Article critical of contemporary liturgical music
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,033
    In Catholic World Report:

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2024/02/01/sing-a-new-song/

    What's notable about it is that the author is questioning why so many parishes sing songs written by "some guy" whose music "some company" liked enough to publish and sell to parishes for singing at Mass instead of music from Catholic tradition. The tide is starting to turn noticeably against OCP and contemporary liturgical music as more people wonder why THAT MUSIC is considered liturgical music for Mass. Is it liturgical music just because OCP has been successful in persuading parishes that it is?

    She concludes by stating that while contemporary music appears to satisfy a need, there's something shamefully missing when such music is replacing music from Catholic tradition.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    I had to laugh at a FB exchange I had the other day that touched on this general topic.

    Someone had mentioned that they didn’t see the problem if the music was in the hymnal, because it’s Catholic after all, right??

    I politely made the observation that many Catholic hymnals and missals are published by for-profit companies that aren’t even necessarily Catholic, and that “just because it’s in the book” doesn’t make it appropriate for mass, since those editors don’t collate with the heart of the church or liturgical excellence in mind. They make choices which are banal, sometimes destructive and more importantly: profitable.

    Someone then defensively replied, “well, I should certainly think OCP would take issue with that opinion. They produced Unidos en Christo that I mentioned.” Lol

    I smiled as I replied that, “indeed, they very likely will. That hardly nullifies my observation. OCP does not have the best reputation in regards to the content of their missalettes and other offerings. At least not among the liturgically trained musicians and clergy that I know.” (Alas, I had them in mind when I made my initial observation.)
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,033
    For Exhibit A of the crap that is officially passed off as contemporary liturgical music in the largest archdiocese in the United States, have a gander at the music in the program book for this year's Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim:
    https://www.recongress.org/documents/2024/2/Program 2024 - Final.pdf

    Vague appeals to "love" have replaced specifically Trinitarian, Catholic faith. I could only find one piece of music in that program that was composed more than 25 years ago. Recently composed songs by "that guy over there" have replaced the liturgical tradition of the Church. It's no longer Catholic faith that is being celebrated in Catholic parishes that sing such music: it's a pathetic, inept, ignorant, banal, sinful parody of Catholicism.

    So-called "liturgical music" published by OCP and GIA is now a con.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Mark

    The train REC is always the extreme example of bad post conciliar attempt at nuchurch. It truly is a train going off a cliff.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    ”we are redefining love here, and now, all together, we are redefining love…”
    Nah. I’m good.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    And we wonder why Catholics don’t sing at church. Let’s play “count the syncopations”!
    1125 x 1178 - 315K
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,038
    Always wondered why some parishes pay only for music from the past 10 or 15 years when there's almost an unlimited amount of (better!) music from the past 1000 - all for free.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,922
    "that guy over there"


    Made me chuckle - must be the musical equivalent of “thots and prayers”.
  • I searched for the keyword “Mass” in that book for the REC. Zero results.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,473
    I read all 108 pages. Quite an education no pun intended.
  • Nisi
    Posts: 149
    The tide is starting to turn noticeably against OCP and contemporary liturgical music…

    Let me know how I can help.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,473
    I noticed in the booklet...of the dozens of songs, not one of them mentioned Mary.
  • I'd be curious to know how many at LA REC can sight-sing this music. Can't imagine it would be a lot.

    That having been said, I would defend "Beautiful Is Your Love" and "Miracle of Grace," both of which I have used with choirs (I'm in the middle-of-the-road parish) with good results. But I wouldn't do either congregationally. I've used "Our God Is Here," too -- but again, never congregationally.

    I do feel like GIA's trying way too hard to make "Rejoice, Be Glad," a thing, in the wake of having to dispose of He Who Shall Not Be Named's "Blest Are They." It's not terrible, but a lot of GIA's recent output has been just there. Not especially good, not egregiously bad, but just ... meh. Uninteresting.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,033
    Whoo, boy! Here's a link to the RECongress theme song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftsDas6zbn0

    Feel that 90s "throwback to the 70s" groove! The song's bass line is reminiscent of "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen.

    I have hardened in my opposition to OCP and GIA music over the past couple of years to believe that much of it is spiritual and liturgical cotton candy, which is to say that it's effectively spiritual and liturgical poison because it is counter to the authentic spirit of the liturgy.

    They should have just used this instead:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2ugQ190hkc
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    "I have misplaced my tambourine."
    Thanked by 2CharlesW tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    If you ever wanted a reason to become Orthodox, that song is it.
    Thanked by 3MarkB CHGiffen tomjaw
  • davido
    Posts: 893
    GIA sure knows how to ruin rock-n-roll
    Thanked by 2CharlesW tomjaw
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 273
    Mark, I could’ve gone my whole life without hearing that.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 975
    Here is an exclusive sneak peek at next year's RE Congress theme song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u63_4BieqEU
    Thanked by 2tandrews CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    They could at least kiss us. Being shafted is more bearable if you are getting kissed.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,703
    Funny Charles.
  • Having now had time to read the original article.

    It's a shame that he doesn't go into what Tradition actually is.
    Seems to me the best explanation is material written by "some really old guy" that lots of companies have published.

    I notice he used a capital T, you all use lowercase. Not sure what that's about.

