Advent Music: My Soul In Stillness Waits

I mentioned this song ten years ago today. I mentioned then that I wish Marty Haugen had set or adapted all of the O Antiphons instead of just four of them. The piece is well over thirty years old now, and maybe he doesn’t revisit old songs. I can understand that. Still, it’s a characteristic of his early writing to occasionally not finish something–like the first half of Eucharistic Prayer III set to music and the second half not.

We didn’t sing it this week at Mass. I’ve adapted the texts of the Advent entrance antiphons (amazing, eh?) for the verses. We use those in cycles B & C and give it a rest in year A. (This year we use the Taize “Wait for the Lord” and use the entrance antiphons.)

Anyway, I think “My Soul In Stillness Waits” has a definite lasting value. The original recording is nice, but it reminds me that over the years, I’ve come to play it more loosely, depending on the instrumentation and the people I accompany. I play it far more often at the piano than with my guitar. I would love to add hammer dulcimer in an ensemble sometime. Maybe next year. There are a surprising number of versions on YouTube, many of them not so good. This one is good, but pretty much by-the-book.

I program it only once in the off-year from when we use it weekly. I think it will be time to retire it from year B or C next time around. Not because I’ve grown weary of it, but because I think good music can be done too much.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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