Saturday, December 22, 2018

A new edition of Adeste Fideles from Matthew Schellhorn

Matthew Schellhorn writes:

For several years, I have had the honour of directing the music on Christmas Eve in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London, at the First Mass of Christmas organised by the Latin Mass Society. 

It is the custom to follow the Last Gospel with a congregational rendition of the hymn “Adeste, fideles” (most frequently sung elsewhere in its English form, “O Come, all ye Faithful”).). 

One might adapt the well known version in Carols for Choirs, but in fact the genesis of the hymn is so complex, and the melodic and harmonic incarnations so multiplicitous that all the musical options deserve to be under the tree and on offer. 

As a result, I have compared and drawn together the many different versions, freely adapting from the chant versions in the Liber usualis (1932 and 1961) and Mass and Vespers (1957), and also from the organ harmonisations of chant in Nova organi harmonia, the De La Salle Hymnal for Catholic Schools and Choirs (1913), the Thomas Helmore’s harmonisation of the Hymnal Noted (1852), editions by Martin Shaw (1875–1958) and the choral motet by François-Clément Théodore Dubois (1837–1924). 

I trust that Sir David Willcocks (1919–2015), under whose baton I had the honour of working in Worcester, would be content. 

The new, hybrid version plays on expectations and – in the best tradition of last-verse descants – confounds musical etiquette in a whimsical way. 

The result is similar to the sensation of meeting up with relations at Christmas festivities – some one knows well, and some one has not seen for a long time. 

Please note: I must be getting old, because I have lost the will to fight against the infamous passing note before the refrain, which in any case I find in several honourable sources. 

My arrangement is dedicated to my God-daughter, Miss Barbara Shaw, daughter of the Latin Mass Society’s Chairman, Joseph Shaw, on the occasion of her First Holy Communion in Oxford. Although owing to my professional commitments I am unable to be present on this auspicious occasion, I hope this offering will display my being united to her in prayer.

You can see the music here.

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  1. Will the 6PM Christmas Eve Mass at Saint Mary Moorfields be the Mass of Christmas Eve, i.e., violet vestments, no Gloria, no Alleluia, no Credo etc.? I have seen it advertised as a 'Midnight Mass', which, as pointed out on Rotate Caeli recently, is not permitted.

    1. As it says in the post, it is the 'First Mass of Christmas', the Mass 'Domine dixit ad me', commonly known as Midnight Mass.

      Of course it is permitted, as is the anticipated Mass of any Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation. This is an issue of canon law, not liturgical law, and it is covered by the Code. Go look it up.

    2. So you disagree with Universae Ecclesiae and the P.C.E.D.?

    3. No, I agree with the PCED: it's Kenneth Wolfe on Rorate who disagrees with them, at least as what they say applies to Christmas. Universae Ecclesiae does not address the issue.

      Issues of liturgical law: manner of receiving Communion; sex of altar servers, calendar.

      Issues of canon law: length of Eucharistic Fast, which days are Holy Days of Obligation, anticipation of Mass formulary on the previous evening.

      The easy way to tell is to see if it is in the Code.

    4. Universae Ecclesiae does not make a distinction between canon and liturgical law in article 28, The P.C.E.D. do not make a special case for Christmas.

  2. Oh for heavens sake Bead. It's these type of pointless nitpickings that turn so many Catholics off the Traditional Mass movement. There is only one Christmas Mass in the Extraordinary Form in St Mary's Moorfield namely the 6pm Mass, if you don't like it then go to the Ordinary Form Mass at Midnight. Ideally I agree there should be an EF Mass at Midnight but there isn't so try to support the EF Mass that is being said. Oh and a Happy Christmas to both you and Joseph

  3. The law 'proper' to the EF referred to by Universae Ecclesiae is liturgical law. If it included Canon Law we'd be bound by the 3-hour fast etc..

    You are quite right that the PCED does not make a special case for Christmas. That is why the same principle applies to Christmas that they propose for the anticipation of Sundays: that you can use the Mass formulary the evening before. This is simply a statement of the canon law governing all Sundays and Holy Days under the new Code.

    I have explained this in far more detail than should be necessary; I will not reply on this again.

  4. Oh, and Happy Christmas Neil!

  5. 1. A liturgical day was midnight to midnight until 1967. It was also a matter of liturgical law. Its in the 1962 General Rubrics. Go look it up, to borrow a phrase.

    2. U.E. does not make a distinction between canon and liturgical law. It derogates any laws incompatible with the 1962 rubrics, of which the timeline of the liturgical day is one.

    3. The P.C.E.D. have explicitly addressed the matter of whether Masses celebrated according to the 1962 missal can be anticipated. They answered in the negative.

    4. You’re the L.M.S. appointed chairman, it’s your obligation to discuss these matters. It would also be expedient to do so with courtesy when dealing with donors.

    5. Mr Addison, the matter is not nitpicking but one of importance affecting the law (see points 1, 2 and 3), Tradition (see point 1), and common sense (midnight is 12AM, not 6PM).

  6. Bead: Joseph does not have any 'obligation' to answer you or anyone He and I have had our disagreements in the past but I respect the fact that he pours an immense amount of time into work for the LMS in addition to his more important duties as a husband and father and a Professor at Oxford. This is Christmas and Josephs 'obligation' is to spend time with his family not engage in a pointless argument with you. Joseph has set out his views and you have set out yours. Any reasonable person would realise the discussion ends there

  7. We enjoyed Solemn High Mass (EF) at St Wilrid's in York. We also had Lessons & Carols. Sadly the Mass was not 4-part (to which I was used as a boy chorister - MANY years ago) but one has to be grateful for any mercies large or small.
    Additionally St Joseph's in Gateshead also had EF Missa Cantata at midnight.

  8. "the rubric of the missale Romanum prescribes the mass of the night be said after midnight, dicitur post mediam noctem. (Title 15, no.4, rub.gen.miss). Plus V in the Bull Sanctissimis in Christo, revoked all privileges which authorised the celebration before midnight. It abrogated all the contrary customs established in that regard and prohibits the anticipated celebration under any pretext." Louis Stercky, Manuel de Liturgie. This was the traditional practice