Hola a todos/Bonjour. This High Church Liturgy from La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is from about 4 years ago as of this writing. But Liturgies with good music are timeless, and this Liturgy had some very good music in it. Starting at the end of the Liturgy with the fiery organ improvisation for the recessional. I don’t know which Organiste Titulaire was playing here. Was it Olivier Latry? The improvisation was preceded by, as they always do, the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen) sung to the Virgin Mary at the end of each Messe/Mass at Notre-Dame. They use many different settings of the Salve Regina, and this one was lovely. It was a Renaissance setting for Double-Chorus.
In some more recent Liturgies, they’ve not had a Choir (I don’t know why) but rather a mic’d quartet or even a mic’d soloist/cantor provided the service music. But this Liturgy in the video below had a larger Chorus comprised of Men, Women, Boys and Girls. I think there were multiple choral ensembles from Notre-Dame combined for this Liturgy. The processional music after the organ prelude/improvisation(?) at the beginning of the Liturgy was — what’s known in most christian denominations as — The Doxology. I’d not heard The Doxology used as a processional hymn before or even done this way but it worked well.
As you may know, the Roman Catholic Liturgy is very similar to the Anglican Liturgy, but with some ceremonial differences. Such as they don’t use incense for the recessional as Anglicans do. Romans carry The Gospel out in the recessional. Anglicans don’t do that. Anglicans bow — or they are encouraged to — to the processional cross(es). Romans bless themselves instead when the processional cross passes, but some do bow as well I’ve noticed. And at Notre-Dame, most bless themselves when the Cardinal passes in the procession. The Roman Liturgy — at least at Notre-Dame — is a more serious Liturgy than what one finds in some other Anglican Churches. We find the Liturgy at Notre-Dame is very relaxing and peaceful. With some Anglican churches that I have in mind there are times during the Liturgy where the clergy come across as if they’re trying to be your best friend with (fake) smiles and the impression that “everything is just wonderful here” approach. It’s a form of marketing, it’s sort of tacky and it’s a turn-off for me. Fortunately Notre-Dame doesn’t do any of that and the Nave of Notre-Dame is consistently full for their High Church Messe. Something Washington National Cathedral might want to take notice of as they head in the opposite/Low Church direction — seemingly trying to be more like southern baptists — in their attempt to increase attendance.
Also, you don’t have to be Roman Catholic or even religious to watch this Liturgy or to enjoy it. I’m not religious. I watch it for the music and High Church Liturgy/rituals as if I were watching a play. Take from it what you want and leave the rest. That’s also what many Roman Catholics do. La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris does have the best Messe Liturgy I’ve ever seen or heard anywhere.
The Salve Regina begins at 1.11.20 in the video below, followed by the organ improvisation.
Chau.—el barrio rosa