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A Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Terms

A Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Terms

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Excerpt from A Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Terms: Being a History and Explanation of Certain Terms Used in Architecture, Ecclesiology, Liturgiology, Music, Ritual, Cathedral Constitution, Etc

Washing or purification, either of the hands or the sacred vessels. The word is generally used to signify the rinsing of the chalice after the Holy Communion with wine and water, which are reverently drunk by the celebrant (cf. 6th Rubric after Communion Service). In some churches it is customary to sing a short and appropriate sentence of Scripture, with the 117th Psalm - an antiphon, in fact - during the Ablutions. Such sentences have been set to music by various composers, notably Dr W. H. Monk, who, in 1869, wrote four, appropriate to various seasons, for the use of the Church of St Matthias, Stoke Newington, where, from 1852 to 1889, he was organist and director of the choir. They are unpublished. At St Paul's, since 1892, the 150th Psalm has been sung in this place to an ancient chant, arranged by Sir George Martin, organist of the Cathedral. From Easter Day to Trinity Sunday, both inclusive, "Alleluia" is added, forming a very effective termination to the Communion Service at St Paul's, once described by Gounod as the finest thing of its kind on this side the Alps.

(1) The Italian term for the Church style; vocal music unaccompanied. (2) Church music in duple time, innumerable examples of which may be found among the masses, motetts, and anthems of the earlier English, Flemish, Italian and Spanish Schools of vocal composition. Our own countryman, Dr Nares (1715-1783), marks his excellent anthem, "Call to remembrance," Alla Cappella. The foreign alla cappella style, with English adaptations, has been much in vogue of late years in some of our principal choirs, such as those of St Paul's and Westminster Abbey. There can be no objection to this, so long as it is not overdone, and so long as the sterling and genuine cathedral music of the last three centuries is not excluded.

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