When listening to, and singing Paul Jernberg’s music for the liturgy, I am excited by a number of things. This music is accessible to the ear – it has beauty and dignity appropriate to the Mass in my opinion, so without compromising on traditional principles I have noticed that even congregations who are not schooled in traditional chant and polyphony enjoy it.
It is also, I discovered, accessible for the singer – I would say that most parish choirs could sing this well (although not all perhaps as beautifully as the professional choir on the CD). I could also hear different influences in his style, especially liturgical music for the Eastern rite. Nevertheless it seems wholly appropriate for the Roman rite for which this is written. I was curious therefore to know of the opinion of an established composer in the Eastern rite, Roman Hurko, so I asked him what he thought about it and, if he liked it, would he write a review of it for us.
Roman writes for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic liturgy. I have put a recording of his music at the bottom of this article along with some of Paul’s music. You can hear more at www.romanhurko.com and if you want to purchase his music on iTunes, then the link is here.
Roman wrote as follows:
‘Composer Paul Jernberg has composed a new setting of the Roman Catholic mass for a cappella choir. It was recorded this past summer with the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle in Chicago under the direction of Maestro J. Michael Thompson, and is now available for purchase at: www.pauljernberg.com
‘I find this mass setting very beautiful; very contemplative. As a composer from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church tradition, I feel very much at home in its aesthetic, one that I would characterize as eschewing the harshness of electric light in favor of the soft glow emanating from candlelight.
‘As in the Eastern church tradition, this mass setting is sung completely from A – Z by priest, choir, and readers. Mr. Jernberg’s musical transitions between priest and choir are stylistically coherent and seamless. I would recommend that all young composers study Mr. Jernberg’s organic setting, as I have often found it jarring when a priest sings chant and is then responded to by the choir in a completely different musical style.
‘Another eastern rite similarity is the use of a melody over an ison, (Read More)