Advent II: Peace
Snow geese migration; photograph by Paul Vasile
Cantemus pacem mundi - Doug von Koss
As the second week of Advent invites us to pray and work for peace in our world, here is a three-part layered song by Doug von Koss that puts feet on our prayers. Written to protest the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003, Doug wanted a strong musical statement that would “lift the desire for peace to a more assertive and active place.” He borrowed a melody he had heard in Canada and used a short Latin phrase (translated "sing for the peace of the world") as the text.
Notice how patiently Marilyn teaches each part, inviting those in the circle to listen and breathe together as the song grows in confidence. While this piece may be ambitious for a congregation new to paperless singing, try teaching one of the parts to the assembly and invite additional leaders or a choir to sing the others. It could also serve as an excellent warm-up for a choir beginning to explore oral/aural tradition learning.
Till the Moon is No More - Angela Morris (Psalm 72)
Angela wrote this gathering song based on Psalm 72:6-7 during a season at St. Lydia's focused on justice and advocacy. Unexpected dissonances make this tune especially rich, especially when sung against a shruti box or organ drone on C-G. It could be useful as a responsorial psalm refrain or as a prayer response.
Click here for a score and click here to find a recording on St. Lydia's music blog.
Prepare the Way of the Lord - Jacques Berthier (Matthew 3:1-12)
This tuneful, four-part canon from the Taizé Community frames the words of John the Baptist in buoyant, hopeful tone. The shape of melody (rising upward and descending back home) is intuitive and easily learned by rote. There are many ways the song could be used in service: as an introit, sequence hymn, gospel acclamation, or sending song.
See a score and notice how piece works as a canon. Handbells or chimes could also be added, playing a repeated dotted-quarter-note pattern on E-flat and B-flat.
Prepare the Way of the Lord - Michael Burkhardt (Matthew 3:1-12)
This second setting of John the Baptist’s announcement is a six-part canon with a similar melodic shape but is in a minor key and has a more urgent, unsettled feeling. How do you hope your community will hear John’s words this season? You have options to choose from!
Find a sample score and hear a recording of the melody. Handbells/chimes and tambourine are suggested by the composer. This piece is found in Canons for the Church Year, Volume I, and can be purchased from Morningstar Music.
Miss earlier posts? Find more Advent music here: