I have been wanting to see Our Blessed Mother appear in the Advent Liturgy from the first Sunday, but it has been so far, so Saint John the Baptist. But finally, on the Fourth Week of Advent, Mama Mary makes her appearance in the Offertory Proper, Extraordinary Form. (And horrors, I'm the one chanting it.)
Not something to brag about, let me explain. The rubric (De musica sacra et sacra liturgia, 1958
) prefers male voices for the propers. But our one-man Schola Cantorum
, a deacon who's just been ordained a priest, now has his own Mass to celebrate. So until we find another male voice (or a few male voices), I'm substituting.
So since last Sunday evening, I've been practicing the syllabics and melismatics neume by neume. Because I don't read music out-of-hand, I have to memorize the melodies. And believe me, it's hard, really hard!
The Rorate Caeli
introit was a piece of cake to tackle compared to the Ave Maria Offertory, but after three nights and days wrestling with the latter, I think I've got it. Except for one thing: I find the Offertory easier to sing not as chant but in a more upbeat, even jazzier rhythm. I know, I will have to smooth it out to a more flowing sound or the priest might get scandalized. But try the jazzy rhythm anyway and you'll see what I mean.
I love Our Lady and this Offertory has got to be one of the most beautiful Gregorian pieces ever written. Enjoy. http://vimeo.com/12633369
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON St. Luke 1. 28, 42 Ave María, grátia plena: Dóminus tecum:benedícta tu in muliéribus, et benedíctus fructus ventris tui.
Hail Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art
thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.