Psalm settings for Canada
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    I've been working with Arlene Oost-Zinner to adapt some of her Responsorial Psalm settings (recently published in the Parish Book of Psalms) to conform to the Canadian Lectionary. Do any of our friends up north think this would be helpful?

    The Lectionary for Canada is based on the NRSV and has adaptations to make it compliant with current liturgical norms, including Liturgiam authenticam.

    I'll attach the psalms for Year B, Weeks 18-20 of Ordinary Time as a sample.
    Thanked by 1PMulholland
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,660
    I'm up in Canada right now and think a lot of parishes would benefit from good Psalm settings, but I think the notation is more of a problem here than in the United States. The quality and education of music directors here is far, far lower in general than in the US. It really is an entirely different liturgical world.

    On another note, I was at my grandmother's yesterday and she had a televised Mass (from Toronto) on the television. The priest in question used many of the texts from the old sacramentary instead of the Roman Missal - the Offertory prayers (Blessed are You...) and the old "Pray friends that this our sacrifice..." being the ones I noticed most (since I was near the TV at that point). The music was decent for Canadian standards, but they had the camera ZOOM in on the Psalmist during the Psalm. Like a close up on his face. He did lots of very proper vocal technique and mouth-movements, which in and of itself is a great argument for the Psalmist singing from the choir loft.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Thanks for doing these settings. I do think it is a worthwhile endeavor and some would benefit.
    Matthewj makes a good assessment of what it is like up here in the North. Sadly there are very few of us who are educated musicians working in Catholic Parishes in Canada. The protestants typically spend much more. So think of how it is in the US then expand the gap 10 fold.
    Personally, my profession can not be as a musician in Canada as I chose a different path after completing all my education and working for a few years. At least I am able to help my parish and have a fledgling program there, but I am limited by time.

    Priestly formation is very poor throughout Canada. There is good and bad, but most clergy haven't a clue. The liturgy here reflects that and the people of God suffer for it.
    There are pockets here and there, but we desperately need the support of some of our bishops to gain some traction. We have no Olmsteads, Burkes, Georges or Cordileones in the Great White North.

  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,660
    Chant Psalms in modern notation would probably benefit the Canadian church much more... They'll need to learn neumes eventually, but they're 20 years behind the US at least.
  • I printed them off on Friday, and gave them to my daughter. We didn’t have time to look at them because she and my other daughter were getting ready to leave on a trip (I just got back from the airport to drop them off).

    I met them at Mass yesterday evening because they were catching their flight this morning and couldn’t go to Sunday morning Mass. While the Responsorial Psalm was being practiced before Mass, my daughter took the printout I gave her out of her purse and compared it with the Catholic Book of Worship III (nothing matched, of course). I thought this was odd, as she has a CBW3 at home and didn’t need to bring the printout to Mass to do a comparison.

    I asked her, “You have the Psalm in your purse?”

    My other daughter whispered, “She also sang a couple Propers in the car on the way here.” (She wasn’t joking.)

    Since there is supposed to be silence before Mass, I had to wait until Mass was over to find out why she had this Psalm in her purse.

    It seems no one was on the schedule to do music at this Mass, and although she’s no longer on the roster until her children’s choir, which won’t have it’s first practice until September, is ready, she was prepared to jump in and to everything a cappella including this Psalm.

    She sang it for me when we got back to their place. It is so much better than what’s currently available in Canada.

    Since she won’t be doing any music at Mass until the children’s choir is ready, she won’t be able to implement these Responsorial Psalms in our parish yet. However, since I’m the webmaster for our parish, I can set up a Psalm page on our parish website with an RSS feed and update it as each Psalm becomes available. When it’s all set up, I’ll e-mail the director of music at our parish to encourage all the musicians at our parish to look at them.

    Since my parish website is a subdomain of the archdiocese’s website, I’ve got an e-mail address that looks a little bit official. So I was thinking I could e-mail every diocese in Canada about the availability of these Responsorial Psalms on the webpage that I set up.

