Advice on Good Friday music

Hi,
I’m new to this ship so please excuse me if this is an inappropriate request...

I’ve been asked to sing a solo during communion on Good Friday because the choir is struggling. I’d like to sing something not too ‘solo-y’, i.e. something that doesn’t draw attention to my voice but rather enhances the meditative quality of the service at that point. I can sing Bach/Handel/Pergolesi/Vivaldi, and would choose to do so in a church with more of a choral tradition, but feel that might not be appropriate in a (RC) church with a more guitar-led worship approach (although the music for the rest of Good Friday is pretty traditional/choral).

Does anyone have strong feelings about this?

My options are:
Bach Erbarme dich
Handel He was despised
OR (sung a cappella):
What wondrous love is this
Take my mother home
OR:
Some kind of chant? (I’ve done a fair amount of this before so quite happy to learn one for this).
OR:
Any other suggestions for contralto/mezzo.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Mrs B

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Comments

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    'Were you there when they crucified my Lord?' is very powerful in a Good Friday service.
  • busylizzybusylizzy Shipmate
    Yes, indeed, but they are already singing that, I should have said.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    “He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word”?
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    As you're singing in a RC church I'd suggest singing the gregorian chant offertory for Good Friday. Authentically done as an unaccompanied solo and squarely within the tradition of the wider church.
  • Our Place (small 'High Church' C of E) has just two hymns on Good Friday. This year, they're 'There is a green hill far away', and 'When I survey the wondrous cross'. Father NewPriest requests no organ music (!), so we'll sing these a capella.

    ISTM that 'When I survey the wondrous cross', if it's not one of your other hymns, might be a suitable solo - it is, after all, written in very personal terms.

    The usual tune is Rockingham, but the folk tune O Waly waly is also both suitable and singable, IMHO.
  • busylizzybusylizzy Shipmate
    Brilliant, thanks. Where can I find the Greg chant for GF please?
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Our Place (small 'High Church' C of E) has just two hymns on Good Friday. This year, they're 'There is a green hill far away', and 'When I survey the wondrous cross'. Father NewPriest requests no organ music (!), so we'll sing these a capella.

    ISTM that 'When I survey the wondrous cross', if it's not one of your other hymns, might be a suitable solo - it is, after all, written in very personal terms.

    The usual tune is Rockingham, but the folk tune O Waly waly is also both suitable and singable, IMHO.
    All great suggestions. I'd suggest the tune O Waly waly if your church is more "guitar led approach".

    Other ideas could be O Sacred head sore wounded, if the congregation is not already singing it, Sing my tongue the glorious battle to Pange Lingua or if you want something less familiar, the middle block of verses from Psalm 22 on the psalmsandpsimilar website. It's simple and appropriately bleak. It's also been sung to Third Mode Melody.

    For some reason I don't understand, the translation of O Sacred head sore wounded seems to be irritatingly different in each hymn book. So what everybody has in their head as 'the right version' is the wrong one, pretty well wherever they are.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    For some reason I don't understand, the translation of O Sacred head sore wounded seems to be irritatingly different in each hymn book. So what everybody has in their head as 'the right version' is the wrong one, pretty well wherever they are.
    On this side of the Pond, it’s O Sacred Head Now Wounded.

  • A hymn we've had in previous years, at The Veneration of the Cross, is 'Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle', though it does run to eight verses.

    However, the second part ('Faithful Cross, above all other' - four verses) could suitably be sung solo during Communion (there are various tunes).

    AIUI, Father NewPriest has asked our churchwarden/cantor to sing 'The Reproaches' during the Veneration, which is a new departure for us!
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I once heard The Reproaches being sung in Canterbury Cathedral during Holy Week. They sound amazing with a good cantor.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    The Reproaches are sung in our parish church during the Veneration of the Cross.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Jesus Remember Me (Taize) seems appropriate.
  • I'm not familiar with all these pieces, but remember that the OP asked for a suitable solo piece. I would have thought that "When I survey" to O waly waly would be a very good choice in this context.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Pomona wrote: »
    Jesus Remember Me (Taize) seems appropriate.
    For congregational singing, yes. But as @Baptist Trainfan notes, that’s not what the OP is looking for.

