Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

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Southern Comfort
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by Southern Comfort »

oopsorganist wrote:I liked that you posted that quote Southern Comfort. I understood it to mean that all forms were valid and to be used...... it seemed so wise....


I don't interpret it that way at all. He says very clearly that the Tridentine Rite is a minority interest ("a small group") that should be respected (I have no problem with that), but he also says that the Missa Normativa is the norm for most of us (and I certainly have no problem with that). I can't see any reference here to all forms being valid - Sarum? Bangor? etc? - just a statement that most of us use what we use (and that's fine) and a splinter group want to use something else (so let them). As others have noted, it's a million miles away from the Pope wanting every parish to have a Tridentine Mass. Quite obviously he doesn't.

oopsorganist
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by oopsorganist »

Yes I see what you mean, I shoudl have said both and not all, I was just too lazy to go back and read the quote again to think about it today as well as yesterday. So that being a splinter group people who like teh Tridentine Rite should be accomodated because as good first aid knows, you should never pull a splinter out, it may do more harm than good, and will disappear on its own eventually. Something about mentions of Latin and Islam in the same thread does something to my brain. For sure we are expected to understand even in the most sacred and traditional parts of the Mass, otherwise not much use for Free Will.
uh oh!

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Benevenio
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by Benevenio »

Southern Comfort wrote:I can't see any reference here to all forms being valid - Sarum? Bangor? etc?

Sarum was always a use of the Roman Rite, never a rite in the sense for example that the Ambrosian Rite is. And there are examples of its use, even in the Roman Church today - for example, Archbishop Conti in 2000 at the Chapel of King's College, Aberdeen, on the quincentenary of the foundation of the chapel - so pre-Reformation. I suspect that this should be considered extra-extraordinary though :wink:
Benevenio.

alan29
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by alan29 »

I know which I think - IMHO B16 wants the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to be as rare as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.


Got to agree with that one. Extraordinary ministers are only to be used when there is a shortage of ordinary (ordained) ministers. Anything else is an abuse of the provision. So it follows that the extraordinary form is only to be used when there is a shortage of the orinary form?
Alan

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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by dmu3tem »

I hope people will not mind if I just focus on the music associated with Latin and English texts of the Mass.

I think it is a great pity that the English Catholic music world is in danger of splitting into two intransigent camps which are far two crudely presented as the 'Happy Clappy Folk Mass crowd' by people such as Damian Thompson vs those who want a reversion to the diet of nothing but plainchant and renaissance polyphony that is erroneously supposed to have pertained before Vatican II.

My response to this potential scenario is really threefold:

(1) It is imperative that we really study what sort of music was really performed before Vatican II in this country - in practice as well as in theory. Only then can we really appreciate what we might be going back to. I will supply details of my doctoral thesis on the subject and the forthcoming book coming out from Ashgate for those who wish. I believe that one or two other scholars/researchers have now started exploring this field as well. Note though that present day Catholic music traditionalists are not always aiming to replicate this; so it is equally important to identify in what ways, while appearing to restore something that existed before, they are really developing something new. For example, some advocate the performance of Viennese Classical Masses, which were frowned upon at least from Pius X's motu Proprio 'Tra Le Sollectudini' of 1903 onwards. You could therefore get a mix of plainchant, renaissance polyphony and later styles running up to 1962 all in the same service.

(2) We need to get away from the obsession some people seem to have with a uniform centralisation of practice. True, it can be inspiring to feel that what we do in one parish is being replicated all across the Catholic world, and this is a justification often put forward in support of plainchant. However, it can all too readily result in pale anodyne imitations of an imagined original. We need to balance a common repertoire with the promotion of individual character in each particular parish/community. Since, by definition, they are likely to all vary in character, we need to promote a variety of musical forms - ancient as well as new - that local people can take pride in and identify with as 'their' music. Such an approach helps ensure the continued developing vitality of a Catholic musical tradition. In such circumstances if people do not like what goes on in one place, they can then 'vote with their wheels' and try somewhere else. Last Sunday I met a couple who came to my rather 'straight' up and down musical selection built around a digital organ, unison choir, a cornet and a violin with an original through composed responsorial psalm by myself. The point is that these people the week before had been to a neighbouring church where a 1970s folk group performed. Note that they liked both types of service and appreciated the fact that they could 'ring the changes' between different churches.

