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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Speaking of Germany...

(Weren't we?)
They apparently do something right.
From Colin Mawby's latest issue of "Vivace":
[O]ur children are denied a broad musical and liturgical education if they are not given access to the hymns loved by their parents and grandparents. You have to distinguish between traditional and old-fashioned and I am not asking for the reintroduction of the latter, it is the absence of the former that worries me.

The Catholic Church in Germany has solved this problem in a highly imaginative way. There is one Hymn Book, sponsored by the Hierarchy, and given free to every church. It contains a basic core repertoire and each Diocese adds its own supplement. This book is currently being revised. The core repertoire contains the finest hymns and this means that children are introduced to the tradition of German Chorales at an early age. I only wish there were something similar in other countries.

The proliferation of Hymn Books, many with their own agenda, does nothing to preserve our traditional hymns. Catechetics in our Training Colleges, with their emphasis on the new, is producing a semi-educated, sometimes fanatical, vintage of religious teachers – this is not the fault of the students! There is a lot of good in modern religious teaching but if it cuts us off from our history it's doing a great disservice to religious education. Let’s preserve the traditional alongside the innovative. We all need to be aware of the history and practice of Sacred Music.

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