No More Spirit and Song Website
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 75
    OCP's standalone website for Spirit and Song (formerly has disappeared. Maybe they have given up on having a standalone label for contemporary music. As a musician that plays primarily contemporary music, I am shedding no tears. The best Catholic contemporary musicians, Matt Maher and Audrey Assad, handle their copyrights with CCLI. Nearly every good worship song is in CCLI's catalog - OCP has been institutionally incapable of producing contemporary music on a caliber of our Evangelical brothers and sisters. A handful of other lower name-recognition Catholics produce their music independently. Steve Angrisano, Curtis Stephen, and Tom Booth were working for Spirit and Song and had some talent (in that order) but only came up with a handful of songs I'd be interested in using. It seems OCP has folded the meager number of good songs Spirit and Song produced into their main offerings.

    Anyone have more information about this development? Interesting how it parallels the merger of major Catholic publishers onto once license.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,899
    Well, juxtaposed to the other thread, it seems to me that ContempCathMusic has run what little course it could after "breaking through" circa 1999 ("gonna party like it's...)

    Most of what Maher and company produced that was absorbed into the Big3 breadwinner worship aides simply fails the smell test for liturgical appropriety. "Yeah, Your grace is enough for me" apparently isn't. Despite bathetic efforts in all sorts of hinterlands to recreate the Praise/Worship Team/Band approach, it just doesn't suit up nicely with good liturgical praxis. That's why more solid foundation writers like JSW, Ricky Manalo and the venerable Hurd still have a more attuned voice by which to remain vital contributors to the sacred song scene that too often is lumped in with CCM stuff. I'm pretty sure what will remain will be that nebulous category of quasi-Celt stuff, which is generally warmed over pentatonicism, so often proffered by everybody and their cousin.
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 75
    Your Grace is Enough has had the "yeah"s edited out of it and is a much better song now. Also - its based on 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." There are plenty of terrible songs to pick on in this genre, but this one I think is really good.
    Here's it done better:

    I do observe that there was a lot more interest in doing this genre in the early 2000s. I think terrible execution of bad songs gave this genre a black eye.
    Thanked by 1bonniebede
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,783
    I'm pretty sure what will remain will be that nebulous category of quasi-Celt stuff, which is generally warmed over pentatonicism, so often proffered by everybody and their cousin.

    I've put it this way: everything that is popular now, what my colleague would term "crack songs" or "crowd favorites" often have the following in common:

    1. They have a Celtic sound to them (as you mentioned)

    2. They sound Native American

    3. They sound like 70s rock
  • Native American Celtic 70s Rock with operatic singing. That's what I'm typically forced to endure.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • I find that the Catholic contemporary stuff does have a place in the life of the church, just not much of one in the liturgy. I don't have a problem saying it can be a valuable form of sacred music, but it is not liturgical music. Sing it on retreats, at holy hours, camp, conferences, etc. but please not in the liturgy.
  • Oh yes the Mass of St. Ann. How many people told me during her long reign as sole parish mass setting that we've beaten poor Ann to death by now? I lost track of how many years it was.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,899
    It's been seven years CB. But that situation's malaise isn't Bolduc's fault, now is it. The problem as I've seen it is the paucity of "ensemble" settings that have real musical teeth and bite. The SAMass is one, Hurd's "Santa Clara" is another. But others are gummy bears by comparison; won't mention names publicly. So, what's worse? Howsabout doing MOC revised into the dirt?
    Thanked by 1jclangfo
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 75
    I'm with melofluent on this one. Very few of the Mass settings of the new translation have genuine artistic value or are singing by a congregation. I find Mass of St. Anne to be a little over the top performance-ish, but it is singable and particularly the Gloria has music and words the naturally flow together. There is not a single English mass setting that I would give my wholehearted support to by Mass of St. Anne is among the least bad.

    I intended to write a post soon about which Mass settings to the new translation have merit.
  • IDK...Bolduc's Mass of St. Ann does not sound like Gregorian chant or Renaissance polyphony (e.g. "Sacred Music") or even traditional Hymnody.
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 75
    My understanding of the liturgical documents is that sounding like Gregorian chant is not a requirement:

    Musicam Sacram, number 61:
    "61. Adapting sacred music for those regions which possess a musical tradition of their own, especially mission areas, will require a very specialized preparation by the experts. It will be a question in fact of how to harmonize the sense of the sacred with the spirit, traditions and characteristic expressions proper to each of these peoples. Those who work in this field should have a sufficient knowledge both of the liturgy and musical tradition of the Church, and of the language, popular songs and other characteristic expressions of the people for whose benefit they are working."
  • I am informed and believe the focus of the board we are posting to is as follows: "The Church Music Association of America ('C.M.A.A.' ...e.g. inter alia) is an association of Catholic church musicians and others who have a special interest in music and liturgy, active in advancing Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony... for liturgical use."

