NORWICH DAY A GREAT SUCCESS
‘Sing with the Angels’ at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich 29th September 2018
The Narthex of the Cathedral proved to be a space exceptionally well suited to events of this kind, with a large room for rehearsing the chant, and plenty of space for socialising over coffee, lunch and tea, both indoors in the bar and outside at tables in the sunshine. There is also an excellent café and a shop. The Association is most grateful to Paul Henriksen, whose idea the day was and who made all the arrangements for it, to Daniel Justin, Master of Music of the Cathedral, to Canon Peter Rollings and Fr Tim Bugby. Our thanks also go to the hospitality team, ably led by Karen Neale, who looked after everyone so well and served an excellent lunch. There was a very good attendance, with numbers in the mid to high thirties.
The sales table displayed the Graduale Parvum in both its formats and as a set of CDs, as well as copies of all the Association’s other publications. In addition, the last remaining copies of our Latin-English Missal, with the old (“And also with you”) translation were given away free with each purchase.
The Chairman briefly announced the theme of the day by explaining that the Graduale Parvum is currently the Association’s major project, launched in April 2018 at Oscott College with the publication of the first book, the Introits. He then introduced Fr Guy Nicholls, architect of the Graduale Parvum and indeed the inspiration behind it, who explained the rationale of the GP, how the project began, and why there is such a great need for it. He showed how the metrical hymn fails in its liturgical function, something that only Gregorian chant can truly fulfil. He also reiterated the pre-eminence of the Latin language in the Latin Rite, despite the post-Conciliar – and indeed contra-Conciliar – use of the vernacular in the Western Church almost everywhere today.
Fr Guy then turned to the Proper chants for the Mass of the day, that of the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels – hence the title of our event, ‘Sing with the Angels’. These were the Introit Benedicite Dominum omnes angeli eius, the Gradual with the same text, the Alleluia Sancte Michael archangele, Offertory Stetit angelus iuxta aram templi and Communion Benedicite…hymnum dicite. Starting with the Introit, he pointed out the close resemblance of the opening of this 3rd Tone chant to the opening line of Tantum ergo Sacramentum, and that the words ‘mode’ and ‘mood’ belong together etymologically. We continued with the Communion chant and then on to the remainder of the Proper. The standard of sight-singing among the participants in this unaccompanied first rehearsal was generally good.
Lunch was taken at 12.30, with many taking the opportunity to eat outside in the very pleasant garden, the weather being particularly fine and warm. Then at 1.30 we went into the Cathedral itself for the second chant session, led by Fr Guy, and accompanied by Daniel Justin. Here, the rich, warm and spacious acoustic of the Cathedral combined with Daniel’s very sympathetic organ accompaniment added a new and greatly enhanced dimension to our singing. As well as the Proper, we rehearsed the Ordinary, Cum Iubilo, and the Ave Regina Caelorum with which Mass was to conclude.
We were especially fortunate in that the Mass, sung by Canon Peter Rollings assisted as Deacon by Fr Tim Bugby, was celebrated ad orientem. That this mode of celebration is associated in the popular mind solely with the old Rite is quite wrong, as the A.L.L. frequently points out. Nowhere do the Council Fathers mandate celebration versus populum, but unfortunately, like the use of the vernacular, it has become the norm.
The Mass was an inspiring one, and Graeme Jolly, the MC, led an able team of servers in the spacious sanctuary. In his sermon, Canon Peter spoke of the angels as part of God’s creation – created, indeed before we were. They exist purely to see and praise God, and are always here; they particularly gather around the altar in attendance upon God, and as we sing the Sanctus, they join with us as they sing perpetually: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” [Isaiah VI, 3]
After Mass we returned to the Narthex, where Paul Henriksen spoke of his work with children in primary schools, telling them about the psalms, Latin and plainchant, and involving them in active and practical ways. He teaches them very simple melodies to start with, using round notes without stems on four-line staves, eventually progressing to neumes, and ending up with the children able to sing a full Kyrie or a Sanctus. And as for the question ‘why Latin?’ the children think it entirely logical that there should be a universal language! Paul’s enthusiasm was captivating, and it made for a lively, entertaining and instructive talk.
All that remained was for the A.L.L. members present to convene for the brief AGM, an account of which will appear in the next edition of Latin Liturgy. All those assembled warmly applauded a vote of thanks to Fr Guy for his inspiring leadership and musicianship. Finally, everyone had tea, and compared notes on their experiences in their own choirs and parishes, before dispersing at the end of what had been a most successful and enjoyable day.
GRADUALE PARVUM LAUNCHED
Our latest publication, the Graduale Parvum, was launched at St Mary’s College, Oscott, on Saturday 21 April, in the presence of Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop Alan Hopes.
For the first time, Gregorian chant Introits for every Sunday and Holy Day are available in both Latin and English, simple to sing but wholly authentic, and well within the capability of choirs of any parish church.
This pioneering work will be followed by collections of the remaining chants of the Mass, giving choirs and small groups of singers a complete repertoire for these Masses for the whole of the liturgical year.
See also our News page.
The Graduale Parvum and the accompanying set of five CDs which have recordings of all the chants may be ordered here.
Please see our News page.
Aims of the ALL
The Association was founded in September 1969. Its aims are:
to promote understanding of the theological, pastoral and spiritual qualities of the liturgy in Latin;
to preserve the sacredness and dignity of the Roman rite;
to secure, for the present and future generations, the Church’s unique inheritance of liturgical music.
The Association believes that its objectives are most likely to be achieved by frequent celebrations of the Mass in Latin in the Ordinary Form of the Roman rite, to which the majority of the laity are accustomed, while many are dissatisfied with the shortcomings of much current liturgical practice. The Bishops of England and Wales recognized the Association in 1970 as an approved Catholic Society, and in 1975 Pope Paul VI conferred on it the Apostolic Benediction.
Enquiries to: The Chairman, Christopher Francis – email.