  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited April 15
    busylizzy wrote: »
    Hi,
    I’m new to this ship so please excuse me if this is an inappropriate request...

    I’ve been asked to sing a solo during communion on Good Friday <snip>

    I cannot believe there is a Mass on Good Friday. What diocese are you in?

    The permitted services in the RC church for Good Friday are:
    The Office of Readings (I suppose you could have Morning Prayer instead)
    Stations of the Cross
    Solemn Liturgy of the Passion (again, possible to have a devotional service of readings with either hymns/ choir music, all of which should be unaccompanied)

    There is never a Mass between the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday evening and the Mass celebrated within the Vigil Service on the Saturday night. And by tradition there is no accompanied music from that time until the Gloria is sung at the Vigil service after the lighting of the Paschal Candle.

    [Edit ... OCD host fixing glitches]
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    There is however Communion on Good Friday, as part of the Solemn Liturgy, from the Sacrament consecrated on Thursday evening. RC practice at least since Vatican 2 and now common in many if not most C of E churches.
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    @TheOrganist there is the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday in some churches.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    What diocese are you in?
    Why do you assume she is in a church that has dioceses?
    And by tradition there is no accompanied music from that time until the Gloria is sung at the Vigil service after the lighting of the Paschal Candle.
    By tradition in some Traditions. That is not tradition in other Traditions, mine included.

    Likewise, along with what @angloid and @Jengie Jon have pointed out regarding communion from the reserved Sacrament on Good Friday, again, there are Christian Traditions other than RC and Anglican. The OP said nothing about a “Mass” on Good Friday.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    There can sometimes be confusion between the meaning of 'communion' in an RC context and what it means in an Anglican context.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    There isn't a mass, in that there is no eucharistic prayer, but communion is taken through the sanctified elements, brought into church from the altar of repose. That's common between Roman Catholic and many Anglican churches. The singing mentioned in the OP will, I presume, happen during this distribution.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Pomona wrote: »
    Jesus Remember Me (Taize) seems appropriate.
    For congregational singing, yes. But as @Baptist Trainfan notes, that’s not what the OP is looking for.

    I was suggesting this as a solo and not sure why it wouldn't work?
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Pomona wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Pomona wrote: »
    Jesus Remember Me (Taize) seems appropriate.
    For congregational singing, yes. But as @Baptist Trainfan notes, that’s not what the OP is looking for.

    I was suggesting this as a solo and not sure why it wouldn't work?

    Because it's a meditative chant, sung circularly, and intended for communal use.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited April 6
    Pomona wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Pomona wrote: »
    Jesus Remember Me (Taize) seems appropriate.
    For congregational singing, yes. But as @Baptist Trainfan notes, that’s not what the OP is looking for.

    I was suggesting this as a solo and not sure why it wouldn't work?
    Well, maybe it’s just me, but I would find a solo of Jesus, Remember Me very boring very quickly. And I say that as one who loves Taizé music and listens to two podcasts from Taizé every week.

    Taizé songs are not meant to be sung as solos, and I don’t think they “work” as solos. They’re meant to be sung by all, and (to the extent possible) in harmony. Part of the communal meditativeness of the songs comes through singing them together (and as a result, breathing together). I think trying to repurpose them as solo music fails to understand how the songs function as worship.

    YMMV.

    Edit: X-posted with @ThunderBunk, who said it much more succinctly than I did.

  • busylizzybusylizzy Shipmate
    Thanks for the defence, everyone. It’s not a mass, rather distribution of communion with the reserved sacrament, as I think is traditional in RC churches.
    The power of Taize is in communal singing, I definitely wouldn’t do that as s solo.
    I’m going with When I survey to Waly waly, unless anyone can direct me to a plainsong/chant resource, can’t seem to find the right thing...
  • No, IMHO you're doing the Right Thing, as O Waly waly is a most beautiful piece of music.

    It hits the spot, as they say....

