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Ordo musicae: Feast of the Immaculate Conception

December 4, 2010

Prelude:  Jean Adam Guillaume Freinsberg (1680-1739):  Tierce en taille on the Quia respexit

Hymn:  O Sanctissima

Asperges (chant)

Propers from the Graduale Romanum

Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611):  Missa O Quam Gloriosum

Credo III

Offertory motet:  Victoria:  Quam pulchri sunt

Communion motet:  Gilles Binchois (1400-1460):  Virgo Rosa

Closing Hymn:  Mary Immaculate, Star of the Morning (Liebster Immanuel) (text in Westminster is fine)

Postlude:  Ned Rorem (1923-present):  Magnificat

Because this is a feast day, the organ can be played, and there is a Gloria, even though it falls in the midst of a penitential season.  I have chosen two organ pieces about the Magnificat.  The Freinsberg features a tierce en taille, a French term which signifies that the separable cornet combination (8′ flute or principal, 4′ flute or principal, 2 2/3 nasard, 2′ and 1 3/5 tierce) is played in the tenor range.   The Rorem piece was written only twenty one years ago in Nantucket.  It is lilting and joyful but maintains the characteristic introspection of much of Rorem’s work.

The motet, Victoria’s Quam pulchri sunt, is a setting of an Office antiphon for this feast.  I have found it to be very appropriate for use as the bridal procession at weddings, too, and it is very effective in that role.  The text only begs for it:  “How beautiful are thy steps, O daughter of the prince…”

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