7 years ago

Volume 2 Issue 8 - May 1997

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6 LITURGICAL MUSIC IN CONTEXT- A MULTI-MEDIA EVENT BY JOHN TUTTLE With the passing of Vatican II in the 1960's came liturgical reforms in the Roman Catholic Church which were interpreted to mean that the music of the ordinary for the mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus/ Benedictus and Agnus Dei) should be sung by the congregation in the vernacular. This came as no shock to the majority of Catholic musicians, as the majority of parishes had allowed their music to "coast" into a low estate, and indeed such reform was both necessary and welcome. But the unfortunate by-product of this reform was that the large body of mass settings by fine composers for liturgical use was put aside in favour of the congregational music which was, by its nature, easier to perform. Although Vatican II pertained only to the Roman communion, other liturgical denominations (Anglican and Lutheran) were heavily influenced by the reforms; for example, the Hymnbook of the Anglican and United Churches in, Canada of the early 1970s has much useful congregational music at the back of the book, and in the Episcopal Church of the U.S., The Hymnal 1982 devotes nearly a quarter of the book to liturgical music. Useful as this music may be, it rarely provides an aesthetic experience for anyone who appreciates great • I mustc. BEAUTY OF HOLINESS Some settings of the mass have "gone underground" and become part of the concert repertoire: many choral institutions sing the liturgical works of Mozart and Haydn; a few manage to programme the splendid works of the Renaissance by Palestrina, Victoria, Josquin, to name a few. But, no matter how fine such performances m ay be, one often misses the point of their performance when they are removed from the liturgical act for which they are intended. Indeed, they become even more splendid when accompanied by vestments, candles, bells and incense. "Some settings of the mass have ''gone underground" and become part of the concert repertoire ... but, no matter how fine such performances may be, one often misses the point oftheir performance when they are removed from the liturgical act for which, they are intended. " may '97 wholenote Happily, there are still a few places in Toronto where the effort is made to sing these glorious works in their proper liturgical context. I am fortunate to serve as Organist and Choirmaster of Saint Thomas's Anglican Church on Huron Street, a small anglo-catholic parish which holds "the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty" in esteem, and which embraces the great choral repertoire written for liturgical use, and strives to produce a liturgy of both splendour and reverence. As an example, I shall never forget my first months at Saint Thomas's, preparing the choir to sing the Faure Requiem for a Solemn Requiem Mass on the Commemoration of All Souls (November 2nd). Having probably conducted, sung or. played it dozens of times, I discovered its diffe"?ent, inner meaning in the context of that service, when our congregation remembers those who have died in previous years. The Sanctus, sung by candlelight after the names of the dead were read, was a sublime moment of both ecstasy and reassurance, which would have been unattainable, had one relied solely on the music of Faure. During Advent and Lent, the choir sings the Gregorian settings from the Liber Usualis, which were originally intended for "congregational use," although the congregation would likely have been monks, trained in the art of singing them. The spirituality of this simple music goes far beyond the scope of the congregational music of our time. As well as plainsong and renaissance music, we enjoy music of our century, including the Massing by Vaughan Williams, the Messe en sol by Frances Poulenc, the very beartiful Missa Brevis by Zoltan Kodaly, and the stark and impressive Messe Solenelle by Jean Langlais. RECAPTURING PART OF YOUR SPIRIT While it would be imprudent to suggest that one attend a church service simply to enjoy the music, it is just possible that you could recapture a part of your· spiritual life which may have fallen away. This could well be the fault of the church (universal) which in recent times has ignored what is beautiful in favour of what is accessible. Of course, I am sure that you would be welcome to attend any church for any reason, and to hear this glorious music in its proper "multi-media" venue, will certainly do your soul no harm! The churches which justify the time, TORONTO'S ONLY COMPREHENSIVE MONTHLY CLASSICAL.& CONTEMPORARY CONCERT LISTING SOURCE \

wholenote may '97 energy (and expense) of singing this great music have become unique. There are several places · you might like to visit in Toronto: I have mentioned our little Saint Thomas's Church on Huron Street, and there is our sister parish, the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene at Ulster and · Manning Streets (where Healey Willan developed a choral traditi9n embracing this gre~t music which is carried on today). The Cathedral Church of Saint Michael devotes some parts of the ordinary to the great choral settings, and the~e is the Oratory of the Holy Family, a curious little church on King Street West, which ' does a superb job of it. c B John Tuttle is Organist and Choirmaster at Saint Thomas's Church, Toronto L A A R v 0 I Q E U R E Dawn Lyons & Den Ciul 109 Fuller Avenue Toronto, Ontario M6R 2C4 . Phone: (416) 538·3062 Fax: (416) 538-3062 e-mail s s HARPSICHORDS CLAVICHORDS SPINETS VIRGINALS FORTE-PIANOS Sales - Repairs - Rentals Agents for Zuckermann Harpsichords Saint Thomas's Anglic~n Church, 383 Huron Street, 979-2323. Sundays. 9:30 am & 11 :00 am: Sung Eucharist; 7:00pm: Solemn Evensong & Devotions Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, 4 77 Manning Avenue, 531-7955. Sundays. 11 :00 am: Solemn High Mass (gallery choir sings) SUNG SERVICES CANADA'S LEADING VIOLIN SHOP Over 100,000 Satisfied Customers Worldwide 26 Cumberland • 2nd Floor Toronto, Ontario (I block north of Bloor Between Yonge & Bay) Toll-Free: 1(888)353-7427 Tel: (416)960-8494 Fax: (416)960-1478 Open Mon-Sat.10am-6pm Open Thursdays 'til Bpm Cathedral Church of Saint Michael, 200 Church Street, 364-0234. Sundays. 9:00am: Junior Choir; 10:30 am: Tenor/Bass Choir; 12:00: Senior Choir; 9:00 pm: Cantor & Guitar Oratory of the Holy Family, 1372 King Street West, 532-2879. Sundays. 11 :00 am: Latin Mass · 7 ~eco,.~ soo Comt:alete 01)~ * "* to-> ·4·? 9 101:>~- 1?Joofe""io»Al J,.ook ')?1-ofe~~io»al So'4»b · Fundraising, Xmas CDs, Demos ... Choirs, Community Groups, Soloists, Ensembles ... Call (416) 410-8248 for details. Westcott :J{oy WOODWINDS is PETER NOY Reed Specialist Selmer Paris Trained All repairs for SAX • CLARINET OBOE • BASSOON SELECT NEW & USED INSTRUMENTS One Yorkville Ave. (416) 972-0606

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