    Taize is most definitely communal.....
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    What diocese are you in?
    Why do you assume she is in a church that has dioceses?
    <snip>

    Likewise, along with what @angloid and @Jengie Jon have pointed out regarding communion from the reserved Sacrament on Good Friday, again, there are Christian Traditions other than RC and Anglican. The OP said nothing about a “Mass” on Good Friday.

    The OP said this:
    I’ve been asked to sing a solo during communion on Good Friday ...<snip> in a (RC) church with a more guitar-led worship approach ...

    So yes, the OP did say it was an RC church; the RC church is organised with dioceses; and "communion" takes place during a Mass.

    As for it being "common" in many churches (both RC and CofE) to have communion from the reserved sacrament on Good Friday, this is not recommended, at least not in the RC Archdiocese where my other half worked, nor in the CofE diocese where I work now. In the CofE especially, there are many things that become accepted usage in some parishes which are not approved of by people at a higher level: the fact that things occur doesn't make them right.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited April 7
    The OP said this:
    I’ve been asked to sing a solo during communion on Good Friday ...<snip> in a (RC) church with a more guitar-led worship approach ...

    So yes, the OP did say it was an RC church; the RC church is organised with dioceses; and "communion" takes place during a Mass.
    You’re right. My bad and my apologies. I read the post at least twice, including right before I posted, and still missed that part.

    I will stand by one thing I said: In the RC Good Friday liturgy, Communion doesn’t take place during a Mass. There is no Mass, but there is distribution of Holy Communion from the reserved Sacrament at the end of the liturgy.

    But otherwise, mea culpa.

    As for it being "common" in many churches (both RC and CofE) to have communion from the reserved sacrament on Good Friday, this is not recommended, at least not in the RC Archdiocese where my other half worked, nor in the CofE diocese where I work now. In the CofE especially, there are many things that become accepted usage in some parishes which are not approved of by people at a higher level: the fact that things occur doesn't make them right.
    I can’t say what is or isn’t “right” in a CofE context, but I’m interested that the RC Archdiocese did not recommend Communion from the reserved Sacrament on Good Friday. I may again be wrong, and @Forthview or others can say better than I, but it appears from my read of the Good Friday liturgy in the Roman Missal that distribution of Communion is presented as the norm. Nothing is said in the rubrics about it being optional, much less not recommended.

    The rubrics say that after the adoration of the cross:
    A cloth is spread on the altar, and a corporal and the Missal put in place.

    Meanwhile the Deacon or, if there is no Deacon, the Priest himself, putting on a humeral veil, brings the Blessed Sacrament back from the place of repose to the altar by a shorter route, while all stand in silence. Two ministers with lighted candles accompany the Blessed Sacrament and place their candlesticks around or upon the altar.

    When the Deacon, if a Deacon is present, has placed the Blessed Sacrament upon the altar and uncovered the ciborium, the Priest goes to the altar and genuflects.

    After that follows the Our Father, the “Lord, I am not worthy,” the Communion of the priest, and then the priest “proceeds to distribute Communion to the faithful.”
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    At least since 1955 the RC Liturgy on Good Friday has been made up of the following :
    a) Opening prayers and Readings culminating in the Solemn Reading of the Passion according to St John
    b) Solemn Intercessions for all mankind
    c) Veneration of the Cross
    d) Holy Communion (as described by N.T.)

    Where our poster,the Organists, may be somewhat confused is the ruling that Holy Communion is not given out on Good Friday apart from at the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion of our Lord.

    On other days Holy Communion may be distributed from the Reserved Sacrament at the end of other devotional services like the Stations of the Cross.If the Stations are done on Good Friday there is no Holy Communion.

    Holy Communion should likewise not be brought to the Sick and Housebound except in case of those in danger of death (Viaticum)

    I imagine that it is that that Organists has taken as a ban on Holy Communion on Good Friday.
  • I think we're getting off the point of the OP (tho' perhaps that question has been answered).
  • busylizzybusylizzy Shipmate
    Interesting discussion, though. I wrote communion small c to imply the procession during which people go up to receive Holy Communion, to save time...
  • stonespringstonespring Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    For some reason I don't understand, the translation of O Sacred head sore wounded seems to be irritatingly different in each hymn book. So what everybody has in their head as 'the right version' is the wrong one, pretty well wherever they are.
    On this side of the Pond, it’s O Sacred Head Now Wounded.

