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  • Nicely set. What program did you use?
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  • Thomas,

    I appreciate the effort to get some more chant into the hands of PIPs.

    On the other hand, you've taken a beautiful, melismatic Mass and reduced it to Missa Jubilate Deo of Pope Paul VI. More people, in spite of your intent, will come to think that chant is all somber and dour.
  • This is a nice effort, but not as well done as the version beginning at no. 719 in The Hymnal 1940. Kyrie, in particular, could have been done greater justice. You have really savaged this sublime chant. The abrupt and syllabically impoverished Roman English version, though, is certainly difficult, allowing as how it has but one more than half the syllables of the Greek. The Old Church English version, with the more developed 'upon us', yields the same number of syllables as the Greek and is a better fit for this chant. Still, with care to word and chant rhythm the Roman version can be made to work. After all, if one forms one's vowels intelligently, an English melisma can sound as beautifully as a Latin one.

    As for your other adaptations, they are much better. I think that with a little different syllable placement and the re-alignment here and there of word and neume, even, especially, of your choice of which neumes to preserve and which to sacrifice, could be improved upon, though your work is basically good. There is just a 'turn of phrase' here and there that lacks grace. Making these adaptations is a difficult task. You are not finished yet.
  • While I again find it laudable that you wish to return Gregorian Ordinaries to parish use, I think you underestimate the skill of parishioners (at least in some places, even as you clearly describe reality in others) and, by chopping off the melismatic sections of Cum Jubilo you inadvertently strip this Mass Ordinary of the very reason so many people love it.

    Imagine loving haggis because of its lack of taste?
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  • Thomas,

    Your sweet niece (God willing) will grow up to enjoy un-smashed peas and such. I appreciate what you're proposing, as a kind of middle-gruel, but I caution all such efforts of the danger of getting stuck.

    Maybe this is what would be a good idea: get together (or import) a group of people who can sing the unedited Cum Jubilo. They can demonstrate, and they can generate more interest by showing what the full version sounds like than you can by telling PIPs they should want more chant.
  • hilluminar
    Posts: 108
    Thomas-Mary, I could not agree with you more. Thank you for all your laudable efforts.

    There is an all too frequent situation which occurs in Ordinary form Masses wherein the priest will not allow anything except something short, precise, and easy to learn and repeat from memory. At most parishes, one would never be allowed to hear the full Cum Jubilo Mass. Forget doing the whole thing. That is a fact. A heavily edited shortened version might possibly be allowed in some parishes.

    Remember, most Roman rite priests follow the unwritten rule that all Masses must be kept to an hour or less. They often won't even chant during Mass themselves, because it might drag the Mass out to over an hour, and that is absolutely forbidden, so they suppose.

    There must be a massive reeducation program of emphasis on the sung Mass for seminarians everywhere. Until that happens, simple English chant adaptations of Gregorian Ordinaries are most fitting.
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  • Thomas,

    If you have the support of the pastor (winsome personality or not) and capable musicians who love the traditional musical forms (i.e., not merely have skill and academic interest) you can, in fact, make the transition.

    Imagine the gall involved in going the other way. President Obama (to dwell on modern American politics) simply decided to step over the line in the sand when it came to blessing homoerotic sodomitical unions. Or, take the ACA. Or.... the Missal of Paul VI. The challenge is to believe that you have, with God's grace, the strength to help someone get well, and this medicine (chant) is what is needed.
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    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Thank you for publishing this.
  • Our very own Mary Ann Carr-Wilson has the solution to the puzzle of how small a step to take:
    [from an article at EWTN news]

    The workshop was directed by Mary Ann Carr-Wilson, who has helped pioneer chant camps for children.

    Carr-Wilson emphasized the importance of respecting children as you teach them: “Give them a high aim. Let them know what they are doing in helping sing the Mass: praying not performing, with all the angels and saints. They respond.”

    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • hilluminar
    Posts: 108
    In my diocese, 99% of the priests would not let Cum Jubilo into their parishes even if it were performed by children.
  • I am working on a more melismatic version of the Gloria that preserves more of the original melody. In some phrases it is just impossible due to the difference in language. "We give you thanks for your great glory" and "Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam" is just one of many examples. I think in most of those cases Thomas_Mary made great decisions on what to keep / not.

