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The Forth in Praise Organists' Blog

The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

May 28, 2010

Twitter, twitter about the MacMillan Mass

evelyn @ 2:19 pm

It’s no good. I can’t settle down to writing a proper blog post while packing for a lovely long holiday. So a few disjointed jottings are all I can manage, twitter-like, while sorting out cases.

MacMillan Mass for papal visit: I love it. I don’t think people will find it difficult to sing, so much as different – which is what I like about it.
Vive la différence! (Guess where I’m going on holiday).

There have been some murmurings that the Mass is unsuitable for ‘the pastoral scene’. Not sure what is meant by this.

I’ve also heard that there have been complaints (yes, complaints!) that the MacMillan Mass needs a competent organist!  That doesn’t say much for standards of Catholic organ-playing, does it?

Actually, the organ part doesn’t demand anything out of the ordinary. It’s a very straightforward, two-stave setting with no really difficult bits, except for some stretches too wide for those of us with small hands, but we’re used to that. Plenty of pedal opportunities for those who want them.

But – it’s different. Not at all like our usual hymnal accompaniments, many of which are so dreadful that they require a more than competent organist to make sense of them. The difference is probably what makes people hesitate and think the new Mass is harder to play than it is. It’s also what makes it so interesting and a joy for the organist.
¡Viva la diferencia! (Guess where else I’m going on holiday).

Will be back at the end of June. Any comments on the blog will be relayed to me by my son, who’s house-sitting, bless him.

Au revoir!

¡Hasta la vista!

Do svidaniya! (for Ivan, Boris & co.)

See youse all later!


  1. Having been present when the comment about “a competent organist ” was made, maybe I can clarify. The concern was simply that parishes without an organist would struggle to learn the Mass, as the organ part is intrinsic. Some parishes have maybe a couple of guitars, or less!

    As for “pastoral”, the ideal is to have the whole flock at Bellahouston (not just choirs) joining lustily in singing the papal Mass, preferably without having to clutch music that will get soggy in the rain, or blown away in the wind. The timescale is a bit short to get people to that stage, cos a lot of people, like you, are going off on holiday now! But please God all will go well, with a bit of hard work. It’s certainly a great piece of music.

    Bonnes vacances!

    Comment by Frances — May 31, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  2. At last, a bit of debate on the blog! Just what I’ve always wanted, and just when I’m off on holiday – how could you, Frances! A quick reply on the ‘learning difficulties’. Agreed, two chord-strumming guitars can’t set out the melody for practice, but there are other ways of learning, even learning in a hurry – the CD recently made in Edinburgh for a start. People can learn by listening at home, or driving to work, or even on holiday!

    Glad you agree about the music itself.

    Comment by evelyn — May 31, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

  3. Your fault for twitting so late in the day!!!

    Comment by Frances — May 31, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

  4. I’m not twitting for good – I’ll be back!

    Comment by evelyn — June 1, 2010 @ 9:06 am

  5. There can’t be many parishes with just two guitars. Can’t they join up with a neighbouring parish for this one special occasion?

    Comment by Flora B — June 18, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

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