Non solum: What New Gloria Settings Do You Recommend?

The Gloria is not sung during Advent (except on solemnities). This might be a good time to step back and talk about what settings readers recommend for when it is regularly sung again.

A reader writes:

Which through-composed settings of the “Gloria” that are out there have taken off since the implementation of the 2011 Roman Missal?

I do not like refrain Glorias because I think that the entire text belongs on the lips of the assembly.

Since Fall 2011, I have had good success with the “Mass of Renewal” by Curtis Stephan, the “St. Benedict Mass (revised) by Robert LeBlanc and somewhat less success with the revised “Congregational Mass” by John Lee. I’m looking for one or two more settings that I might consider introducing in the next 2 years. Out of the question are the revised Andrew’s Gloria and the revised “Heritage Gloria” by Alstott since, unlike the Leblanc, they were used very regularly in their original form by my congregation right up to November of 2011.


  1. Why not the ICEL melody? It’s based on what seems to be the oldest gregorian melody. And I suspect it would tolerate frequent use during green time.

    1. @Fergus Ryan – comment #1:

      While Gloria XV may have worked in Latin, it has been fairly universally condemned in its ICEL English version as being dirge-like, uninspiring, etc, etc. I have only heard it twice in actual celebration. Both times not only did the assembly not sing at all (despite the fact that it had been in use for months in both churches) but the choir had difficulty getting it right, too, mostly in those places where the text and melody do not lie naturally together (for example, “For you alone are the Holy One”).

  2. The Simplex Gloria of Proulx is usable although it tires quickly.

    The St. Michael Hymnal (IV Ed.) has a setting called the Sienna Chant Mass that is nice and musically interesting. I’m not sure if one can buy it without the hymnal itself, but I’m sure one could contact the publisher about it.

    The best chant option, IMHO, is the Gloria from the Mass in Honor of St. Ralph Sherwin by Jeff Ostrowski. It really is a nice setting, very singable, and doesn’t tire. My parish used it for almost a year and it never wore out.

    I use primarily chant settings because it seems the current translation flows better with chant. Most metrical settings are quirky with the next translation. One exception is a setting by Chicago composer Jacob Bancks. I think it is called Mass of the Sacred Heart.

  3. Our parish switched to only new settings of everything in 2011, rather than revisions, *except* for the “Heritage Gloria,” which we had also been using right up to that point. In our case, the transition from old one to revision was nearly seamless. They sang the revision with no difficulty in a very short time.

    For whatever reason, that one proved to be one of the least awkward rewrites of old settings for the new texts. The revised version hangs together, almost as though it had always been that way.

  4. For our parish, Ed Bolduc’s Mass of St. Ann is the assembly’s favorite of the ten or so that we sing. It is written in both through-composed and refrain styles, so you can start by teaching the refrain and let everyone pick up the rest as they go along. Even though we know and sing the entire setting quite well, people love doing it with the refrain. We have found it’s possible to use the refrain option on feasts and solemnities, and the through-composed version during ordinary time.

  5. At least 8 English dioceses and numerous other parishes adopted the Psallite Mass (At the Table of the Lord) Gloria as their “transitional” setting during the early stages of the new text, and it seems to have been well received. Though other settings have come (and gone!) since, this one is a default setting that they fall back on.

    However, many places are using refrain Glorias rather than through-settings.

  6. Another vote for Ed Bolduc’s Mass of St. Ann. Our congregation loves it. We only learned the “refrain” version – and now the whole assembly sings all of it with gusto. We have also learned the Gloria from the Mass of Renewal by Curtis Stephan – it is our “Ordinary Time” Gloria

  7. We’ve had very good response to all three different settings that we have used: Mass of Redemption and Mass of Wisdom by Steve Janco and Mass of St. Frances Cabrini by Kevin Neil.

  8. Unlike Fr. Anthony, I have had great success with the revised Lee gloria and with the Psallite gloria. These are chanted weekly at all masses!
    Feast are another story – the gloria we use is not through composed (Gloria from the New Mass for John Carroll – Michael Joncas)
    but has a very festive refrain which can be sung easily by all, even visitors!

    1. @Linda Reid – comment #9:
      Linda – a reader sent in this question and reported on their experience, so it is that reader talking about the Lee Gloria and the others – not I!

  9. It took our parish some months to get used to the St Ann Gloria–in part because contemporary settings were hardly ever used here. But it wears quite well. I’ve blown up my own playing of it twice, and I think there’s more to explore with it.

    I will put in another negative vote for Gloria XV. I just don’t think it’s a good piece of music. It needs more notes. Phrygian mode isn’t quite right, and at a diocesan gathering to review new Mass settings, nobody got it right, even with accompaniment.

    Under MR1, I found the Heritage Gloria serviceable and a pleasant surprise.

  10. We’ve used the Gloria from A New Mass for Congregations by Carroll Thomas Andrews, as revised by Ron Krisman. We have never sung it with the old translation so it’s a new-to-us setting. People seem to have taken to it well.

