Ave Maria | SSAT or TTBB

HIS SETTING OF AVE MARIA has been performed around the world, most notably by The American Boychoir, conducted by Fernando Malvar-Ruiz

You may purchase a downloadable Digital PDF of the score. Upon purchase, you will receive an email from which you can download the score. Price varies on the number of copies you require (with a minimum of 15 copies.):

  • Digital PDF copy comes with reprint license limited to the number of copies you order.)
  • Includes both SSAT & TTBB versions!
  • Includes piano reduction for rehearsal
  • To purchase a license to make up to 15 copies ($29):
  • To purchase a license to make 16-30 copies ($49): 
  • To purchase a license to make 45 or more copies ($69): 
  • If your choir is non-professional, you are given a free license to copy as many as are required for practice and performance with the purchase of a digital copy (PDF).
  • However, if you are a for-profit organization and/or intend to record this work, or for placement in film, TV, any etc., please contact us at RJC AT rjcceciliamusic DOT com for additional contractual information.

SSAT recording by The American Boychoir
Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Director

TTBB recording by the Schola Cantorum Sanctorum Angelorum
Andrew Leung, Director

Richard J. Clark on Choralife Publisher

AM VERY PLEASED to be associated with a new publishing company, Choralife. Founded by Italian composer, conductor, organist, and author, Aurelio Porfiri, there are some unique global and local elements of Choralife:

  • Scores are available for download as a PDF.
  • For each work, you will find three different prices. The price varies depending on the country you are from. Thus, great music is made available to musicians in countries throughout the world, regardless of their economic resources. As such, Choralife likes to refer to itself as a GLOCAL publisher—one that reaches globally, but that is sensitive to serving on the local level.

FINALLY, I OFFER HERE MY works newly published with with Choralife:

O Sacrum Convivium — SSA Choir
O Sacrum Convivium — TTB Choir | LISTEN HERE

I Am Risen, Resurrexi | Introit for Easter Sunday | SATB & Organ | LISTEN HERE

• Christe qui lux es et dies (Christ thou art the light and the day) | Compline setting for Lent
Christe qui lux es et dies –SATB Choir | LISTEN HERE
Christe qui lux es et dies — SATB with piano reduction for rehearsal

• Nunc dimittis | Choral setting for Compline
Nunc dimittis — SATB Choir | LISTEN HERE
Nunc dimittis — SATB with piano reduction for rehearsal

All Souls | Requiem for Trumpet and Organ

equiem pour une américaine à Paris is a seven-movement work composed for trumpet and organ, it is reminiscent of an early Twentieth Century French Romantic style. Although quite faithful to many of the Gregorian Chants, this is not a liturgical work, but a concert work. It would be difficult to match the music to the liturgical action. However, I hope this may be a helpful and hopeful meditation on God’s merciful love, and our hopeful expectation of eternal life in the words of Credo quod Redemptor: “I believe that my Redeemer lives, and that on the last day, I shall rise from earth and in my flesh I shall behold God my Savior.”

The CD is available for purchase ($9.99) and for download ($6.93)
Score available at RJC Cecilia Music

YouTube:  I. Introit | Requiem aeternam”
YouTube:  II. Gradual | Requiem aeternam
YouTube:  III. Dies Irae
YouTube:  IV. Jubilis!
YouTube:  V. Offertory | Domine Jesu Christe”
YouTube:  VI. Communion | Lux aeterna
YouTube:  VII. Last Farewell

HIS WORK WAS COMPOSED for Richard Kelley, trumpet. Certainly, the trumpet is rarely, if ever associated with Gregorian Chant. However, Mr. Kelley possesses unusually extraordinary grace, dignity, and humility, all which sing beautifully through his playing. (Listen especially to IV. Lux Aeterna and the quote of “In Paradisum” in the VII. Last Farewell.)

The one movement, which is a departure from the Requiem mass, is the “IV. Jubilis!” It briefly quotes the Tract (which of course comes before the Sequence in the mass–the order is reversed in this concert piece.) It is also loosely based on the Post-Vatican II addition of the “Alleluia” The “Jubilis!” theme returns at the end of the final movement, in hopeful expectation of eternal life in heaven.

