Your least favourite anthems
  • What anthems do you really hate? For any reason? I can't stand the tenor line of the Handel Hallelujah. I must be a suckey tenor.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,355
    No you're not (you may, however, be a baritone or baritenor; Handel's choral tenor parts often require genuine tenors, choir directors' wishes and resources notwithstanding - sorry, but if you don't have enough genuine tenors, you need to skip over that part of the repertoire for your choir - it's too painful to listen to otherwise). Choral tenors probably provided ministration to Handel in Purgatory given his sometimes hateful voice leading for his choral tenor parts.

    I hate Stanford's Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem. Shrill (even with dulcet English trebles, still shrill); contrast his Beati Quorum Via.... Drains the joy out of Easter Sunday even to merely hear it.


  • 1. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World'
    2. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World'
    3. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World'
    4. Howells: 'My Eyes for Beauty Pine'
    5. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World'
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,112
    I misread the title and briefly thought we were going to be discussing the merits of the various pronouncements of the Council of Trent.

    I guess we will have to wait for the future for some such discussion...
  • This is curious indeed!
    Um, just how did you read the Council of Trent into 'Your least favourite anthems;?
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,116
    The Internationale.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,166
    I can't stand the tenor line of the Handel Hallelujah.

    As a tenor who has sung much classical choral music in my time, I can say that Mozart and Beethoven are equally evil. I think that many composers simply expected their tenors to be able to sing viola parts.
  • Well, as long as the likes of The Internationale are going to be tossed into this ring, I'll fling in La Marseillaise - VIVE LE ROI!

    (I had thought, though, that the anthems referenced by the august Noeisdas were at least to be sacred, if not actually liturgical.)
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,112
    * by Rutter.
  • ...for some future discussion...

    You could begin it.
    It's sure to be electrifying.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    There is Proulx anthem on "Amazing Grace," which is neither amazing nor filled with grace. I have an elderly chorister who has bugged me for some time to do this. I am thinking that if I do it, I can stall for years before doing it again. By that time, either she will have passed on, or I will have retired.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,280
    Anything that follows a choir member saying, "Every year at Christmas in my last parish we did this piece that combines [name of christmas carol] with [name of other christmas carol]."
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,197
    Well, Jackson, we all know how you feel about Stainer's Crucifixion . . . you're all for it!
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,116
    Okay, I'll bite again, Gesualdo's "Absalon."
  • 1. Pitoni - Cantate Domino
    2. Attwood - 'Come, Holy Ghost'

    What's really awful is when every anthem and every hymn on Whitsunday uses almost the same if not the same 'Come, Holy Ghost', or 'Spirit' text.
    Thanked by 1Aristotle Esguerra
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 665
    Tallis - "If Ye Love Me"
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,166
    My top three in order of hatred

    Ravanello - Haec Dies (the one from Pius X Hymnal)
    Willaert - Veni, Creator Spiritus
    Mozart - Jubilate Deo

    And I will add, since they are WAY over used in a choir that I sing with:

    Farrant/Hilton/Anon - Lord for thy tender mercy's sake
    Farrant - Call to remembrance, O Lord
    Ford - Almighty God who hast me brought (arr. a3)
  • 1. Mozart - Ave verum corpus
    2. Palestrina - O bone Jesu
    3. Frank Arcadelt - Ave Maria
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,355
    "Palestrina - O bone Jesu"

    To be particularly cruel after an a cappella offering of it, one could take out a pitch pipe at the ending of that just to see illustrate how flat the singers got. It can be treacherous even for normally pitch-solid choirs. I think of it as Choral Purgatory.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,202
    Well, at least we don't have to blame Palestrina for it any more.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,519
    That's quite an endorsement, but I can't agree FWV 62 is in K618's class.

    Melo, I can't find Gesualdo's "Absalon", at least not in the more reputable catalogues. Maybe something else to seek out at Ye Olde Spuriousity Shoppe?
  • The wrong Franck, very wrong!
    (I meant Arcadelt.)
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,420
    Dare I say it: Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus.

    P.S. I liked it the first 500 times I heard it, but it has long since lost its appeal.
  • Handel Largo. No its not an anthem, but still. I absolutely hate it. Especially when my choir director thinks its appropriate to have the whole choir sing it, and not soprano solo. Notice the lack of purple in that sentence.
  • This mostly seems a record of overuse rather than profound awfulness.
    What about some really ghastly stuff:
    The Singing of Birds (Easter Cantata) - George William Warren
    What strangers are these? - Richard Purvis
  • This mostly seems a record of overuse rather than profound awfulness.

