Wednesday, February 07, 2007

following the texts...

My choir just doesn't get it. And I barely do, so I can hardly explain it to them.
I know that we MUST use the texts as translated by the bishops committee of whatever. The Approved Texts. Therefore, we cannot use that really nice setting of Marty Haugen's Psalm 103 which everyone loves. So when I bust out the new one that we'll be singing in a week and a half, everyone is gonna go, "uh, well, this is nice...but what about the one that we used to use...?" And the only explanations I can give are, "Well, Fr. says we have to use this translation, and eh, he's my boss..." (which I do not want to have to say,) or "Well, this is the only approved text!" but I can't really explain WHY we have to use the approved texts! I mean, it's all Psalm 103!
Like, I know why. But I don't know how to explain it. If we don't do what the Church teaches, then why are we Catholic? Or I can see the slippery slope down to priests who change all the words to Mass, and I've been to some that I even wondered if I had just eaten the Eucharist...
But I don't think that those are very good reasons. agh.
My choir likes me. I don't want to pull the, "because I'm the MD here" card, either. But this topic has come up before, ("Why can't we sing this particular setting of the Great Amen that adds words to it?)
sigh. any thoughts?


Gavin said...

The way I explain it is "they're the ones that wrote the Mass, not me." Seems to me that if the Vatican 2 (and Trent) Council Fathers want to write a liturgy, they are the ones to say what gets done for it.

Actually I have the opposite problem. One of the members of my choir censors everything I pick to make sure it doesn't have gender-neutral language :P I used a psalm that replaced "he" with "God", and I heard it from her! I actually think that it IS legal to use non-approved psalm translations. I think it would fit under "another psalm", but still I think Haugen's settings are OK to use. The GIRM even gives the OK to psalm paraphrases, so I guess you can defend a faulty translation under that.

As for my own program, I stopped using Haugen/Haas psalms, as much as I do like them. I just figure that music isn't good enough to merit defending :P

I heard that Grail psalm translations actually ARE legal in the US? I know it's not NAB. I don't know what you've heard on that front.

Brian Michael Page said...

Kudos for not wanting to pull the "I'm the music director" trick. People will pass you as arrogant in a heartbeat no matter how right you are. However, they should be aware that it is your responsibility to ensure that the Mass is done according to the Church's directives and not the select choral or parochial big-wigs.

Excellent blog, btw. And thanks for linking us.

Brian Michael Page said...

Correct, Gavin.
Grail Psalmody is legit in the US. In fact, Grail and NAB only, unless ya wantsta do the Gradual in Latin from the Graduale Romanum (which is also legit).

Mara Joy said...

wait, now I'm even more confused. Is the NAB translations the ones that I would find on the USCCB website and that I assume is the ones my priest wants me to use? Then what's the "Grail" translations? the "old" ones that Haugen/Haas used?

Brian Michael Page said...

The Grail translation is the one used in the Worship II and Worship III hymnals. The psalm tones to these are written by Pere Joseph Gelineau. The antiphons are written by various GIA composers - most of them very well-written.