March 21, 2024

Robert Noble on his new Stanley Rother Mass/Misa Stanley Rother setting


Catholic composer Robert Noble wrote his new bilingual Mass setting in honor of Blessed Stanley Francis Rother, a priest from Oklahoma who ministered in Guatemala during the 1960s-1980s. Fr. Rother was shot and killed in the rectory of his church during the Guatemalan Civil War in 1981. Pope Francis declared him a martyr in 2016 and he was beatified in 2017.

In honoring Fr. Rother with his composition, Noble wanted to create a Mass setting that was accessible in a variety of situations. Keep reading to learn more about the new Stanley Rother Mass/Misa Stanley Rother setting from the composer himself.

What is the style of this Mass?

“I think this Mass most resembles a traditional setting or style with its chord structures and progressions, as well as the choral parts. However, there are hints of a contemporary style/sound throughout, in both the choral parts and the accompaniment. The given accompaniment is for piano, however, it can easily be played on an organ for a more traditional sound. In writing this Mass, I wanted to create a setting that felt natural on organ or piano, with or without the choral and trumpet parts, and comfortable in either Spanish or English. I also wanted to write a Mass setting that could be sung all in Spanish, all in English, or a mix of both languages.”

Who should use this Mass setting?

“This Mass setting can find a home in cathedrals, as well as both large and small parishes. It can be used with a large choir singing all the parts, or with a few singers singing unison or in two parts. I’ve played this Mass on both organ and piano at my parish, and I think it works equally well on both instruments, although an organist will have to adapt the accompaniment.”

When should this Mass setting be used?

Stanley Rother Mass/Misa Stanley Rother is best sung in Ordinary Time, Christmas, or Easter seasons, as well as holidays/solemnities.”

What does the recording offer?

“The recording uses both organ and piano, as well as the optional trumpet parts. … Although this setting can be sung entirely in Spanish or English, the recording makes use of both languages to demonstrate how a parish might sing it bilingually. The recording also demonstrates how the Mystery of Faith acclamations could be repeated so as to be sung in both languages if desired.”

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