Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Talk About Diversity...

The last few weeks have brought me in contact with Catholic musicians of an absolutely charming diversity.

Rennsalaer's Chant Institute was a little more homogenous than the CMAA's but then, it is considerably smaller.

But in neither place did those who prefer modern notation come to blows with square note afficianados; nor the all-a-capella-all-the-time faction poison the merlot of the accompanied-chant-and-it's-gotta-be-Bragers' fans; nor a three-way brawl erupt amongst Spirit of Vatican Two-types, Rad-Trads and the Reform 2 gang; nor were gloves thrown in the faces of Old Solesmes adherents by the Semiology faction with the resulting unpleasantness of pistols and podati at dawn...

Actually, virtually anything at dawn is unpleasant, no?

I swear, had Maestro Wilko been a scintilla less engaging, I would have slept in the day of the Requiem, thereby depriving myself of one of the most profound prayer, (and premier musical,) experiences of my life.

Fr Columba Kelly was an engaging teacher, but I am still chewing over whether a more authentic rendering of the intent of Guido's predecessors necessarily brings about a better-prayed, more deeply felt encounter with the Holy Other than cou nting off your 2s ands 3s...

Could insistence on the former not be an example of the archeologism of which Pius XII warned us in Mediator Dei?

It is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device.

But I do love repercussions....


Charles said...

Beautiful reflection, G, just beautiful.

Dad29 said...

I've told this story before...stop me if you've heard it.

In the mid-'80's I was given responsibility for conducting an Old Rite choir and had just read the entire intro (Solesmes) to the Graduale Romanum--about 70 pages, very small type, of 'how to sing this Chant stuff', complete with semi-contradictory decipherings of the rhythm marks, yada yada yada.

Roger Wagner, KCSG, came to town at that time to honor a mutual friend celebrating his 35th anniversary of Ordination. Roger and I got pleasantly high on a pint of Black and White (up) and I asked him how to understand all that stuff I just read.

"Sing it as though it were MUSIC" was his advice.

Works better than all the other stuff I've ever heard.

Heath said...


I'd be interested to hear more about this event; I almost went, but the funds didn't come through. Maybe next year . . .

Scelata said...

Heath, do you mean the one at St. Joe's?
Good price, short, interesting.
Fr Kelly's approach is not systematic enough, IMO -- to teaching, not to the chant, that IS systematic.
Dining Hall was overpriced, not particularly good, (I hesitate to say that because the dining room staff was so nice.)
Rooms were enormous and okay, (I mention this because cramped rooms at Loyola was a complaint I heard.)
The atmosphere at St Joes was puzzling to me; everyone was extremely nice, but under Fr Larry the chant Institute had been an intensely spiritual experience and I really, really missed that.
Now that this is off the front page and I think it enormously unlikely that it will be read by anyone who would take it amiss, but I think the NPM-ish leadership may be responsible for that.
I'm fairly sure there was no trap set in the chapel last time I was there. (On the other hand, if I can trust my memory the tabernacle was not on the central axis of the chapel 4 years ago, as it is now.
As I said, I found the rejection of the so-called "Old Solemnes Method" not problematic at all, as I am firmly in neither camp (can a principle of ambivalence be held "firmly"?)
Fr Kelly's has both/and approach to the Latin/Vernacular
question, which can be a bit of a shibboleth.
I like that.
Fr Kelly is a bit of a fan of the
late Archbishop Annibale Bugnini.
I leave it to any readers of this site to guess whether I "like" that.
I would consider going again, if the money and the timing is right, but I think I would prefer to experience another teacher. (This is not a rejection of Fr Kelly,if time and money were unlimited, I would gladly attend a class of workshop of his again.)
(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)