Monday, April 20, 2009

Report on Divine Mercy Chant

I want to express my gratitude to Aristotle Esguerra for setting the Divine Mercy chaplet to Church Modes. Our parish schola and I didn't have much time to learn any more new music as immediately following the Divine Mercy observance at our parish was Missa Cantata. We were still recovering from the very intense Triduum and Easter Day Masses which saw the return of all the Propers and chants for each day's observances.

When Father asked that the Chaplet be chanted, my heart sank because I wasn't a particular fan of the popular one on EWTN. That's not to take away from what has meant much to many, many people. There's something daunting about chanting something that familiar. Lo, and behold, Aris had uploaded not only the pdf files of the settings but also the sound files of him chanting the three different settings.

Even though I personally loved Mode I, we chose Mode VIII since, as I said in the previous post, our parish had gotten used to this particular tone in the various psalm settings and Gospel Acclamations that I had set throughout the year.

Expecting the congregation to wait to join in the chant maybe after the first decade, I recruited a musician friend of mine to chant from among the faithful. Well, the congregation jumped in pretty much at the very beginning with the Sign of the Cross, chanted all of the Our Father setting by Dr. William Mahrt, valiantly chanted the Hail Mary, and Apostles' Creed based on a Psalm Tone.

They surprised me by chanting the whole of "Eternal Father" and "For the sorrowful Passion". Here we are chanting the last decade ending with the Trisagion. We did lower the "do" to accomodate the basses in the schola. I wish that I had remembered to turn the recorder on sooner to catch the "Eternal Father" chant. It's very similar to the Trisagion.

One really important thing to tell you is that the chant was simple and easy to learn so that the congregation was free to enter into prayer without being encumbered by tune. What Aris mentioned in his post about chanting in a simple way free of pop influences is more inviting for people to join in with the chant. Anyway, the people waiting in line for Confession were kneeling on the hard floor chanting along.

I highly recommend the Musica Sacra Forum and Chabanel Psalms for those of us with very limited budgets to find music that is dignified and a huge step toward recovering our musical patrimony.

1 comment:

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Argent: I finally got around to listening. It starts out rough but then as everyone settles in it's great. I see this as a metaphor for the recovery of chant in our parishes. It will be rough to start out with but once the faithful catch on it will be awesome.

Thanks for sharing!