30 August 2020, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Offertory: Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor, p. 301
Communion (Year A): Qui vult venire
Recessional: Praise to the Holiest in the height, p. 287
Mass XI, PBC p. 58. Credo III, PBC p. 77
The two phrases in the Introit antiphon are long, so we’ll break them up at the bar lines:
(a) Miserere mihi Domine
(b) quoniam ad te clamavi tota die
(a) quia tu Domine suavis ac mitis es
(b) et copiosus in misericordia omnibus invocantibus te
This Introit begins like the Introit Laetabitur justus, now in the Common of a Martyr not a Bishop (EF), which in the older manuscripts opens the Mass for the feast of St. Vincent (of Zaragoza). With its minor thirds and semitones it seems to proceed from the heart of Jesus Himself. The melody wants to console, to encourage, to instill confidence. On the Friday of the 5th week of Lent, (EF: Friday after Passion Sunday), the melody for the Introit begins like today’s. At its very beginning, however, instead of an interval of a fourth it has a third; but that chant, it must be noted, belongs to the fifth mode. The spirit of this Introit Miserere is predominantly joyful. In the first half of the second phrase the presentation must obviously be more tender and cordial. According to the annotated manuscripts, (su)-avis ac mitis is to be prolonged slightly. Copiosus must be sung with all possible brilliancy. (What a deep impression copiosus must have made when it was repeated after every verse in a longer entrance procession.) One readily notes some resemblance to benigna est misericordia in the first antiphon for the blessing of the ashes on Ash Wednesday, which is filled with the same spirit; also the similarity between (Do)-mine and (misericor)-dia. The composer seemed very careful in his plan of giving the second syllable of a dactyllic word more than one note, to avoid any ungraceful angles in the melody.
This is a very expressive antiphon. The composer begins on a strong typical 8th mode motif, moving from g to c, of confidence in God’s mercy. This phrase moves a bit more quickly. In the middle of the second phrase, he uses the weak note, b, and minor thirds to express God’s tender mercy and forgiving nature (suavis ac mitis) then ascends to high f to express the soaring heights of that abundant mercy. This middle section is to be sung with a bit more care and expression. Then he ends by taking us back down from c to g, as we find ourselves grounded in our confident invoking of that same rich mercy. We return to the quicker pace of the opening section for this re-statement of our confidence.
(YearA) The Communion antiphon has two phrases:
Qui vult venire post me abneget semetipsum
et tollat crucem suam et sequatur me
The text is chosen to reflect the Gospel reading. The simple Mode 1 melody is surprisingly emotive as it rises and falls, much like the disciple who carries the cross to follow the Master. At first there is strength, almost enthusiasm; and then comes the stumbling and falling under its weight, until the descent of an octave denotes the acceptance that brings peace.