    I'm in the US, and I've seen "O Sacred Head Surrounded" in RC Churches and "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded" in Episcopal ones.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Interesting. I’ve never encountered O Sacred Head Surrounded, but I checked two of my Catholic hymnals, and sure enough, there it is.

    And you’re right about the Episcopalians, it is O Sacred Head Sore Wounded in the Hymnal 1982. I guess it’s been so long since I sang that in an Episcopal church that I’d forgotten they use that version of the text. That’s prompted me to check the Lutheran, United Methodist and Moravian hymnals—they all have O Sacred Head Now Wounded.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Virtually every different hymn book seems to have an irritatingly different translation of O Sacred Head. Presumably the original was in German.

    Does anyone know what it said or can link to one? Mind, my German is far too minimal to do anything with it. I failed the only exam I took in German and that was well over 50 years ago.

    As one of the versions comes from Robert Bridges who was Poet Laureate and the driving force behind the Yattendon Hymnal, I'm sort of inclined to give that priority, but that's without knowledge of the original from which it was taken.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Going back to the music permitted in RC churches on Good Friday,yes,it is traditional that between the Gloria on Maundy Thursday and the Gloria which signals the subtle change from the Easter Vigil to the first Mass of the Resurrection,there is no organ accompaniment.That situation is much less strict now.Organ or other instrumental music is permitted to accompany the singing,but it is not allowed to be used on its own.there would be no prelude nor postlude,as on Good Friday both the enrance and the departure of the clergy is done in silence ( the same ,in theory,at least, for the other participants.)
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    There is no need for a prelude or postlude as by Good Friday we're in the continuation of the Eucharist the night before and on our way to complete that service on Easter Day.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    What diocese are you in?
    Why do you assume she is in a church that has dioceses?
    <snip>

    Likewise, along with what @angloid and @Jengie Jon have pointed out regarding communion from the reserved Sacrament on Good Friday, again, there are Christian Traditions other than RC and Anglican. The OP said nothing about a “Mass” on Good Friday.

    The OP said this:
    I’ve been asked to sing a solo during communion on Good Friday ...<snip> in a (RC) church with a more guitar-led worship approach ...

    So yes, the OP did say it was an RC church; the RC church is organised with dioceses; and "communion" takes place during a Mass.

    As for it being "common" in many churches (both RC and CofE) to have communion from the reserved sacrament on Good Friday, this is not recommended, at least not in the RC Archdiocese where my other half worked, nor in the CofE diocese where I work now. In the CofE especially, there are many things that become accepted usage in some parishes which are not approved of by people at a higher level: the fact that things occur doesn't make them right.

    https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/churchs-year/times-and-seasons/passiontide-and-holy-week#mmm174

    Times and Seasons from Common Worship makes provision to distribute on Good Friday consecrated elements reserved from the Maundy Thursday Eucharist. It would seem that it is your diocese that is out of step with the wider church on this.
  • Communion on Good Friday, as part of the Solemn Liturgy (like the RCs) is certainly fairly common in this Diocese, too.

    The book of Lent, Holy Week and Easter services, which came out in 1986 (IIRC) to accompany the Alternative Service Book, did make provision for a Liturgy without Communion, taking into account those churches where Reservation on Maundy Thursday was not the practice.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate


    https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/churchs-year/times-and-seasons/passiontide-and-holy-week#mmm174