    I also think a good portion of the melody is just completely missing in Thomas_Mary's version and I am in the process of adding most of it back. Hopefully I finish in time for tomorrow's 5:30pm mass where I will give it a shot with some people in alternatim (a-cappella cantor (me) alternating with accompanied congregation)
  • There have been artists in the organ and choral worlds, and musicians in various fields, who thought that they were, by simplifying music, schmaltzing it up, editing out passages that were thought to be beyond the presumed idiocy of their audiences to apprehend, teaching their audiences by the 'stepping stone method' to love great music. They were, in reality, doing nothing of the kind. They were teaching them to appreciate the travesty of music that was presented to them, that they actually heard. One cannot love and appreciate something unless one hears that something. Perhaps a simplified version of something is all that the performer him- or herself is capable of appreciating. Perhaps it is he, him- or herself, who considers the real thing an embarrassment. People who are taught by the 'stepping stone method' tend, by and large, to fall in love with the stepping stones and budge not from them. Seeing these stepping stones in print, yet, is equivalent to seeing them graven in stone. They could acquire no greater legitimacy in a society which tends to worship almost anything that it sees in print.

    Is there any genre of music other than 'classical' music that would be treated with such maladroit tinkering to make it palatable? There isn't. We should not do this to any music, let alone chant and 'classical' sacred music! Adapting chant to English with care and artistry is in an wholly different moral category than purging it of its very soul, stripping it bare of its glory. (In truth, this has already been done - five hundred years ago - by none other than Palestrina and his colleagues, who gave us the infamous Medicean edition of chant. It is worthy of note that their work has received from history the opprobrium which it right justly deserves.)

    It would be better by far to compose one's own original chant in the appropriate or desired degree of difficulty than to savage someone else's masterpiece. This would be honest and admirable. This, or choose simpler chant.

    One doesn't pluck the feathers from the bird, thinking thereby to make the bird more desirable.
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    Thanked by 1hilluminar
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  • Thomas,

    While it is true that a child doesn't usually[anecdotal evidence irrelevant to the point I'm making] begin by running, but must first crawl and then walk, it is important to remember that properly walking is a minimum goal, even if one never becomes an Olympic runner. Therefore, while I accept that chant must be introduced, and I understand that simplifying is the manner in which you've chosen to seek that introduction, the simplification itself runs the risk of convincing not only the already antagonistic but even the moderately interested that all chant is somber and boring and penitential and [fill in the other word connoting something modern society doesn't want to accept].

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  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,302
    Sorry, but efforts at "English-ing" Gregorian chants were made in the 1960's, right after Vatican Council II. They were not successful then, and they will not be now either. Why is there the seeming obsession today with attempting this again? The council called for the preservation of the Church's heritage of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. It did NOT envisage either the cramming of a vernacular text to fit an unaltered Gregorian melody, or the alteration of a chant melody itself to fit a particular vernacular text.

    If composers want to compose new plainsong melodies for ordinaries and propers, (as did the late Fr. Columba Kelly, RIP), well and good. But, please, let no one be misled into thinking that messing in any way with ancient Gregorian chants is what Sacrosanctum concilium had in mind when it called for the preservation - though singing - of those chants. And that means in Latin.

    And, pace Thomas_Mary, poor attempts, compositionally, at English-ing Gregorian chants, will not convert a single PIP into a lover of Gregorian chant.
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    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • I rarely agree completely with Fr. Krisman. This is the closest I've come in a very long time.

    Here's my one caveat: The English have been making use of beautiful melodies and beautiful English texts for a long time, so it must be possible.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw a_f_hawkins
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,241
    A particularly botched example of setting English to the traditional chant of the church is the Holy, holy ICEL have put in the Missal. Merbecke/Marbeck set a much better course, even if the puritans stalled progress for many decades.
    IMHO the Kyrie and Sanctus Thomas_Mary offers are successful, the melismata occur on appropriate syllables, the Gloria and Agnus Dei not such luck. This is bound to be a problem with a translated text, quite apart from the fundamental difference in stress/length patterns in different languages.
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,771
    One doesn't pluck the feathers from the bird…
    Jackson will understand my hesitation if he should someday invite me to supper ;-)

    While I do find a great deal not to my taste in the proffered draft, it doesn't seem very productive to bash vernacular chant on purely taxidermic principles. I know many chant fans who have been won by English chants along the lines of The American Gradual, not to mention Neale's Veni Emmanuel and Woodford's Adoro te, and if it weren't for the amended "Christans praise to the Paschal Victim offer your thankful…" who knows what tune we'd be doing the Easter sequence to by now: I hope Fr. Krisman's modesty won't prevent "A la victima de Pascua" becoming as widespread.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,302
    The Latin sequences and metrical hymns, which are highly monosyllabic chants with few melismas, CAN be set to vernacular texts as long as the meter of a particular translation matches that of the Latin text. Thank you, Richard, for that corrective to my screed above. As for Englishing highly melismatic chants, I'll stick with what I wrote previously.