Ite Missa Est for November

Leave a comment

Ite missa est from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Ideas for this lesson – print all the Ite missa ests with corresponding Deo gratias and play some thing to match the two together – get people looking at the chant. Maybe do this on worksheets so keep it nice and quiet.

Since I’m out of time, the alternative is to write I-te mis-sa est and De-o gra-ti-as on the board and sing all the different tunes pointing to the corresponding syllables. Get across the wide variety of tunes in the Gregorian Mass settings.

Then thinking of something to prepare for the end of year concert. I think Mass 18 would be the way to go – its the one for ferias in Advent and Lent so no Gloria and no Creed. Easy.

I’d still like to tackle Non nobis Domine, attributed to William Byrd, but it has flopped so far. There’s always Dona nobis pacem to fall back on – I think it was this year we were doing that.

Does that make this the third year I’ve been teaching at Providence?

Zooming along on a one way ticket to eternity…

Agnus Dei for October

Leave a comment

The second Thursday of the month is rolling around again so its time to prepare something for the Providence Homeschoolers.

First run through the words:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, grant us peace.

Short reflection on the prayer from Women for Faith and Family.
Francisco de Zurbarán 006


Easy this time

Agnus = lamb
Deus = God
Dei = of God
qui = who
tollis = takes away
peccata = sins
mundus = the world
mundi = of the world
miserere = have mercy
nos = us
nobis = on us/to us
donum = gift
dona = grant
pacem = peace
pax = peace

Sing a few

Film clips

Gregorian Chant
This is from Milan where the choir director Giovanni Vianini keeps making videos. He also has the website Canto Ambrosiano.

This is the same tune we’ll be running through, but the words are slightly different. This clip is from a Requiem Mass where the words “miserere nobis” are replaced by “dona eis requiem” and “dona nobis pacem” by “dona eis requiem sempiternam”.

Renaissance Polyphony

From the oldest known surviving polyphonic Mass, the Tournai Mass from Belgium, dating from 1349. It is dedicated to Our Lady.

Classical over-the-top orchestration
Franz Biber’s Missa Salisburgensis

Actually this is Baroque. Scored for 53 voices!

Usually Agnus Dei is a toned down piece.

Pater noster for September

Leave a comment

Here is a relatively brief post as I prepare for a week away and tie up any loose ends.

First the part of the Mass scheduled for today is the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father.

Today is also Our Lady’s Birthday. A great day for singing in honour of the Mother of God. The drama class needs to learn the Salve Regina, so we’ll be running through that today.

Lastly, usually we have three clips – one gregorian chant, one renaissance polyphony and one classical, but the Pater Noster is just chanted. We could look at arrangements of the Salve Regina, but like the Pater Noster, it tends to stay in chant. Here is a Pilgrim Song from the Red Book of Montserrat. Its not explicitly in honour of Our Lady, but who else could be our guiding star on our life’s journey?

And maybe this can be our jubilant song for the end of year concert?

On the day we had Los Set Goyts instead of Stella Splendens. It is similar song also from the Red Book of Montserrat. The Latin class is followed by a Spanish class so I thought it would tie in linguistically, but Los Set Goyts is in Catalan so mostly difficult to decipher except the Latin chorus:

“Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, Virgo serena”

Which we sang while attempting a circle dance – bad idea if the class is already restless. But overall you get the message – Latin isn’t just for solemn music, also for fun.

Sanctus for August

Leave a comment

For the music for the First Communion Mass this Sunday, see the next article below. This is my monthly post for the Latin and Church Music class for Providence Homeschoolers. I go and try teach things and have this page as further reading/listening for anyone interested.

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui vent in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

New translation:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The words are biblical:

Isaiah 6:3
A glorious vision, in which the prophet’s lips are cleansed: he foretelleth the obstinacy of the Jews.
[1] In the year that king Ozias died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and his train filled the temple. [2] Upon it stood the seraphims: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings: with two they covered his face, and with two they covered his feet, and with two they hew. [3] And they cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory. [4] And the lintels of the doors were moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. [5] And I said: Woe is me, because I have held my peace; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that hath unclean lips, and I have seen with my eyes the King the Lord of hosts.

I’ll quote at length from John’s Revelation aka. the Apocalypse,

Revelation 4:8
The vision of the throne of God, the twenty-four ancients and the four living creatures.
[1] After these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: Come up hither, and I will shew thee the things which must be done hereafter. [2] And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting. [3] And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. [4] And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold. [5] And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
[6] And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. [7] And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying. [8] And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come. [9] And when those living creatures gave glory, and honour, and benediction to him that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever; [10] The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
[11] Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because thou hast created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created.

