What our "Catholic Music" has done
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,110
    Well this summer I have been organ subbing at a different church every week. I've done many Novus Ordo masses, and a number of EF masses. Bouncing over to the other side of the fence, I've visited two Lutheran churches, two Methodist, and an Adventist Baptist funeral that was 5 hours long.
    So in each of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches I got to experience "Here I Am", "Shepherd Me O God" and other such exalted ditties.
    Last week at a Presbyterian church I got to play "The Summons"...this Week, walking into a Lutheran church during the first "contemporary" liturgy I was treated to soul/blues interpretation of "The Summons" yet again. I just feel the need to make the (sad) point that this music is what most of our seperated brethren think of as "Catholic Music", and some of them have even said so to me.
    WHAT in God's name has happened?
  • Ghmus,

    The saddest part is that, in someone's mind, this [] music has been marketed in God's name.
  • I know how you feel, Greg. I, too, have had some interesting peregrinations this summer. Mine (fortunately) were not as insufferable as yours seem to have been - they were all Episcopalian and Lutheran.

    The Episcopalian one was predictable - 'Broad Church', no nonsense, good hymns from the 1982, and Proulx and Schubert for the ordinary. (I think that if I hear that Schubert mass another time I shall run screaming down the street. It is the most boring and maudlin of any of the masses I have ever heard. [I think that in the case of the Schubert, even Beethoven's Missa Solemnis would be preferable!].)

    The Lutheran one was less satisfying but not too too bad. The ordinary was set to different hymn tunes. The pastor announced at the communion that 'this is a Lutheran table but it is God's sacrament, all are welcome. We have grape juice for those who prefer it and gluten-free wafers for those who need them'. The organ was a rather nice instrument of 25 or so ranks by Parsons, on which I played some Gaspard Corrette and an English voluntary by Anonymous the XIXth.

    The last two weeks have found me at St Basil's Chapel at UST. This is always a very rewarding engagement. The people sing (and sing very well) all the stanzas of real hymnody from Worship IV, the Belmont Mass, and large parts of the dialogue and collects are sung - depending on the celebrant. The celebrant at this morning's mass had an absolutely divine voice.

    I also subbed at Walsingham whilst our choirmaster was on holiday in Maine (oh how I envy him). Playing at the high mass at Walsingham is absolutely heaven on earth.

    Plus, I normally play the Saturday vigil at Walsingham, for which I improvise voluntaries before and after mass and during communions. I also sing the propers to improvised chant. In addition, we sing the Merbecke with Old Scottish Chant Gloria. The people, of course, sing very well.

    I believe that it was Viola who remarked on another thread that her Anglo-Catholic tenor referred to the mass at her church as 'like a Methodist service with incense'. Alas, that would be true of most down here in Houston - if they even have incense (or know what it is!).
    _________________________________

    Perhaps some others on our Forum have interesting subbing experiences to share?
    Thanked by 3tomjaw Viola ghmus7
  • I was recently hired as a ringer at a United Church of Canada (roughly equivalent to the United Church of Christ to the south of us) hymn festival. It was organized by a well-known and -respected hymnologist and organist. There were many good selections, yet the sole example of Catholic "hymnody" was Marty Haugen, who was described as a prominent representative of modern Catholic music. (In fairness, it was one of his less obnoxious pieces)

    Although hymnody is not a large part of the specifically Roman Catholic tradition, I would have expected a more musically solid and theologically grounded choice (of which there are many)
  • WGS
    Posts: 227
    How about something by Father Faber?
    from an online source:

    "Among Faber's best-known hymns are:

