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Mass of the People of God - Keyboard/Guitar/Vocal
Mass of the People of God - Vocal Score
‘Mass of the People of God’ is a dynamic and appealing mass setting that invites lively congregational participation. Written with both ease of singing and musical interest in mind, this setting features a full keyboard accompanied beneath a single melody line, complemented by optional harmonies for higher voices at key points.
Kyrie / Lord have mercy
In keeping with the penitential nature of this prayer, a minor key is used. In addition, immediate participation of the congregation is strongly invited by the Call / Response form, the people simply ‘echoing’ the Cantor, while the harmonies underneath change on the repeat, adding variety and musical interest.
Gloria and later People’s Acclamations
The Gloria begins in lively contrast to the Kyrie, a bright syncopated melody which is later taken up in the Gospel and other acclamations. The music style is very definitely contemporary. The later ‘echoing’ of melodic and harmonic elements is both musically attractive and lends thematic continuity to the liturgical celebration as a whole. A point to watch, especially in the learning stages of this Gloria is NOT to take the music too quickly. It is marked ‘with joyful praise’, but keep the beat steady and not too fast, especially whilst learning. Clear leadership from a well-rehearsed group of singers is a must before inviting a congregation to join in.
Holy Holy Holy
As we prepare for the Eucharist Prayer, the Holy Holy begins somewhat reflectively, with rising thirds (recalling the Kyrie, but this time in the relative major key) and builds throughout to in impressive climax on the words ‘Hosanna in the highest’.
The Memorial Acclamations and Great Amen
These short people’s parts are thematically and harmonically related to earlier sections of the mass and all rise to an impressive climax, particularly if the optional harmonies are added. Beautiful music does not have to be difficult!
Lamb of God
Each repetition in the Lamb of God text gradually rises in intensity of sung prayer and cadences gracefully on the words ‘grant us peace.
Finally the composer’s intent shines through in every note – to create music that is both singable and captivating, igniting a sense of joy in congregational worship. Through ‘Mass of the People of God’, the call to active participation comes alive in wonderful music and becomes an enriching celebration of faith.
A personal reminiscence of the Composer:
I still recall vividly a marvelous celebration of mass I was lucky enough to attend in 2013. It was a Saturday evening mass in the crypt of the famous Antoni Gaudi church, La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona. (We were in the crypt because work was continuing upstairs!) What struck me so forcefully at this celebration was the dynamic exchange between the quite elderly celebrant and the people (with lots of children present) and the ease of the exchange between the spoken and the sung parts of the liturgy, between priest and people.
With this in mind it’s my strong belief that a musical setting should not hold up the overall flow and continuity of the liturgical text. Hence this setting features an easy marriage between the liturgical text and the phrasing of the music itself. A Paravotti-like lung and diaphragm capacity is NOT a requirement to sing this music. To this end I’ve sometimes used differing time signatures from bar to bar. But once the congregation has these patterns ‘on the ear’, it will be found that generous and easy participation of the people is achieved.
– Br Michael