Traditional or Contemporary?

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alan29
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by alan29 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:30 am

nazard wrote:
alan29 wrote:I am trying to get my head around the notion that having a special group of musicians performing at the assembly is leaving peoples' egos out of the equation.

This is a very general criticism which can be levelled at anyone doing anything for the parish. Is the chap up that shaky ladder trying to fix the lights just on an ego trip to show everyone what a good electrician he is?


However, when it comes to musicians there is the element of performing in public - and that always involves demonstrating skill before the assembly etc (unless you are a Trappist who used to take especial care not to perform the chant too well in order to eliminate pride.)
I think you would have to have led a blessed existence to have spent time involved with church musicians and not come across egos - choosing the repertoire is the least of it.

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Gwyn
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by Gwyn » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:11 am

Don't change your password. I changed my password three months back, I was locked out of the forum after that until last week-end, failing miserably to make contact with forum admin via the forum page because you need to be logged in to contact him. The withdrawal symptoms were hideous and long-lasting. It was only through the intercessions of a seasoned forum member that got me back in.

I urge caution.
:lol: I can laugh now, Deo Gratias.

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contrabordun
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by contrabordun » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:14 pm

IncenseTom wrote:All I am arguing in favour of, is a situation where no person or persons is/are able to exercise considerable influence over the music and seriously effect in any direction the experience of those at Mass,
Sorry, you're not. You're merely arguing that you should be the one exercising that influence.

I note that you didn't respond to my earlier invitation to substantiate your bald assertion that chant is "the ideal towards which we should all be striving". I also note that you desire music that is
as closely wedded to the liturgical action as possible, and which is promoted by the church in her wisdom.
But the church, in her wisdom, has chosen in the GIRM to publish multiple options for the music sung at various points. It follows that there will be diversity of repertoire. Your premise is that the GIRM is wrong to provide those multiple options, or that parish musicians are wrong to use them, which puts you in the uncomfortable position of denying the church's wisdom where you disagree with it while relying on it where it happens to be congenial to your taste.
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by JW » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:54 pm

Wow, Nick's church serves pints after Mass? Has the demon drink been absolved? :lol:
JW

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Gwyn
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by Gwyn » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:56 pm

Welcome to the forum Mr Stoat.

IncenseTom
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by IncenseTom » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:26 pm

These qualities [sacredness, beauty, universality] are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently, the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity.

On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.

Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.

St Pius X, Tra le sollecitudini paragraph 3

The musical tradition of the universal church is of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part or integral part of the solemn liturgy

Constitution on the sacred liturgy, 112

The church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy; therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services

ibid, 116

Down the centuries, Gregorian chant has accompanied liturgical celebrations in the Roman rite, has nourished men's faith and has fostered their piety, while in the process achieving an artistic perfection which the Church rightly considers a patrimony of inestimable value and which the Council recognized as 'the chant especially suited to the Roman liturgy.'…Those who are trying to improve the quality of congregational singing cannot refuse to Gregorian chant the place which is due to it.

Pope Paul VI (voluntati obsequens)

"Among the musical expressions that correspond best with the qualities demanded by the notion of sacred music, especially liturgical music, Gregorian chant has a special place. Saint Pius X pointed out that the Church had 'inherited it from the Fathers of the Church', that she has 'jealously guarded [it] for centuries in her liturgical codices' and still 'proposes it to the faithful' as her own, considering it 'the supreme model of sacred music'.

Pope John Paul II (The Fitting role of Sacred Music in the Holy Liturgy)

An authentic updating of sacred music can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.

Pope Benedict XVI (Speaking in the Sistine Chapel following a tribute concert to Dominico Bartolucci, June 24, 2006)

This collection of quotes says the church treasures chant. Yes, multiple options are available in GIRM, however, I can find no quotes like the ones above which speak so highly of anything in Laudate, the Celebration Hymnal for Everyone, Hymns Old and New, or any other more 'mainstream' UK catholic music collection, even though all of this music is approved and satisfies the requirements of GIRM. The only 2 specific collections GIRM names are the Graduale Romanum and the Graduale Simplex. I therefore feel that GIRM places special importance on these collections. Of course, parish musicians are free to choose other music, but as I have mentioned (several times now), this can lead to people skewing the liturgy and give it one particular slant or another and avoiding chant all together if it doesn't suit them. This should not happen. I think the church has been clear that chant ought to be always included.I am arguing for a move towards using more music which the church holds in this high regard, and less music which is chosen by individuals and runs the risk of creating wildly differing liturgies in different parishes, with different camps and followings, and certain Music Director's hailed for this or that, when the focus should always be on the Lord. This is what chant allows us to do. That is what I meant by "chant as the ideal", and the "church promoting chant in her wisdom" (even though other options are available) when referring to GIRM.

