Ship of Fools: Merton College Chapel, Oxford, England


imageShip of Fools: Merton College Chapel, Oxford, England

Heavenly Mozart, hellish Elgar, very good wine

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Comments

  • You use the phrase 'Hellish Elgar' but do not clarify what you mean by this - was it badly performed / sung or do you just not like Elgar in which case it is a bit unfair to describe it as Hellish?
  • Yes, I wondered that...

    My Old Mum used (in her late teens) to sing in a choir occasionally conducted by Elgar himself...I can't recall if she made any comment about his music, if indeed they sang any of it, but she described him as a rather peppery, and demanding, old gentleman.

    This would have been around 1928-1930, a few years before Elgar's death.
  • UrgandaUrganda Shipmate
    It is very hard, especially on an occasion like that, to find anything to put in in the hellish box, but we are warned that we will not be published if we find nothing hellish. It was the context that made me discriminate against Elgar. Of course it is personal prejudice, but I would have preferred just Mozart. He wrote enough to challenge that lively orchestra.
  • Point taken, but could you give us a clue as to what pieces by Elgar (and Sibelius) were played? I can think of quite a lot of music - by both those gentlemen - which would be sombre enough for a Requiem Eucharist!
  • UrgandaUrganda Shipmate
    The whole service went: Introit and Kyrie (Mozart), prayers of penitence, reading from Rev.21 1-7, Dies Irae (first part. Mozart), Gospel John 11 17-27, Tuba Mirum and Rex Tremendae (Mozart), Prayers of intercession including names of dead Mertonians, very short Peace, offertory hymn to Finlandia (Sibelius), consacration, Agnus Dei (Mozart), communion during which the orchestra played Sospiri (Elgar), Organist elaborated on Finlandia. Offertorium (Mozart), prayer, all sang 'Abide with me', Lux Aeterna (Mozart).
    It was brilliant. I was only looking for something to quibble about.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    edited November 10
    Urganda wrote: »
    offertory hymn to Finlandia (Sibelius)
    Was that "Be Still My Soul" by any chance? That's the only text I've ever heard set to the Finlandia tune, and it's lovely. Oh, and then there's "A Song of Peace" also.

    Don't feel obliged to find something hellish about a service if there really wasn't anything. The threat not to publish unless the question is answered has never been enforced, so far as I know. Besides, the editor may be able to find something. Surely there was at least one gentleman in the congregation who thought it correct to wear brown shoes with a blue suit.
  • Or even a lady, perhaps...
    :wink:

    Seriously, though, a wonderful selection of music, and yes, I suspect Miss Amanda may be right about the offertory hymn.

    Here's Sospiri, by Elgar, played by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta:
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=7uqgv2xsw2o
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Would gentleman or lady be the correct description?
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Unless proven otherwise.
  • UrgandaUrganda Shipmate
    Yes. It was 'Be still my soul'. I wish you could all have been there, whatever the colour of your socks.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Miss Amanda wears only black, although she does bring out the green on St. Patrick's Day.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Unless proven otherwise.

    Res ipsa loquitur - the thing (in this case, the wearing of brown shoes with dark blue trousers) speaks for itself.
  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Shipmate
    edited November 11
    Urganda wrote: »
    The whole service went: Introit and Kyrie (Mozart), prayers of penitence, reading from Rev.21 1-7, Dies Irae (first part. Mozart), Gospel John 11 17-27, Tuba Mirum and Rex Tremendae (Mozart), Prayers of intercession including names of dead Mertonians, very short Peace, offertory hymn to Finlandia (Sibelius), consacration, Agnus Dei (Mozart), communion during which the orchestra played Sospiri (Elgar), Organist elaborated on Finlandia. Offertorium (Mozart), prayer, all sang 'Abide with me', Lux Aeterna (Mozart).
    It was brilliant. I was only looking for something to quibble about.

    It goes to prove that we all have preferences. I have been to services like that and did not like them at all.

    Besides which you refer to Oxford as a University. I think not .....
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Not a fan of accompanied choral music at a traditional requiem. Pieces like the Mozart belong in the concert hall IMHO.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    There is indeed a fine line between performance and liturgy -- unfortunately crossed all too often. (Are you reading this, "praise bands"?)

    But if there's going to be a classic choral work sung at a Requiem, I'd prefer the Mozart to, say, Verdi. Or the Durufle to Mozart. Or the Rutter to Durufle.
  • UrgandaUrganda Shipmate
    Of course not everyone is going to like the same thing and Mystery Worshipers have like and dislikes, like anyone else.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    There is indeed a fine line between performance and liturgy -- unfortunately crossed all too often. (Are you reading this, "praise bands"?)

    But if there's going to be a classic choral work sung at a Requiem, I'd prefer the Mozart to, say, Verdi. Or the Durufle to Mozart. Or the Rutter to Durufle.

    Better still, the Victoria ..... no instruments, you see.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I general found for liturgical purposes anything with Brevis in the title, or from the period 1570 to about 1770 was generally a better bet than anything written earlier or later, just because of scale. Unless it was something like Schubert, or one of Bruckner's early masses, which were still liturgically scaled, quite a lot of the well known 19th century Masses are concert pieces. Anything before 1570 usually needs either early music specialists, or an unusually good choir, or both.

    At 40-45 minutes, the Mozart Requiem, sits right on the edge of being a bit overwhelming for liturgical use, or at least that is what I think. Very difficult to make it look as though the music has not taken over unless one uses the chant propers for the bits Mozart did not set, and deliberately paces the liturgy so it does not become "Mozart with liturgical interludes." All Saints Margaret Street was usually a paragon of liturgical virtue, but there were times when the recipe did not work, and it came out that way.
  • Urganda wrote: »
    offertory hymn to Finlandia (Sibelius)
    Was that "Be Still My Soul" by any chance? That's the only text I've ever heard set to the Finlandia tune, and it's lovely. Oh, and then there's "A Song of Peace" also.

    "We rest on thee, our shield and our defender" is the hymn I grew up singing to Finlandia, only encountering "Be still, my soul" much later. The perils of a childhood and adolescence with Mission Praise as the primary hymnbook.
  • O yes indeed - I'd forgotten about 'We rest on Thee...'.

    Another excellent hymn, to an inspired, and inspiring, tune, but Sibelius is one of my favourite composers, anyway.

    (One of Our Place's neighbouring parishes still uses Mission Praise, AIUI).
  • O yes indeed - I'd forgotten about 'We rest on Thee...'.

    Another excellent hymn, to an inspired, and inspiring, tune, but Sibelius is one of my favourite composers, anyway.

    (One of Our Place's neighbouring parishes still uses Mission Praise, AIUI).

    It's not awful in terms of variety. As a singer it didn't bother me at all. I understand that it makes organists twitch somewhat.
  • Hehe...yes, I understand it's not the easiest tune in the book!
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