    Dear Angel, ever at my side, how loving must Thou be A hymn to the Guardian Angel
    Dear Guardian of Mary[10]
    Faith of Our Fathers This hymn originally had two versions: the English and Irish but is more commonly sung to the English with a slight alteration
    Hail, Holy Joseph, Hail One of the most popular hymns to Saint Joseph
    Have mercy on us God most High A hymn to the Holy Trinity. Most famously set to the same air as 'The Star of County Down'
    I was wandering and weary
    Jesus gentlest Saviour, God of Might and Power A hymn for Holy Communion
    Jesus is God, the glorious bands (n. 298, The Church Hymn Book (1872)), written in 1862
    Jesus my Lord, my God, my all! A hymn for thanksgiving after Holy Communion
    Like the Dawning of the Morning Advent carol which describes the joy of Mary's expectation of the Infant Jesus
    Mother of Mercy, Day by Day (1849) A Marian hymn on the importance of Marian devotion
    My God, how wonderful thou art (1849) A hymn to the Eternal Father
    O Blessed Saint Joseph
    O Jesus, Jesus, dearest Lord (1848)
    O Mother I could weep for Mirth! Joy fills my heart so fast A hymn to Mary Immaculate
    O paradise! O paradise (1849)
    O Purest of Creatures, Sweet Mother, Sweet Maid A hymn to Mary, Star of the Sea
    Oh, come and mourn with me awhile(1849) A passiontide hymn with emphasis on Mary
    O turn to Jesus, Mother turn A hymn calling on Mary for the aid of the Holy Souls in Purgatory
    Oh, gift of gifts (1848)
    Sweet Saviour, bless us were we go
    There's a Wideness in God's Mercy
    The Greatness of God
    The Will of God/God's Holy Will
    Faber was a supporter of congregational singing and wrote his hymns in an age when the English in general were slowly moving back to congregational singing after the strictness of low-church anglicanism. So Faber, as a Catholic, expanded the Church's hymns that were suitable for congregational singing and encouraged the practice."
  • I agree. A selection from Faber's output would have been a superb choice.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,429
    Marty Haugen
    Member of the United Church of Christ.
    Education: Luther College
    Genre: Christian/Gospel
    Record labels: Oregon Catholic Press, GIA Publications, spiritandsong.com, Capitol Jazz, Cantado Music
  • thanks, WGS, I didn't realize that I was familiar with that many of Fr. Faber's works!
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 313
    We do Faber's hymns quite regularly and they go down well. Fr Caswall's are also worth doing.
    I have good and bad experiences of subbing. Bad, when asked to play Bind us together at a wedding 'because it's a traditional Catholic hymn'.
    Good or at least interesting: playing at the high Anglican church frequented by our Resident Heretic (see Sounds Familiar thread). The organ had to play more or less continuously to cover anything when there wasn't audible speech. Very good hymns, including Howells' All my hope on God is founded, also Praise to the Lord, the Almighty and Thy hand, O God, hast guided. Only problem was the tracker action organ which got heavier and heavier and heavier as more stops were drawn to cope with the inspiring hymns.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043
    I would agree Catholic music in too many places is a pain in the Haas. I don't substitute and so don't experience much of what you folks have related. The Schubert mass is not my favorite but it beats "H" out of Misa Luna. I dropped The Summons years ago after putting up with an aging soprano cantor who stopped and gasped for air at the end of every phrase - that is, when she made it that far.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,862
    "Should your life attract or scare" isn't a bad motto, though.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • ...heavier and heavier -
    Ah, yes - that's one of the many glories of tracker instruments -
    they are good exercise for the fingers and will point out the deficiencies in your technique.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043
    And help you develop arthritis and joint problems.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,258
    Hoping to find a gig conducting a schola and playing for the TLM... will let you know if I find anything, but we’ll see... what is more important is my humble little effort promoting reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • And help you...
    Good gracious!
    There are no two tracker actions that are alike.
    I've for decades played trackers, some of which felt like they had bricks for weights on the other ends of the keys, and some whose action was as touchy and sensitive as that of an electric typewriter, plus some which were so 'mushy' that one would think they had great sponges beneath the keys.
    And - I have neither arthritis nor joint problems.
    What I do have is a very good technique.
    (Of course, there is never a very good technique which couldn't be better.)