    Times and Seasons from Common Worship makes provision to distribute on Good Friday consecrated elements reserved from the Maundy Thursday Eucharist. It would seem that it is your diocese that is out of step with the wider church on this.
    It does, and doubtless there will be shipmates who will jump in to say that's what we always do. But I've attended a large number of Good Friday services over my lifetime. Some have been interdenominational. Most have been CofE. They have taken a number of different forms. All have been constructed in some way round ways of enabling people to engage with the Passion narrative. I don't recall any of them having ever included either Holy Communion or distribution of the preconsecrated elements.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    @Enoch the original was in Latin attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, and there is a ‘standard’ German translation, and a number of English ones.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I can only say that the Organist's other half who worked for an RC diocese can only have done this over 60 years ago when it was the practice during what was then called the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified for only the priest to communicate. I can say quite categorically that there is no RC diocese which would not encourage the faithful to come to Communion on Good Friday,but Good Friday is NOT a day of obligation.
    As Gee D has said, the three days of the Sacred Triduum(Thursday,Friday and Saturday) are considered as three acts of the one drama of the Passion,Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    There is, however, nowadays, greater care paid to 'pastoral needs'. If the singing would be dire without the help of instrumental music, then instrumental music is allowed to accompany the singing.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    My late partner died 7 years ago, our children are 25 years old. So rather more recent experience that you think.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I am sorry to hear of your partner's death but glad to hear that you have children who are 25 years of age and hope that they , as well as leading their own lives, offer you comfort in your loss. Assuming, however, that the RC archdiocese of which you speak, is a diocese of the Latin/Roman rite and not of the Byzantine or some other rite, there is absolutely no way that the diocese would restrict access to Holy Communion on Good Friday. It is an integral part of the Solemn Celebration of the Lord's Passion.

    Either your late partner has misunderstood the clear teaching and practice of the Church or has not explained it adequately to you.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    BroJames wrote: »
    @Enoch the original was in Latin attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, and there is a ‘standard’ German translation, and a number of English ones.
    Thank you for that. I knew there were a lot but hadn't realised quite how many variants there are.

    If it were my choice, I still think I'd probably go for the Bridges version, for the two reasons I've given. But usually one is stuck with whatever is in the hymn book your ecclesiastical home happens to use.
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    Here's the German text from a cantata; the bold stanzas are commonly used in the hymn form.
  • Enoch wrote: »


    https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/churchs-year/times-and-seasons/passiontide-and-holy-week#mmm174

    Times and Seasons from Common Worship makes provision to distribute on Good Friday consecrated elements reserved from the Maundy Thursday Eucharist. It would seem that it is your diocese that is out of step with the wider church on this.
    It does, and doubtless there will be shipmates who will jump in to say that's what we always do. But I've attended a large number of Good Friday services over my lifetime. Some have been interdenominational. Most have been CofE. They have taken a number of different forms. All have been constructed in some way round ways of enabling people to engage with the Passion narrative. I don't recall any of them having ever included either Holy Communion or distribution of the preconsecrated elements.

    I grew up in the CofE in a fairly broad church tradition parish with the Solemn Liturgy with the distribution of preconsecrated elements being the standard service for the final hour, with ecumenical events taking place in the morning. It was something of a shock to me, therefore, to discover that other MOTR CofE churches did nothing to mark the final hour at all, and in some cases the clergy weren't even familiar with the practice.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    Either your late partner has misunderstood the clear teaching and practice of the Church or has not explained it adequately to you.
    Thanks for that :rage:

  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Organist I take your thanks as genuine, just as my sympathy for you is real and my hope for the future genuine.
  • edited April 9

    I am always disappointed by any church that doesn't have Sing my tongue the glorious battle on Good Friday. Note that I am disappointed a lot.

    But I cannot understand why anyone would wantonly forgo the juxtaposition of Thomas Aquinas' Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium ("Of the glorious body telling" in the most familiar English translation) on Maundy Thursday with Fortunatas' Pange, lingua, gloriosi proelium certaminis.

    The Triduum, done properly (which it almost never is, IMNSHO), is all about those sorts of connections. Another great one is singing the Gospel of the Easter Vigil to the "weeping tone" used for the final portion of the Passion According to St. John on Good Friday. These days, one is lucky even to find a sung passion on Good Friday at all, let alone a special tone for the gospel at the Vigil.


  • Forthview wrote: »
    Organist I take your thanks as genuine, just as my sympathy for you is real and my hope for the future genuine.

    :lol:
  • I am always disappointed by any church that doesn't have Sing my tongue the glorious battle on Good Friday. Note that I am disappointed a lot.

    We used to have SMTTGB, but not this year. I, too, am therefore disappointed.
    :frowning:

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