The ‘Early’ Mass
1st Sunday monthly, 9:30am
St. Mary’s Church, Haddington Road, D4

On the first and second Sunday of each month Crux sings at St. Mary’s Church on Haddington Road the 9:30am mass. With time and with further donations from the public we hope to sing every Sunday morning.
Occasionally, we also sing for the Tridentine mass at St. Kevin’s Church on Harrington Street.

Numbering three, four or five voices – sometimes up to ten on major feast days – Crux sings the Ordinary of the Mass and – where reasonably possible – the Propers.

For those unfamiliar with these terms, the Ordinary refers to the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei (of which we sing all but the Credo for reasons of time) – these texts remain unchanged in every mass. The Propers are the sacred texts specific to each calendar day such as the readings, psalm, Gospel, for example. Each of these are part of a complex tapestry of liturgical writings, a vast literary cycle narrating the Old and New Testament and each text will only be heard once in a year (if even that often).
Because of the sacred significance of these hallowed scripts, they were traditionally delivered in elevated speech – a style that became more sustained and more musical over the centuries. With developments in vellum and paper, this music was written down and codified as chant (beginning in the 10th century and culminating in the great academic compiling of chant by the monastery of Solesmes in the 19th century)
In the 11th, 14th and 21st-century examples below we see the development of Western chant notation:

Over time, this music evolved in Europe to become a complex system of harmony and polyphony writing, culminating in an abundance of music composition in the Renaissance period (much of it Church-funded). Today, this is the music most commonly sung by Crux, usually sung in four or five-part polyphony. Combined with this, we also sing plainchant as it grants us insight into later polyphonic music. We observe the complex rules of harmony that characterise the sound of Western music and we admire the lengths to which Renaissance composers went to conceal the mathematical constructs of their art.
Latin is the language of the established Church. We sing in Latin in between mass readings in English. If you’ve ever wondered what the choir is singing about, the answer is we’re probably singing the same text you just heard from the lectern, just in a different language. The role of the choir is to embellish and celebrate the sacred texts and grant the congregation greater opportunity to consider their meaning.

We are grateful to the clergy and board of St Mary’s Church for hosting and supporting Crux. We also acknowledge the generous support of local patrons who are crucial to our group’s continued existence at St. Mary’s.