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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by alan29 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:17 pm

The thing is, people can always find quotes to back their own point of view. And the swapping of texts becomes a sterile game of top trumps.
I "get" that your tastes run more to the traditional. Thats fine. Others tastes run in other directions. Happily for all the church is catholic and not narrowly prescriptive. Actually I have just realised that some are far from happy about that. :) Buts thats the Church as it is.
BTW I am not equating the vatican with the church, here.

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Nick Baty
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by Nick Baty » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:37 pm

IncenseTom wrote:I can find no quotes like the ones above which speak so highly of anything in Laudate
But Laudate includes chant so these quotes are referring to this collection as well as so many others. All I would ask, Tom, is how do you get your assembly to a) sing all this chant and b) understand the Latin, given that you're referring to propers rather than more regular texts.

I still don't quite understand your earlier rather negative comments about the SSG which has, for nearly 85 years, worked to develop music in parish liturgy. As you appear to know something about the chant you will be aware of Archbishop Downey’s praise for the SSG when, in 1933, he wrote that many people had been converted to the form “by the simple lessons and practical demonstrations given by members of the Society of St Gregory.”

I see you have quoted Pius X’s Tra le sollecitudini. This Motu proprio also says:
The Church has always recognised and encouraged all progress in the arts, and has always admitted to the service of her functions whatever is good and beautiful in their development during different centuries, as long as they do not offend against the laws of her liturgy. Hence more modern music may also be allowed in churches, since it has produced compositions good and serious and dignified enough to be worthy of liturgical use.
There again, this document bans women singers, pianos and drums. And, according to John Ainslie (English Liturgical Music before Vatican II) most parishes ignored the instruction anyway.

Following your reference to Sacrosanctum Concilium, don’t forget that this document also requests that the assembly sings that "which is rightly theirs". So if you’re singing a Gregorian Sanctus it must be sung by all.

It’s worth reading Sands on the functionality of chant: “The Sanctus XVI from Liber Usualis may once have been taken as acclamatory. But subsequent centuries and generations have eroded its power to be taken as such today, and in a different cultural milieu it is no longer received as being a suitable expression of acclamatory form.”

And Huijbers (whose music is so influenced by chant) stresses in The Performing Audience that liturgical music is not performed for an audience but with that audience and this is “particularly apparent in cases where it is accompanying an action or a movement (the Entrance, the sharing of bread and wine etc).”

I could go on and on – and always will when we're discussing the assembly singing “that which is rightly theirs”.

It is not statements by popes, bishops, liturgists and academics which make one particular form of music suitable for the liturgy. It is the functionality of that music and the assembly’s response to it which make it work.

Am listening to the Gloria from Missa Luba as I write.

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Nick Baty
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by Nick Baty » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:43 pm

JW wrote:Wow, Nick's church serves pints after Mass? Has the demon drink been absolved? :lol:
We certainly do – although I prefer a quick glass of vino tinto myself. Our porch serves both church and social club. As you leave the former, turn left for the latter!

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contrabordun
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by contrabordun » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:18 pm

Nick Baty wrote:There again, this document bans women singers, pianos and drums

Not forgetting 19th century Italian theatre music, anything at all in the vernacular and certain very specific offences in relation to setting the verses of the Tantum Ergo.

OTOH, the recommendation that singers should be hidden behind gratings has much to commend it.
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by IncenseTom » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:28 pm

The questions of getting the assembly to become more familiar with chant is indeed an issue and in my parish we are only taking baby steps. That is why I would welcome support from the SSG in helping to promote and teach chant, as it did in 1933. I always thought I was born in the wrong decade - I didn't quite realise I was that far out!

