Tag Archives: The Musical Month

The Musical Month: March 2015

14 March 2015

With the midway point of Lent just in the rearview mirror, the choirs at St. Mary's in Norwalk are busy in rehearsals, classes, and preparations!  The time between now and Holy Week, in particular, has several notable feasts that we will be marking with especial musical and liturgical solemnity.  I'm pleased to introduce "The Musical Month," a short digest to keep you, our friends and supporters of the music program, abreast of the work we endeavor, with God's grace, to perform.


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On Thursday, March 12th, the Student Schola honored one of its co-patrons, St. Gregory, on his feast day (in the traditional calendar). The St. Gregory and St. Cecilia Student Scholas combined to sing Vespers at 5:30 p.m.Tomorrow, March 15th is Laetare Sunday, when the liturgical rigors of Lent are relaxed ever so slightly, flowers appear, and the solo organ reappears briefly. The St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum will sing John Sheppard’s festive and masterful Missa Cantate at the 9:30 Solemn Mass, coupled with organ voluntaries of Bach (An Wasserflüssen Babylon and partitas on Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen?).That same Sunday afternoon, March 15th, the St. Cecilia Society is pleased to present its second concert of the spring season. Flautist Sharon Levin and oboist Gerard Reuter join forces to bring to life some very fine repertoire by, among others, Telemann and Marcello. I had the pleasure of rehearsing with Sharon and Gerry both last week and this, and their musicianship is breathtakingly good. We’re really excited to be giving this concert, and sincerely hope that you will be able to join us! The concert is at 4:00, and a festive reception will follow. Information about the repertoire and the artists is available at stmarynorwalk.net/recitals.

Thursday, March 19th, is St. Joseph’s Day. This feast of the patron of the universal Church is a busy one at St. Mary’s. At 12:10 p.m., the students of Regina Pacis Academy will sing Mass, including English propers and the complete Latin Missa Dominator Deus (Mass XV). At 5:30 p.m., the students of the St. Cecilia and St. Gregory Scholas will once again join forces to sing Vespers for the feast. Then, at 7:00 p.m., the St. Cecilia Student Schola joins the St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum (the professional ensemble) to sing Solemn Mass. The ordinary is Padilla’s charming Missa Ego flos campi for double choir (the professionals sing choir 1, and the students choir 2), coupled with Palestrina’s motet Veritas mea and the plainsong hymn Te Joseph celebrent.

On Passion SundayMarch 22nd, the St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum sings Cristóbal de Morales’ dark and plangent Missa Aspice Domine (based on the motet “Regard, O Lord, how desolate lies the city”). On this first day of Passiontide, we will also sing Byrd’s mysterious and heartfelt piece Infelix ego, which sets the text that begins the Meditation on the Miserere which Girolamo Savonarola (!) wrote shortly before his death.

To celebrate Annunciation Day, Solemn Mass will be offered at 7:00 p.m. A number of volunteer men from the parish, and several seminarians from St. John Fisher in Stamford, will join the Schola Cantorum to sing the Missa Salve Regina by the twentieth-century French composer Jean Langlais. The St. Cecilia Student Schola will sing the propers, as well as Peter Philips’ Ave Maria and Victoria’s Ave Regina caelorum for double choir. This Mass should be especially beautiful, and, we hope, a worthy celebration in this parish church dedicated to Our Lady.

The students of Regina Pacis Academy sing the office of None approximately once a month. They will continue do so on the Thursday of Passion WeekMarch 26th, at 3:00 p.m.

On the 9:30 Solemn Mass on Palm Sunday, March 29th, many of the choirs of the parish (St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum, the St. Mary’s Choir, the Coro Hispano, the St. Cecilia Student Schola, the St. Gregory Student Schola, and the St. John the Baptist Choristers) join to sing Hosanna filio David! at Our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The combined choirs will sing motets of Palestrina, Jachet de Berchem, and the plainsong propers. The Schola Cantorum will render the rarely-performed Missa Videte manus meas of Hugh Aston (an English composer of the early to mid-sixteenth century), polyphonic turba responses from the Eton Choirbook, and (continuing the English theme) the Miserere of George Malcolm (master of music at Westminster Cathedral in the 1950s).

Stay tuned for an update on the services of Holy Week!

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At a glance:

March 12, 5:30 p.m.: St. Gregory Day Vespers (Student Schola)

March 15, 9:30 a.m.: Laetare Sunday Solemn Mass (St. Mary's Schola Cantorum)

March 15, 4:00 p.m.: Sharon, Gerry, David concert

March 19: St. Joseph Day

    12:10p Mass (Regina Pacis Academy)

    5:30p Vespers (Student Schola)

    7:00p Mass (St. Mary's Schola Cantorum & Student Schola)

March 22, 9:30 a.m.: Passion Sunday Solemn Mass (Schola Cantorum)

March 25, 7:00 p.m.: Annunciation Day Solemn Mass (Schola Cantorum & Student Schola)

March 26, 3:00 p.m.: Sung None (Regina Pacis Academy)

March 29, 9:30 a.m.: Palm Sunday Solemn Mass (combined choirs)