(3) The most important point though is that arguments between traditionalists vs moderns divert attention from the far more pressing concern that should exercise church musicians, namely the growing shortage of musicians of all types combined with a gradual erosion of technical competance among those we do have. What we should be doing is trying to attract musicians of all types from as many different sources as possible. Having got them we should then actively look at ways to train them up properly and prevent the current wastage one so often sees of young musicians drifting away from church music to play more demanding styles in youth orchestras etc. If we pursue such objectives it follows that we cannot afford to pick and choose between the musicians we are likely to have on offer. If devotees of plainchant come forward we should seek to use them, if 'hanging loose' folk guitarists appear we should welcome them as well. In particular we should make full use of instrumentalists and not just instinctively assume that church music need just be about singers and organs. Can this be done? On paper it does not seem easy; but it is possible if (a) we encourage local variety in different centres (b) if necessary we continue to offer different styles of music at different services or even within the same service (c) we think creatively about how to combine disparate resources. I think it a great pity that the experimental approach associated with Taize and St Thomas More styles combining cantors, choirs, keyboards and instruments no longer seems (apart from the Psallite publication) from the 1990s to have been developing any further. Note that the reasons for this failure are largely technical musical ones. For example I think the habit of writing all purpose instrumental parts is a mistake - however convenient it may be for publishers anxious to reach as wide a market as before. We should go back to writing/arranging for the specific instruments and musicians we have in front of us. Moreover, we still appear to have given precious little thought about how to combine such instruments with organs, especially pipe organs. This demands a rethink about our choice of stops in a manner different from what was - and still is - taught to many organists.

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alan29
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by alan29 »

An excellent post. If I may reflect on it -
Para 1) There is the danger of imagining a golden age when all was exquisitely performes plainsong and Palestrina. That was very rare because there alway has been a shortage of organists and singers with more than the most rudimentary skills. Anyone remember Tozer et al? The fruits of research needs to be more widely disseminated. It might enduce a little realism when backward facing rose tinted specs are donned.
Para 2) I think that diversity has not often been seen as desirable in Catholic circles. The retention of Latin into my teen years was usually justified on the grounds that it promoted uniformity. There are Vatican cardinals who refer to a la carte catholicism (in the moral sphere, admittedly.) That may be partly why people of my generation are so dismayed at the recent Indult - whither catholic uniformity? However catholics have always migrated from parish to parish because they didn't get on with "father." In terms of present practise, I experience great diversity, with the same celebration containing all sorts of music accompanied by all sorts of instruments.
Para3) The shortage of musicians is far from new. I grew up in a deanery in the south of 6 urban parishes. Between them they could only muster one organist - by which I mean someone whose playing helped rather than hindered the singing. The accelerated decline in musicians is only apparent, not real I think. The proportion of musicians to church-goers is probably much the same, but of course the number of church-goers has plummeted. I am totally with you that we need to learn to be much more flexible and musicianly when it comes to using the people and instruments that we have. I hope to goodness that as a first stage organists have persuaded their parishes to invest in a piano so they have a suitable instrument to play when playing with others.

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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by asb »

alan29 wrote:An excellent post. If I may reflect on it -
Para 1) There is the danger of imagining a golden age when all was exquisitely performes plainsong and Palestrina. That was very rare because there alway has been a shortage of organists and singers with more than the most rudimentary skills. Anyone remember Tozer et al? The fruits of research needs to be more widely disseminated. It might enduce a little realism when backward facing rose tinted specs are donned.
Para 2) I think that diversity has not often been seen as desirable in Catholic circles. The retention of Latin into my teen years was usually justified on the grounds that it promoted uniformity. There are Vatican cardinals who refer to a la carte catholicism (in the moral sphere, admittedly.) That may be partly why people of my generation are so dismayed at the recent Indult - whither catholic uniformity? However catholics have always migrated from parish to parish because they didn't get on with "father." In terms of present practise, I experience great diversity, with the same celebration containing all sorts of music accompanied by all sorts of instruments.
Para3) The shortage of musicians is far from new. I grew up in a deanery in the south of 6 urban parishes. Between them they could only muster one organist - by which I mean someone whose playing helped rather than hindered the singing. The accelerated decline in musicians is only apparent, not real I think. The proportion of musicians to church-goers is probably much the same, but of course the number of church-goers has plummeted. I am totally with you that we need to learn to be much more flexible and musicianly when it comes to using the people and instruments that we have. I hope to goodness that as a first stage organists have persuaded their parishes to invest in a piano so they have a suitable instrument to play when playing with others.


