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by Catherine Frakas 25 Jul 2001

Rangueil Mass QUESTION from Fr. Martin Farrell, osd June 6, 2000 I just clicked on to your site, not having been here since before Lent, and noticed there were 2 questions concerning the Rangueil Mass. I'd like to share some information about this very beautiful musical setting.
The Rangueil Mass (RM) is the work of Fr. Andre Gouzes, op, a Dominican Father who operates a fantastic liturgical centre out of an ancient Cistercian Monastery in Sylvanes, France. He is a first class musician, as will be discerned by anyone who has heard his work. His music is used WIDELY throughout France and French speaking Quebec. Most visitors to Paris have probably heard it being chanted at St. Gervais, the Church belonging to the Jerusalem Community in the Louvre section of the City, which has Mass and Office 4 times a day, attended daily by more than 1000 people.
To date, only two of his Masses, plus 2 vigil Services, have been published in English, through GIA (Gregorian Institute of America). Unfortunately, although the CD recording is of excellent quality, it is sung by a British Choir in the typical (Anglican) Cathedral style. For Americans, this sounds terribly formal and almost lugubrious. Moreover, if you have ever heard Gozes' music performed live or by a choir he has trained (or even on any of the recordings produced by Sylvanes), you'll see that it is ordinarily performed in a much more lively manner.
(Most of his chants feature elements of traditional Gregorian, Greek or Russian chant, and so are best sung in that way--i.e. NOT so slowly as done on the demo recordings produced by GIA.)
In our two parishes here in northern New York, we have been using RM for nearly 7 years, and it has been tremendously successful. Until the publication of By Flowing Waters, the translation into english of the Graduale Simplex (published in 1999 by Liturgical Press), we tried to borrow other simple chants from the Patrimony of the Church (East or West), such as Only Begotten Son and Word of God, the oldest hymn still in use in the Liturgy, and found in the entrance Rite of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostym), rather than use metric hymns--though this hasn't always been possible. This has enabled us to maintain the Church's norm of a totally chanted liturgy (we also chant the Readings and Gospel), at least at the principal Mass of Sunday, as well as the daily Masses in the week. It took folks a while to catch on, since this hasn't been part of their regular experience for nearly 30 years. But now it is as natural for them as oxygen--even the use of incense at all but 2 Masses all week. And most of this is attributable to the example of Fr. Gouzes.
One of the features of RM and his other Mass settings is the expanded dialogic elements, such as an O Lord, remember us after some of the petitions in the Anaphora. This is a feature, too, of the Masses for Children, and so will be familiar to any english speaking catholic who has been present when one of these Canons are used. I have been assured that they have been approved for use whenever these Mass settings are used.
I cannot recommend the use of RM in the parish highly enough. It DOES, however, require a priest and deacon who are willing to chant. Such chant, however, is VERY simple, and does not required a trained--or even terribly GOOD--voice.
I'd really appreciate hearing more about the use of RM--or any other Gouzes music--as well as reflections on this note, if any are willing to offer them.
ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on June 17, 2000 Dear Father Farrell,
I'm sorry it took so long for my response. Your comments were lost in the Great Miskell Computer Crash of 2000 and were just forwarded to me by the Saint Michael's webmaster.
I can't thank you enough for sharing with us about the Rangueil Mass. This is something that I would truely like to experience someday and I too would like to hear if other people have anything to share with us on this topic. How about it folks?
Yours in Christ,
John Miskell
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