    Has anyone ever heard any of the other parts of this Mass setting? I’ve heard the Gloria plenty, but never heard (or even seen) anything else.

    Didn’t we address this same question last May?

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #12:

      A New Mass for Congregations (1970, using the former [ICET] text) is still available from GIA: unison edition (G-1544 [$2.25]), and SATB edition (G-1572 [$3.50]).

      The four movements of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) appear in the first edition of WORSHIP (1971). Only the Gloria and Agnus Dei appear in WORSHIP II (1975), and only the Gloria in WORSHIP III (1986).

      In 2010 I was asked to revise the Gloria, using the 2010 text.

  11. The ICEL Gloria XV is a dog.

    For through-composed settings, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the Psallité Mass (At the Table of the Lord. We just introduced the refrain version of Bolduc’s Mass of St. Ann recently, and haven’t yet had a chance to take the through-composed version for a spin, but we’ll try it for the first short stretch of Ordinary Time.

  12. Not sure why the questioner believes people aren’t allowed to sing on the verses of a refrain Gloria? I like them because the people can get the refrain right away then learn the verses as we go. The only through composed setting I’ve used is Mass of Saint Ann’s. Just so the people had it “in their bones”, I used it from Triduum to Christ the King, something I never did before. We returned to the Storrington Mass setting for Advent/Christmas and will use Mass of Creation for Easter (both of these are sung with gusto) Then for Ordinary Time afterwards, I’ll teach the Mass for Christian Unity with its through composed Gloria. The parish knew it well in its previous incarnations. The only other setting on my radar is the Community Mass Gloria – I just love the unison sections.

    1. @Sean Whelan – comment #14:

      Not sure why the questioner believes people aren’t allowed to sing on the verses of a refrain Gloria? I like them because the people can get the refrain right away then learn the verses as we go.

      Absolutely. Think of all the congregations that used to sing the verses of Mass of Creation as well as the refrain.

  13. ICEL gives only one adapted setting of the Gloria from the Liber?

    It would be better if all of the Solemnes Gloria chant settings were permitted ad libitum in Latin and (if suitably adapted) the vernacular, if this is not already the case.

    I know not a few priests who can sing, so I am saddened that many priests do not take the initiative to learn the incipits of the various chants.

    If I were a priest (certainly absolutely contrary to fact), I would make a good-faith effort to learn to sing these incipits. I know that in some places the organist or choirmaster sings the incipit, but this not exactly licit.

    Mass is given for the greater glory of God. This, indeed, includes the assembly, but can also include the choir in its act of glorification and praise. The assembly is not the locus of all praise, and not every note must come from their lips for God to be given due reverence. What does anthropocentrism give to God?

  14. On the “Ensemble” versions:
    The Bolduc “St. Ann” has gained a ton of traction anecdotally (told ya so, Todd!)
    Big Sleeper: Bob Hurd’s “Santa Clara Mass” I believe could grow to MoC levels (I think it superior, never really cared for MoC), but works modestly in all situations.

    On the “Choral/Traditional” versions:
    Ostrowski’s “Sherman” is very beautiful and engaging.
    Chris Mueller’s “MR3” satisfies choir, might cause more listening in PIPs
    Chuck Giffen’s “Missa Ascensionis” (CPDL) is awesome.
    Royce Nickel “St. Therese” (CCW) accessible and chantable like “Simplex”
    Best new: Paul Jernberg “St. Philip Neri” stunning, orthodox beauty, not difficult at all.

    Regarding ICEL XV, it’s not a dog! We don’t know the circumstances of how AWR was compelled to set it. But, if you’re creative with isons, accompaniments, etc.,

  15. We don’t have an organ in our church, and the music at the main mass is lead by a guitar based group. We spent a fair bit of time looking for settings that would work with us, but it was pretty fruitless to be honest.
    So I put pen to manuscript and filled our need.
    They do have a refrain, but everyone sings everything (no choir, either [hooray]) but with extra gusto when the refrain returns.

  16. I recommend the Mass of Redemption by Steven Janco. While the Mass of Redemption was published previously, the Gloria itself is a completely new composition. We introduced it to our campus ministry congregation over the summer in unison and they took it up almost instantly along with the other parts. It was all the more beautiful when the choir resumed ministering in September adding the vocal harmony and woodwind parts. The setting works equally well with organ or piano/guitar accompaniment. There is also brass/timpani accompaniment for more festive occasions.

  17. In our parish, we used the Gloria from “A New Mass for Congregations” often and are now using the revised setting by Fr. Ron Krisman. People have taken to it quite well! I echo the sentiments to Fr. Ron Krisman for a job well done on the revision. We also use the Gloria from the Mass in A Minor (Strassburger, Lit Press) and people join in on the verses. I find the Mass in A Minor in general to be very accessible and I like it even more after a few years of it in our repertoire.

