Sunday, September 7, 2014

Holy Cross Day - September 14, 2014

  • Opening Hymn 187 “As royal banners are unfurled” 
  • Service Music
    • Community Mass – Richard Proulx (Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus) 
  • Psalm 98: 1-6  
  • Gospel Alleluia: We adore you O Christ and we bless you:
    because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world 
  • Offertory Hymn 602 “Lift high the cross”
  • Communion Hymn 75 “With the body that was broken”
  • Communion Motet: Crux fidelis – King John IV of Portugal
Faithful cross, above all other, one and only noble Tree:
None in foliage, none in blossom, none in fruit thy peer may be.
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron, sweetest weight is hung on thee.
  • Concluding Hymn 431 “Take up your cross”

Music Notes
This is from a recent Church Times (UK) explaining why, when singing the psalm, we pause at the half-verse. The first reason would also make a valid argument for pausing while saying the psalm. 
Q: In chanting the Psalms, some church choirs make a distinct break in the middle of each verse and yet run on from verse to verse with scarcely a pause. What is the theory behind this curious way of disrupting the flow of the the poetry? 
A: Several factors explain this custom of chanting the Psalms. It is a reminder that the Psalms are Hebrew poems, characterised by parallelism and rhythmic balance of thought in the separate phrases of each verse and highlights their literary structure. Far from disrupting the poetic flow, in Hebrew versification this was transparently clear and good translations endeavour to reflect that feature, whether the Psalms are sung or said. 
Musicologists have also drawn attention to the acoustic conditions of spacious and resonant churches in which the Psalms were chanted when a silent pause - a so-called 'pausa conveniens' - was necessary between the phrases of each verse but not between consecutive verses, to allow the echo of the musical cadence of the first phrase to fade away before the choir resumed singing the second phrase: for example: "Praise Him sun and moon": [pause] "Praise Him all ye stars of light". 
This method of chanting was welcomed as an aid to devotion, by providing a 'pause of recollection', to reflect on the deeper spiritual meaning of the Psalms.

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