Brief Book Review: Missa de Lumine

Missa de Lumine
by Kathleen Demny

What’s the main idea? Kathleen Demny adapted and arranged the Advent tune CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM, pairing the beloved melody with the text of the Mass from The Roman Missal. “Missa de Lumine” is based on Carol Browning’s arrangement of the traditional tune.

What intrigued me the most? With such a short tune I was initially concerned that an entire setting based on CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM would become somewhat repetitive, no matter how much I love the hymn. Kathleen did a fantastic job, however, of utilizing excerpts from the tune while adding original material in the same style.

Why is this book useful / practical? With so much wonderful Advent repertoire it is difficult to sing and pray everything we may want during the season. Missa de Lumine allows communities to embrace the beauty of a traditional Advent hymn in a new way. Similarly, these Mass parts are easy to learn and sing, a practical pastoral consideration for the short season of Advent.

Kudos. The setting of the Penitential Act is lovely. Even if you are not ready to adopt this new setting in its entirety, the Penitential Act will be a welcome addition to your seasonal song. Simple but not simplistic, it is both prayerful and singable.

Implications. Demny’s setting provides a worthy alternative to the classic Missa Emmanuel by Richard Proulx. I can certainly see alternating between the two from year to year.

Kathleen Demny, Missa de Lumine, GIA Publications, Inc., 2020, 24 pages.

REVIEWER: John T. Kyler

John T. Kyler serves as Liturgy and Music Editor at Liturgical Press in Collegeville, Minnesota. An instructor in the Emmaus Institute for Ministry Formation and a regular contributor to GIA Quarterly, John holds a Master of Education from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Theological Studies from Saint John’s University.

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