restricted access 3. Ceol an aifrinn: Seán Ó Riada
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3 Ceol an aifrinn: Seán Ó Riada 52 Introduction W ith this mass setting, we are introduced for the first time to the prose-based translations of the Irish vernacular mass ordinary, which represent an inescapable reality of textual content, form and number for any composer attempting the genre. Ó Riada’s setting of these texts will be viewed as part of a continuum of Roman rite monophonic settingsfromtheGregoriantradition,specificexamplesofwhichwillcombine to form a composite frame of reference against which to consider the new material. In accordance with the aims of this study, priority will be given in the analysis to discussion of the prose settings, with the hymns, which will be discussed separately, accorded a secondary position. Discussion of the subsidiary musical aspect of the keyboard accompaniment will take place towards the end of the analysis. The important question of prose propers, which will feature more prominently later on in the study, is signalled at the very outset of the mass. A distinctive framework is supplied by the religious and musical heritage of Múscraí which provides the cultural context for Ceol an aifrinn,1 and the final section of this chapter considers the composer’s assimilation of local musical culture together with the musical challenges associated with its liturgico-textual integration. Bridging the gap between the official Roman liturgical texts and the more devotional native compositions (prose-based and strophic) is the consistent appearance in both contexts of litanic textual passages which present Ó Riada with very particular compositional challenges. Regarding the challenge of the overall textual canvas of the mass, telling use of the liturgically associated medium of sung recitative, in combination with specific tonal elements from the native song tradition, will be seen to provide a liturgically viable and culturally grounded vehicle for the words. As we encounter for the first time also the union of these liturgical words with the music of traditional Irish song, particular attention will be focused on the aesthetic implications of the interplay between the two entities, with its attendant referential, rhetorical and numerical considerations. 53 CEOL AN AIFRINN: SEÁN Ó RIADA Contents 1. Iontróid (Is beannaithe Tigh Dé) 2. Kyrie eleison 3. An ghlóir 4. Ofráil (hymn: Ag Críost an síol) 5. An phréafáid 6. Sanctus 7. An phaidir 8. Agnus Dei 9. Iomann comaoineach (hymn: Gile mo chroí) 10. Iomann iargomaoineach (hymn: Réir Dé go ndeineam) 11. Bí, a Íosa2 12. A Rí an Domhnaigh Ó Riada’s choice of titles for the various pieces is not an insignificant feature. For the ordinary elements of the mass he uses a mixture of Irish and Gregorian titles, avoiding, for instance, ‘Gloria’, ‘Praefatio’ and ‘Pater noster’ in favour of their Irish versions (nos 3, 5 and 7). From the proper elements we note his selection of symmetrical hymn forms for the offertory, communion and recession (nos 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12), in contrast to his retention of the concept of a traditional ‘introit’, reflected both in the choice of title and in his selection of a non-metrical entrance chant. IONTRÓID: IS BEANNAITHE TIGH DÉ Is beannaithe Tigh Dé, God’s house is blessed, is beannaímid féin dó, and we ourselves salute it, mar a bhfuil sé leis an dá aspal déag. where he is with the twelve apostles. Go mbeannaí Mac Dé dhúinn. May the Son of God bless us. Is beannaithe Thú, a Athair bheannaithe. You are blessed, O blessed Father. Is beannaithe Thú, a Mhic an Athar bheannaithe. You are blessed, O Son of the blessed Father. Is beannaithe Thú, a Theampaill an Sprid Naoimh. You are blessed, Temple of the Holy Spirit. Is beannaithe Thú, a Eaglais na Tríonóide. You are blessed, O Church of the Trinity.3 THE MASSES OF SEÁN AND PEADAR Ó RIADA 54 3.1 Seán Ó Riada: Ceol an aifrinn, Iontróid (bars 1–12) 55 CEOL AN AIFRINN: SEÁN Ó RIADA The Iontróid succinctly encapsulates for us many of the issues relating not just to this particular mass setting, but to the study as a whole. The first and critical decision taken by Ó Riada was his selection of a prose-based text to open up the celebration. In choosing this approach, he was, it may confidently be asserted, actively avoiding (and this pattern will be repeated in his second mass) the utilisation of metrical strophic forms, of which there are many later on in the mass setting. By...


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