instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Rated R

Well, I did it. I'm in the club.

Once every couple of years, I'm dragooned as an extraordinary lector at an off-hours Mass. This time, I was scheduled for today's 6:30 am Mass, and had a chance yesterday to read through my part.

The First Reading (from Esther) was straightforward enough. My real concern was the Responsorial Psalm. I do not like the "okay, tenors, let's get some volume now" gesture used to cue the congregation that it's time to repeat the antiphon, and I have found that
If you end the first line on an upward pitch,
And the second line on a downward one,
Giving it sort of a spoken chanted tone,
They know when you're done with the verse.
That works fine with four-line verses, but as you can see today's Responsorial Psalm has two five-line verses,
And with odd-lined verses you sort of have —
   To hold the first line at a constant pitch.
Then go up and down with the second and third lines.
So that's what was on my mind as I approached the lectern.

Then I heard myself proclaim, "Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD. She lay prostate upon the ground...."