Choral Highlights

Enjoy a taste of the choral music you will hear from St. Matthew's Schola Cantorum (Latin for “School of Singers” at the 10am and 11:30am Masses this Sunday, courtesy of St. Matthew's Office of Music Ministries.

Past Choral Highlights

Visit our past choral highlights archive for music from previous Sundays in the current liturgical year (Cycle C) and going back to 2016.

September 15, 2019

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The motets for today’s liturgies, sung by the Schola Cantorum, announce and illuminate the mercy of God. They also comment on the aspect of mercy that is found in the contrition and return echoed in this Sunday’s Gospel parable of the prodigal son and the prodigal father.

Prelude 11:30am Mass, “Have Mercy on me” Thomas Tomkins (1572 – 1656)

The music for the prelude, “Have Mercy on Me,” was written by English composer Thomas Tomkins, and was posthumously published as part of a larger set of Tudor church music, “Musica Deo sacra.” The text is found in Psalm 51, (in Latin, “Miserere mei, Deus”), one of the traditional seven penitential psalms, is the Psalm appointed for this Sunday. The psalmist is traditionally thought to have written the text following his acknowledgment of his transgression with Bathsheba (II Samuel: 11).

Preparation of the Gifts 10am Mass, “Pater Peccavi” - Thomas Crecquillon (1505 – 1557)

The 10am Mass Preparation motet is by the Flanco-Flemish composer and priest, Thomas Crecquillon, an early renaissance composer who enjoyed the respect of his music colleagues and was widely published during his life. The text quotes the Gospel: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. Now I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as you would one of your hired servants.” This is one of the earliest renaissance settings of the text, exhibiting Crecquillon’s penchant for a smooth and consistent polyphonic style without the more dramatic text-painting characteristic of later Renaissance composers.

To hear the Schola Cantorum in rehearsal for this Sunday, click below.

Preparation of the Gifts 11:30am Mass, “Parce Domine” - Feliks Nowowiejski (1877 – 1946)

Felix Nowowiejski studied music in Berlin and Prague, in the late 19th century, before returning to his native Poland to direct the Krakow Musical Society. This motet is extracted movement of his oratorio, “Znalezienie Świętego Krzyża” (Finding of the Holy Cross), Parce Domine is a romantic setting of the tradition Lenten antiphon: Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo: ne in aeternum irascaris nobis. Spare, O Lord, spare your people: do not hold your anger toward us forever. This text, found in the second chapter of the book of Joel, describes a penitent’s appeal to a merciful father.

To hear a version of this motet, click below.

Communion 10am Mass, "Vivo Ego, Dicit Dominus” - Alonso Lobo (1555 – 1617)

The late 16th century Spanish composer, Alonso Lobo, wrote many mass settings and motets in the Spanish Baroque style. His musical counterpart during his lifetime was Tomás Luis de Victoria. In Vivo Ego, he utilizes subtle suspensions, giving the impression of the ever-longing father's desire for the reunion. The 10am Mass Communion motet expounds God's love and desire for the return and salvation of the sinner, highlighting the central message in the Gospel reading for this Sunday.

To hear a version, click below.

Communion 11:30am Mass, "Have Mercy On Us Lord" -  Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990)

Modern american composer, Aaron Copland, is well known for ushering in a new sound of American music in the early 20th century. This motet is one of the few sacred compositions that Copland wrote and was composed in the 1920’s, early in his career. While the composer is mostly known for film, chamber, and solo vocal music, this sacred work incorporates, just as fluently, the open and slow changing harmonies which paint the weeping text in a very profound call for God to be not far from his humble servants.

To hear a version: click below.