Sunday, December 23, 2007

Breakin out the Chant

Last evening I took a slight chance while playing the Ordinary Form Mass. I broke out the Gregorian Chant.

As it was the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the entrance antiphon is: (Rorate Caeli) "Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior" according to 70s ICEL. Of course this being the modern Roman rite, almost nobody knows what that is anymore. We sang "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." Very appropriate...but 4 Sundays in a row. So I decided to borrow the Liber Cantualis organ accompaniment from my Latin Mass parish to sing the Rorate Caeli chant during communion. The text and melody are too fantastic to pass up

I was a little bit apprehensive to do this, because I didn't know what the reaction would be to an obvious Chant being sung in the middle of an Ordinary form Mass. Beforehand I spoke to the regular organist (I play every other week) and he said go for it. Apparently he's sung latin during communion before and the people seemed to enjoy it.

So as the people's communion began I received and then went back to the organ, gave myself a note and started. The chant seemed to suck the air out of the room. All of a sudden the modern, red carpet theater style parish all but vanished and a sacred space emerged. Everything instantly became reverent and nobody seemed to mind. All smiles afterward as well.

A great and repeatable success! Tomorrow at the Christmas Vigil mass I'm going to sing/play an appropriate Christmas chant and hopefully all of these 2 time a year people will get a little more out of it this time around.


Rorate Caeli Translation (non-ICEL)
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.


See, O Lord, the affliction of thy people, and send him whom thou hast promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that he himself may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be comforted, be comforted, my people; thy salvation shall speedily come. Why wilt thou waste away in sadness? why hath sorrow seized thee? I will save thee; fear not: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

1 comment:

Moonshadow said...

Sounds very nice.

Merry Christmas.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton