Friday, August 13, 2010

Wow, Wow, Wow!

Well, I have a serious dilemma for this Sunday, "The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary" (AKA Assumption):

St. Mary - or St. Thomas?
Mozart's Missa Brevis in C Major - or The Worcester Fragments (and check out the service leaftlet!)?
The St. Mary's Choir - or New York Polyphony?

Look at this musical lineup at St. Thomas!:
Sung by: New York Polyphony
Prelude: Ave Maris Stella I & II, from ‘Fifteen Pieces founded on Antiphons’, Op. 18, Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)
Prelude 2: Ave Maria, Ave Maris Stella, from ‘Trois Paraphrases Grégoriennes’, Op. 5, No. 2, Jean Langlais (1907-1991)
Service: 13th Century English Mass, from the Worcester Fragments (c. 1300)
Psalm: 34:1-9, Plainsong Chant (Tone VII2)
Anthem: Flors regalis, Andrew Smith (b. 1970)
Anthem 2: Beata viscera, Worcester Fragments
Voluntary: Magnificat primi toni, BuxWV 203, Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707)

But then there's this, too, at St. Mary's:
The choral music on Sunday will be sung by Saint Mary’s Choir, accompanied by Mr. Timothy Brumfield. I will be director. The prelude is Fantasia in G Major, BWV 572 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis C-dur, KV 259 (Orgelsolo) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). An early work, this setting was probably composed in Salzburg in 1776. It is quite brief with a condensed setting of the text, as is the case with several of Mozart’s other masses of that period. This may be due to the views of the prince-archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg, who preferred simple and straightforward music during the liturgy. At the ministration of communion, the choir sings the motets Ave Maria by Robert Parsons (c. 1535-1571/2) and Maria virgo à 10 voci by Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1554/1557-1612). Little is known of Parsons’ life, apart from the fact that he was a chorister in the Chapel Royal, and perhaps taught the young William Byrd. One of the most influential musicians of his time, Gabrieli represented the culmination of the Venetian school of composition. This motet features two choirs of five voices each.

Not a bad problem to have, I must admit....


Grotheer Shull said...

As a member of St. Mary's, I can't help but invite you there (though as a huge fan of St. Thomas' I can understand your dilemma). St. Mary's will prove to be a Big Deal - musically of course, but there will be many guests as well as it is the parish's patronal feast.

Also, I stumbled on this blog recently and love it! Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge/resources/research!

bls said...

Thanks, Grotheer. I actually go to St. Mary's pretty often (although haven't recently) and I've been there for Assumption at least once. (I go every year for Annunciation.)

I'm sure it will be wonderful. The main problem I have with St. Thomas is that whole Fifth Avenue scene. But I will say that the worship there is absolutely splendid these days, too - and that music....

Oh, it's a big dilemma. I'll probably end up at STMV, 'cause I love it there. Thanks again for the warm invitation! It's very nice and very St. Mary's!

Grotheer Shull said...

I'm curious where you ended up after all. If you ended up at St. Thomas, how was NY Polyphony?

I have similar feelings about St. Thomas. When I moved to NY I attended both to see which I preferred. There are things I like better about St. Thomas (namely the traditional language), but the parish environment at St. Mary's was more attractive. I get what you mean about the "5th Ave. scene". I attended a very WASPy (but very low church) parish as a child, and recognized a litle too much of that there.

bls said...

I was at St. Mary's - I made my decision while crossing 8th Avenue at 49th St.


I did listen to the Mass on the St. Thomas website (St. Mary's has done that mass before, actually, and I wrote about it here), but it was a bit hard to hear. (The Gloria is spectacular!) It's not the same as being there, though; I really do love the worship at St. Thomas these days - it's wonderfully reverent and beautiful. It's worth it to go there just to be carried away into that sublimity.

But, on Assumption it made sense to go to St. Mary's. Love that Anglican-Chant-with-response Psalm, BTW! And I was surprised that the Sanctus bells are no longer rung at the words of Institution! I actually liked it quite a bit - and loved that real bread is now used!


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