The Most Holy Trinity

June 16, 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.

The Schola Cantorum will imitate the Venetian antiphonal style of singing begun at San Marco, Venice with a small choir in the former loft singing across the sanctuary to another choir in the Wedding Chapel in Jacob Handl’s well-loved “Duo Seraphim” at both the 10am and 11:30am Masses this Trinity Sunday.

Prelude 11:30am Mass, “Praise God in His Holy Dwelling” – Jan M Vermulst (1925-1994)

Jan Vermulst was a Dutch born composer of Sacred music, most well known for his English publication “People’s Mass Book” through World Library Publications– one of the first resource for the vernacular liturgy after the reforms of the second Vatican Council. The work sets the text of Psalm 150, (translated by fellow WLP associate Omer Westendorf) in an antiphonic version with a repeating ‘Alleluia’ dispersed between the verses.

Preparation of the Gifts 10am and 11:30am Masses, “Duo Seraphim” - Jacob Handl (1550-1591)

The text of this motet is taken from the Book of Isaiah, and it is used as a Matins Response for Trinity. This verse speaks of the glory of heaven through Isaiah’s vision, and it is one of the few descriptions of the place in the entire bible. The thrice-declared ‘holy’ is both a triune reference, as well as an archaic form of the superlative. This text is sung at every Mass as the first part of the Preface Acclamation as heaven and earth are united in sung praise of the divine. The composer was born in Slovenia (then the Austro-Hungarian empire.) He traveled with the Viennese Court extensively through the empire as a Cistercian monk. He was choir master for several years to the Bishop of Olomouc (Czech Republic), and died in Prague. He was greatly influenced by the Venetian style of polyphonic writing, which utilized double choirs and echo effects. This setting, along with many other settings by Gabrieli, uses a double choir to create a call and response that imitates the two seraphim calling across the heavens to each other. In our performance at the Cathedral today, one choir will sing from the old choir loft while another choir sings across the sanctuary from the Wedding Chapel – not unlike the setting both acoustically (and decoratively) of San Marco in Venice.

To hear a version, click below:

Communion Motet 10am Mass, “O Lux Beata Trinitas,” William Byrd (1539 – 1623)

William Byrd was an English Elizabethan-era composer, who, with Thomas Tallis, composed many sacred settings, including those for underground Roman Catholic communities during the tumultuous era of the English Reformation. The text is employed as a hymn for Vespers on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Its author is very likely St. Ambrose of Milan. “O Trinity, blessed light and principal unity, Now that the fiery sun recedes, pour your light into our hearts. We praise you with song in the morning, To you we implore in the evening, May we praise and glorify you forever.”

To hear a version, click below:

Communion Motet 11:30am Mass, “O Dawn of All Creation” - text by Dolores Dufner (b. 1939) / tune and setting by David Hurd (b. 1950)

O Dawn of All Creation is a text by Delores Dufner, an American sacred music composer, librettist, and organist whose works have been included in Catholic hymnals in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Sister Delores was liturgy coordinator for her religious community for six years and director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, for 11 years. A member of The Hymn Society’s executive committee, she holds master’s degrees in liturgical music and liturgical studies. The text speaks of the mystery of the Trinity “whose ways are not as our ways, whose thoughts are not our own,” yet who is revealed to us through parable and paradox and constantly draws us nearer and nearer. The tune by David Hurd was written for The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal) to accompany the Christmas text ‘A Stable Lamp is Lighted’ and is dedicated to his boyhood choir director Lily Andújar Rogers. Hurd is a prolific composer, concert organist, choral conductor and educator. He is currently the Director of Music at The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Times Square, New York City.

To hear a version of the tune set to its original pairing with the text A Stable Lamp is Lighted, click below: