenticity” of Stairway to Heaven trumping “Here I am to worship” without realizing that the Zepplin staple is a cornucopia of harmonic fruits versus the praise tune’s “Heart and Soul” progression of chords, over and over. Pachelbel, where are you when you’re really needed? Kanon is for many an anesthetic itself even fully realized. “Here I am….” is an ever increasing morphine drip when what the soul needs is an adrenaline shot to the heart; John Travolta, where are you when we need you?

All I am saying is that praise music should have a significant place in every Christian’s heart—or at least in their iPods.

This declaration has a much legs as the equally ineffective plea of my teen hero John Lennon’s plea “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” No, no, no. Praise music, to continue the above analogy, at best should be a mild and occasional palliative to be used to alleviate stress and strain, maybe. But if my heart is aching for any reason, depending upon what my mind and my soul determine ought to be the direction my emotional needs should take, on one extreme I’d rather have Barber’s “Adagio” express empathy for my angst, or Prokoviev’s (how im-Modest of me! H/T to John O) Mussogrsky’s* “Great Gate of Kiev” filling my eardrums as a sympathetic relief. Heck, even if I’m at peace, great chant such as from Heilingenkreuz Abbey, is a much better accompaniment to my soul through my earphones than MW Smith’s “Breathe.”

The words are too simple, direct, and demanding, the emotions too transparent.
Mr. Webb almost acts as the prosecuting attorney against himself with the obvious realities of his own quote here. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of the joke about Texas justice: Judge:“Son, why’d you shoot that man dead?” “Well, yer honor, he needed killin’!” Judge: “Well alright then.”
But even though I’ll allow that not all P&W songs are created equal (Hillsongs’ composers have better vocabularies in their compositional stables, for example) the other emotional reality is that the songs are narcissistic underneath the masque of words that are Theo-centric at a primary level. The Praise Team with all the amplification is the ultimate “end” of this modality, but the folks in the theatre with raised, swaying arms and tortured/ecstatic (you make the call) visages are trying like all heck to enter into a “ME and JESUS” moment, not we and Jesus.
For those who say rock and praise can’t coexist, listen to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Please, Mr. Webb, tell us you were joking when you wrote that inanity. If you weren’t but want to have a rock anthem that actually bolsters your premise, try Boston’s great mid-70’s power hit, “More Than a Feeling.” There’s more genomic code in common with true P&W with Boston than the morose Mr. Cohen.

*Darn Russki’s, can’t keep ’em straight unless they’re Armenian! Oh, wait a minute, was the film scorer Dmitri Tiomkin or Dmitri Potemkin? Fuggedaboutit, I’m gonna go Khatchaturian, if I can find one.

The Good Shepherd as the Agnus Dei

I mentioned in my first review of select pieces from Dr. Peter Kwasniewski’s SACRED CHORAL WORKS that I would review three pieces that though obviously deigned for choral performance, might be rendered with the soprano voice serving as the congregational melody if a worship aide were provided to all. The next piece in that vein is his “Agnus Dei III” found on page 24 in the volume. Without belaboring the theoretical harmonic progressions in as detailed a manner as the first review (Kyrie III) I’d like to simply restate that Peter possesses an uncanny, modest but powerful knack for creating ever so slight moments of pure bliss that makes analysis almost unseemly. And he does so with a larger intent in mind because his prepared and multi-suspended cadences are examples of sheer beauty and sometimes surprise. The structure of this setting is AAB. In “A” one of those transient moments (key signature, four flats) is though the work starts in F minor (Brief suggestion, have the tenor start on middle C on beat three) upon the second beat of m2 on “Dei” he resolves a suspended V chord with a dominant 7th in root position but sub-cadences to the relative major, Ab. It’s like the first bite of a really good Scottish shortbread, it unwinds rapidly and smoothly on the palate and then it’s gone! He has a couple of other passing moments, first in m4, beat 2 (pec-ca-ta) and beat 4 of m6 (mi se re re) that make life very much fun every Sunday for choristers, but the last three measures of section A, “nobis,” features a cascade of suspension/resolutions that seem to prepare for a cadential finality on the V of Fminor, his bass lands and holds on VI until beat four, and then reposes on major I, Ab in close position. Now we’re not talking cookie tasting, but wine tasting!

