The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

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musicus
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The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by musicus »

http://www.ssg.org.uk/index.php?option= ... icle&id=68

This looks interesting and useful and I intend to be there. One of the advertised contributors would like to know what our hopes and expectations of the sessions might be, so please post your thoughts here.
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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by presbyter »

I notice that "other texts from the Missal" that could be sung are going to be included in the discussion. Does this really mean we shall be addressing the possibility of singing the Entrance Antiphons as given? For example - Second Sunday of Advent:

O People of Sion, behold,
The Lord will come to save the nations,
And the Lord will make the glory of his voice
Heard in the joy of your heart.


Would any composer in his or her right mind attempt to set this text for a congregation to sing after hearing it from a cantor only once? A good seminar question. no doubt, but will, for example, the following passages from GIRM and CTM be addressed also?

GIRM

48. The singing at this time is done either alternately by the choir and the people
or in a similar way by the cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or
by the choir alone. In the dioceses of England and Wales the options for the
Entrance Chant are: (1) the antiphon and psalm from the Graduale Romanum or
the Graduale Simplex; or (2)a song from another collection of psalms and
antiphons, the text of which has been approved by the Bishops’ Conference of
England and Wales.


CTM

The opening song should be such that everyone is able in
some degree to join in singing it.......... The Roman Rite provides an antiphon
to be sung at this point, although it may be replaced by a
psalm or suitable liturgical song.
The text and the music
should be suited to the mystery being celebrated, the part
of the Mass, the liturgical season or the day.

Are we going to see the texts of non-Missal approved antiphons, psalms and suitable liturgical songs, so that composers could have a go at producing something before 19th March? Manifestly, our Bishops (CTM) do not wish to promote the choir-only option for the entrance song, so can we not have sight of at least some of the episcopally approved texts now?

What of the Simple Gradual - is there a new ICEL version of that text to engage with? (If not - why? Surely as it specifically mentioned in GIRM, ICEL should provide its new translation along with the new translation of the Missal, don't you think?)

And what is the status now of texts in publications such as Psallite?

Am I just being devoutly skeptical in thinking we just will not know what texts are approved for the Entrance and Communion processions by 19th March?
Am I just being devoutly skeptical in thinking we just will not know what leeway composers might have in choosing non-approved (but appropriate) texts for these moments by 19th March?

Not that the above will put me off attending one - or even both - of these important events. :wink:

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by presbyter »

Ah - Peter Jones now informs me that, for example, verses from these Psalms might be considered for use as "General" Entrance songs -

8,23,42,63,94,99,117,121 (Septuagint numbering) and the Daniel 3 canticle. I think he's going to attempt to set two or three of these with antiphons for us to consider on the day.

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by presbyter »

I must have a moan more often!

Peter Jones informs me further that verses from these Psalms might be approved as general texts for the Communion Procession.

15,22,26,33,41,83,115,147 (Septuagint numbering)

I wonder what else he knows?

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by Southern Comfort »

The relevant para in CTM is 140, already quoted in part by presbyter above.

It begins

The opening song should be such that everyone is able in some degree to join in singing it.


and further down continues

The Roman Rite provides an antiphon to be sung at this point, although it may be replaced by a psalm or suitable liturgical song. The text and the music should be suited to the mystery being celebrated, the part of the Mass, the liturgical season or the day.


That is the justification for collections such as Psallite, and indeed for what is in our hymnbooks generally.

It is interesting to see what the Americans have in GIRM, rather different from E&W:

48. The singing at this time is done either alternately by the choir and the people or in a similar way by the cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone. In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.


(3) and (4) are the justification in the USA for hymnbooks, and collections such as Psallite. "The Diocesan Bishop", by the way, does not only mean the bishop of your diocese; it also means the bishop of the diocese where the publishing house is located, and he may well have given an imprimatur.

As far as singing the actual texts of the Antiphons is concerned, no, we should not feel obliged to do this at all. In fact it may even be undesirable. I refer to my posts of October 13 and 14 (especially the latter) in this thread: http://www.ssg.org.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1130.

In any case, as stated there, currently GIRM does not give us permission to sing the antiphons of the Missal in English, since they are not mentioned as an option at all in our version of GIRM 48 (as quoted by presbyter above).

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by HallamPhil »

This year I agreed to my Dean's request to re-write the Sunday morning prayers for Advent so that they closely followed the antiphons in the black book. Previously I had adopted a more seasonal approach as exemplified by settings I'd experienced in Paris. Thus the congregation were enabled to be come familiar with more manageable song-friendly antiphon texts. The result was interesting from a composer point of view but completely useless in terms of liturgy attempting to involve others for much the same reasons as presbyter cites above.

This Advent was one of bemused expectation!

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by John Ainslie »

It occurred to me some time ago that some attempt should be made to make the antiphons of the missal, the Graduale Romanum and the Graduale Simplex available for composers to use. I have therefore compiled, with the blessing of both the Liturgy Office and the Department for Christian Life and Worship of the Bishops' Conference of England & Wales, a compendium of such antiphons. Here is a draft sample.

