International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

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High Peak
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by High Peak » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:40 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:...........high standards in whatever idiom you are using, and good formation for all.


Absolutely. And in my experience in several ministries of the Church, we far too often do this very poorly on a parish level!!

dmu3tem
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by dmu3tem » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:51 am

I have glanced through all the responses to this, but not very thoroughly, so I hope what I say does not duplicate what has already been put down elsewhere.

As far as I can tell the document is carefully written in generalist language to avoid the accusation that the authors wish -at heart - to return to something akin to the situation pre-Vatican II. It also looks very similar to a petition intended for the Pope that I saw about 2 months ago that very clearly aimed to do just that. In any case, whenever I see quotations from the Tra Le Sollicitudini of Pius X, especially ones extolling Gregorian chant above all other forms of church music, I immediately suspect that that is the unspoken intention of the authors.

The trouble is that it is true that the text of Sacrosanctum Consilium is a much more conservative document than 'liberals' would like, given that it continued to endorse Gregorian Chant as the highest form of church music and quoted Tra Le Sollicitudini with approval. So the conservative claim that 'liberals' hijacked the document to promote their own agenda has a lot of truth in it.

Nonetheless I, for one, definitely do not want to go back to the situation before Vatican II. Today, lots have people seem to view it through rose-tinted spectacles. However in Britain there were some pretty appalling performances of gregorian chant and other music (much of it pretty ordinary and some downright sentimental - I have myself seen hundreds of such scores) and I found the execution Tridentine Latin liturgy fundamentally boring and not very comprehensible.

Dealing with some particular points:

[1] I do not think we should automatically assume that Gregorian Chant is necessarily the highest form of church music
[2] I think there is a good deal of variation in the quality of musical composition and performance in different churches, let alone what occurs in other countries.
[3] In any case the bottom line ought to be the provision of music and liturgy that people on the ground (in local parishes) actually want.
[4] As regards training, the first step is to separate musical from liturgical training. The current emphasis on the latter tends to vitiate efforts to acquire technical musical apptitude.
T.E.Muir

alan29
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by alan29 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:15 pm

"The trouble is that it is true that the text of Sacrosanctum Consilium is a much more conservative document than 'liberals' would like, given that it continued to endorse Gregorian Chant as the highest form of church music and quoted Tra Le Sollicitudini with approval. So the conservative claim that 'liberals' hijacked the document to promote their own agenda has a lot of truth in it."

There are those who see Sac Cons as the end of a process and there are those who see it as the beginning of a process. Thats fine. The church is big enough to welcome both viewpoints. Trouble happens when one camp makes derogatory remarks about the other. We are fortunate in the UK as its is not something that happens too often.
I totally agree with you about turning the clock back. I remember atrocious massacres of the simplest plainsong. Much of it was never designed for congregational singing anyway, and a large proportion is virtuosic in its demands ... and that includes a high proportion of the settings of the ordinary. Of the settings by the likes of Tozer that I heard in my youth ... well a discrete veil seems kind. And I have more than enough massacres of pieces by Palestrina etc in the name of "dignity and decorum."
Re appropriate music. There used to be a thing called inculturation. It seems not to be around so much these days. However there is still the notion of cutting your coat according to your cloth. That is just common sense in my view.

High Peak
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by High Peak » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:51 pm

alan29 wrote:..........there is still the notion of cutting your coat according to your cloth. That is just common sense in my view.


Very much so, but at the same time we must be aspirational in what we do. I get a little concerned when I hear people say that we should give the congregation "want they want". They problem is that there are some who want "Colours of Day" - but I ain't not going to give it them!!

This year, for the first time ever, I am responsible for the music in two of the Triduum liturgies - hitherto I have politely declined due to certain "disagreements" and have, instead, spent the Triduum at Ampleforth. Now, it is no way possible or desirable that I can recreate what I have experienced at Ampleforth for the last few years in my own parish - I have neither the resources necessary within our musicians and singers and, anyway, it would - sadly - alienate many in our parish. But there is plenty that I experienced at Ampleforth that has inspired the sort of things that we will be doing. I dare say that, compared to what has been done in recent years, it is aspirational; but it is very much the first step in what I see as a project to build upon over the next few years, bit by bit.

As that great western philosopher, Dirty Harry, said - a man's got to know his limitations. :)

alan29
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by alan29 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:49 am

Of course you have to be aspirational and continuously self-critical. There is always work to be done and room for improvement. And old things to replace when they get tired.
I think the trick with congregations is to chose stuff that is singable, memorable, at a suitable pitch and with words that provide food for though for adults. Its a tall order, but the stuff is out there. Get it right and they will raise the roof.
Sadly we are saddled with a hymn book. I doubt if we actually use more than 10% of its contents. They are, I think a tremendous waste of money .... but they do save time and give liturgy planners a basic repertoire. But thats a whole other discussion.

High Peak
Posts: 148
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:49 pm
Parish / Diocese: Diocese of Nottingham
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Re: International Declaration on Sacred Music "Cantate Domino"

Post by High Peak » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:21 pm

Now that's got me thinking! Yes, using one hymnal is limiting but I wonder what percentage of it we do use!!

Knowing me I will go and work it out!! :lol:

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