If you had a stereotype of Taizé songs being meditative and somber, this song certainly will break that mold. “Gloria” is an effervescent eight bar refrain that can be sung in unison or in canon. Make sure to keep a strong, lively pulse (two per measure) to help the congregation stay in time. This also makes a wonderful choral procession (try it with handbell accompaniment!) and segues beautifully into Christmas songs in the key of F, such as LUYH #89, “On Christmas Night.”
Many have come to know the power of the short refrains (see Reformed Worship 8:26) that are characteristic of music from Taizé, such as "Eat This Bread" (see RW 19:26) and "Jesus, Remember Me."
This Gloria is constructed as a four-part round with many options for singing. The harmony provided by the grace notes could be sung by a choir of women. The descants could be played by flute, recorder, oboe, or violin. Additional descants for trumpet and cello are found in Music from Taizé (G.I.A.; this Gloria is from Vol. 1 of the two-volume collection).
Choose one of these Gloria settings to teach your congregation this year. Learn it by heart first yourself, and then teach it so that everyone is able to sing it from memory. Choose another setting next year. And whatever singing you do, sing "Glory to God in the highest."
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 45)
A son of musical parents, Jacques Berthier (b. Auxerre, Burgundy, June 27, 1923; d. June 27, 1994) studied music at the Ecole Cesar Franck in Paris. From 1961 until his death he served as organist at St. Ignace Church, Paris. Although his published works include numerous compositions for organ, voice, and instruments, Berthier is best known as the composer of service music for the Taizé community near Cluny, Burgundy. Influenced by the French liturgist and church musician Joseph Gelineau, Berthier began writing songs for equal voices in 1955 for the services of the then nascent community of twenty brothers at Taizé. As the Taizé community grew, Berthier continued to compose most of the mini-hymns, canons, and various associated instrumental arrangements, which are now universally known as the Taizé repertoire. In the past two decades this repertoire has become widely used in North American church music in both Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.