New Settings of Propers: Wonderful, pointless, needed?
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    Regarding the topic of this thread, just as an FYI, each week I am setting Simple English Psalm Tones.

    These are for those who (for whatever reason) cannot sing the SEP.

    URL link
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,496
    Francis, this is the music I value:

    haha, this deserves its own thread!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,638

    I am confusing different things? Please clarify.

    I rather like Pierrot Lunaire, tho' I grant the approach might not work liturgically. Still, it would be fun to try, and perhaps the Propers would be a good place to begin.

    MIGHT not? Fun to TRY? Are you just being TIC, half serious or do you REALLY like Pierrot?!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,638

    That is the music I once was 'all fer the sake of Jesus'... and now I don't even find it funny because it robbed me of a lot of time and focus and removed me from my Faith. Now that I am back peddaling toward true sacred music I am going to drag as many of you that I can with me.
  • Blaise
    Posts: 439

    You can say that your participation in Rock Masses gave you a foretaste for the future, whatever it is. No need to be embarrassed about that. For Pope St. Gregory said, "The one who aspires to the highest place advances by steps, and not leaps and bounds". Or something like that.

    Have I attended Masses with guitars, etc.? Yes. Did they often contain some quality hymnody, and during Advent, also some chanted Ordinaries? Most certainly. Am I embarrassed that I attended these Masses? Most certainly not. But I prefer not to repeat these Masses if I can get to something better. But not everyone can. So, we go to what is available, and make the best offering to our Lord and Majesty as is possible, since not every Roman parish can afford an organ.

    I will repeat what said in another thread once. When I was in first grade, ca. 1990-1991, I went to a Saturday Mass with a rock band. This was before I knew anything at all about sacred music. But I knew already in my gut that something was wildly amiss. I am pleased that in the next 20-21 years, I have never heard this type of liturgical music again.

    Now, as for the title question: whether more settings of the propers should be made? I answer that: why not? There may not be a true "need", if you will, for more music, but it is humanity's great desire to praise, or at least, cry out to the Lord. Anyone who doubts that can go to your neighborhood coffee shop or wherever you transact business and listen to the people's talk. Who do they cry out to the most, even if only in a blasphemous fashion? Buddha? Muhammed? No, no one else other than our Lord Christ. This is evidence, believe it or not, that we were built to cry out to the Lord.

    So, let the trained composers write so as to please the Lord, and the proper church authorities judge if these works are suitable for divine worship. Why should we limit the desire of composers to make "a joyful noise unto the Lord"?
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 754

    If you look at my previous two posts again you'll see the answer to your first question. The answer to your other questions will further illustrate the point. Yes, I was being tongue-in-cheek about its liturgical suitability; and Pierrot fascinates and moves me as a work, in a way that's analogous to my reaction to anguished visual art of the period, such as The Scream, Marc's The Fate of the Animals and Kollwitz's Death and Woman, none of which would be suitable to liturgical purposes, but as I'm not thinking of their use in that connection the consideration is irrelevant.

    FWIW, I'm not solely interested in anguished expressionism!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,638

    You would not want to have seen the Masses that I participated in... they were on an auditorium stage with flashing lights and VERY LOUDDDDD overpowering rock music throughout... I actually believe they may have been perverse and sacreligious. We are talking ROCK CONCERT MASSES in high schools with the Bishop of Boston presiding back in the 80s. VERY controversial.

    Nothing you have ever been to was anything near the abuse that this abomination was. It still makes me shudder for my soul.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,638

    IanW 1 day ago edited
    I rather like Pierrot Lunaire, tho' I grant the approach might not work liturgically. Still, it would be fun to try, and perhaps the Propers would be a good place to begin.

    IanW 17 hours ago edited

    Sorry about that - I should have used an emoticon, but I don't think there is one for tongue-in-cheek! On the wider issue, despite being a tonal hack in my own occasional work - maybe stretching to the odd cluster and whole-tone scale - I like as a listener to explore music that stretches the boundaries, even if many of the attempts to do so in the last century were an aesthetic dead-end (e.g. integral serialism) or risable (e.g. Stockhausen's Stimmung). Enough of it works and moves (e.g. Messiaen) to be worth listening to, and persevering with if necessary (think learning to drink bitter beer). None of that, though, is to deny the constraints of various kinds - of tradition, reception and practical considerations - that operate in a liturgical context, tho' that shouldn't prevent development of style and technique: medieval polyphony was, after all, a novelty, albeit one that grew organically from chant.

    O.......Kayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy..... Where in these responses do you tell me how I am confusing different things. Clarify.

    Be frank and blunt... no dancing around.

    From what I read you want to mix blood with milk and then drink it. We cannot mix in our souls the things of God and the things of the world, or worse, of a darkened spiritual realm.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,137
    Oh my, I want to say something, but I'm just not sure what to say or how to say it. I will say that, as a composer of what I think is sacred music, I find all this somewhat troubling.
  • since this thread has all but unraveled, perhaps Adam will forgive me for contributing an attempt at (dark) humor...
    Maybe it's time for me to finally pen the origins of my liturgical conversion... a writer friend suggested 'Confessions of a Life Teen Diva'.
    In all seriousness, I'm glad I'm not alone. And I'm incredibly relieved not to be involved in rock (ok, wannabe rock) masses anymore. It felt icky then and I couldn't do it without throwing up now. Does it make anyne else nervous about purgatory for us musicians?
    Colloquium and wine needed.

