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The post-Elevation motet

December 8, 2010

This past Sunday we sang something in a place that might be new for many people.  Because there was a chanted Sanctus, the Benedictus was sung before the Elevation.  This left an enormous gap of silence, which is fine, but all the same a motet to the Blessed Sacrament can be sung after the Elevation in this circumstance.  This can be very effective, like a flower blooming for a few minutes and then going away.

It seems to me that the chant Ordinaries are wonderful things and ought to be explored more fully, in general.  Mass X, which we sung on Sunday, is among my favorites, along with Mass XI. Many assume that because there is a polyphonic choir, the Mass will be or should be polyphonic, but there is plenty of room for polyphony in places other than the Ordinary.  There are even many Masses which set the Propers polyphonically, either in addition to the Ordinary or instead of it.  The potential for variety is great.

At any rate, it’s a terrible misfortune that when you say “the chant Mass” to people, most of them think of Mass VIII and don’t know of any other.  This has happened for historical and cultural reasons, and it’s not really the fault of the people in the pews; nevertheless there’s no reason the chant repertoire cannot be expanded.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul Goings permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:22 am

    All very well said, Mr Lawrence. I do wish that other places would introduce the post-Elevation motet.

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