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.
We discussed the antiphons/propers of the Mass as well as the composition process of this new collection of propers. Why is it important to sing the propers? What scriptures do we sing during Advent? This is the kind of thing I find exciting.
• PODCAST • Listen here to the program broadcast on 12.13.2015:
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)
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.