    As an exercise, tell me what music "from the Catholic Tradition" you would suggest for St Ordinarys this week:
    - a NO parish
    - volunteer organist, no music qualification, he's actually a pianist who was cajoled to take over when the last trained organist died aged 92
    - no official music director ("what do we need one for, the organist picks the music" - is shortland for we can't find or afford anyone)
    - a volunteer choir of non-professional singers, who rehearse once a week for 1.5 hours, and about 50% cannot read any type of music notation at all.
  • davido
    Posts: 893
    St Ordinarys, 6th Sunday of OT, Last Sunday before Lent
    Entr: All Creatures of our God and King (paraphrase of St Francis of Assisi)
    Gloria: Roman Missal chant
    Psalm: Chabanel, or Royce Nickel (books available for purchase)
    Alleluia: Mode VI Alleluia, or Chabanel or Royce Nickel
    Offertory: chant from Simple English Propers (modern notation accompaniment available from CMAA)
    Sanctus: Roman Missal chant
    Mem./Amen: Roman Missal chant
    Agnus: Roman Missal chant
    Communion: chant from Simple English Propers (modern notation accompaniment available from CMAA)
    Recess.: Alleluia, Song of Sweetness, or Praise My soul the King of Heaven.

    Next steps would include purchasing Source and Summit, or Ignatius Pew Missal; learning an alternate chant mass (English options in both SS and IPM).

    This is not asking a lot from a musical standpoint. The music is simple, singable, and achievable. It is reverent and solemn.
    Thanked by 1lmassery
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    it burns
    it burns
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Thanks davido - but I'm scratching my head.

    The Missal chants - fine, and clearly Catholic, and from the ever-adapting Tradition.

    The four variable pieces, clearly from Catholic sources based in tradition. Challenging for the non-music-readers to have so many. But possible with very careful use of practise time, and sharing of recordings.

    But two (and three suggestions) hymns by dead Anglicans? Sure based on Latin hymns that were Catholic, but these are Anglican versions, not Catholic tradition. And how do they relate to the scripture readings of the day.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 407
    A little perspective might help, PAX. David Os plan is better than 99.9% of parishes, and thoroughly Catholic. And I find it very singable. Are we looking at different plans?
  • davido
    Posts: 893
    Pax, what is your angle?
    Do you want St Ordinarys to use the same four OCP songs and Respond and Acclaim each week?
    Do you think the Tradition is only an EF mass chanted in Latin?

    I sense some deliberate obtuseness…
  • TCJ
    Posts: 975
    I'm seeing the addition of hymns with plenty of Alleluias for the Sunday preceding Lent. Good call!
  • TCJ
    Posts: 975
    The four variable pieces, clearly from Catholic sources based in tradition. Challenging for the non-music-readers to have so many. But possible with very careful use of practise time, and sharing of recordings.


    Simple English propers are difficult? About half my choir members (mostly Spanish) don't read music at all. They can sing that type of music because it's extraordinarily easy.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • My agenda is to explore what is meant by "Catholic Tradition".

    So far it's propers, Missal chants - and hymns by Anglicans. So Anglican's are somehow Catholic. That has me scratching my head.

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Sad to say, some Anglicans are more Catholic than the Catholics today.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 975
    Easiest thing is to scrap the English and go Latin.

    Also, what CharlesW said.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    PaxMelodious - The Church of England has always professed the Nicene Creed, and seen itself as the local manifestation of the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church", despite the doubts of those of us that cleave to Rome.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • davido
    Posts: 893
    Pax, what is meant by “Catholic Tradition” is an excellent question to explore. It’s a large topic, so I will address just the “Anglican Hymns” now.

    The argument for including them in Roman Catholic liturgy would include these points:
    1. The Anglican Church preserved much of the genius of the Roman Rite even after its break from Rome. This topic has been explored extensively by Fr Hunwick on his blog, Mutual Enrichment.
    2. Many “Anglican” hymns are translations of Latin, Roman Catholic hymns from the 400-1600s.
    3. Many of the Anglican hymnodists were members of the Oxford Movement, some even worshipping at Pius V’s liturgy (in English or Latin).
    4. Many of these hymnodists were already working before the pope definitely condemned the Anglican orders.
    5. Some of the Anglican hymnodists were in fact Catholics: Caswall, Faber, Newman.
    6. The all that is orthodox and best of the Anglican tradition has been adopted into the Roman Church through the Anglican Ordinariates. And this gift cannot be just for former Anglicans, but is now part of the patrimony of all Roman Catholics, especially those who speak English.

    This is complicated in these USA by the fact that American Roman Catholics are rarely Anglophiles, and frequently descend from other religious heritages or have particular cause to resent the English and the Anglican Church.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    "American Roman Catholics are rarely Anglophiles, and frequently descend from other religious heritages or have particular cause to resent the English and the Anglican Church."

    Very true, and also seems to surprise Anglophiles. Also, there are American Anglophiles who imagine that what became the Anglican choral flower of the 20th century was a direct and continuous survival from the pre-English Civil War era (um, no), and tend to ignore that the Continent has other schools of Catholic music tradition of even longer standing on which to draw. There are valid explanations why the Anglican choral tradition has not been given automatic deference in Roman Catholic Church in the USA. (To put it in a humorous way, I have no good reason to imagine American Catholics will largely embrace pronouncing "benedicite" as "benny-DIE-city" at any time in the foreseeable future.)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw