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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Caecilia Magazine & the Definition of Insanity

Yet again, the CMAA has made available a treasure of enormous value, a storehouse of back issues of Caecilia, the journalistic precursor of Sacred Music.

With my slow connection, I can't read these at will, but will get to them in time, and honestly, I've already pored through many of them in the flesh, or rather, in the paper.

The reactions to their availability saddened me at first, reminding me of my reaction when I first had access to several decades of this and other similar periodicals (Praise to the God of gods for open stack libraries!) To whit:
I am struck, above all, by some of the articles, because they sound so similar to those today -- some could have even been written today!

Truly, our fight for appropriate Church music did not start in 1965 !!!


I was struck by the same thing; these articles have nearly the same tone--encouraging and supportive while upholding high musical standards--as any number of contemporary issues of Sacred Music or many discussions here on the forum. It is refreshing and heartening to know that these battles were happening well before 2009, and the very thought of similar struggles in the past gives me some hope for the future.
Refreshing!??! Heartening??!?

Knowing that the same problems have been recognized before, the same right solutions proposed, but the same wrong paths apparently taken!
(I remember earning a glare from a librarain, inadvertantly laughing aloud so as not to cry at one article during the Great Open Stack Sabbatical, I think in Diapason, but perhaps not, an optimistic musician/sister triumphantly writing in the wake of the Vatican Council, or perhaps in anticipation of it, that now at last they would rid parish music of all that inferior stuff, the low Mass + random hymns, the insipid waltzes - if you start humming Let There Be Peace On Earth or Come, Live'n the Light sarcastically now, I wouldn't blame you. The irony of the history of the decades between her writing and my reading made me think ruefully of [Truth], The Daughter of Time.)

But through the intercession of the Great Bow-Tied One, I too find myself refreshed and heartened -- a post of his, in part:
the movement back then was extensive and growing but mainly because of two forces: centralized dictate and centralized funding. It became like central planning in time: it looks impressive from the outside but the roots were weakening underneath. The winds came and it all-but disappeared in a few years. This indicates a serious problem. And there were serious problems. When all the work is done by and funding by a few people at the top of a production pyramid, the lower orders develop a sense of dependency and lack intellectual and material resources to maintain during a crisis.

Ours is completely different in this respect. The energy is from below, the talent is diffuse, the passion is wide spread and deep, and there is no one organizing anything from a central location, much less funding it. So the roots are deeper; the foundation is more solid. And the movement today is not the slightest bit naive: we all live in the real world and faces relentless challenges, which have steeled us all. Nor is there a danger of money being cut off or a danger of being controlled by a funding source. It doesn't exist. We've all learned to get by as best we can. This necessity has been the mother of great innovation, and it has prepared us for a long struggle ahead. We all know very well that the only source of our growth is hard work and passion and evangelism. We are not waiting for a sugar daddy to save us or for some pronouncement from on high that makes everyone do what we wish. Instead we are taking the initiative ourselves at all levels and seeking to inspire by the force of truth and beauty.

And of course, Greg sagely points out, "one other thing: technology. At a bare minimum, how many people on this forum would even be aware of the existence of the CMAA if it wasn't for the Internet? I certainly wouldn't. Then add the difficulty of obtaining music before copying machines, much less computers and printers."

So praise the God of gods for open stacks and the interwebs!

All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well....


Charles said...

At the risk of doing a Jerry Galipeau, D. Min.(self promotion), did you peruse the thread I started at CMAA forum, "What's wrong with this picture?"
Any resonance?

Scelata said...

Yes, I commented on the thread.

I am not sure I can blame a representative of a for-profit organization speaking and acting in a way that will maximize profits.

And I do think, from his blog, (which I read and on which from time to time comment,) that he is of good will regarding the mandates of the Church -- a judgement I did NOT extend to one of his commentators.

And as to the major players of the Liturgical-Industrial complex not recognizing the (I hope) seismic on-going shift, well, how long did it take TPTB in the Catholic Church in this country (the ancien regime who despite the celebrex and vytorin they have to ingest every morning, still think of themselves as young turks,) to realize that they could no longer mislead the PIPs about what was coming out of Rome, what the GIRM said, what VCII mandated because we could all read it for ourselves online before the chanceries and publihsers had a chance to spin it? to realize that their time had passed?
All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.


(Save the Liturgy, save the World)

Mark M. said...

Thanks for drawing my attention to that MusicaSacra forum thread, G, and to Jeffrey's splendid post there.

(FYI, though this is my first post to your blog here, I've been a regular reader for a month or two now!)

Scelata said...

Welcome, Mark.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)