    (One of my grandmothers had serious arthritis and never played an instrument of any kind. Whether or not one has arthritis may be due to a number of biological factors. Playing musical instruments is not among these factors. One doesn't 'get arthritis' from playing an organ.)
    Thanked by 2francis tomjaw
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,258
    Even the heaviest action trackers are much preferable to the off/on switch of an electropneumatic... which is comparable to playing in black-and-white instead of the unlimited shades of gray... and if you don’t get this, then you will only forever see in black-and-white, and I pity you.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043

    Trackers make great firewood.


  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043
    Perhaps arthritis no, but carpal tunnel yes, but I think violins and flutes are worse for that. Deafness from being too close to the mixtures, yes. I know someone that happened to.

    There is a tracker in town with a touch so heavy I won't play it. Has nothing to do with technique and I hate the way the instrument sounds to begin with. I also have played a tracker with an unbelievably light touch, but it is well built.

    Francis, don't pity me since those shades of gray exist mostly in your own mind. No one else hears them.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,443
    And help you develop arthritis and joint problems.

    You might be confusing that with tubercular-rheumatic action.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043
    Too funny! I suspect that if you already had some arthritis dealing with a heavy tracker action could cause you some pain. But then, I have found most trackers to be a pain. Exception, a Wilhelm so superbly balanced it is as light as any electronic action.
  • ...mostly in your own mind...
    There is some truth, but also a red flag waves at popular dismissal of subjective feelings as non-valid because 'only 2% of people would feel that way'. I would be wealthy if I had a dime for every time such idiocy was tossed my way. What may seem to be merely subjective may very well be objective as well in that the few illustrate what the many would be better, or more nearly perfect, for having experienced or 'known'. (This 'maxim' can, and often does, work the other way around.) The number of people who feel or experience this or that way about this and that is not, ipso facto, a barometer of its objective worth and ontological differentiation for all. The degrees of knowledge which are held by a few, such as the Assumption of the BVM or the gradations of touch and tone on organs, are potentials for all, and therefore may be considered not Subjectives at all, but Universals.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043
    I read about a study recently on that. The study revealed that when even trained listeners were some feet away from the organ they couldn't tell whether they were hearing a tracker or an electro-pneumatic. Those nuances of tracker touch don't carry much beyond the player. Then you have the effects of the building to consider, as well.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • The experiment of which you speak, Charles, does indeed tell us of human failings. I would contend that the nuances or gradations are there to be apprehended, though almost none apprehend them. There is sound (vibrating air) when the proverbial tree falls in the wilderness, even though no one is there to 'hear' it. Human apprehension has little to do with objective reality in regards to natural phenomena. This, ultimately, is an indicator of human failing, not objective reality. Microbes 'didn't exist'... until we had instruments that were able to detect them.

    Your experiment, though, is interesting, and its results perhaps not surprising.
    Like not offending Mother Nature with margarine instead of butter, it is also not nice to fool even experts by substituting 'b' for 'a'. Having fooled some says nothing about the objective reality of differences betwixt 'a' and 'b'.

    Also, one would want to know whether these 'trained listeners' were hearing live sounds or recorded ones. Recorded sounds often easily fool even the elect because they are all electronically generated and heard through the medium of speakers; thus, one cannot hear whether the original sound source was electronic speakers or winded pipes. If the sound source and its means of production is different then the laws of physics prohibit the sounds from being identical or 'the same' or 'just alike'.

    (Even I have been fooled a couple of times. My favourite recording of Saint-Saeans organ symphony when I was in college was Biggs's. After a number of years I read the small print on the back of the jacket and was informed thereby that the 'organ' in use was an allen. It was, I must say, a glorious sound - but it wasn't an organ - and I didn't at all like being made a fool of. I never listened to that recording again. It is definitely 'not nice to fool Mother Nature' people.)
  • vansensei
    Posts: 103
    Is the Schubert Mass the Mass in G?
  • I suspect he's referring to the Deutsche Mass adapted for English by Proulx.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,404
    I was recently hired as a ringer at a United Church of Canada (roughly equivalent to the United Church of Christ to the south of us) hymn festival. It was organized by a well-known and -respected hymnologist and organist. There were many good selections, yet the sole example of Catholic "hymnody" was Marty Haugen, who was described as a prominent representative of modern Catholic music. (In fairness, it was one of his less obnoxious pieces)

    Although hymnody is not a large part of the specifically Roman Catholic tradition, I would have expected a more musically solid and theologically grounded choice (of which there are many)


    Where was this? I'm so curious.