    Is there any legal or other reasons to impede me from doing this? And, if not, what’s the best way for me to keep up to date with the latest Psalm?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,563
    Go for it!!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    I took the psalm texts from Novalis' Sunday Missal 2011-12, so I trust that they match the Lectionary, even if the CBW differs. I think it would be good to make these for a while before making a big announcement. Do we have to get formal permission to quote the official texts?
    Thanked by 1rjgrigaitis
  • I always get excited and never think of these things. This is what’s in my Lectionary:
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    The copyright owner of the psalms and psalm refrains in the Canadian lectionary would appear to be the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Their permissions policy is here.

    Chonak, speaking as a "friend up north": we've used the Oost-Zinner psalms a fair bit in the past. I like them. In my neck of the woods however, congregational singing is generally lacklustre, and I've found that the congregation has difficulty picking up even these simple melodies that I'm sure are no trouble for a congregation that sings confidently.

    For this reason I've switched to something more syllabic and formulaic for the refrain, along the lines of the brief responsories of the Office and the responsorial psalms in the Graduale Simplex, and reserving ornamentation for the verses. Attached is what we did for Mass yesterday.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    Very nice!

    The sheet doesn't show whether there is accompaniment. Do you present these a cappella?
  • In 2011 I completed settings for Sundays and Solemnities of all three years of the psalm texts in the Canadian lectionary. They are based on Gregorian melodies proper to the text (and where possible, the season) of each psalm. But they are in the "responsorial" style (congregrational response and cantored verses). They are (now) approved by the CCCB Music Commission for use at Mass in Canada, and are in use in a number of parishes and communities.

    The text copyright issues aren't clearly sorted yet, so these settings are not published openly. For fair use, my colleagues may examine the books by applying to me here at the forum. Also, samples are posted on the web here.

    (Note: according to the letter of the liturgical law, psalms said at Mass must be as found in the ordinary Lectionary; other translations (including those taken from the USCCB Lectionary) are excluded.)
    Thanked by 1PMulholland
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    [Andrew, the link to your site had a typo, so I took the liberty of fixing it.]
  • Mark K
    Posts: 25
    Greetings from prairie Canada: it’s great to see these new settings for our NRSV Lectionary, and I look forward to trying them out. Andrew, Chonak, Arlene and Robert - your hard work is much appreciated!

    Since Lent this year I have been using Andrew Malton’s psalm settings for many Sundays and I highly recommend them. The response in my small parish has been positive and singing has been strong. I double as volunteer organist & psalmist and I typically play a simple organ accompaniment with these, but we have also sung them a cappella. I find they add some solemn beauty to our mass.

    Keep up the great work everyone! 
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Is the idea of a Canadian version of the Parish Book of Psalms still alive? It would be wonderful if it had the support of the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    It's a good idea, but I'm a student now and can't work on it at present.

    Of course, anyone's welcome to post their own arrangements.
    Thanked by 1AJ in Toronto
  • AJ, was that to be The Parish Book of Psalms, same music, but adapted to our lectionary?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    That was the idea Russell and I floated a few months back (see the top of this discussion). I haven't given up on it.

    In fact, today I went to order the Novalis missal for 2012-2013 to get the Year C texts. (Paying $14 shipping on a $6 book seems a bit much, so I'm going to shop around.)
  • Unfortunately, the license conditions for our lectionary text are much more restrictive than those of the USCCB. It is not allowed to publish Canadian lectionary texts on the internet, nor in general to copy them beyond the usual fair use provisions. Musical compositions using the texts must obtain license from the Conference before publication.
  • Andrew, yes, I was thinking of the previously proposed Canadian version of Parish Book of Psalms with the same melodies but using the Canadian lectionary.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,463
    Unfortunately, the license conditions for our lectionary text are much more restrictive than those of the USCCB. It is not allowed to publish Canadian lectionary texts on the internet, nor in general to copy them beyond the usual fair use provisions. Musical compositions using the texts must obtain license from the Conference before publication.

    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,466
    And I can't blame the CCCB for it: they don't own the translation.
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