Music for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, 2 March 2008

Music for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Missale Romanum of 1962, 9:00 a.m.)
Prelude: Improvisation on the Introit Laetare
Mass for Four Voices (Thomas Tallis, c.1505-1585)
Gregorian Mass of the Fourth Sunday of Lent: Laetare
Hymn at the Offertory: Quicumque certum quaeritis (plainsong, mode i)
Postlude: Improvisation on the Lenten Compline hymn Christe qui lux es et dies (after Robert White, c.1535-1574)

Music for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Missale Romanum of 1970, 11:00 a.m.)
Prelude: Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (Max Reger, 1873-1916)
Missa pro Dominicis Adventus & Quadragesimae (Vatican Gradual, Mass XVII)
Hymn at the Offertory: If Thou But Trust In God To Guide Thee (Wer nur den lieben Gott)
Communion: Lutum fecit (plainsong, mode vi)
Motet at the Communion: O Jesu Christe (Jacquet van Berchem, c.1505-c.1580)
Postlude: Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten, BWV 647 (Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750)

On the use of the organ on Laetare Sunday
The fourth Sunday in Lent derives its Latin name from the first word of the Mass text, “Laetare Jerusalem” (Rejoice, O Jerusalem). It is a day of joy within the penitential season. The altars may be decorated with flowers, organ playing is permitted, and the priests may wear rose-colored vestments instead of purple. The reason for such display of joy is explained in a sermon by Pope Innocent III (1216): “On this Sunday, which marks the middle of Lent, a measure of consoling relaxation is provided, so that the faithful may not break down under the severe strain of Lenten fast but may continue to bear the restrictions with a refreshed and easier heart.” For further customs of the day, see here.

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