ARDINAL MERCIER told the young Fulton J. Sheen something he never forgot: “Tear up your notes at the end of each semester.” When teachers don’t learn new things, they stagnate. Throughout my career, I have tried to follow the advice of Cardinal Mercier: I’m always looking for new music. I don’t teach the same pieces over and over and over. And below is a fascinating composition I discovered a few years ago when I was searching for repertoire for the Sacred Music Symposium which is held annually in Los Angeles (although it is currently postponed due to Covid-19).
“Our Father” SATB: Monsignor Van Nuffel was ordained by Cardinal Mercier in 1907. Thirty years later, he published this magnificent choral setting of the LORD’S PRAYER. He breaks many ‘proper’ rules of voice-leading, yet somehow creates an utter masterpiece. I suspect it was sung during the Divine Office; it would not have been sung during the Mass of the 1930s. You can download the piece in two different keys:
* PDF Download • PATER NOSTER — “G Aeolian”
—Transposed to a higher (more comfortable) key.
* PDF Download • PATER NOSTER — “F Aeolian”
—In the original key, for choirs with very low basses.
Everyone should be
taking advantage of these
free rehearsal videos—
for each individual voice:
Below is a picture of Cardinal Mercier in 1926. From what I can tell, the inscription says: The Most Eminent and Reverend Desideratus Joseph Cardinal Mercier (in French: Désiré-Joseph Mercier), the Archbishop of Malines.
From a Latin scholar:
Eminentissimus ac Reverendissimus Dominus Desiderius Josephus Cardinalis Mercier Archiepiscopus Mechlinensis aet. a. LXXV
Which, being translated, is:
The Most Eminent and Most Reverend Lord Désiré-Joseph Cardinal Mercier Archbishop of Mechelen (or: Malines) in the 75th year of his age