ICHARD KELLEY, TRUMPET was a soloist with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops 1984 and 1985 at the age of 16 and 17. He studied at the Juilliard School in NYC, he is a former member of Boston Brass Quintet and a current member of the Brass Band of Battle Creek. His credits include Broadway shows in NYC, TV ads, and film soundtracks. He has performed with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Ray Charles, Steven Tyler, James Taylor, Glenn Close, Bernadette Peters, Jennifer Aniston, and Vanessa Williams. Conductor of the New England Swing in Nashua New Hampshire, he now plays frequently with the Boston Pops.

• CD Cover Photography by Rev. James Martin, SJ | Window from St. Mary’s Chapel, Boston College
• Recording Engineer: Evan Landry
• Mastering: Paul Umbach
• Richard Clark played the 1999 Smith & Gilbert Organ Recorded at St. Cecilia Church, Boston

Requiem pour une américaine à Paris has been featured on “Sounds from the Spires” on SIRIUS XM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel.

Richard Kelley and I had the opportunity to speak with the program’s host, Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

• PODCAST • Listen here to the program broadcast on 10.6.2013:

The Death of a Parish | A Promise of New Life?

MONG THE MOST PAINFUL spiritual experiences many Catholics suffer is the closure of their parish. This pain is especially acute for those who have invested years or decades of their lives in their community. Some even have generations of family history tied up in a parish. So devastating is the loss that for many the grieving process is akin to that of a death in the family.

But this is a cross that some bear and others do not. Each parish has a unique story and unique gifts to offer. Some are material, but the greatest asset of each parish is its people. But when a parish closes, the community is left in mourning. The psalmist states: “Send forth your Spirit and all things shall be created anew; and you shall renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:30). Is there a promise of new life after such loss? There is no easy fix; the Holy Spirit will guide such rebirth.

HIS SCENE HAS BEEN PLAYING OUT all over the United States and many parts of the world. One such tragically sad closure is that of the Holy Trinity (German) R. C. Church in Boston’s South End. It was exceptionally unique and beautiful. Established in 1844, the current building was dedicated in 1877. The parish was closed in 2008 and the church building recently put up for sale. Serving the German community, it was also home for many years to the Traditional Latin Mass. (This is especially notable prior to Pope Benedict’s 2007 Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum on the celebration of the Roman Rite according to the Missal of 1962).

Holy Trinity was one of several churches in downtown Boston built in the nineteenth century to serve an enormous immigrant population. These edifices, many within a few short blocks of each other, are larger than most cathedrals throughout the United States. Many issues, some complex and some tragic, leave the nineteenth and twentieth century configurations of the Archdiocese hopelessly out of date and unsustainable.

UT NEW LIFE BEGINS TO BREATHE ELSEWHERE: I received a phone call from Fr. Jonathan Gaspar, Director of the Office of Divine Worship and Priest Secretary to His Eminence Seán Cardinal O’Malley. The historic organ at Holy Trinity Church, an E. & G. G. Hook, Opus 858, ca. 1877 was being removed in five days in order for it to be preserved. Before it was to be dismantled, he asked me to come in for a look and to record the instrument one last time.

The hope is that this instrument will continue to lead the people in singing God’s praises in a brand new Neo-Gothic style chapel being built by the Archdiocese near Boston’s newly developing waterfront. Although not designated as a parish, Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel will serve a great need in that location. Pending the outcome of fundraising, this organ will have an opportunity lead the Church in sacred song again.

As I began to play the forty-five rank instrument, I thought of the generations who came here to worship God. For one hundred sixty-four years, this parish nourished the faithful. Playing these last notes in this church was a sacred privilege I did not deserve.

HAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SHORT ten-minute visit tuned into nearly two hours. The organ was in shockingly good condition for having not been serviced in six years. (This is a testament to a highly robust music program that featured several ongoing choirs.) After six years, the tuning was remarkable except for some reeds, which one expects. The chests were in astoundingly good shape. One hundred thirty-seven years after it was first built, this instrument wants to sing on! It must.