    Most Protestants in Canada who I know have no idea about Catholic music. I listened to an Anglican tell me all about Catholic spirituality and it was all wrong. NOTHING on confession, NOTHING on adoration.... How can you have Catholic spirituality without these things? What would they know about hymns and hymnody then? Nothing. I was very sad.
  • I suspect...
    Ha!
    Ich doubteth vetter der messe in qvestion vould be any bedder ven sungen in its natif Deutsche radder dan der Englische verschion.
    Its insipidity would survive any translation.
  • Its insipidity would survive any translation.


    A (not-so?-)rare case of Schubert having an off day. It's like Alstott psalms to me - it gets the job done for sure, but God deserves so much better from us.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,862
    So D 872 would be the Baby Bear of masses? No satisfying some folks ;-)
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 185
    The study revealed that when even trained listeners were some feet away from the organ they couldn't tell whether they were hearing a tracker or an electro-pneumatic. Those nuances of tracker touch don't carry much beyond the player. Then you have the effects of the building to consider, as well.


    The effect that the action has on the player’s playing, I think, is more important than whether trained PIPs perceive the organ to have mechanical or electric action. If the player is more mindful of their attacks and releases and the quality of their articulation, and feels a physical connection to pipe speech, they can play moreo musically, and that will transfer.

    By way of analogy: I can’t tell if a priest or deacon is in a state of grace. But he will preach much better, and thus I will be more enlightened, if he is. I can’t tell on TV if the footballs have been deflated, but if they have been, Brady will play better, and his team will win.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,110
    MJO Thank's for your interesting news and comments. I believe that I subbed at that Lutheran church that you subbed at. I recall the organ.
    WGS: I love Fr. Fabers' hymns and actually read a biography of his years ago.

    The Schubert was adopted by Proulx and it was not intended, I believe to be a "high church' Mass...just a congregational one. It IS singable, there are good orchestral parts available....and at least better than the usual settings - of which they seem to be multiplying like some scary cancer. Everybody things that they can write a mass setting, and they all seem to have the same banal (MJO) names like
    Mass of Celebration
    Mass of Plenty
    Mass of Happiness
    Mass of banality
    Mass of suburban boredom
    Missa Looney

    By the way, the one thing that cracks me up is the Miss Looney Gloria - the introduction bumps along in 4 time -and THEN, just before the congregation enters in the measure before they sing, there is a 3/4 measure! Brilliant! It fools them every time and prevents perfectly anyone coming in at the right time!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043
    If the player is more mindful of their attacks and releases and the quality of their articulation, and feels a physical connection to pipe speech, they can play moreo musically, and that will transfer.


    And the acoustics of the building wreak havoc with all of it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,043
    Brilliant! It fools them every time and prevents perfectly anyone coming in at the right time!


    Ain't nothing brilliant about Misa Lunatic. Kolar should be taken out and soundly scourged.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw janetgorbitz
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,258
    Kolar... Met him for a whole second at a “liturgical conference” in 2011 and quickly moved on.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Kolar?
    I'm really not familiar with that -

    Is it a brand of floor polish?

    Or an additive for auto-mobile car engines?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,258
    o the pain

    At the same conference I was laughed at for composing in Latin
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,559
    Kolar?
    I'm really not familiar with that -


    I think it's the planet where Mormons say Jehovah lives. Right?

