Catholic Confirmation Service

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #152228

    What repertoire should/shouldn’t you play for a Catholic Confirmation
    Service? I’ll be using my lever harp. It is going to be in the
    Archbishop’s home with only close friends. Is Bach acceptable? or is he
    primarily for Lutheran services? What about a contemporary sounding
    piece by Kim Robertson? I asked the client if they wanted certain
    pieces and he mentioned Ave Maria, but didn’t care which one. I will be
    checking back with him, but would rather not make an ill informed
    suggestion. This is what I have so far:

    Service music;
    Gounod’s Ave Maria
    Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

    Background music:
    Robertson’s Searching for Lambs
    Bach’s Siciliano
    Mozart’s Andantino
    Pescetti’s Andantino Espressivo
    Challan’s Laura
    Liszt’s Psaume from the Church at Geneva

    Participant
    Connie Browning on #152229

    Julieanne-

    I have a friend who is a cellist (spelling?) and college professor-he once told me that is it said that Bach said everything he wrote was to the the honor and glory of God-don’t think you could go wrong with Bach-but I’m not Catholic so it’s just my opinion.

    Connie

    Participant
    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #152230

    When I was working as an organist in a Catholic church I played Bach all the time. There were no objections whatsoever. It’s commonly accepted nowadays.

    Just probably you shouldn’t play, “Light My Fire,” I’m guessing. 🙂

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #152231

    There’s no objection to Bach, but I’d be awfully interested to know how you play the Sicilano and the Pescetti Andantino on a lever harp.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #152232

    The Pescetti is an arrangement I made that doesn’t include the entire
    work. It is the main theme of the Andantino stated twice and then moves into the ending.
    I leave out the last triplet in the left hand for each measure to
    accomplish the lever changes, and it is transposed to A minor. Now that
    I have a better lever harp, I may try arranging more of it. We’ll see.
    🙂

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #152233

    Thalnks, Julieanne.

    I’ve messed around with the Siciliano, but I can’t come up with anything reasonable for the two measures before the recap, so I don’t go there, at least not without a flute.

    Participant
    unknown-user on #152234

    HI JULIE , FOR ME AS A GREEK ROMAN ORTHODOX, ITS NOT ALLOWED TO PLAY MUSIC IN THE CURCH, BUT ONCE I PLAYED THE ORGAN IN THE LATIN CHURCH IN DAMASCUS, AND THE LETURGY BOOK INCLUDED BACH, I HAVE A VERY COMPLICATED MUSIC OF DE CABEZON, FOUR VOICES, FOR THE EASTER AND PASSIONS, BUT ITS FOR PEDAL HARP.

    Participant
    brook-boddie on #152235

    Julieanne,

    Bach will be just fine for the confirmation service.

    Participant
    tonya-a on #152236

    Your pieces all sound lovely – a nice collection!

    Participant
    Dorian Llywelyn on #152237

    Hi Julianne

    I think I can reply to this, not only as a harpist, but also as a Roman Catholic priest….

    There are very few hard and fast rules about music in Catholic services – a lot of priests have their own view about this, so musicians can meet a whole range of responses from priests and people in charge of liturgies.

    One big principle is that the music is there to enhance the service, not dominate it. This means not drawing too much attention to the music (i.e. avoid flashy pieces), and also not holding up the sequence of events while you get to the end of a piece.

    A good church organist has to work her/his way around what’s going on around the altar. This means some improvisatory skills, being familiar with the sequence of events in the service, and keeping an eye and ear open for the relevant cues. You might like to find someone who plays regulary for Catholic Masses. A Confirmation Mass is basically the same as a Mass on a normal Sunday, but with a chunk of extra bits put in the middle after the homily, when the Bishop confirms the person being confirmed by laying his hand on her head and anointing their forehead with oil.

    Generally, things take a lot shorter than somne musicians realize, especially in small chapels like the one it sounds you are going to play in. And in a place like that, gentle, quiet is good, so a lever harp might well be the best choice.

    The best advice I can give you had already been given: check with the priest. We priests all tend to think we are the ultimate authorities on church music.

    Those of us who work in liturgical music know a whole series of jokes about church music and liturgists:

    What’s the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?
    Answer: You can negotiate with a terrorist…

    What is a liturgist?
    A tribulation sent by God at times of absence of plague, to test the faith of the people.

    Good luck!

    Participant
    unknown-user on #152238

    I have had the experience of not being able to play a show-tune for a Catholic wedding, but the Preludes Intimes were allowed. It doesn’t look like your program has problems, except for the Robertson? And how can you do the “Gounod” on a lever harp?

    Participant
    unknown-user on #152239

    I really appreciate the helpful replies! I think this thread is a good
    reference for other harpists as well. 🙂 I spent most of the morning
    today arranging the Gounod Ave Maria. I added the melody on top of the
    Bach Prelude. It is rather busy with lever changes, but I think I have
    something that will work. I keep the flow of 16th notes steady, but
    modified harmonic voicing in some instances to allow the 2nd and 4th beats to always be
    played in the right hand, so the left hand can stay busy with the
    levers as needed. I think I have something that works now. I will
    probably take the Robertson off, since it has a very contemporary sound
    and will be an unfamiliar tune. Thanks again.

    Participant
    barbara-brundage on #152240

    Hi, Julieanne. Don’t know if it helps any, but I’ve got the Gounod in Classics on Request, Vol. 3.

    Participant
    Donna Germano on #152241

    You can also borrow a copy of the church’s hymnal and find some hynms you might already know.

    Participant
    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #152242

    Sounds like it will be a nice arrangement. Just be sure not to do any Marian tunes during communion in a Catholic mass. Liturgically speaking, communion should be reserved for music which puts one in mind of that part of the mass — the body and blood of Christ, and not tunes regarding Mary.

    June (former Catholic organist)

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