Typical of the extraordinary craftsmanship of the Hook organs are its deep and rich colors. I savored the distinctively warm flutes and strings supported by beautiful 8’ foundations. The reeds were colorful, and the instrument, well balanced. Rebuilt and revoiced by Conrad Olson in the 1950′s, the instrument is highly versatile, capable of leading hymns as well as accompanying chant and choral music.

Exploring various colors, I wandered into improvisations of hymns and chants I thought fitting for a last farewell. Among them were Praise to the Lord, and For All the Saints to honor all those who came before to worship here. In Paradisum and Lux aeterna were fitting for what felt like a funeral for the organ and for this magnificent church. Finally, I share with you the very last notes I played that day, an improvisation on Ave Maris Stella. Its somewhat mournful tone is fitting. The final phrases linger on a bit too long, as I did not want to leave.

The bells in the tower, (which originate from New Orleans during the Civil War–another intriguing story) as you can hear, still work beautifully:

HOSE I MET WORKING ONSITE treated this former place of worship with reverence and dignity. They were proud of the construction from local puddingstone and granite. They went about their business with a sense of respect and awe for the sacred objects they were sadly removing.

But there is a sacred end for the sacred objects being removed: the stained glass windows, the pews, and all the woodwork that covered the walls will be re-purposed in other churches and perhaps some in the seaport chapel. The extraordinarily beautiful high altar is currently being installed at the St Joseph Cathedral in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston is receiving many of the statues and has already been using the beautiful baptismal font. Perhaps these are small but important ways to honor the countless faithful who worshipped at Holy Trinity.

R. GASPAR PLAYED A FEW LAST NOTES on the organ before we left. Then, stepping out into the bright sunlight, we knew we would never set foot inside again. He later said it felt like we were witnessing the death of a church. Its beauty went far beyond appearances; it shone as a beacon of Christ’s light for generations of worshippers. Its greatest beauty was its people. This is why it feels like a death. But will there be new life?

Perhaps this story reminds us of the frailty of the physical world, of earthly possessions. But tied up in this corporeal existence are real memories, spiritual journeys, and lives filled with joy and suffering. We are brusquely reminded that the Kingdom of God is not here. Our hope and trust is entirely with the Lord. But God does not leave us comfortless. We are sisters and brothers in the Universal Church. We are united as one in the Body of Christ and united in Christ’s love. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.

Suffering, pain, and loss may not be abated. But the suffering of those who carry the cross often gain greatly in wisdom. As Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, he said “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (John: 18-19)

O Sacrum Convivium | Choralife Publisher


SACRUM CONVIVIUM is now available exclusively with Choralife Publisher.  It is based on the antiphon in Mode V.  Latin text honoring the Blessed Sacrament written by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274)  for the Office for Corpus Christi, it is often sung for Holy Thursday and benediction.

O sacred banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.


 

Beauty and Liturgy | Pope Saint John Paul II’s Letter to Artists

OPE SAINT JOHN PAUL II’s Letter to Artists (1999) is an inspired document worth reading and rereading. In it he outlines the relationship between art and faith – between beauty, goodness, and truth as well as our responsibility to an “artistic vocation in the service of beauty.” (Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists, §3) Implications for the liturgy are unmistakable and its influence on faith incontrovertible.

* *   Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists • 1999

With regard to the liturgy, Saint John Paul is clear in the relationship between beauty and truth. Through this relationship, Gregorian Chant expresses the eternal in celebration of the mass:

Gregory the Great compiled the Antiphonarium and thus laid the ground for the organic development of that most original sacred music which takes its name from him. Gregorian chant, with its inspired modulations, was to become down the centuries the music of the Church’s faith in the liturgical celebration of the sacred mysteries. The “beautiful” was thus wedded to the “true”, so that through art too souls might be lifted up from the world of the senses to the eternal. (Ibid, §7)

This is a bold statement, especially in light of St. John Paul’s strong words on Gregorian Chant, just a few years later in 2003:

12. With regard to compositions of liturgical music, I make my own the “general rule” that St Pius X formulated in these words: “The more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savour the Gregorian melodic form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes.” (Chirograph for the Centenary of Tra le sollecitudini)

St. John Paul also makes an appeal to musicians and architects. Such a profound effect architecture has upon our worship and our soul! It can be deleterious, or it can lift our minds to greater things. Architecture can remove us from present worldliness and draw us heavenward into timeless eternity. Likewise, music does the same. It can either be harmful, or sometimes worse – endlessly harmless. Or music can uplift, edify, and sanctify the soul.

