French Organ Mass


Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 

with the music of a French baroque organ Mass

from the 17th century.


The organ of St-Merry in Paris where Nicolas Lebègue was titular.


The Roman Catholic Low Mass, until the Second Vatican Council, was in general read quietly by the priest with responses made only by the altar server.  The congregation might follow along in a hand missal or with private devotions like the rosary.  In the German Singmesse the congregation would sing hymns appropriate to the parts of the Mass.  During the baroque period in France, it was common for the organ to play background music.  The organ could, as well, alternate with a cantor who would sing parts of a Mass setting.  This Sunday at Christ Church Cathedral, in the manner of the French baroque organ Mass, Patrick Wedd will perform on the organ Nicolas  Lebègue’s Messe des festes solemnelles, alternating with Cantor Normand Richard who will chant verses from the plainsong setting, Missa XII Pater cuncta.


At Communion, Patrick will perform Lebègue, Trio a l’élevation. (L’élevation refers to the raising of the Bread and the Cup in the Roman rite after the words of institution have been said.)


To hear an example of the French baroque Mass with sung verses alternating with the Sanctus and Agnus Dei of François Couperin, Messe pour les paroisses, click here, then click on Listen to Program.  Then click and hold button, sliding it to 37:45 (35 minutes and 45 seconds).