Dr Scott Hahn describes how the ceremony the evangelist John witnessed in that vision parallels the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We’re singing the Sanctus along with the Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim (just like Fr says in the Preface)

And the last part comes from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which in turn mirrors the traditions of the Kings of Israel.

Matthew 21:9
[6] And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. [7] And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. [8] And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: [9] And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. [10] And when he was come into Jerusalem, the whole city was moved, saying: Who is this?

Quotes are from the Douay Rheims Bible thanks to

Now for the vocabulary – much shorter than the list for the Credo!

sanctus – holy
Dominus – Lord
Domini – of the Lord
pleni – full
caeli – heavens
terra – earth
gloria – glory
excelsis – highest
benedictus – blessed
qui – who
venit – he comes
sunt – are
tua – your
nomine – name

Hosanna – shout of praise – literally “save, I pray”
Sabaoth – of hosts/armies

Study up with the Sanctus flashcard set on Quizlet.

Test yourself with the Sanctus crossword.

Now the music part:

Maybe the simplest chant version :

Then the polyphonic version :

(gotta pick this one with Pope Bendict XVI)
William Byrd, English composer living in very turbulent times.
They get through the whole Sanctus here. Some polyphonic arrangements run over time so they split the piece after the first Hosanna in excelsis, have some quiet for the consecration, then pick up where they left with “Benedictus qui venit” while the priest quietly finishes off the prayers of the Canon (or the Eucharistic Prayers). That means some people think of the Benedictus as a separate piece, but it is the second half of the Sanctus.

That’s the confusing thing with a sung Mass is the priest keeps going while the choir is singing so you have a layered effect, which is kinda cool once you get the hang of it.

Lastly to pick a classical piece…

It’s got the famous conductor Herbert Karajan, so it must be good. Not the best recording, but you get the idea – very grand. And looks like its actually at Mass! And Pope Benedict XVI is a big Mozart fan too.

Credo for June

Leave a comment

In the past I’ve made the mistake of assuming too much. I put up the words and asked students if they knew what they meant. And the students looked at me blankly. This time I’ll start with telling you what the words mean! Then we can go through the hymn or prayer and you’ll actually have some inkling of what’s going on! Brilliant! It’s only taken me a year and a half…

I’ll paste the list of words and meanings at the end of this post, to save you scrolling through. Learning vocab takes more than reading a list once through, so there are lots of programs to help you on your way., home of free online educational games They let you make flashcards, quizzes and games. Use this link to see flashcards and games for this lesson’s vocabulary : Credo in unum Deum

There is an embed button but blogs can’t embed javascript. It can however embed youtube!

First the chant:

Then polyphony:

Then classical:

And to check how much you learned: The Credo Crossword puzzle.

Vocab for this lesson:
all things:omnia
out of:ex
true:verus vera verum
dead:mortuus mortua mortuum
alive:vivus viva vivum
holy:sanctus sancta sanctum
first:primus a um
second:secundus a um
third:tertius a um

Gloria for May

Leave a comment

Not sure if anyone will notice how late this post is, but as I prepare for the June lesson on the Creed I realise I didn’t post about May’s lesson on the Gloria.

First the chant version. I think this is from Mass 8, known as the Missa de Angelis or Mass of Angels. It is the Mass setting with the most modern sound.

Next is the rennaissance era with polyphonic Mass settings. Now the gloria takes about twice as long.

Notice the first line is a simple chant tune? The priest gets that first line.

Here is Vivaldi’s rendition of just the first three words. The whole Gloria takes about 30 minutes, ten times as long as the chant.

We had a quick quiz on latin vocabulary and it was fun and I hope to do more in that direction in future lessons.

Kyrie eleison and Lent

Leave a comment

Preparing for Thursday’s lesson.

Looking for an example of the cool things you can do with a Kyrie:

Thinking about other places that Greek comes into the Roman liturgy: the Reproaches for Good Friday. Victoria’s polyphonic setting was the first way I came across this.

But of course there’s the older chant version which is great.

And that’s enough for tonight.

First Lesson 2011

Leave a comment

Here’s a run down of the first lesson of the year.

First up we talked about the Mass, the upcoming Mass translations and the plan to do one piece each month.