Sorry to keep banging on about our new Viscount Prestige 40, but it has some pretty good "orchestral" voices including a not-half-bad piano.

Gabriel
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by Gabriel »

docmattc wrote earlier commenting on the Holy Father's response to a question on Extraordinary Form:
Interesting that he seems to contradict (or at the very least, fail to endorse) his own views as reportedly put forward by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos : "The Pope wants the traditional Latin Mass offered in every Catholic parish in the world". Looks like not all the curia are singing from the same Graduale!


Well it seems copies of the new Graduale have been handed out:
Cardinal Castrillon, whose commission works with communities using the old rite, said his office continues to receive letters requesting the Tridentine rite be used not just at one Mass a week but at every Mass, and that such Masses be available not just at one church in a town but at every church.

He said he even got a letter demanding that Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major be dedicated exclusively to the celebration of the Tridentine-rite Mass.

Such people, he said, are "insatiable, incredible."

"They do not know the harm they are doing," Cardinal Castrillon said, adding that when the Vatican does not accept their demands immediately "they go directly to the Internet" and post their complaints.


Full story here: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0804705.htm
Another blog

Copernicus
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by Copernicus »

Thanks Gabriel, that's heart-warming! Next, the Cardinal will be required to explain, very slowly and in words of one syllable, that the hermeneutic of rupture is mainly a traditionalists' foible.

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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by nazard »

Thank you Thomas and Alan. I think you have made many good points. For the record, my memory of pre vatican II reforms in the midlands were simply that there was very little music at mass at all. Mass VIII occasionally, Veni Sancte Spiritus at Whitsun, Adeste Fideles at Christmas, and that was about it. Organs, where provided, were largely ornamental, and where played you soon wished they weren't.

There is a lot of music now, but there is a lot of dreadful playing about. Around where I live now there is only one "folk" guitarist I find good enough to warrant listening to. Many of the organists are not a lot better. An organ is not a piano, in spite of the similarity in the basic operator interface. No matter how good a pianist you are, you have to take converting to the organ very seriously.

That is enough of a rant. I suggest that a small amount of plainsong has its uses. It is relatively simple, dignified music which can help to balance a parishes music programme and, were it widely adopted, it would give a little uniformity which would make visitors feel a little more at home. Overdone, it may be stifling. I suggest the following:

Mass VIII occasionally
Mass XVIII in Lent and Advent. There is a good english adaptation around, I think by New Hall Convent.
Vidi aquam and Asperges me
Victimae Paschali laudes
Veni Sancte Spriritus
Adeste Fideles
In paradisum for funerals

This will not satisfy the out and out trads and will infuriate the hippies, but I think is a good compromise.

Shoot me down in flames then! Please form an orderly queue...

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mcb
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by mcb »

nazard wrote:Mass VIII occasionally
Mass XVIII in Lent and Advent. There is a good english adaptation around, I think by New Hall Convent.
Vidi aquam and Asperges me
Victimae Paschali laudes
Veni Sancte Spriritus
Adeste Fideles
In paradisum for funerals

Thanks, Nazard, that's a nice list. I'd add a few:

  • Mass XI - musically it's got more going for it than Mass VIII. Has a Lenten feel, even if it's intended for ordinary Sundays, iirc.
  • Pange Lingua (& Tantum Ergo) for the procession on Maundy Thursday
  • Veni Creator Spiritus - for Confirmations
  • Alleluia - the simple Easter one, and the mode 2 setting that comes up, e.g. on the feast of Ss. Peter & Paul (it's in Cantate)
Plus the occasional choir-only contribution? We do Christus Factus Est sometimes on Good Friday, and we've done some of the O Antiphons on Sundays in Advent.

For me the secret of preventing these from being a turn-off isn't using them sparingly, but keeping a good mix of different kinds of music. For me it doesn't jar to do Dan Schutte's Behold the Wood of the Cross in the same service as Christus Factus Est, or Veni Creator Spiritus closely followed by Spirit of the Living God.

