In the second installment of my review I have to remind any readers that our employment of Mass of SPN is also mitigated by some omissions of various movements. Paul’s Gospel Acclamations are one of those, as well as his Amen. I have an affection for our friend Chuck Giffen’s “Ascensionis” settings of those movements.
One of the aspects that I’ve noticed in larger, more orchestrated Mass settings and musician-rich parishes is an inclination to employ grandiose instrumental introductions to the Sanctus, and to a lesser extent the Memorial and Amen acclamations. The key word to remember is acclamation. One of the best changes in MR3 was the last imperative word of the Preface, “acclaim!” That means “Better start PDQ, Mr. Bach, it’s an ACCLAMATION!” So, whether by a simple hum by the dirigent, a brief chordal iteration of Tonic F via organ, or the first half phrase of the Jernberg “Holy” by organ, that propulsion or momentum I mention in the “Glory” is even more present here. I believe the richness of the “orthodox-ian” homophony is found more in the rhythmic movement that’s glove-in-hand tight. And even without time signatures but with traditional note values, to me the phrases come off the tongue more like chant than hymn. The same harmonic construct between relative Major to minor is used with precision nearing perfection. I suggest that the tenors in the first phrase and last phrase use the high F because it enhances a closed position triad very effectively. And if you have enough soprani, or a few children trebles, there’s a pedal C hum (or “ooh”) that craftily enters on “est” of the first “highest,” and it glides over the Benedictus so sweetly until the last “Hosanna.” And, of course, the director can use different rubatos for the final cadence with that lovely suspension/release in the altos.
|James Michael Thompson|