    Thoroughly agreed. Mozart is by any standard a superb composer; likewise Handel and Tallis. Willaert is spectacular but under-appreciated. Farrant, Ravanello, Attwood, et al. are second-class perhaps but still wrote functional, attractive, and grammatically correct liturgical music. This is certainly more than can be said for many current composers of liturgical music, especially concerning musical grammar.
    Thanked by 2canadash CharlesW
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 829
    I agree that Mozart is a subperb composer, but was not much some of his best music written for the freemasons?
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,355
    Mozart was at his most idiomatic in the media of opera and instrumental ensembles; there's a reason opera singers and instrumentalists have long enjoyed performing his music - it's a joy to perform *together*.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    I wouldn't call Mozart a "church" composer. He did write elaborate operatic masses, but not so much in the way of ordinary mass music. I am not aware of any routine mass music from him, such as Propers, Ordinaries, or such. He wrote for the stage.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,197
    Thing is, Charles, wasn't Emperor Franz Joseph messing around with the basic structure of the propers of the Mass at this point? There was a series of back-to-back articles in Sacred Music a few issues ago that addressed this problem, of how many Viennese churches were using vernacular hymns or playing sonatas in lieu of the gradual/alleluia? I may be remembering some of my history wrong [it's a Sunday afternoon and I just woke up from a too-pleasant post-liturgical nap], but I do remember that Mozart was complaining about the state of church music to his father in one letter. Perhaps his focusing on the Ordinary was just his way of being pragmatic, because there was a better chance of his mass settings getting performed more often. Also, we mustn't forget his settings of Vespers . . .
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,355
    I suspect you mean Emperor Joseph II, not his great-grand-nephew Franz Joseph....
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Yes, he does.

    That is still a problem. The Mozart Dies Irae was played in between the readings at the Empress Zita’s funeral without any of the other propers or even the psalm.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    There is nothing new under the sun. Someone, somewhere, has always messed around with the basic structure of the Mass.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,764
    We have amassed a mess of mass Mass messes. End of message.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,197
    Yeah, Joseph II. Post-liturgical time is not a time to be pressed for exact details . . .

    And I finally figured out one of my least favorite anthems: Yon's Jesu Bambino. It's sad that a man of such talent be remembered for an awkward piece that paved the way for the likes of "What Child is This?/Child of the Poor".
  • I wouldn't call Mozart a "church" composer. He did write elaborate operatic masses, but not so much in the way of ordinary mass music. I am not aware of any routine mass music from him, such as Propers, Ordinaries, or such. He wrote for the stage.

    Please see this list of Mass settings by Mozart:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_masses_by_Wolfgang_Amadeus_Mozart

    Several of these fall into the brevis category and would be appropriate for Mass today, and even the Spatzen-Messe and the Coronation Mass are an appropriate length for the Novus ordo. Also the two Vespers settings as well as assorted liturgical works like the Miserere, Te Deum, and three Regina caelis. Mozart absolutely can be considered a composer of sacred music, and a much better one at that than many of those who claim the label.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    I would think Haydn masses would be much closer to useful for mass. However, the EF masses don't work for the OF since the missal has changed. You really have to do some cobbling to make them fit. The whole world has changed since those were written. Given the repetition in some of those mass settings, it would be difficult to get a congregation to sit still for them on a typical Sunday morning.

    Some musicians in my area drag out that Coronation Mass for special occasions. I think any stage work by most Italian opera composers would accomplish the same. I have said those performances were concerts, not masses.
  • ...concerts, not masses.

    Well, of course, they were masses - but that's beside the point.
    They were, as Charles intends, concerts spirituelles performed during mass.
    If then, as now, the active mental (fully comprehending), emotional, and physical participation in the mass itself by the faithful had been (as it should have been) desired and fostered, these operatic masses would never have been written. Their purpose was to excite the emotions of the faithful, so that the clerical caste could perform its ritual to awestruck observers who were dazzled by the baroque splendour of the churches and the music within them. This was the conscious liturgical strategy of the counter-reformation.

    Lest anyone think that what is said just above expresses disdain for gorgeous and splendid liturgy, let him or her think again. But, it must embrace the direct participation of the faithful, not alienate them.

    There are still those who cannot quite swallow the fact that the faithful are no longer ignorant, uneducated, credulous peasants and townsmen. And, they chafe mightily at any evidence to that effect.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    The Spatzenmesse is easier to use during Mass than the Missa Papae Marcelli, as beautiful as that is, in the new missal, in my view.

    Jackson, I think they had a different view of FCAP. What they did somewhat misses the mark. But it isn’t worth throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I also don’t think the medieval liturgy would fit the post–Vatican II view of FCAP, even the Dr. Mahrt way of chanting the Ordinary and Propers with robust congregational knowledge of the former.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,519
    There are still those who cannot quite swallow the fact that the faithful are no longer ignorant, uneducated, credulous peasants and townsmen.
    And Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven's patrons were commissioning music to overawe their subjects rather than for their own worship?
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,142
    And Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven's patrons were commissioning music to overawe their subjects rather than for their own worship?


