Sunday, November 30, 2008


First Sunday of Advent - November 30, 2008

I was quite disappointed, as this church I attended this morning, St. Matthew's (now "Holy Spirit" as the result of a three-parish merge), had a long history of excellence in music - that is until one certain pastor screwed things up around 1990.

The present organist himself is rather good. However, he's had to bite many bullets. It's amazing he's lasted 17 years with the nutcases he's had for pastors. Until December 1988, pastors at St. Matthew's have supported excellent music, and the use of the 70-rank organ built mainly by Casavant Freres. Unfortunately, the last really supportive pastor died of heart failure on December 1988 at the young age of 55. The hymnal in the pews until 1990 was Worship II.

The replacement pastor ceased use of the four-manual gallery console (he had it disconnected completely) and purchased a refurbished three-manual console to play the gallery pipes.

Four pastors later, things aren't really any better. This morning's Mass was played entirely on the piano. Why one would want to resort to a piano during a penitential season is beyond me. It only leads to that "liberal agenda" that wants to take the "holy" out of "holy Mass". And just for proof, here's the music list:

Alstott...Lord, make us turn to you and Alleluia
- (Both of these are really good settings, but would have been served better on the organ. The Alleluia, written in a chant style, perhaps a cappella.)
Ridge...In the day of the Lord
- (Way too syncopated. Not only the anticipated ties, but the switching in time signatures from 4/4 to 6/8 back to 4/4 in just three bars. Obviously, no one sang!)
Proulx...Sanctus, Christ has died, Amen, and Agnus from Missa Emmanuel
- (Richard Proulx has written many good Mass settings. However, this is not one of them. It's simply overkill on Veni Emmanuel, and the Agnus tropes are not those prescribed by the Church. Lyn wrote a post on this matter on her Organ-ic Chemist blog and on Facebook. I commented on Facebook.)
Schutte...Holy Darkness
Crouch...Soon and Very Soon

Not ONE solid core Advent hymn to kick off the season. And even OCP prints them in their worship aids.

Sorry Peter. Had to.


Lyn F. said...

Thanks for linking back to my post, Brian. To be honest, the most interesting part of my post are the comments it generated. If I feel up to it, I'll summarise the Facebook comments from Tyler, you, and Andrew on my Blogger account.

DominiSumus said...

I tried the Missa Emmanuel yesterday at Mass and it was a immense failure. You are right, it is overkill - especially since Veni Emmanuel was my processional hymn.

Bear said...

The music where I went wasn't too hideous. They did have O Come O Come and O Come Divine Messiah.

Unfortunately they also played Mass of Creation and Eye has not seen for Offertory. I used not to have much against either until I heard and sang them one hundred thousand times. And Eye has not Seen is not Advent.

In other news, we now have an Allen organ upstairs while the pipe organ is cleaned and tuned. There is some noise that maybe we should use the Allen to just replace the pipes.

Lyn F. said...

I had to play "Eye has not seen" as a Communion song for the Saturday Vigil Mass at my parish. I can see why the DM programmed it; there were themes from the ... erm, I think it was the first reading? Maybe the second? I forget ... that recalled it.

I was just shocked that DM did not program "Wachet auf". I ended up playing that as my postlude just so the people will be able to hear the music that compliments the Gospel.