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Communion Ostinatos

for Lent and the Triduum

for SATB Choir, Cantor, and Assembly with Keyboard Accompaniment (2010)

  • premiered Lent and Holy Week 2010


The Church of St. Peter


Saratoga Springs, NY

Texts Based on Communion Antiphons in the Roman Missal, Third Edition and on various Psalms

View the full Table of Contents in the sample score by clicking the cover image.


About Communion Ostinatos for Lent and the Triduum:


Communion Ostinatos for Lent and the Triduum (2010) grew out of a desire to facilitate singing during the reception of Holy Communion at Mass, particularly during a season of the liturgical year when singing should take prominence over instrumental music. Very often, accompanists at Mass find themselves having to continue playing to accompany the ritual action after the programmed song or chant has finished.  In addition, it can be challenging to promote the singing of the Assembly during the Communion procession.  This becomes even more challenging if the music is unfamiliar.  


This set of pieces seeks to alleviate these challenges through the use of ostinato refrains.  These refrains can be repeated as many times as necessary to accompany the Communion procession, from the moment the presiding priest or bishop receives Communion, until the action of the whole Assembly is complete.  The repetition also provides the Assembly with a refrain that can be learned and sung while in procession, without necessarily needing to carry a worship aid.  The repetitive nature of these pieces also allows for the singing of texts that relate more closely to the specific liturgy being celebrated without having to learn a complicated new piece of music each week, as the texts are based on the Communion Antiphons found in the Roman Missal, Third Edition.  This can help deepen the experience of the liturgy, particularly if a Cantor is present to sing the superimposed verses provided along with the refrain. These verse texts are based upon the Psalms that are traditionally paired with the appointed Antiphons.


The call to humility and simplicity during the Lenten Season is also reflected by the simplicity of a repeated refrain based on a single text.

Performance History

Selections performed annually during Lent and Holy Week

The Church of St. Peter, Saratoga Springs, NY

Philip Spaeth, Music Director

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