The effect is to dispel any sense of alienation that some might feel because of the unfamiliarity of the chant (sad to say), and perhaps to persuade them that chant is for the rest of us too, so to speak. Perhaps it also helps to communicate the idea that The Mass Is Not A Concert, by deliberately controverting the idea that music in the Mass needs an overall aesthetic homogeneity.

OK, folks, shoot me down in flames too. :-)

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Gwyn
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by Gwyn »

For me the secret of preventing these from being a turn-off isn't using them sparingly, but keeping a good mix of different kinds of music. For me it doesn't jar to do Dan Schutte's Behold the Wood of the Cross in the same service as Christus Factus Est, or Veni Creator Spiritus closely followed by Spirit of the Living God.

The effect is to dispel any sense of alienation that some might feel because of the unfamiliarity of the chant (sad to say), and perhaps to persuade them that chant is for the rest of us too, so to speak. Perhaps it also helps to communicate the idea that The Mass Is Not A Concert, by deliberately controverting the idea that music in the Mass needs an overall aesthetic homogeneity.

Music to my ears MCB. I suspect that if anyone attempts to shoot you down they'll simply be continuing to miss the target. :lol:

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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by Southern Comfort »

mcb wrote:
nazard wrote:For me it doesn't jar to do Dan Schutte's Behold the Wood of the Cross in the same service as Christus Factus Est, or Veni Creator Spiritus closely followed by Spirit of the Living God.


I was with you up to the last title. For me, the essence of good liturgical music is the balance between head and heart. Spirit of the living God doesn't do that. It's individualistic, sentimental, even maudlin, and was not designed for liturgy as such but for prayer groups. So, yes to the first three, and yes if you'd said Chris Walker's "Send forth your Spirit, O Lord" or in fact almost any other piece of genuine liturgical music on the theme of the Spirit. We need to be clearer about what is music that is closely linked to the liturgy (to paraphrase SC 112). Spirit of the living God simply isn't. It's a latter-day equivalent of a devotional effusion that has been grafted on to the liturgy by some.

There's a whole world of difference between religious, sacred, church, liturgical and ritual music, to use the five categories delineated by Universa Laus. Only the last two really deserve to be used in our rites. I suppose I'm pleading for greater discernment.

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mcb
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by mcb »

Southern Comfort wrote: I suppose I'm pleading for greater discernment.

No, I'd say you're being over prescriptive. If you take the US bishops' well-known taxonomy of 'judgements' as to the functions of music in the liturgy - musical, liturgical and pastoral - I'd suggest it's important not to let any one of these drive out the others. In this case, even if the 'liturgical' judgement tells you it's not intrinsic to the ritual of the Mass or the order of Confirmation, the 'pastoral' judgement ought to allow you to say that it's an effective vehicle for authentic prayer, and therefore may have a role to play in the liturgy. Like I've said to you before, it's important to recognise that there are multiple aims, and multiple ways of achieving them.

I'm curious to know the specifics of your objection to Spirit of the Living God. I agree entirely: it's maudlin and sentimental. But, let's be honest, these characteristics are not unknown in Catholic liturgical music. ;-) For many people they are not an obstacle to prayer; for some, even an aid. It doesn't do to sweep away aids to prayer of this kind - the result is alienation and incomprehension.

And what does 'individualistic' mean in this context - that it's in the first person singular instead of the plural? I'm not sure what else distinguishes this song from imple superna gratia quae tu creasti pectora, other than the sentimental way it's expressed. There are plenty of places in the liturgy where we speak as individuals - I confess, Lord, I am not worthy. Or is it only penitence that's allowed to be personal? :-)
Last edited by mcb on Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

docmattc
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Re: Not sure about all this 'traditionalism'.

Post by docmattc »

mcb wrote:There are plenty of places in the liturgy where we speak as individuals - I confess, Lord, I am not worthy. Or is it only penitience that's allowed to be personal? :-)

And even the new translation of the Creed, but lets not get bogged down on the appropriateness or otherwise of a single piece of music, which was suggested for illustrative purposes anyway- or at least you can take that view if you really object to it :wink: One man's (=parish's) meat and all that.

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