Front page for the Sunday Music bookletAsperges Me was the piece for today – more difficult to teach as it flows all the way through. Not so easy to break into bite size pieces. But we got the first bit and listened through the antiphon. Then we had a go at the Gloria Patri – remembering what the words mean and trying a fairly ornate psalm tone. You can print the music from the Sunday Mass Music booklet – a little 16 page booklet I made for Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

The Church Music Association of America has a recording of Asperges Me from their 2010 Sacred Music Colloquium. The direct link to the mp3 is Here.

Next up we diverted to a popular round called Dona Nobis Pacem. The page from my old hymnbook is donanobis.pdf. Listen to us sing it here Dona nobis pacem

Lastly we went through the first verse of Ave Maris Stella.

Ave = Hail
maris = of the sea/ocean
stella = star
Dei = of God
Mater = Mother
alma = beloved
Atque = and who (check this)
semper = always
Virgo = Virgin
Felix = happy
caeli = of heaven
porta = gate/door

Yes, you will be tested on this.

For music there’s the page from A New Book of Old Hymns: avemaris.pdf. For music, try this recording from Milan via youtube:

But we were running short of time on the day and there was overwhelming preference for singing the simple tune.

Here is the melody typed out in the key of C. Ave maris stella

Ave Maris, mundane tune, first two verses

February’s lesson

Leave a comment

With two days to go, I have been busy, but have little to show.

The main train of thought had been to adopt Pope Paul VI’s booklet Jubilate Deo as a guide for this year. See Adoremus Society’s page on Jubilate Deo. Minimum repertoire is just what I’m looking for.

Wonderfully, the amazing Andrew Hinkley from The Caecilia Project has already typed up all the Jubilate Deo booklet. Fantastic! Now a chance to polish it off, rearrange it to fit A4 pages with a generous margin for an English translation. Only several hitches there – possible but fiddly.

Also, the Adoremus Society has a collection of mp3s to go with the chant contained in Jubilate Deo. These tracks come from their CD of samples of their own Adoremus Hymnal. They don’t have the whole song, just enough to give you an idea. That’s okay, just flesh it out with other free mp3s, from Musica Sacra (CMAA) and The Monks of Sao Paolo, Brazil. Great plan! Make CDs for enthusiastic students to play at home, get them all learning even if they miss a class or two.

Of course getting the recordings to line up with the minimum repertoire is a little tricky. Easier to rewrite Jubilate Deo to suit the recordings – but then, what’s the use of having Jubilate Deo if I’m just going to rewrite the thing!

So I’m feeling that familiar sense of facing a new class still wondering what this year will look like.

Last year I did all my favourite, easy rounds. Thoughts for this year include Dona Nobis Pacem, Non Nobis Domine or Laudate Nomen Domini. My favourite is Non Nobis, but may be difficult with the second part being sung in a different key – maybe something for the parents to learn?

Second bright idea is to have Christus Vincit as a the new roof raising regular piece. But Which One? There’s a Solesmes version, a Sarum version from the Christus Rex pilgrimage book, a damped down version from the Pius X Hymnbook which I’m not very familiar with, and a Franciscan one which is much like Solesmes’ except Different.

So, in conclusion, I thought I wanted minimum repertoire, but really I want the fun of showing the most fantastic music treasure that so many generations of Catholics worked at and were lifted along heavenwards. I want to show the real stuff, to show why we don’t do rock Masses because this is the real deal. There’s more to Catholic music than Rev F W Faber’s sentimental verses. All the best hymns were written centuries ago In Latin (okay, some in Greek too, and maybe other languages too…). English is a mongrel late comer to the scene.

I’m thinking maybe here’s a good spot to plug James McAuley and Richard Connelly – at least let it be known that I thought of them and love their music too. Except maybe the PlaySchool theme, but everyone’s gotta make a living?

And another note, that I am Not An Expert on gregorian chant. I’m an amateur who got into this via the geeky computer technical ability to wrangle TeX and his relatives. And even that was being thrown in the deep end with no formal instruction (a Maths teacher recommended it for typing up a thesis). Okay, and my mother is a singing teacher and choir member.

So thus concludes my evening’s rant.

Live from Providence 2010

Leave a comment

Last December we had an end of year concert. The children presented some things they had learned in Poetry and Drama and the Latin and Church Music course. Here are some recordings to go with the Providence 2010 recap.

  1. Ave Maria sung once through in unison
  2. Ave Maria sung as a round
  3. Jubilate Deo a canon by Michael Praetorius
  4. Rorate caeli, an antiphon for Advent
  5. Gaudete the chorus of a Christmas carol from Piae Cantiones

Older Entries