I appeal especially to you, Christian artists: I wish to remind each of you that, beyond functional considerations, the close alliance that has always existed between the Gospel and art means that you are invited to use your creative intuition to enter into the heart of the mystery of the Incarnate God and at the same time into the mystery of man. (Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists, §14)

AINT JOHN PAUL LAYS OUT THE RESPONSIBILITY of the artist. He clearly recognizes not only the importance and “profound respect” for art, but for its necessity. It is our responsibility to seek and employ what is beautiful, and to do the best we can with what is possible. Through this beauty we praise God. Through beauty, we evangelize. Art expresses our faith, articulates our prayer, and reminds us of how we must live. Beauty lifts the faith of those around us. St. John Paul calls us to this responsibility but also gives a stern warning:

The particular vocation of individual artists decides the arena in which they serve and points as well to the tasks they must assume, the hard work they must endure and the responsibility they must accept. Artists who are conscious of all this know too that they must labour without allowing themselves to be driven by the search for empty glory or the craving for cheap popularity, and still less by the calculation of some possible profit for themselves. (Ibid, §4)

Finally, it must be understood that the simple is often beautiful. We likely do not have endless resources, financial and otherwise, to create the most beautiful sacred liturgy. We must do what is possible. The simplest of chant and inspired melody, sung well and with prayerful heart, expresses truth. One might evoke Pope Francis who calls for a Church of and for the poor. In the recognition of all human dignity, the poor especially deserve truth from which beauty emanates. The greatest beauty often comes from the least among us.

N COMPOSING THE Mass in Honor of Pope Saint John Paul II, I pray that I have lived up to some of the his words. If not, I will strive further! This mass is published with the approval for liturgical use by the Committee on Divine Worship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

DOWNLOAD Complete Score (2.3 MG):
PDF • Mass in Honor of Pope Saint John Paul II (for Schola, Organ, SATB)

DOWNLOAD Unison/Organist Edition:
PDF • Mass in Honor of Pope Saint John Paul II (for Schola, Organ)

SATB Recordings by the St. Cecilia Choir, Boston, MA, with the 1999 Smith & Gilbert Organ:

YouTube:  Penitential Act C | Kyrie
YouTube:  Gloria
YouTube:  Sanctus
YouTube:  Memorial Acclamation A
YouTube:  Memorial Acclamation B
YouTube:  Memorial Acclamation C
YouTube:  Doxology, Amen
YouTube:  Agnus Dei

Ascent to Freedom

True freedom does not rise from the capacity to fulfill all desires. Freedom is captivity, followed by battle, followed by faith, followed by wisdom and compassion as seen through the eyes of love.

Of this struggle, true liberation is born.

“… Its five movements are quite accessible, sometimes displaying a French influence. The last three movements made imaginative use of, respectively, the Lutheran chorale If You But Trust in God to Guide You, the spiritual Go Down, Moses, and the hymn How Can I Keep From Singing. There was some compelling musical illustration in the spiritual movement when tortured chromaticism and crunchy reed chords gave way suddenly to diatonic harmonies on the solo clarinet accompanied by string celeste: the effect was like a release from bondage.” — The Boston Music Intelligencer

Reviewed from this Live Performance on the 1875 E. & G. G. Hook & Hastings, Opus 801, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA

VIEW SAMPLE SCORE: Ascent to Freedom 

  • Purchase Digital PDF copy ($12.95) comes with reprint license) 
    As recorded on the 1999 Smith & Gilbert Organ, St. Cecilia Church, Boston:





The Thoughts of His Heart

HAVE LONG BEEN FASCINATED with the text of the Introit for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cogitationes, Ps. 33 (32): 11, 19: “The thoughts of his heart stand from generation to generation: that he might deliver their souls from death, and nourish them in times of famine.”

