Friday, June 02, 2006

Guillaume DuFay and Weddings

The preparations for the big day are winding up. In the midst of buying a house and planning a wedding, it is so easy to get lost in various details. One of the more fun things about planning for the big day has been the nuptial mass.

In particular, our friend, the inimitable Prof. Alejandro Enrique Planchart, has assembled a small choir, which he will direct, to sing for us a 15th century polyphonic mass setting, namely the Missa Sine Nomine, composed by Guillaume DuFay (the fellow on the left in the picture above). As I have learned, DuFay originally composed this mass for another wedding, that of Carlo Malatesta da Pesaro to Vittoria Colonna di Lorenzo (niece of Pope Martin V) at Rimini on July 24th, 1423. The musical setting itself is very short, about 15-16 minutes total. For the presentation of flowers to the Blessed Virgin, the choir will sing DuFay's very short Ave Regina Caelorum.

Since the mass falls coincidentally on the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, we desired that our nuptials be celebrated within the context of this great feast, with its images of divine vocation, birth, and fruitfulness. Therefore, we will be using the proper for the day, and our choir will chant the Introit, etc. To quote the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1-6):
The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
Now let's just hope things go off without a hitch (yeah, right). Sacred polyphony has contributed a great deal to our spiritual growth, and it has rooted us in a very meaningful connection with our Roman Catholic heritage. Therefore, we had hoped to include it in our celebration, but without pretense or ostentation. We're hoping to have a great celebration of prayer and feasting with our family and friends on this day.


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