Friday, August 07, 2009

Transfiguration in the Builders Yard


The Church is bit horrible at the moment bare floorboards benches in the process of being sanded down, a third "in the white", waiting to be varnished, dust every where. It is a builders yard, it is going to get worst. Next week the organ console is going to be moved to the gallery and the pipes will have to be sealed in a dustproof "tent", so we can sand the floor, we'll have to close the Church and say Mass in the Community Centre. Ugh!

But yesterday evening amidst all the mess we celebrated, most of the congregation came in the morning, the rain was sheeting down, so hardly anyone came, except for the schola. I celebrated the Usus Recentior in the vernacular versus contra populum, the schola sang the Propers and Orbis Factor from their new Gregorian Missals. I love that Alleluia, the music shimmers, they didn't attempt the Gradual, it is too difficult, instead the sang the responsorial in Latin. I must admit it, I can't see the point of the responsorial psalm.

14 comments:

Crux Fidelis said...

Father, you say you can't see the point of the responsorial psalm.. May I ask why?

dillydaydream said...

Thank goodness - I thought I was the only one to see the resp psalm as pointless. When the reader stumbles through it in a monotone it drives me nuts. I remember in the late 60s/ early 70s before the Recentior had settled down, the leaflets used to say "may be omitted if not Sung", for this plus various other bits like the Communion Antiphon. So when did it become compulsory for all Masses? And why-oh-why-oh-why? I also remember the old psalm books, with authentic settings - we used to sight-read them. It was not chant notation, but it did not have bar-lines. I wouldn't mind doing them at Sung Masses, if we went back to an authentic (Jewish, not Boney-M) way of performance.

Fr Ray Blake said...

CF,
Partly Dilly's answer, but also I find, saying or singing things like "My life has escaped from snare of the fowler", a bit silly, and certainly a distraction.
Invariably they are not a very good response ( it is called the Responsorial Psalm because of this, not because it is in the form of a psalm and response - or antiphon) to the first reading.

Crux Fidelis said...

'saying or singing things like "My life has escaped from snare of the fowler" a bit silly'

As a response or when reciting the psalm? If the latter you must be feeling silly once a week. ;¬)

Dilly, what's wrong with reciting the psalms? Aren't they the backbone of the Divine Office?

Malcolm Kemp said...

There is only one thing worse than a said responsorial Psalm and that is a sung responsorial Psalm. Utterly pointless. If I'm at a said Mass and don't have a book in front of me I've forgotten the response by the time it comes round (but I'm several years older than Fr Ray and my mind isn't what it was!!)

In my more facetious moments I have been known to suggest to friends that responsorial Psalms are like the Peace and Mass facing the people: they were designed to stop people going to church ever again. (Warning- I'm only joking!)

joe mc said...

Dilly, we still have a family giggle which began with a particularly dolorous recitation of 'what marvels the Lord worked for us: indeed we were glad' .
Father, generations of musicians will thank you for remembering to cover up the organ before you do building work. A very fine instrument in my home town was ruined by excessive dust in the air.

dillydaydream said...

Crux - there's nothing "wrong" with the psalms - it is the enforced and unwilling manner of delivery by reader and congregation that has always made me wince. Entrance and Communion antiphons are ok, but very few people in the congregation actually say them - the rst shuffle their leaflets trying to find their place. My problem with the Recentior rite (which I attend regularly) as a whole is that there is too much routine prescribed verbal interaction - there is no quiet time for me to pray, or concentrate on the Mystery. I didn't realise this till I had attended a few EFs, and could contrast the two. Armed with a missal, an EF lets me meditate on the readings,the collects etc, at my own pace. I'm sure others feel differently - and that's why it's good to have both forms.

And while I am in "whinge" mode - could I beseech Priest readers not to make up pretentious, complicated and un-memorable responses to the bidding prayers - (e.g. "Heavenly Parent, enrich us in our diversity with your bread of life"). Even if the congregation remain alert after the sermon, and have remembered their hearing aids - they are distracted by the jingling of tightwads looking for loose change in small denomination coins;-) Result - mumbled chaos from the fourth row back.

ffn said...

Chinese whispers of course; however I prefer to drop the response and just have people pray the Psalm as if they were taking part in the office, yes it does mean printing them out and taking a little time but so what.

ffn said...

When undertaking restoration Church in my own church I was very dissapointed to see that after all the fuss the heritage lobby made about protecting the organ it meant nothing more than covering it in cling film!!!!

George said...

Fr Ray - in the midst of any building works it all seems like there's no end in sight!

However, once the builders are finally gone, all the snags are snagged and the dust has settled - WOW! What a transformation it will be. Back to it's original (as near as possible) with some mod-cons thrown in - 'FIT FOR THE KING OF KINGS'!!!!

Best of luck and God Bless. Look forward to visiting.

Tom said...

Father,
There are simplified settings of the Gradual, that can be found on the Musica Sacra website.

Henry said...

If the Community Centre is being used for Mass, try having a sung one upstairs, the acoustic is very good, some of us discovered this by accident a while ago.

bowsk said...

The gradual is no more difficult to sing than the Alleluia, it is just very long and so is the Alleluia. This is why it is often not sung or sung in place of the Alleluia. The Responsorial Psalm is shorter and so seemed more practical for the occasion. For the record, the hardest proper to sing is always the Offertory. It looks deceptively easy on paper but always has much harder intervals to master when sung unaccompanied.

Henry said...

We used to sing the correct alleluia and the rest of the gradual in the same psalm tone as the ful gradual so they fitted in.

The difficulty with the full graduals is the time it takes to learn them.