  • Digital PDF copy ($8.95 comes with reprint license for the buyer only.)  


HE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART is an organ work based on Cogitationes. The chant is quoted in its entirety in the pedal with an 8′ oboe stop. (Even the psalm verse is quoted, with a return to the incipit.) This is played over an ostinato accompaniment in the left hand, with interjected improvisatory figures in the right hand. Within the realm of interior prayer, there is rest and comfort to be found, yet at the same time a restless joy exposed by the unusual harmonies and imposed melodies. Ultimately, it finds repose and peace.

The heart is resilient and complex. It leads us to Jesus and to his Heart.

English Setting of Veni, Sancte Spiritus | Pentecost Sequence

ENI, SANCTE SPIRITUS, the Sequence for Pentecost Sunday is one of the great jewels of the Roman Rite. The Gregorian Chant is exquisite. The text alone is a treasure—short, simple, profound, and transcendent.

The text reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s protection and comfort. The text reminds us of God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness. We are also called to inward transformation, forgiveness, and compassion: “Bend the stubborn heart and will. Melt the frozen. Warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray.”

This setting uses the translation by Edward Caswall from the Lyra Catholica. Cas­wall was or­dained an An­gli­can priest in 1839 and later was a convert to Roman Catholicism. His translations are known for his adherence to Roman Catholic Doctrine, faithfulness to the original text, and pure poetic rhythm. He is also cited for his translations of the Roman Breviary, published in the Lyrica Catholica. (London, 1849)

Free Download:
PDF • “Sequence for Pentecost Sunday | Veni, Sancte Spiritus” | for Schola, Organ or Piano
Includes separate versions for organ or piano and with optional lower key

COMPOSED THIS SETTING APPROXIMATELY TWENTY years ago or more, perhaps in 1992. I’m not sure. I wrote the piece for tenor Mark Donohoe, a superlative cantor who possesses clarity of diction, humility, and prayerful expression, (and a heart of gold.) Also effective for a schola, this setting has been unusually popular, hopefully reverent, and somewhat worthy of the extraordinary sacred text.


Finally, for future reference, or a last minute opportunity for the Vigil for Pentecost and Pentecost Sunday:
Free Download:
PDF • “Easter Season Communion Propers, Years ABC”
(for Schola, Organ, SATB)

Mass in Honor of Pope Saint John Paul II on “Sounds from the Spires” and the Youth-Based Chant Movement


ASS IN HONOR of Pope Saint John Paul II” was recently featured on “Sounds from the Spires” on SIRIUS XM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel.

I had the opportunity to speak with the program’s host, Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. In addition, special guest, Ryan Lynch, Director of Music and Organist at St. Raphael’s Parish in Medford, MA joined the program to discuss the youth-propelled chant movement, the new economic model of publishing, and how it is reshaping the liturgical landscape.

• PODCAST • You can listen here to the program broadcast on 5.18.2014:

DOWNLOAD Complete Score (2.3 MG):
PDF • Mass in Honor of Pope Saint John Paul II (for Schola, Organ, SATB)
Published with the approval for liturgical use by the Committee on Divine Worship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

• Music from this broadcast:
“Mass in Honor of Pope St. John Paul II” | St. Cecilia Choir, Boston, MA

YouTube:  Penitential Act C | Kyrie
YouTube:  Gloria
YouTube:  Sanctus
YouTube:  Memorial Acclamation A
YouTube:  Memorial Acclamation B
YouTube:  Memorial Acclamation C
YouTube:  Doxology, Amen
YouTube:  Agnus Dei

YouTube:  Christe qui lux es et dies | The Seraphim Singers, Jennifer Lester, Director
YouTube:  St. Cecilia Day Variations | St. Cecilia Schola, Richard J. Clark, organ

• TWO BONUS PODCASTS! Here is my 2012 interview on “Sounds from the Spires.”

From 2013 Richard Kelley, trumpet, and Richard J. Clark discuss their CD, “Requiem pour une américaine à Paris”