I do feel slightly frustrated with what I am currently gaining from the SSG, although not as frustrated as the rest of the SSG are perhaps currently feeling with me!
I often feel that in the development of music, we can too easily do one new thing after another when there is a wealth of stuff which is left alone, and I want to unlock all of that. I am perhaps more suspicious of this as there are a number of composers who post here and lead events for the SSG and I have a sense, rightly or wrongly, that a lot of the work of the SSG is influenced by these composers and their output, including the promotion of this output.

If I have deeply offended anyone with this comment, I will of course apologise.

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Nick Baty
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by Nick Baty » Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:37 pm

IncenseTom wrote:The questions of getting the assembly to become more familiar with chant is indeed an issue and in my parish we are only taking baby steps. That is why I would welcome support from the SSG in helping to promote and teach chant, as it did in 1933.
Leading chant is no different to leading any other genre. You say "Good morning" to the congregation, sing a phrase and invite them to repeat it. If you've done it well, they will sing up when the time comes – if not, there will be silence.

As for composers/publishers promoting their music – be they SSG members or not – the answer is simple, if you don't like it, don't buy it. And does it really matter if a composer who has written a serviceable communion processional is a member of the SSG or the NNPM or neither?

A few parishes like some of my stuff. They liked it when I was a member of the SSG and they still like it now. Your views on the SSG seem a tad strange.

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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by musicus » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:11 pm

Mr Stoat wrote:Oh - and how do I change my password please? Can't seem to find anything in my "User Control Panel"............ /

Welcome to the forum, Mr Stoat!

You can change your password via User Control Panel --> Profile --> Edit Account Settings
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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by Alan » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:45 pm

IncenseTom wrote:... I do feel slightly frustrated with what I am currently gaining from the SSG, although not as frustrated as the rest of the SSG are perhaps currently feeling with me!

I suggest you have a conversation with your SSG regional rep about your first point; as to your second, well, I was a member for 15 years or so before I was aware that anyone had even noticed me! Don't confuse the handful who post here with the SSG's full membership.

He also wrote:I often feel that in the development of music, we can too easily do one new thing after another when there is a wealth of stuff which is left alone, and I want to unlock all of that.

Yes, this is a temptation we all have to resist. You are fortunate in having (I pray) many more years in which to unlock everything.

Then he wrote:I am perhaps more suspicious of this as there are a number of composers who post here and lead events for the SSG and I have a sense, rightly or wrongly, that a lot of the work of the SSG is influenced by these composers and their output, including the promotion of this output...

SSG composer-members have always been encouraged to make their work known, and the Society has been the richer for it. (The composers haven't, by the way; partly because we are all very aware of lines that must not be crossed, but mostly because there isn't any real money to be made from composing liturgical music in the UK.) And anyway, it's the Trustees who run the SSG and set its agenda (increasingly proactively I am happy to note), not a small number of composers.

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Re: Traditional or Contemporary?

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:29 am

IncenseTom wrote:The issue of responding to people's taste has, I would argue, gone too far. For several months I have felt that I go for a coffee after Mass for everyone to give me their 'feedback' on what sort of a job I've done. I would love to be able to silence every single one of them, on all side's of the taste spectrum, by saying, "we're singing what we're supposed to be singing, and your personal taste doesn't come into it, and neither does mine".


Is this the real reason for the thread? Reading between these lines, IT is a 25-year-old who has been trying to get his people to sing chant, but his people don't like it (and tell him so over coffee) and maybe his priest doesn't like it either (because his people tell him over coffee too). IT wants to be able to tell them that they're all wrong and that the Church has declared that chant is the best and most authentic music and therefore must be used in preference to everything else.

The problem is, some of the other contributors to this thread don't agree with him, and have tried explaining to him that the Church doesn't actually say those things. What the Church says is that chant is specially suited to its liturgy and should be given pride of place, other things being equal — but, often enough, other things are not equal. The same paragraph (SC 116) also says that other kinds of music are by no means excluded if they are liturgically appropriate and if they promote active participation by the people (SC 30). Deciding whether music is liturgically appropriate requires the three judgements I mentioned further up this thread; the third of those judgements (the pastoral) will include the discernment as to whether a piece of music promotes the active participation of the people.

I respectfully suggest to IT that he listen rather carefully to the comments he gets over coffee and tries introducing just a very small amount of easy chant at a time, rather than the whole nine yards, and contents himself with other music of quality for the rest. He is more likely to succeed by such a strategy than by telling people what is good for them.

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