And the getting through the “hints” to the sublime finish is smooth and leaves you wanting another, thank you.

In the “B” section I’ll briefly mention that tracking tonality shifts and centers is counterproductive for this review. Peter expands the tessitura and employs chromatic voice leading in the bass and alto voices to beat the band. And that sets up an impetus for another three measure section (the first “Dona nobis pacem”) that uses counterpoint in the outer voices exquisitely. He then provides two possible coda like reiterations of “Dona…”, the first of which is more austere, and the second more consistent with the two previous three measure cadences. I could easily see this used in parishes where the fraction rite occupies more time because of congregation size, local custom or whatever. As modest a setting it is lengthwise, it is still longer than what congregations normally expect. But don’t let that keep your choir from offering it up. Finally, after you hear this piece, I hope you’ll get the connection between the famed catacomb fresco and the tenderness of this setting.

Time for a new Pentecost? Let it happen!

First as I forwarded an annotated version of this article to my pastor and administrator this evening, I ask you to go to the link first and read, let its wisdom take hold in good ground, and bloom in your hearts. Then I offer the letter of my thoughts about its sentiments that accompanied my memo to the pastor.


This is the memo forwarded to our pastor:

Please read the attached and I ask prayerfully consider the wisdom it . We may be on the cusp of seeing this potential great vessel of worship, the mother tongue and mother ship of the Barque of Peter cross the horizon never to return to our city. Liturgy is not about literal comprehension alone. As Fr. Friel and CS Lewis recognize that vernaculars are temporal, then would it be too much for us here to consider redressing the absence of the only timeless tongue of our Roman Rite? One Mass a week, one Mass a month? Or better yet one in each parish under the Missal of Paul VI? As Chesterton once said I now paraphrase, “Latin has not been tried (in the Ordinary Form) and failed, but has failed to be tried.” The readings and homily (even the Universal Prayer) in our vernaculars can move our minds and then our wills to leave the doors after Mass and try to bring both the Word and the Great Commission to fruition. But the status quo, the Mass which is expedited by the ease of words that become formulaic and thusly subject to unconscious distraction or worse, antithetical to the deeper Word that lies with the Ritual, the real locus of worship and mystery, will cripple ritual worship’s very viability and future in my estimation. There, I’ve said my words about my intuition and inclination. If it’s not in the cards, then “amen, so be it.” Blessings, C. 

Can it be done? Really?

Is it nappy time?

“Behold, he shall never sleep nor slumber….”

Having endured my own capricious behaviors over nearly 63 years, I realize my exit from the Cafe a few years back was an annoyance to many, for which I accept responsibility but don’t necessarily apologize.

Having confessed that, I would like to know before re-engaging as a regular columnist for the Cafe, if there are subjects, protocols, methodologies that those who visit here would prefer that contributors address in order to engage connectivity?

I daily read the Cafe, and have done so since my own self-exile. The readership has been provided, by my estimation, sufficient grist (thanks, Liam) for consumption and digestion. However, if you examine the worthy content of the last two weeks’ worth of posts, there is virtually zero response from passersby. It’s like the staff and the habitues are keeping vigil looking for a rejuvination from above. Well, folks, you are the raison d’etre for this blog enterprise. Where’s the love?

Have we capitulated to sheer provocation? Okay, I can do that, if that’s what you want. I can compose an article defending ON EAGLES’ WINGS solely based upon its musicality to theological content, for which everyone’s dander will rise, guar-an-teed. But that is a “cheap trick,” really, isn’t it? (But if you respond daring me, don’t think I can’t or won’t.)

But the Cafe from its inception was meant to be a conversation haven.
Where have all the flowers gone?

