The Ordinary of the Mass goes by many different names. Some call it the "service music" or the "Mass setting." All of this refers to the Ordinary, the parts of the service we sing almost every week. At Christ Church, we sing the Gloria, Sanctus, and Fraction Anthem. However, while I am a big supporter of singing the Ordinary, our prayer book gives us certain liberties that should be celebrated! After the Collect for Purity, the rubric before the Gloria says that the Gloria or some other song of praise may be used. This Sunday, Beethoven's famous Ode to Joy, paired with the lyrics, Joyful, joyful we adore thee, will be sung in place of the Gloria. What could be more indicative of a musical celebration than that? Rest assured that we will continue to sing the Gloria quite often, but expect to find other songs of praise in its place to highlight special events.
Another important theme we are focusing on this season is using the works of living composers. There will still be plenty of "chestnuts" by composers of old, but expect to hear many pieces written by people alive and at work today. This Sunday, you will hear an arrangement of There's a wideness in God's mercy by Mark Schweizer (b. 1956). He is a very prolific composer of church music, and his music can be heard often in churches across the country. I've taken the liberty of including part of his biography here, reprinted from sjmp.com.
"A native of Florida, Mark Schweizer received music degrees from Stetson University in Deland, Florida and the University of Arizona including a doctoral degree in vocal performance. He returned to teach at Stetson University from 1982 to 1985 followed by eight years on the music faculty of Louisiana College. Mark currently lives in North Carolina where he serves as editor of St. James Music Press. He is the author of thirteen “Liturgical Mystery” novels, as well as other books, and several opera and musical librettos."
This Sunday at 4:00 P. M., consider attending my second summer organ recital here at the cathedral. The program will feature The Carnival of the Animals, by Saint-Saëns, and César Franck's Grande Pièce Symphonique. As you might imagine, this program is designed to show off many of our organ's tonal colors. Listeners will hear Romantic melodies, powerful symphonic forms, and even quirky animal sounds. If you have ever wanted to hear a pipe organ imitate a chicken, this recital is for you. We have a musical feast available for you this Sunday, and we hope to see you there!