  18. We are moving from the Mass of Christ the Savior (Schutte) to Mass of Renewal by Curtis Stephan. I like that the Gloria is through-composed and to an earlier point, it seems to work for our guitar oriented goups well. Teaching congregation before Masses during advent and will switch in January.

    1. @Chip Stalter – comment #25:

      Our parish started using the Stephan setting a couple of months ago. I agree with you that it works well with a variety of instrumental accompaniments. At this point, its reception by the people is still TBD.

      One other note: I’ve belonged to this parish for 20+ years, and if I’m not mistaken, this is the first through-sung Gloria we’ve done during those years. Over the years, we’ve trained our people well (if inadvertently) to perceive that they own only the ‘refrain’ of the Gloria rather than the entire text. So we’re asking our assemblies to do more work now than they’ve been accustomed to.

      Up until the time we started using the Stephan, we had been using the Mass of St. Ann referenced in a number of other contents, but we had been using the refrain version rather than sung-through arrangement. That mass setting in general has been very well-received by our people.

  19. Some thoughts on settings of the new Gloria.

    With our campus ministry students we’ve tried many settings, finally picking one — the St. Benedict Mass by LeBlanc, which is our diocese’s closest thing to an “official” setting. When I have to play — I am a singer, not an organist! — we have used the Psallite Mass At the Table setting. Typical response: some sing, some don’t.

    As a veteran of Ted Marier’s parish in Cambridge, Mass., I have come to understand why Ted wrote entirely new chants for English texts rather than adopting the Latin chant. The ICEL setting of the Gloria (and for that matter, the rest of the Mass) crams the English into the Latin chant; it feels like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet.

    Finally, my regular parish has adopted two principal settings: for festive times like Christmas and Easter, the resetting of the shopworn Mass of Creation; and for Ordinary Time, MOC’s major-key sound-alike Mass of Renewal by Gokelman and Kaufmann that won NPM’s competition (probably because it sounded the most like the Mass of Creation). Both are most unsatisfactory.

    1. @RP Burke – comment #26:
      Funny. Our parish does only Mass of Creation (for Ordinary Time) and Mass of Renewal by Gokelman and Kaufmann (for the rest of the year), and people sing out both with gusto! Mass of Creation is with mixed success (people still trip up on the Gloria and the Lamb of God), but Mass of Renewal has been a smashing success. Amazing what works with one community doesn’t work for another.

      And to keep this related to the topic at hand: We started Mass of Renewal with the refrain when the new Missal came out, since that’s what the assembly were used to–and to ease them into it. Eventually we took out the refrain, and sing it straight through. Again, with great success.

  20. I’d highly commend Richard Clark’s Mass In Honor of St John Paul II and Mass of the Angels.

    Refrains can be treated like temporary training wheels during the phase when a Gloria is getting absorbed by a congregation’s memory, and then dropped once that phase is passed.

  21. We introduced the gloria text to the ‘old scottish psalter’. The people sing it quite well. It was a standard in most anglican and lutheran churches until the 70’s. I believe ‘plain chant’ was an attempt by the ‘reformers’ to make gregorian chant more singable. Although I consider myself a traditionalist, I believe it works well and is dignified.

    1. @Rev. Dan Hesko – comment #28:
      I think it still makes an appearance in the 1982 Hymnal, and the choir at St. Gregory of Nyssa of San Francisco did a recording using the old ICET version some time back.

  22. I belong to the same parish as Jeff Rexhausen who commented earlier – St. Bernard Church, Spring Grove Village, Cincinnati, Ohio. Here are my suggestions for through composed Glorias. For a contemporary style, the Gloria from the Mass of St. Ann by Ed Bolduc can be sung both ways. You can hear both versions on You Tube. The Gloria from the Mass for a New World by David Haas can easily be sung as through-composed, although it’s not written that way. If you’re looking for sort of a Gospel style mass setting, the Gloria from the Mass of Plenty by Rob Glover is very nice. I have not found a link to this one, so you’ll have to buy a copy of the mass setting if you want to hear it. If you’re looking for a more traditional mass setting, try the Gloria from the Mass of St. Paul the Apostle by Christopher Walker. There is a You Tube link for this mass setting.

  23. We began with the Goekelman/Kauffman “Mass of Renewal” because of its simplicity, thinking an easy melody would help our assembly focus on the text changes. It was well received.

    After a year, we introduced the Bolduc “Mass of St Ann”, which had been the #1 choice of the musical team looking at/playing through the Gloria settings. We didn’t begin with it because in the words of one of the musicians: “If we start with this, people will never want to change.” How prophetic!

    When we introduced Haugen’s “Storrington Mass” Gloria last summer, we received several comments from people preferring “St Ann”. But since we wanted Christmas to sound bigger than Ordinary Time, we had already planned to bring “St. Ann” back as our Christmas season Gloria.

  24. We started with the Gloria Simplex for diocesan Liturgies, and have now added the Mass of Wisdom Gloria (Janco) as a more festive setting, having already used the Eucharistic Acclamations. Does anyone else use the Mass of Wisdom Gloria?

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