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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Organ Playing in the Context of the Mass

An interesting thread at the new Liturgical Movement, occasioned by a post from Amy Welborn that mentioned organ ineptitude, or perhaps more accurately, inapt use of the instrument.

I daresay I am, at least from time to time, guilty of all the sins enumerated in the combox and in the original post(s).

But I am nothing, if not facile with an excuse, and there are often ... mitigating circumstances.

I accept much of the advice, (although it is mostly couched as dicta, not advice,) at least in principle, but don't intend to avail myself of all of it.

If a mic'ed someone wails in his own tempo I have got to assume he can't hear the organ and it is too quiet.
This goes for choir, priests and cantors. (The choir of course is not mic'ed, there are simply certain members, and at times entire sections whose attention I.... need to get.)
Someone else is bound to complain that I am too loud in all these situations.
So it goes.

If TPTB insist on a certain acclamation, and it is not the one that we have always used since a particular ordinary has been used in the past, the intro has to be long enough that there is no doubt as to whether form A,B,C, or D is being used, and sometimes that means the entire tune.
So it goes.

If the choir has begun a postlude and a pick-up touch football match breaks out downstairs, (this is only a guess on my part, I'm not sure of the cause of the surge of yelling, screeching, and shouting that occurs on a regular basis in the aftermass of Liturgy, ) then what was intendedat rehearsal as a comfortable mf may, perforce, become fff.
So it goes.

If there are not very good but much loved anthems with pianistic accompaniments that really don't hang together as vocal music without booming out the cues that I choose to program before Mass to put down the Why Can't We Sing the Old Songs? mutinies they will probably earn a registration that is a little too insistent for loveliness, but necessary for insuring entrances.
So it goes.

I suppose if I had any integrity I would just get rid of half the choir, insist on control of the amplification, and refuse to countenance interference from anyone who can't demonstrate with organ or chironomy what it is he wants.

And we won't even go into the tempo wars that are a root cause of my current consideration of a major life change.

Hmmmm, haven't I just put myself in a lousy mood for choir rehearsal tonight?

1 comment:

Dad29 said...

There are a LOT of people who know nothing, whatever, about liturgical music practice.

Amy's one of them, by the way...