Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

April 14, 2019

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.

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

Our Schola's rehearsal of two of the pieces to be sung on Palm Sunday are included in this week's Choral Highlights to help you prepare for this solemn celebration and our communal entry into Holy Week.

Introit 10am Mass - Hosanna to the Son of David, Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623)

This intricately written motet for six voices, oscillates between major and minor tonalities and utilizes various forms of part-writing imitation throughout, moving between homophony to imitative writing at the half-measure, as well as double choir effect, where multiple voices imitate each other in succession. The English composer Thomas Weelkes was organist of Chichester Cathedral, and composed several books of anthems and madrigals. The text is the antiphon proper for this Sunday, and repeats the text uttered by the Jews as Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem. The Hebrew word ‘Hosanna’ roughly translates to ‘we beg you to save,’ so in using it, the Jews were acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah and their savior.

To hear a version, click below:

Preparation of the Gifts - 10am and 11:30am Masses - Pueri Hebraeorum, Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548-1611)

Victoria was the finest composer of sacred polyphony of the Iberian Peninsula. This gentle motet takes its text from the antiphons for the distribution of palm branches, and tells of the ‘Children of the Hebrews’ casting their cloaks as Jesus entered Jerusalem. The opening motive contains a flutter of eighth notes, as of a vestment or cloak caught in the air as it falls to earth. The motet has as an almost flippant character - possibly suggesting the fickleness of the people of Jerusalem's faith, as those who hail Jesus as the Messiah, are soon to lead him to his death.

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

Communion 11:30am Mass - The Mocking of Christ, Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 1585)

The music (Third Tune) is taken from Tallis’ Bishop Parker’s Psalter, which was written to provide vernacular settings of the Psalter in the reformed English liturgy. The tune originally set the 2nd psalm (Why fum’th in fight). The music was later used as the source material for Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis."The Mocking of Christ" is a poem by the late English hymn writer and minister Fred Pratt Green. The poem is in three parts, and each reflects on an aspect of the "Mocking": the crown of the thorns, the purple cloak, and the scepter reed. A common line in each, “They could not know what we do now” echoes Christ plea for forgiveness from the cross “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

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

Post-Communion Motet 10:00 and 11:30 – Faithful Cross – Leo Nestor (b. 1948)

Faithful Cross is an English rendering of the Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) poem, "Crux fidelis inter omnes." Nestor’s setting of the poem uses fragments of the original Latin text to punctuate certain musical motives and textual ideas. The piece employs irregular meters creating both a chant like quality, as well as a more nuanced setting of the text. The piece is largely tonal with brief moments of modal and chromatic influence.