The Sanctus from St. Bede’s

While in London I am staying at St. Bede’s in Clapham Park.   The older, Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite, has been offered for some years.  Occasionally they have a very fine vocal group provide polyphonic music for the Sunday Mass.

It was a fitting way to celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the first anniversary of Summorum Pontificum coming into effect.

Here is the Sanctus, Consecration and Benedictus

This is from Wm. Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices.


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  1. Gordon says:

    Father Z, if you get the chance, you have to visit Farnborough Abbey. Not too far from London.

  2. I have deleted a comment. I do not permit “anonymous” comments.

  3. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Bear with me…

    The Sanctus-Benedictus (S-B) could be done in two parts (pre-Consecration and post-Consecration) for these two reasons: the Canon was prayed silently, so there were not competing voices; and there was not permitted to be anything else happening at the time of the Consecration. Is that about right? Now, I can see the need for doing it in two parts when a polyphonic version (such as this) is used, due to the sheer length. Was/Is it common to do the S-B in two parts when using a much more brief version?

    Now, could the B. be seen as a “response” or “acclamation” to the act of the Consecration? Now that Jesus has been made present upon the altar (tabernacle notwithstanding), it seems right for us to say “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!”

    This leads me to wonder why the reformed liturgy joined the two parts (S. and B.) as a rule and introduced the “memorial acclamation” into the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer. How beautiful it would be (I think) for the Ordinary Form to have the first part (S.) sung, and then the second part (B.) sung as the Memorial Acclamation. I think the B. is a rather fitting affirmation of the mysterium fidei.

    Of course, this will seem foolish now since the Prayer is said out loud (and so there is not permitted to be music or other singing or talking over it).

    Just my ponderings.

  4. Fred Campbell says:

    There don’t seem to be many people at the Mass. It’s amazing how much “demand” people say there is for EF, but from the Low Masses to the Solemn High Masses that I’ve been to and seen pictures of, the attendance is always low.

  5. Neil Leslie says:

    Thanks for posting this, Father Z. Even though I have never attended a the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, I have gained an appreciation of it, “through the back door,” so to speak, by hearing some of the extraordinary music that was written for this form of the Mass. As it so happens, I just purchased a collection of Byrd’s music recorded by the Tallis Scholars, which includes the Mass for Four Voices. It’s wonderful to hear this music in its proper context, as part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In a strange way, it’s even more wonderful to hear this music sung by those who are not perhaps professional or concert quality singers but ordinary people who have a sincere desire to praise and worship God by means of this music.

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