  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,899
    IDK...Bolduc's Mass of St. Ann does not sound like Gregorian chant or Renaissance polyphony (e.g. "Sacred Music") or even traditional Hymnody.

    Your points are taken. That said...
    We can Venn diagram English Mass to Gregorian settings til the cows come home, and an industrious mind could likely make some overlaps with those cited above. But Jernberg's St. Philip Neri and Giffen's Missa Ascenciones are decidedly not inheritors to Roman chant musicology, but they are sacred, beautiful and universal to the nth. One would be hard pressed to reconcile Viennese classical Masses as reminiscent of chant and species polyphony, but CMAA endorses same.
    If you want to shutter the thread, just say so. It's less fruitful to condemn by association.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • What or who was condemned?
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,406
    A colleague texted me today and asked for the suggesting of an Ordinary in English other than the Missal chants. I suggested the Ordinary recommended for use in the Diocese of Columbus Ohio - the Mass in Honor of St Benedict by Leblanc. It's sort of hymn-like with a polyphonic center to the Gloria for the choir. Stately, dignified, and "pastoral" if you want to phrase it that way.
  • Stately, dignified, and "pastoral" are good... as are "sacred, beautiful, and universal" as well as "timeless. Contemporary praise music and sacro-pop fits none of the above classes.

  • jclangfo
    Posts: 75
    I recommend Mass of Wisdom by Steven Janco
  • It would have been better for everyone if the chants in the revised missal had been the only allowable mass setting for a year to give the composers extra time to produce something worthy. Instead there was a great rush to print, and we will be stuck with the rushed products, that achieved greatest initial market share, for quite some time.
  • music123
    Posts: 81
    I have written a Mass setting, the "Mass for St. Hildegard," which I am quite proud of. It was designed with a two-fold purpose:

    1. To be fitting music for the worship of God. (Think Vaughan Williams High Church Anglicanesque)
    2. To be singable, by both congregation and choir.

    We have been singing it at my church for a couple of years, and one of these days I will get it published! Please let me know if anyone would like to look at it. Only organ accompaniment (3-staff) right now, though I have written parts for brass and timpani.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,899
    If I may be sold bold to declare, where Mass settings such as the Bolduc, Hurd, MOC etc. are low in CMAA vitavitavegemin mix is in the "universal," as in "Sacred, beautiful and universal. That is not to decry them as unworthy, but to designate their use as "pastoral" as befits an American usage that is as much an idiom as would other such "native" settings (ie. Hispanic/Latino), or those ubiquitous "celtic" settings found elsewhere. Where the pastoral designation may not pass muster for those types is whether they would objectively be found "sacred and beautiful." Dr. Kwasniewski has written prolifically on this issue. My own maxim defaults to "all politics are local." Ergo, at one Mass we'll sing Jernberg, at another Hurd, T. White etc. What we don't do out here is whatever is boiled down banality. Those who know me know which works I consider Gebrauchsmusick as such.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,899
    After a day's reflection it occurred to me that the maxim "All politics are local" contradicts the other one, that liturgical music must be "sacred, beautiful and universal." That conflict is not necessarily true, as the policies outlined in canonical legislation were promulgated with options aplenty. That opened the door for accretion and aberration.
    Solution: for once in her history, Holy Mother Church could legislate imperatives. I don't have a microbe of discomfort with that, and would keep a lamp lit for it.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,270
    "All politics are local" contradicts the other one, that liturgical music must be "sacred, beautiful and universal."

    Bach, Hildegard, Palestrina.
    Michelangelo, Rubliev, Fra Angelico.
    Shakespeare, King David, Cervantes.

    Everyone on this list, or any similar list, produced work generally recognized as universal in its quality and import. It is divinely inspired, classic, timeless.

    And completely a product of its time — idiomatic and local.

    The universal is always manifested in the specific.

  • Very well stated, Mr. Wood...
    Ite, missa est: Deo gratias.
  • CGM
    Posts: 354
    and I recommend my own Mass setting, which several members of this forum use and are already familiar with — definitely a product of my local circumstance, but I hope offering beauty that is yet universal.
    Thanked by 1jclangfo