"Tell Us Your Story" allows people across the country to learn from each other as stories of catechesis and formation are shared. LTP would like to hear from you! Login and share your story. Tell us how you will be catechizing and leading formation sessions about the liturgy and the third edition of the Roman Missal. Feel free to comment and add ideas and reflections to stories already posted. Please be patient; all posts need to be approved before being published to this Web site.

The implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal brings with it both opportunities and challenges. From a compositional standpoint, composers are offered the opportunity to reflect upon a half-century of musical settings of the Mass in the vernacular and consider what efforts have best enabled the sung participation of the assembly. At the same time, music ministers are challenged to do their part to ensure that the “full and active participation by all the people” continues to be the “aim to be considered before all else” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 14). It is out of a deep desire to ensure that the voice of the assembly remains primary that I set these new texts to music.

Three principle factors guided the composition of my setting, Mass of Joy and Peace. First, I at all times began with the texts themselves in order to ensure that the musical rhythms are as natural as possible and that the music is always at the service of the liturgical texts. Second, I attempted to create melodies which are accessible enough for untrained singers to sing but also interesting enough to inspire their participation. Third, I composed the setting with the conviction that the primary instrument is the voice of the assembly. Therefore, it may be accompanied by organ, piano or guitar alone—or without any accompaniment at all. Lack of accompaniment should never prevent any community, large or small, from singing the liturgy.

One final pastoral concern guided my composition of this setting. Because music ministers will not be able to introduce these texts until the implementation date, I intentionally crafted many of the melodies for the parts of the Mass that have not changed with similar melodic material to the ones that have. For instance, the tune of the refrain of the Gospel Acclamation is almost identical to that of the Gloria. The tune of the intercessory response is the same as the Kyrie. In my own community, I have already introduced my setting of the Gospel Acclamation and the Intercessory Response. When implementation begins, the tunes will already be familiar and I believe that the transition to the new texts will be much smoother.

I firmly believe that music is the best hope to ensure that the assembly is not left voiceless during this time of transition. Well-written, accessible melodies which support the texts will make all the difference. From the settings of colleagues I have already had an opportunity to review, I am confident that the Church will have a wonderful array of settings in a variety of styles from which to choose that do this very effectively.

Tony Alonso
Adapted from the "Introduction" to Mass of Joy and Peace (GIA Publications, 2010).

Review other new Mass settings from GIA.

 

Tony Alonso is one of the most prominent composers of contemporary liturgical music. His music reflects an understanding of the multicultural needs of the contemporary Church as well as a commitment to strong ritual music. In addition to several published collections of liturgical music, his music appears in numerous compilations and hymnals throughout the world. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in choral conducting, Tony currently serves as the Director of Liturgical Music at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

 

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