    I think that secular styles infiltrate church music in every age, and are still doing so. Granted, the secular may have been of higher quality at a given time.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 443
    1. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World'
    2. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World'
    3. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World'
    4. Howells: 'My Eyes for Beauty Pine'
    5. Stainer: 'God so Loved the World


    OK, I had to look up the YouTube, being unfamiliar with it. At first I thought Oh this isn't so bad, the chromatics are a little goofy, but not unbearable. Then there came the jazz-flip rhythm at "condemn" at which point I wanted to crawl under the sofa and curl up in a ball.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,277
    When did a dotted eighth note - sixteenth note - quarter note or dotted eighth note -sixteenth note -half note motive take on the character of a "jazz-flip rhythm." Guess I missed that one in theory class.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 443
    When did a dotted eighth note - sixteenth note - quarter note or dotted eighth note -sixteenth note -half note motive take on the character of a "jazz-flip rhythm." Guess I missed that one in theory class


    Didn't say it did. I just described the effect it had on me when I listened to it. But then you knew that didn't you, and this is just contradiction for the sake of contradiction.
  • Lest anyone think that what is said just above expresses disdain for gorgeous and splendid liturgy, let him or her think again. But, it must embrace the direct participation of the faithful, not alienate them.

    That's the rub—define "participation." Perhaps FCAP indicates the congregation's active, conscious, internal prayer that is united with the more refined singing of the choir (which may be singing, say, the Gloria in a setting by Palestrina or Mozart), instead of meaning that everyone must be singing everything all the time (or even just something part of the time). The latter automatically means you are going to get a less beautiful musical result, which (I would argue) will foster a less meaningful prayer on the part of the congregation.

    And that brings me to this point, the one that riles everyone up when I say it: for this reason, as well as for reasons of musical grammar, every single piece of "congregational" music, without exception, is musically and liturgically inferior to every single piece of "professional" music (for lack of a better term).

    Let the fireworks begin—happy belated Fourth of July!
  • There are still those who cannot quite swallow the fact that the faithful are no longer ignorant, uneducated, credulous peasants and townsmen. And, they chafe mightily at any evidence to that effect.


    Perhaps...

    On the other hand, the foot can not say to the ear.....
    Remember that the silliness of the last 50 years is, at least in part, due to the actions of "mature" Catholics who weren't "peasants and townsmen"....
  • Some clarification seems, yet again!, needful. There seem to be those who, in justified horror of the abuses of the last sixty years (which, it must be said, differ from those of the previous hundreds of years only in their form), wish to discredit the true participation, which is at once passive and active, inwardly and outwardly expressive of the soul's awe and ecstacy at worship. The recent council spoke wisely, and a few hundred years belatedly, in admonishing and teaching that the faithful should participate in the mass, not in private devotions at mass; that they should be mentally engaged, prayerfully in profound reverence, and actively (that means activity that is both inward and outward). I think that St Paul's exhortation (loosely recalled) 'show me your faith, and I will show you my works' is a cogent reminder that without works, which include vocal, physical, involved expressions of a profoundly reverent soul, there is no real worship. It is very wrongful to seek to demean heartfelt song, bowing and scrapping, making responses with full voiced joy, as if these were the enemies of the inward disposition which some would have us believe is obliterated by such outward acts. If there is no outward act, there is no inner disposition - if there are no works, there is no faith. The mass, how many times does it need to be repeated?, is not an occasion for private, solely inward, devotion. It is the People of God unified, as one, in unmistakable praise and thanksgiving (eucharist) of and to God for his ineffable gifts and goodness to us and to all men. And to think that there are those who come to the Supper of the Lamb with their mouths glued shut when they should be singing with thankful hearts 'and on earth peace to men of good will', their voices barely audible, and wish to pass this off as an inward activity. It isn't.

    This is not a diatribe against inward worship, inward activity properly understood, inward ecstasy. Quite the contrary. That silence in which one can hear 'the still, small, voice' is a spiritual jewel without price. There is no spiritual life without these. But, if they are not expressed outwardly at the public worship which is the mass, they are, somehow (charitably expressed) specious. There is no faith without works. Faith without works is dead. Likewise, there is no inward life if there is no outward expression of it - AT MASS.

    We all know that none of us is an apologist for any of the gruesome abuse that has been heaped upon the mass and upon God's people in the last sixty years. We also all know that everybody does not have to be outwardly (or inwardly) active in the same way at the same time. Everybody does, though, have specific times at the mass at which his 'active' participation is more inward than outward, or more outward than inward. We all know this, don't we!!! So, kindly stop using this as a cudgel by which to discredit our 'bounden duty and service' to worship God with our whole selves, 'in spirit and truth', ignited and enlighted by the Holy Ghost, at public worship.
    Thanked by 1JulieColl
  • I still keep Howells “My eyes for beauty pine” handy for days when we may not be able to have parts reliably. I enjoy the organ part, at least, and the counting keeps singers engaged.

    But, the Stainer … reminds me of Nicholas Cage’s description of VX gas as “extremely horrible, sir—one of those things we wish we could un-invent.”
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,116
    But then you knew that didn't you, and this is just contradiction for the sake of contradiction.

    No, it's not!"
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 443
    "No, it's not!"


    I could be arguing in my spare time.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist