Mixing up the mass setting

You will surely have noticed that shortly after the summer holidays, we rang the changes, mid-way through ‘Ordinary Time’ as we are, and changed the mass setting. Always a bit of a risk, as it was clear the people of the parish were just getting comfy with Christopher Walker’s Celtic Mass that we’d had in play from Trinity. However, it’s still a long haul to Advent so better to move now before things get too boring!

Our new Sunday setting is actually a composite setting – four different mass settings have been ‘glued together’ from two different composers; I wonder if you can spot the join!

The Gloria and Eucharistic Setting are both from David Ogden – the Gloria is a driving, responsorial setting from his Mass of New Wine but alas, he appears to have served the ‘best wine’ first and the remaining parts of that setting are less inspiring. To redeem this, David Ogden’s White Light Eucharist provides the Holy Holy, Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen – three pieces joined quite tightly thematically; once you know one, you know them all.
For the Kyrie and Agnus Dei, we turn to Irish composer, Liam Lawton. Again, these are from two separate mass settings. The Kyries come from the Glendalough Mass, simple and evocatively celtic in form, but in responsorial style to make for easy singing. The Agnus Dei comes from his Mass of the Celtic Saints, a setting we’ve used before in part, but not the Agnus Dei itself.

Finally, you may have spotted a changed mass setting at the last All Age Mass. For some time now (many years!) we’ve used Jimmy Owen’s Holy Holy, a metrical setting that covers the Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen. Of course, it even offers a sung Doxology for those clergy brave enough to attempt it. Whilst it’s well known, I have been searching from some time for an alternative so we can ‘rest’ it for a while. The one I’m trying out at present is a setting by David Haas called ‘Mass for the Life of the World’. This is a gospel-flavoured setting, again with common themes throughout, that I hope you’ll enjoy learning and singing. It’s actually a bi-lingual setting, in both English and Spanish, and has been published recently as part of a glut of works to address the introduction of the revised Missal in the Roman Catholic Church. The rubrics for musical settings of the new missal are exceptionally tight – no paraphrasing is permitted so it means that all existing settings had to either be adjusted to fit the new words, or in some cases, abandoned completely. Settings such as the CJM Gloria we use in All Age Mass simply are not permitted for use (as a gloria) in the Mass in the RC church anymore which is a great shame – it’s up to the Anglicans to keep this music going!

As with all the music you participate in during Mass, I welcome your feedback on what works and what does not work for you – do let me know!

Tell out my soul

The author of this hymn, Rev Timothy Dudley-Smith was inspired to compose this hymn when reviewing the New English Bible on its publication in 1961 for the religious press. He was struck by the rendering of the opening phrase of the Magnificat as it appeared in the N. E. Bible, “Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord”. He later wrote, “I saw it in that first opening line and the whole poem came speedily to mind and thus to paper”. This was the beginning of a long career as a writer of hymns. In 1967 he composed a Nunc Dimittis, “Faithful Vigil Ended”, as a companion to his Magnificat, both of which appear in the New English Hymnal as well as other hymn books.

In a poll for readers of the Church Times in 1979 for the most popular new hymns, Timothy Dudley-Smith’s hymn topped the results list, and it also won high praise by the poet Sir John Betjeman.

Timothy Dudley-Smith (b 1926) was the son of a Derbyshire school master and educated at Tonbridge School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. After ordination he served as a Curate at Erith followed by a period running the Cambridge University Mission in the East End, a follow up organisation to the Billy Graham Crusade of 1955. He then spent the next thirteen years on the staff of the Church Pastoral Aid Society before becoming Archdeacon of Norwich. In 1981 he was appointed the suffragan Bishop of Thetford in Norfolk. Over the ensuing years and up to the present time hymns and poems have continued to flow from the pen of this writer.

Tell out my Soul has been greatly enhanced by the sweeping music of Walter Greatorex’s grand tune, Woodlands, much used in public school worship. It was as Director of music for thirty years at Gresham Public School at Holy, Norfolk, that Greatorex composed the tune. It appears in the music of almost all the Public School Hymnals published during the last 100 years and is still today, sixty plus years after the composer’s death known as “Gogs Tune” by the pupils of Gresham school, the composer’s nickname.