    And Francis, I am fighting envy that you don't recall Pierrot in your music schools days. Either you escaped or it will resurface in therapy. That piece has gotta be in the top ten of vocal music's Hall of Shame.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,638

    Well, here is a short synopsis of my experience:

    I managed to escape the darkened world of much of the music that many were subjected to in their college days. I consciously rejected all things atonal, experimental and contrary to the art right from the start. My composition teachers were very invested in the mess, but I had no interest whatsover. I would bring in SATB a cappella pieces that I had composed to one of my teachers, and one time he pretended to vomit in my presence after reviewing one of my pieces (see 1 Corinthians 13 in my catalogue). It was sheer mockery toward me and the art of sacred music as far as I was concerned. I was about 19 at the time, and it was devestating.

    I had the exact same sentiments of Collin Brumby (see above). In my mind the entire school of thought was not only chasing after gibberish, but involved in a cloaked mockery of the very art I was trying to learn and master. I had very little guidance as I did not know anyone who was committed to sacred music. I did not even know that programs (degrees) of sacred music existed till many years after I had left school. Once I had attended the Peabody and saw the degradation of what 'the best in the world' represent musically, I became totally disenchanted and forsook everything and threw my life on the mercy of God. I was a musician of sacred music, but I could not find a path to pursue my calling nor anyone to collaborate with. My organ professor was a student of Gustav Leonhardt and a Catholic, but he was very much into the organ and not so much the whole concept of sacred music. He was a good and profound influence in terms of learning the organ and performance, but composing polyphony was a self-possessed interest that I constantly pursued and practiced on my own.

    I stood up in the middle of composition class (at the Peabody Conservatory in 1980) and told them all (teachers and students) that I could not participate in the things that they were doing and promptly left the school without finishing my degree. I removed myself from the collegiate world and went into a proverbial cave and learned to compose sacred music through prayer, studying and listening to the masters of old.

    I unfortunately did get caught up in the (false) ecumenical Charismatic movement for about 15 years which was a very confusing time in my life, and from what you read above, great confusion within the ranks of the Church in terms of liturgy and experimentation. God forgive us all.

    Then the clouds parted when I discovered the CMAA in 2005 when I attended the Colloquium in DC. There were only 57 attendees at that time. I was out of work, and Fr. Skeris invited me to come to the event and waived my fees. I took the metro from Baltimore every day to attend as I could not afford rooming on the campus at CUA. That weekend forever changed the course of my pursuits as I finally found those who were dedicated to true Roman Catholic sacred music. To this day it amazes me that God kept me 'in the dark' for so many years, but it was a time of testing, forging and spiritual formation that I was apparently supposed to undergo without external support from those who 'knew'.

    I do remember feeling uncomfortable with the technique of the Solesmes method, but other than that, I told them it was like 7 days of musical heaven. Don't know if that is how they adopted that phrase for the colloquium, but that certainly was my experience. Not long after I moved to Wyoming to take up a position as DoM here in Jackson, and because it is so remote this forum has been my only contact with musicians ever since.

    Thank you Fr. Skeris and CMAA.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,496
    I think many of us have similar stories to tell, of confusion, heroism, false ideals, re-version, and loneliness. "You are not alone": that is part of what makes the Colloquium such a wonderful event, when all of us fallen heroes can stand together and sing the very best liturgical music. At least that's a lot of why it is wonderful for me.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    This discussion calls to mind the words of that great musicologist Anna Russell about modern (atonal) music: "It makes me wonder if they're serious, or if they're trying to put one over on the audience."

    As for Pierrot Lunaire, I love that piece. I've used some of those methods myself in secular pieces. However, imagining Sprechgesang (kind of like Rex Harrison's "singing" in My Fair Lady, only sinister, and in German) with the Proper texts is too bizarre for even the most outré Catholic composer. Or at least it should be . . . maybe it's been tried, but the attempt has faded into merciful oblivion.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 393
    I'm bumping this old thread to see if anyone knows of any recently composed propers in a contemporary style. This would be a step in the right direction for the parish I work for. Something responsorial in nature
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Define, please, "contemporary style."
  • BenBen
    Posts: 3,114
    If nothing else, you could try using contemporary responsorial psalms... GIRM opt 3 does allow that. At least you'd be singing scripture, or paraphrases of scripture.
  • lmassery
    Posts: 393
    Exactly... We sometimes do use the psalms from the Gather hymnal - the broadway-style haugen-esque ones - as well as the more syncopated P&W style psalms from OCP's Spirit and Song. I'm just hoping for something similar that contains not only the psalms but a paraphrase of the actual antiphon.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,691
    Contemporary Introits for Advent:

    Contemporary Introits for Lent:

    Contemporary Introits for Easter:

    If you have a OneLicense account, there are graphics for the congregational refrain.

    Not that I endorse the above.

    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • lmassery
    Posts: 393
    Thanks Matthew - we don't have OneLicense and since we already have WLP, Licensing, and CCLI, I don't think we will be getting another one. That's the kind of thing I had in mind though
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    They're not all that bad. Some of the older ones are pretty straightforward. The Haugen "The Lord is My Light" is ALMOST chant like to me.