Mediocrity and beyond.
  • Writing about 1904:

    "Vulgarity is not too strong a word. The folk-song of the English churches in the nineteenth century had become cheap beyond what any seventeenth-century singer could have conceived. A cult of amateurism had ensured that mediocrity would be accepted; easy and cheap printing made the uncritical dissemination of music possible, and a substantial bourgeois population of churchgoers created a demand for what would undisturbingly adorn their acts of worship....anybody who cared for plainsong and Tudor music was an eccentric; and the plainsong revival associated with the Oxford Movement was making very heavy weather under the faithful but lonely and far from expert helmsmanship of a few priest-musicians...."

    Twentieth Century Church Music
    Erik Routley, B.D., D.Phil.
    Oxford University Press, 1963
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,204
    I'm curious. What specific English church music is he referring to?
  • In the late 1800's there was little distinction between the Roman and Anglican churches, musically, in Britain. And this continued on as composers wrote for Westminster Abbey AND Westminster Cathedral.

    However, what he is referring to is the Anglican church, as at that point the Roman church still espoused Gregorian Chant.
  • I believe that Westminster Cathedral was founded only in the late 19th century.
  • Bruce is absolutely correct...I should have been clearer, that after the turn of the century and the construction of the Cathedral, it is interesting to see the crossover of music as composers wrote for one or the other. I believe, and this is hazy, that a composer as recent and well-known as Benjamin Britten had done so.

    This is the kind of haziness when some people, self-included, rely upon the tiny text notes on CD's for their musical education!