• G
    Posts: 1,397
    (Yes, I know, I know, the title is facetious, I'm not suggesting either demanding or banning anything.)
    Those interested in promoting fine music for liturgical use are often accused of "only liking old stuff."
    Patently this is not true.
    I would like to have input on the subject of contemporary composition that you feel meets the requirements for liturigcla use, and is aesthetically worthy. Not just "good enough" but actually good.
    A discussion of ordinaries has begun here, any suggestions for motets/anthems/propers/hymns?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Morten Lauridsen's setting of the Christmas Matins responsory O Magnum Mysterium was wonderful to sing at a Holy Hour during Juventutem 2005 - one of my most cherished memories, actually. It's demanding, and might be a bit lengthy for the time-sensitive (6-7 minutes); that said, it could work during Communion at a large church with a packed house. Time stops when this piece is executed well.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 756
    Aristotle's suggestion of Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium is good. I sang it at communion recently, and it was very effective. The only problem was, as Aristotle observes, length - it was just a bit too long, given the size of congregation.

    A number of us posted on contemporary liturgical music and composers in response to a recent article on the NLM site: http://thenewliturgicalmovement.blogspot.com/2007/11/brittens-war-requiem.html . You may find the suggestions interesting.
  • From the other thread, I'll say again that I like the Calvert Schenk Modal Mass even though it has a Responsorial Gloria. I've always liked Proulx's Community Mass, but the Gloria is tough on congregations. There does seem to be a large gap between functional liturgical music and concert works (like the Lauridsen) that use liturgical texts. I'm certain that this is a result of composers wondering why they would want to compose something that will never be sung in a Catholic Church. If one brave soul would step up, we should all support him by using that setting.

  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I still don't agree with your premise. I don't think that an Ordinary Form musician should have to justify their work by singing 20th century compositions just so no one will think they're "turning back the clock". And of course I find the terminology of "white list" or "black list" to be rather unsettling (the old idea that everything could be fixed if bishops would just make up more rules!) but I understand your meaning now. I'd suggest a few things that stick out, namely (as you mentioned) Paul Manz's "E'en so, Lord Jesus", which is a classic by this point, anything by Nestor, Hancock, or Mathias. I guess the question is what qualifies as "good for liturgical use"? I don't have a problem with organ and choir music composed by an Anglican with a Wesley text in the vernacular. Many would.
  • What I don't get in seeing Lauridsen's name pop up here and there, especially as regards O MAGNUM, is that no one's simultaneously championing Victoria's definitive setting. And speaking of O Magnum's: Poulenc's as well.
    Don't get me wrong, I love Skippy's setting. My high school choir performed it for Paul Salomunovich very succcessfully back in 05, a transcendent moment for me personally.
    But don't forget the older treasures as well.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    That is hysterical.

    For the record, I love Lauridsen's "O Magnum" but I'll gladly champion Victoria's.

    Or is that "Vicky"?
  • BTW Victoria wrote another wonderful Epiphany motet that no one does. His Magi viderunt stellam is absolutely wonderful. it's not as lush as O magnum, but it's really fabulous. BTW Gabrieli's O magnum is quite stunning too. I like doing it with voices on choir 1 and sackbuts and voice (or 2) on choir 2.

  • I too have the highest regard for the Victoria O Magnum; however, G was originally looking for input regarding contemporary compositions of merit.

    With respect to all: regardless of whether or not the premise is tenable (I have doubts about it myself), shedding light on recent works is still valuable to me; I'm sure that at least a few future readers would find it valuable as well.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Actually, I programmed the Lauridsen, but in the composer's transcription for solo voice two Christmases ago, and as part of the prelude/concert (shh.... don't tell you know who over at TNLM.)
    The Vittoria we sang for communion at Midnight Mass the year before that. It went very well, probably the hardest my choir has ever worked, but I took quite a bit of flak for it.
    The ministers of communion arrived in the loft before we had quite finished, and I had already threatened my choir with bodily harm if they turned around before the last note was finished, so yes, the ministers had to wait a good 20 seconds. The horror.

    "I'm certain that this is a result of composers wondering why they would want to compose something that will never be sung in a Catholic Church. If one brave soul would step up, we should all support him by using that setting."

    When I win the lottery, I'm commissioning Richard Einhorn.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Just to weigh in, there are some fine arrangements of chant hymns by current composers. I have my choir singing "Advent Supplication," a very nice, straightforward setting of "Conditor alme siderum" by Hal Hopson for the First Sunday of Advent. We're also singing Manz's "E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come," which has been sung by the venerable choir of men and boys from King's College, Cambridge for their annual Lessons and Carols. Fourth Sunday will feature the Biebl "Ave Maria." For Christmas Midnight we will be singing a fine a cappella setting of "Of the Father's Love Begotten" by Paul Wohlgemuth. And, although OCP is not among my favorite publishers, one of their arrangers, Craig Kingsbury, crafted a really great setting of "Gaudete" (Piae Cantiones, 1582). OCP and World Library have been carrying music by composers like Colin Mawby, and GIA is the current sole distributor for music published by the Royal School of Church Music. We just sang a setting of the text, "Come Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs" by Alan Bullard from the RSCM series. The RSCM music has the double-benefit of being well-crafted and generally of a length that is workable for current cultural sensibilities. (I'm sorry that I even had to say that, but given the comments about the length of the Lauridsen, I felt it was needed).

    The next step is to help point some of these composers in the direction of texts taken directly out of the propers, such as the introits, offertories, communions and the like, so that we're not faced with Palestrina, or nothing.

    STL, STW
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 756

    The remarks on the length of the Lauridsen (or 'Skippy' as we must learn to call him) had to do with proportion, rather than length per se.
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