ProcessionalSample.pdf


The missal texts (noted M) are from the 2008 ICEL edition and are therefore not currently approved for liturgical use for reasons with which readers will be familiar. Texts marked with an asterisk * are new translations of texts not found in the missal, e.g. Offertory antiphons - for these the ancient responsorial form has been restored. The non-missal texts have not yet been formally approved for use by the Department, but it is expected that they will be, and will then form the corpus of antiphons referred to by GIRM 48. Hopefully, the official status of the contents can be cleared up before the presentation of the Processional at the March composers' seminars.

Southern Comfort has pointed out quite correctly that the antiphons as found in the Paul VI missal were not intended for singing - at least by the editors of the said missal (see Bugnini's documentation) - since it was expected that new songs for the Entrance and Communion would be developed. Nevertheless, the compilers of the pre-1998 ICEL translation evidently did not agree, and instead provided the antiphons with psalms with the obvious intention of sung usage.

As a matter of practical interest, I have set and used an edited version of one of the Sunday Entrance antiphons for two successive Sundays in Advent in my parish, as also one of the Communion antiphons, and they worked well.
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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by HallamPhil »

I have been singing the praises of the 1998 Antiphonal also and asked Bishop Arthur Roche at the last Summer School whether the very useful 1998 resource of antiphon with psalm verses cited would be something he might consider. His reply, that he was unaware of any work being done in this area, is curious.

I will look forward to seeing the final Antiphonal or Processional but it does strike me that the inclusion of the texts of psalm verses, which (in the 1998 version) I had presumed to have been selected for their appropriateness, would be advantageous.However I suppose there will be difficulties in achieving this until we have an agreed texts for the psalms.

Pardon me if my lack of training in the benausics of all this leads me to presume so much!

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by HallamPhil »

I should have added ... thanks, John!

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by JW »

Frankly, I can see most parishes staying with hymns for Entrance and Communion (some of which are loosely based on psalms/scripture.....). Unless something can be repeated week after week for a few months, folk are reluctant to sing new settings and will go on asking why we don't sing Faith of our Fathers any more and why some bloke or gal called a cantor has to show off in front of everyone. We have a fascinating few years ahead of us as the new translations bed in!
JW

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by presbyter »

HallamPhil wrote:Pardon me if my lack of training in the benausics of all this leads me to presume so much!


Pardon me too if I don't know what you mean by benausics. Help!

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by presbyter »

musicus wrote: One of the advertised contributors would like to know what our hopes and expectations of the sessions might be, so please post your thoughts here.


OK - well in regard to antiphons and psalms for the entrance - whatever texts arise - I want to be offered the fruits of greater creativity and imagination than - for example - what, in my opinion, is a collection of utilitarian dullness, tediousness and stultifying, dreary, formulaic repetitiveness - Entrance Antiphons for the Church Year - pub Mayhew 2004. This collection, in my opinion, is naught but hack work - even if it does attempt to facilitate the assembly's participation through instantly singable short tunes. (But then I could also level the same criticism at some of the musical content of Psallite)

The Missal Entrance Antiphon texts could be seen as model texts to be adapted/attenuated for singing. The antiphons of the Simple Gradual (in non-ICEL translation) are available to us. The Psallite approach to texts is commendable and, I think, should be explored.

BUT

the last thing I want to hear/take part in, at the Entrance and at the Communion procession is another Responsorial Psalm. As John Ainslie has pointed out elsewhere in another thread - at the Entrance and at Communion, it's the Antiphon that matters most - at the Gradual, it's the Psalm.

Let me just lob this truly pastoral concern at the seminar leaders - from a recent deanery meeting. A Nigerian colleague expressed his alarm at the way in which many, many African Catholic immigrants leave the Church for Pentecostal worship over here - because our liturgy is just so DULL.

So let's have music that truly serves the spirit and the meaning of the new liturgical texts - so that these texts can be truly brought alive in song (whatever their mood) - and become heartfelt prayer. We're aiming for full, conscious, active - heartfelt! - participation - noble simplicity - and a sign of the heart's joy - aren't we? Let's have those in this seminar, please.

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by presbyter »

And for the sake of the Kingdom - let's not have an approach to liturgy dominated by the arty-farty, gin and lace brigade.

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by HallamPhil »

I'd welcome an introduction to any brigade offering gin!

As to benausics ... in my final years of teaching at St Ignatius College, Enfield I had a fine Headteacher by the name of Michael Blundell. He tended to use the word in a context which implied its meaning as being 'the minutiae' or 'the troublesome detail'. I have sought its definition in dictionaries to no avail and must assume that it has been invented. I have since used it with various audiences who have greeted it with seeming admiration for my presumed greater vocabulary. I am delighted that you, presbyter, have adopted simalr stance! Happy Christmas to you ... gin or red wine?

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Re: The New Texts: A Seminar for Composers

Post by mcb »

banausic, adj. Mundane, functional.

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