Simple settings for the new Glory to God

Image: TheGlorySite

As you know, beginning with the First Sunday of Advent 2011 in the US, we will begin using the new Roman Missal which includes some new translations of English texts we've been using for some time. (You can read more about this at the USCCB page on the new Missal.)

Below are three simple, a cappella musical settings for the new text of the Glory to God.   (H/T to NLM for the links.)  Other composers are writing settings for choir/cantor and assembly but these arrangements give us the new translation and offer settings simple enough for use on ordinary Sundays and without a choir's support.

If you have the time and the interest, listen to all three and let us know in the combox which one you like the best and find most singable and prayerful. (After we've had some replies, I'll give you my own pick.)

For the purpose of this post, let's try to focus on just these three compositions and your response to them as text and tunes for our prayer together at the Lord's Table.

ENGLISH CHANT MASS • Richard Rice • GLORIA from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Free Glory To God using the new ICEL translation (Roman Missal) from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Adam Bartlett Gloria from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

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  1. My choice would be Number Two: (Gloria in honour of Blessed Ralph Sherwin).
    For two reasons. I listened to all three with my eyes closed and the second one was an easier one to remember. I thought the first one was not as joyful ( considering it is a Gloria) The third one was a lovely one but a bit difficult for the average choir.
    Can't wait to see what others think. Great idea to put these online.

  2. All three would be fine for a choir.. I am not sure a congregation would be able to easily learn one of these. There are two problems: 1) all three melodies are complex. and 2)( an assumption on my part) the gregorian notation will confuse folks who haven't got a clue what it is about.. so will they have to learn gregorian music as well as a new melody?
    My vote is to wait to see if some simpler melodies are created....

  3. I prefer the Gloria in honor of Blessed Ralph Sherwin. It might be the easiest for all of the assembly,not only the choir. I like the way it flows.
    I wonder if any of them will be transcribed to regular musical notes. Will there be some basic lessons in reading Gregorian Chant for the many who are not familiar with it? I learned as a child at parochial school in the 1950s. Never thought it would come in handy in 2011! Then again it's probably best to teach it without the music, just learn it by heart.

  4. All three are fine chant melodies. I'm familiar with reading Gregorian Chant (can you guess my age?). My preference is for the English Chant Mass, Richard Rice. It is rather somber but fits best with my vocal range.
    Thanks for asking.

  5. I just can't believe we are taking these steps backward. Having done Gregorian many years ago I am not at all anxious to return to it. I don't think any of these three is as prayerful, joyful or singable as music presently selected by the outstanding music director at my parish.

  6. I like the third one best although all three are very similar considering what we are used to now. The ending is the most upbeat. Are congregations really going to sing these? Too bad they aren't more melodic and repetitive. People might be intimidated and stay silent.

  7. Sarah, I agree to a point. I would not want to return to Gregorian Chant as our only way of singing at mass. It's a good thing to hold onto some of our heritage when the times are appropriate and it fits the way a community likes to pray together. Not every parish is alike. Also, maybe these Glorias can be transcribed into a different form. Maybe they can be sung in a not so formal way.

  8. So, Fr. Austin, what are your thoughts?

  9. I think these glorias are a far cry better than the stuff we have today in the missaletes. As someone not around when gregorian chant was the norm, I can say gregorian chant is far more prayerful.

  10. I like all three, although I prefer the second and third to the first.

    As someone who himself does not read music (although I can follow notation going up and down) I'm not sure that we need to teach reading Gregorian notation - it goes up and down, too!

    Might it be that most folks pick up the hymnals in pews primarily for the words but list to the accompaniment (or other voices) to learn the melody?

    (At the end of the second setting on this post there is a note that the music is available in regular notation. I don't know if that will always or even often be the case with chant pieces but at least here is an instance of that.)

    Keep in mind the number of times that some otherwise unknown monastery has produced an LP, a cassette, a CD of chant and how very well such recordings do in sales. Most people find this sound beautiful, haunting and prayerful - even when it's all done in Latin! I don't see the average American parish converting to all chant, nor all in Latin, but there certainly is a simple beauty here that could greatly enhance our worship.

    In my parish we more often than not recite the Glory to God - not the best option! (We do sing it in the Christmas and Easter seasons.) Settings like these could become part of repertoire for singing the Glory to God more frequently in a parish like mine.

    One of the easiest ways for parishes to learn the new translation will be to sing it - settings like these, and many others, may be helpful in that way, too.

    I liked the suggestion above to listen to them with eyes closed - I found that I seemed to "hear more" when I wasn't focusing on the printed words and notation.

    Thanks to all of you for your responses! As I find other settings of the Glory to God and other parts of the Mass in the new translation, I'll post them here.


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