A Most Worthy Collection for Every Catholic Choir

A few months ago our CMAA colleague, Peter Kwasniewski, debuted his SACRED CHORAL WORKS compendium to the public. I first met Dr. Kwasniewski at the 2012 CMAA Colloquium (in Salt Lake City) during the daily sessions hosted by Dr. David Hughes in which composers shared their select works for review by their peers. In addition to being a composer of sacred music, Dr. Kwasniewski’s primary occupation, Professor of Philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College, is also known as a columnist, contributor and commentator at a host of liturgical and sacred music blogs (including this site, MusicaSacra, Corpus Christi Watershed, New Liturgical Movement and even Pray Tell Blog), Peter’s principal mission is to call fellow Catholic musicians to a life of holiness and sanctity through the discipline of acknowledging and practicing our art with only the finest, the truly beautiful, the worthiest of musical expressions by which we honor and worship our Creator.

I purchased enough copies for our schola out here in California and before our hiatus after Pentecost for the summer, we read through as many pieces as we could and performed one of his Marian hymns on the last Sunday of May, “Thee, O Mary, will we praise.” I had some personal correspondence with Peter on a number of occasions, and he graciously asked if I would be interested in reviewing the collection at the Chant Café. Having resigned as a contributor from the Café, Peter also approached our friend Jeffrey Tucker for his imprimatur for my return, and JT, as always, provided the gentlemanly invitation for that, and with Richard Chonak’s help, this is my first column review. I would refer the reader here to purchase a copy just to read the preface to the book. Perhaps that can be accessed at the CCW website (I’m not sure.) But Peter’s passion for his mission is only matched by his philosopher’s eloquence in the preface introduction.

For now and this first review I will just confine myself to a very narrow scope of one work. The one we’ll examine I have chosen for its accessibility to the schola and/or choir whose choral capabilities likely range from modest or even nascent, to accomplished or even professional levels. I realize until I acquire the skills to post the scrolling score video that would match the superbly incredible talent of Matthew Curtis (who sings each voice part on the three CD demonstration albums) you will not be able to ascertain how accurate my descriptions totally.

I – KYRIE (III, p.20)
Among the variety of Mass Ordinary movements in the volume, I wanted to first examine how Peter approaches settings that could possibly be introduced not only in the choral setting, but perhaps even intended for congregational use. This concept of mine I could illustrate by citing the example of Tallis’ famed “If ye love me,” which employs a primary sort of homophony within the polyphonic structure for the most part, but which an attuned congregant could actually “hum” melodic motives by memory. So, textually, this Kyrie keeps the text more or less unified vertically. But he uses very subtle inner voice movements to exact some exquisite moments that use 20th century harmonic “innovations” such as the simple minor v in second inversion (m.6) on the first beat which then employs the tenor moving to the minor 7 on beat two to land us back to a brief tonic moment on beat three. The movement to a new “tonal” center keeps going into the final bar of the first Kyrie with a prepared double suspension on beat one of m.7 that eventuates in a very satisfying shift from the original F minor to its relative major Ab at the first major cadence. Keeping that center at a slower (meno mosso q=80) tempo, after “Christe” Kwasniewski opens up the close root position Ab Major chord to what one could deem either an EbM6th in first inversion or a Cm7 in second inversion for “le-i” throughout the entire measure to move back to F minor on “-son.” So sublime and the time is afforded singer and listener to savor this “mercy.” Mm.11-13 reiterate “Christe eleison” again using a brilliantly prepared alto suspension below the soprano which is ornamented with a 16th note couplet that harmonically cadences, though over more time, in the same fashion as did the first “Kyrie cadence.” And in m.12, the altos are afforded the lovely moment to imitate that soprano ornament in their voice part’s resolution of the suspension.

Just to wrap this “first toes in the water” review up, Peter has such an affinity for “eleison” that in the return to Kyrie he employs a descending parallel thirds motive in the two inner voices. That’s why elegance is in simplicity! And a couple of other surprises closes this movement with his use of another minor v chord on the second “Kyrie” and then that is followed by a transitional cluster chord that’s essentially a Major 9th chord upon Bb that prepares the final cadence with a sequence of secondary dominants and a lovely plagal final cadence. And like Tallis, or even Palestrina, the voice part movements are quite accessible and intuitive for an amateur choral singer.

Next article will look at his AGNUS DEI (III) and the aforementioned Marian hymn.