One of history’s most soul-moving tunes for congregational singing is the Third Mode Melody in the Phrygian mode by Thomas Tallis. It comes from a collection of hymn tunes that Thomas wrote for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter, the same collection whence comes the famous Tallis canon, as well as the lovely First Mode Melody that Charles Wood includes in his St. Mark Passion to the poem of St. Francis Xavier and translated by Edward Caswall “My God, I Love Thee”, which he writes with a soaring soprano descant on the final verse.
Sadly, these tunes have not been remembered by the Catholic Church as they have been by the Church of England, due to the schism between the two churches. My goal for this setting of the Mass was to create a singable congregational setting of the Mass Ordinary that would put the Phrygian mode on the lips of the laity, written in a way that closely mimics Thomas’s hymn written in that same mode.
Because Thomas wrote the Third Mode Melody for the congregational singing of the Psalms of David, I have written this setting of the Ordinary of the Mass in honor of St. David the King as the great Psalmist of God’s holy people.
Take careful note that the Gloria is the only section of the Mass that switches back and forth between different time signatures.
for Father Nick Blaha
Eastertide, A.D. 2018
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Soli Deo Gloria