8 February 2011

Choral bucket lists

During my recent posts on music- I'm too lazy to link, just scroll down a little- I mentioned some pieces I want to sing in choir before I die, a choral bucket list if you will.  It started me thinking what other pieces I would like to do, at some point.  I came up with a fair few, although the list is rather bland in some ways.  Here's the top five, most of which i have already mentioned:

5: Tallis, Spem in Alium
4. Palestrina:  Missa Papae Marcelli (These two are the most difficult and least likely I will ever sing, yet hope springs.)
3.Allegri's Miserere
2. Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus
1. (really cliched, now) Franck's Panis Angelicus.  I suppose. in the end, I dream of being a soloist.

The odd part is that this is all solid Catholic music, all written for Mass or Divine Office, yet it is rare to hear any of it at a normal Mass, though it is fairly common to hear the last two at funerals and weddings- you know, places where people pick their own music, music they actually like.  But they are fairly common at concerts and recitals, you know, where people pay money to go and hear music they actually like.

What the average congregation is more likely to hear, and the average choir more likely to sing, and why I left choral singing, is songs like these, which I call my "Anti Bucket List" (trademark pending):  the reverse of the bucket list, in that I hope I die before I ever get stuck singing this stuff again:

5: Gather Us In
4. You Are Near
3. You are mine
2. City of God
1. Hosea

I didn't start off hating all these songs, but choral singing is a strange beast.  When I joined the choir at my old parish, years ago, I had a list in my head of some songs I liked, and a few I didn't like.  Most other songs I was more or less indifferent to.  But things changed as the years rolled by, and our repertoire became repetitive.  The list of hymns I liked stayed about the same length, but the list of songs I didn 't like was growing rapidly.  We sang many songs over, and over, and over.  I wouldn't want to sing something I liked as often as I sang many of these pieces to which I was originally indifferent, and so the indifference slowly became deepest loathing. I cringed when the choir director announced that these, and many others, were on menu for the four hymn sandwich that week.

So, at any rate, there is my bucket list and my anti bucket list.  If anyone reading this wishes to add their own in the combox, or consider it a meme, please do.


Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention the antis. We are very blessed to have a good choir at our Sunday Mass. (good hymns, gregorian chant, and,Palestrina or Tomas Luis de Victoria on occasion).

However, we attend 1st Fridays at our local Church as we want to show support and encouragement for this devotion and for the "Holy Half Hour" of Adoration/Benediction that follows directly after. Otherwise this place has a very '70s style of worship. We were pleased to see that by and large, the hymns chosen were good Catholic pieces.

Unfortunately, in the space of the last 8 months or so, we
have noticed it has changed for the worse. Being of suspicious mind, I wonder if those in charge see my 4 teenagers attending, and mistakenly think to attract them with the '70s garbage which we all hate. It's one of those little things where you wish you could say something--but what, in charity?? All the other people there at the Friday Mass seem of retirement age, my kids are the only youth.

Anyway, my list of anti-bucket list songs (I refuse to call them hymns) that I know I'll hear in Purgatory are:

Sing a new song unto the Lord
Glory and Praise to our God
One Bread, One Body
King of Glory
Lord of the Dance

Just about anything in the Glory and Praise rag.

God bless,


Barb Schoeneberger said...

My sentiments exactly. God took away my singing voice, but when I was a choir director in the Novus Ordo we never did Glory and Praise stuff. It was all traditional hymns. Sadly, I only had the job two years and the pastor was moved. The new priest told me he wouldn't work with me because our "theologies were different" and back came "Here I am Lord" and all the 1960s-70s drivel. Now I attend the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively at a small church. The choir isn't expert enough to sing Mozart and Palestrina but at least the music is Gregorian Chant and theologically solid hymns.

If God would ever give me my voice back, I'd love to sing some Bach cantatas even if we can't use them at Mass.

Bro. AJK said...

Ah, the bucket list!

One Sunday with a Choir in Dayton, I sight-read Beethoven and Holst. Not an experiene I want to repeat again. I'd gladly sing them again, though.