Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

"Favourites such as the 'Clap-Hands Gloria' will remain in use"?!?#??

Okay, other than that dumbfounding phrase, I can't see that much in the Tablet piece to go all black belt snarky on, as some denizens of blogdom have done. And even that, silly as it is, is a quote from an interviewee, not an editorial statement by the Tablet.
Music settings for the new English translation of the Missal reveal a greater use of plainchant [but only because they reveal a greater use of music generally, no? I mean, any official-in-the-sacramentary music in the last Missal was also "plainsong," was it not?] and the altered wording may require composers to re-work their settings or write new versions of the Mass.

On restricted-access pages of the website of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) seen by The Tablet [and anyone else who wants to ask for the passowrd, no? perhpas it's different in the UK] are pages of sheet music for the Order of Mass, the four Eucharistic Prayers and various other chants. An introduction to the pages notes says that ICEL aimed to “preserve and recover the tradition of unaccompanied singing in the Roman Rite” and “facilitate full and active participation by all the people”.

A spokesman for ICEL said that while the text had to be approved by the Vatican, it would be for ICEL’s various member conferences to decide what was musically acceptable for parish use. [again, isn't that essentially the same sitch as now? the USCCB COULD give guidance, if they cared to...] Mgr Anthony Sherman, executive director of the Office of Divine Worship at the US bishops’ conference, said that the uploaded examples aimed to ensure there was something immediately available when the Vatican approves the translations, and to give guidance to composers and publishers. [wouldn't that be swell if the Sacramentary chants became the default English-language setting, rather than, say, Cremation, or even Community?]

UK music publisher Kevin Mayhew said his firm would be commissioning many new Masses, but said worshippers would take months to learn new settings, and felt sure that favourites such as the “Clap-Hands Gloria” and the “Israeli Mass” would remain in use. He said they would immediately revise Hymns Old & New to include the new Mass texts but he thought parishes may be reluctant to buy new sets of books during the recession. [and where is the need? they can get oodles of good music FOR FREE]

Randall DeBruyn, executive editor for missals and hymnals at the Oregon Catholic Press, said composers were split “50-50” between those planning on writing new compositions and those who think they will be able to adapt Mass settings they have already composed. “The next couple of years will have a pretty heavy workload,” Mr DeBruyn said. [at the rate some from the OCP stable have been churning out stuff, again, no change... and it's not like this heavy workload is off the clock, for to speak, for you guys. I mean, you are in the business, right?]

...In many instances the melodies suggested for the new English phrases are those used for centuries with the traditional Latin translation. These include the new response “And with your spirit”, the Preface “It is truly right”, the Sanctus and the Memorial Acclamation. One promiment British composer said this was problematic. “The translations follow the Latin syntax, and that’s not how English is spoken,” he said, and questioned whether churchgoers might “forget about the new texts and just go on auto-pilot” [auto-pilot? you mean by just using the old words, I assume -- which they don't think about?
In that case, even if the new translation stunk, if the people and priests say the Mass now on auto-pilot, any change must be for the good. It would force the "C" of F'CAP.
The current contempt bred by familiarity, the existence of which the "
promiment British composer" let out of the bag?
Not a good thing]

or whether the un-familiarity of the new Missal would demand people follow the Mass in the book and miss out on its visual aspects. [you mean the way insisting the PIPs sing during all the processions does now?]

... Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra and Goulburn said ... that he hoped three or four settings of the Mass would emerge that would “engage in a conversation with Gregorian chant [nice phrase, "engage in conversation with chant",] to produce music which is both contemporary and traditional”. [an outcome devoutly to be wished]

This reminds me of another blogger quoting a priest friend, not without sympathy, to the effect that oh, darn, the new prayers mean I'm actually going to have to read them ahead of time and think about what they mean, rather than than laying eyes on them for the first time when the server holds the book up in front of me for the collects.

You mean, issums gonna hafta wead howwible compwicated new pwayews , and do some pwepewation?

One last thought, the headline was "Composers face dilemma as plainsong suggested for new Missal."

What dilemma is that, exactly?
Seriously, no snark, what dilemma is meant?


Aristotle A. Esguerra said...

[Originally smart comment replaced by virtual self-imposed gag order.]

Ms. C (Carleigh Bedell) said...

Bummer, A. I would love to see the orginal comment. I'm gonna sit on the sidelines on this one and see what happens next. I rather fear the status quo may prevail for a very long time.

Scelata said...

"I rather fear the status quo may prevail for a very long time."

It all depends on the people in the trenches, er... I mean parish rectories.
And lofts.

In this country Catholicism "happens" at the parish level.
In our diocese, for instance, I discovered that the parish where the director of the O of W is pastor doesn't even follow some of the directives HE HIMSELF HAS WRITTEN AND SENT OUT FROM HIS OFFICE.

(In that case, it is probably a good thing, of course, as they can be arbitrary and even contradictory to authoritative directives.)

So if a pastor with the right attitude has a musician with the right skills, this can be a moment of great grace, when the Faithful take back, or rather, are given back the Mass.

It is an opportunity to re-focus on the Word of God, on the Universality of His Church, and on the inestimable treasure that is Christ, giving Himself and giving of Himself in the Eucharist.

It is a chance to cut away deadwood, and strip away distractions.

I refuse to be fearful, I will not, I will not.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)