    At the same conference I was laughed at for composing in Latin


    Ahh, the fatuous complacency of intelligentsia in their twilight . . .
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Intelligentsia, you say???
    Laughed at Latin????
    Surely there is some oxymoronicism at work in the marriage of noun, verb, and object here???
    Thanked by 2tomjaw PaxMelodious
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,559
    I wish it were an oxymoron, but no - that's why they're the treasonous clerks, Chickson. They laugh at their own heritage.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw MarkS
  • Nay!
    More than 'treasonous clerks' -
    They're more like unto cultural imbeciles!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Anyone every have to play stuff from the "Introit Hymns for the Liturgical Year" book? For those who don't know this book, I provide an explanation: take a generic hymn tune and attach a modified version of the proper introit. Subbing one month, I had to play these and found them quite corny.
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,070
    Is that the Christoph Tietze book, Little_Durufle?
  • KARU27
    Posts: 106
    Not to be pedantic, but osteoarthritis can indeed be associated with overuse:

    "Arthritis is a general term that means inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear and tear arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. It is associated with a breakdown of cartilage in joints and can occur in almost any joint in the body. It commonly occurs in the weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees, and spine. It also affects the fingers, thumb, neck, and large toe."
    https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/osteoarthritis-basics#1

    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • @irishtenor

    Yes, published by WLP.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,110
    Then there is the arthritis of the mind which can be induced by playing this stuff...
    I wonder if my BlueCross covers that...
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • ...arthritis of the mind...
    Now there, Greg, is a useful locution.
    Did you have any one in particular in mind who might suffer from this.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,110
    Myself especially.
    After 20 years of encountering this stuff I should get some kind of medical relief.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,110
    I can't help but make another comment...the "New Church' is so big on participation and "giving the voice to the people" etc. etc. But the music they write is so quirky, bad and irregular that it's impossible to sing. One suspects: is all this pile of music really written for the "voice of the assembly" or for their own concerts, recordings and performances?
  • jcr
    Posts: 39
    I should pass along this little tale, tragic, but true. About twenty years ago when my wife and I were embarking on our little adventure of "full time" church music work and had taken our second position (paying a "full time" salary for two of $18540), a woman appeared in the choir loft and proceeded to relate that she had carefully rescued a church full of hymnbooks that were scheduled to be destroyed because some new ones had been purchased. After a few moments of talk, we asked what books she had saved. "Glory and Praise," she replied!
    It has not gotten better since that time. The industry has gotten more commercial (I heard someone comment that they buy this stuff from 'composers by the pound), some of the charismatic influences have been very damaging, and the popular culture has invaded deeper and is firmly entrenched in far too many places. To fight it is a struggle-swimming upstream is not even close to describing it-but it must be fought in whatever way is given to us to do it. Continue to use your influence in any way that is given to you!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,258
    watching... but not waiting...
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,110
    We can either give up or we can try to be lights in each of our little kingdoms. I admit it is sometimes a difficult choice. The sad think (well hardly the only) it seems that at one point the big publishers like GIA saw a potential commercial bounty in selling all these composers - who appeal to amateurs because they are amateurs themselves. I love amateur musicians, and we have them all in our choirs, but for the first time, companies saw the economic potential in selling simple bad music to these folks who could then somewhat tune up a guitar and become "Music Ministers". This repertoire is marked by harmonies and compositional "procedures" (too generous a word!) that would not pass the first exam in any music theory class. You now no longer need any music training to be a world famous 'music minister", you just put a few chords together with a melody on top and strum away, humming out of tune all the way to the bank.
    I for one still believe that there is no shortcut to learning how the masters of the past wrote music. It is arrogant to think that this entire classical teaching of chant, harmony and counterpoint can just be tossed down the t#%$%^ and in place this...contemporary tripe appears.
    I have seen so much...I recall a very well trained organist and choir director being forced to host one of these sacro pop stars in a concert at her parish. People said things like"well now, we will have some really great music" This organist was very gracious in hosting this amateur strummer, but nobody seemed to think that it humiliating the way that everyone praised the folkie, and were sad, that now we have to return to the dull fare of hymnody and chant.
    Not that I have an opinion. Lol.