Tuesday, August 07, 2007

post on NLM

This morning, I came across a post on NLM which I keep thinking about. It contained many good points, about things I have been thinking about given the Motu Proprio, especially concerning what to incorporate, and what direction to take a schola in, but I found the comment thread especially to get rather nasty!
As I get to write whatever I want on my own blog, I would like to respond to it.

We are not at a place (as liturgically- and musically-minded Catholics) to make disparaging remarks about any form of chant. (This was pointed out in a post that was made at the same time I made mine, when I was rather fed up with the thread, and the author made his points much better than I made mine, and if I had been able to read his post before I posted mine, I wouldn't have posted mine.)
Anyhow, anyone who is doing anything to encourage vertical spirituality in the Church (the simplicity, sound, feeling, whatever you want to call it, of chant-Gregorian or other-being one of the most unarguable ways to bring this about,) those people ought to be commended. This is not the time to be nitpicking over whether it is less admirable to use a chant that is 300 or 500 instead of 800 years old (seriously, over the 2000 year history of our church, is 300 years all that much?!) or whether a chant is perfectly modal or has evidence of 16th century tonality.
good grief.
my point is just that we ought to be encouraging anyone who is able to use any chant in their church! (I'm not able to use much, and the point of my comment in the thread was that I am jealous of those who are able to claim they are "sick" of hearing Jubilate Deo-because they hear it so much!)
***But really, we must keep in mind-isn't the music of the chant supposed to serve the liturgy? and not vice versa? Shouldn't we be focusing more on the ability of music to lift our souls to God rather than wasting time arguing about its complete purity and authenticity by criticizing those who do not absolutely conform to the Ideal?


Anonymous said...

Do you like the Mass of Creation?

I don't. It's a great composition, easily accessible to a congregation, interesting, etc. But it's just used too much. Particularly for our generation, we have heard it EVERY MASS OF OUR LIVES! You and I are musicians, each time we hear a piece again we can find a new dimension with which to appreciate it. With the Mass of Creation, we're just all done with it, there's no more left to enjoy in it. I think Jeff (and I agree with him) just doesn't want to see the Requiem Mass Ordinary or Missa De Angelis turn into that.

If I could do as I please (and by and large I can) I would only hear Mass XVIII at funerals and daily Masses in Advent and Lent. It's a nice Mass, but it doesn't bear much repetition. I like Mass 8, but it's the common "next step" for chant churches, so if you get around you hear it a lot. It's much nicer than 18, but still... hear that Gloria enough and even a major scale sounds bad. If I were to sum up Jeff's sentiment, I'd say "use your imagination." Open your Kyriale to a random page and use that Mass, because chances are it's splendid (Mass XV is quite good). Don't just do what every single other parish on NLM is doing, because that's what leads to chant being devalued by congregations and musicians.


Cantor said...

I still actually don’t mind MoC too much. The “grant us your peace” line sounds hokey, but it hasn’t grated on me so much as it apparently has others. (That could have something to do with my not rememering it while growing up - really, I didn’t run ninto it until college.)

We should, I think, have a chant Mass setting that is as ubiquitous as MoC. I really think the JD chants are the way to go here - get people chanting, then make the leap to something else. I don’t buy the argument that nothing else will be possible; if you can’t do Mass VIII now because of inaccessibility, I fail to see how a more remote tonal/modal language will fare any better. Use Mass VIII as a stepping-stone, in other words.

BONIFACE said...

Mass of Creation? That is done by M. Haugen if I'm not mistaken and should be de facto banned.

As for people being too picky on chant, it reminds me of what Mosebach said in "Heresy of Formlessness", that the liturgical crisis has forced all of us, even those wanting to return to tradition, to become liturgical "experts" on what should and should not be done in the liturgy. We have lost the ability to simply take n the liturgy and be lifted to God by it...we have turned into a bunch of commentators because the abuses have forced us to become knowledgeable. Sigh...