Todd Flowerday on Worship III
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,655
    Blogger Todd Flowerday (whose absence on this board is quite sad!) has begun reviewing the hymns of Worship III:

    I think it might be good if we follow Todd's journey through this hymnal here on the forum.

    He's certainly taking a bit of a different look at the hymnal and the texts than I've seen done before and it might bring about fruitful discussion here.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,219
    I've never tried to discuss anything with anyone who tried so much to "win" every conversation by leading it down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. Although feel free to talk to him anytime, Matthew.

    His criteria for evaluating hymns seem to be rule- based in a way that is unsupported by any study of the paradigmatic hymns of the ancient monks. Most ancient hymns do not address God directly, except perhaps in the doxology. Often they refer to Scripture without quoting it. They often say "we," especially in the little hours, but often they are so focused on the mystery of the day that the subject of us never comes up. Here is one of many important examples.

    I don't see any reason for using Todd's criteria, nor for bringing his conversational tactics anywhere near this board. Perhaps you would enjoy engaging him on his blog?
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    I don’t know how much Dom Lentini changed that hymn, but it is interesting the LH version is the one available. The criteria mentioned by Kathy were followed, naturally, in the revisions under Urban VIII, even though most have disliked the new texts, and they were also followed quite well in composing new hymns, such as the wonderful hymn “En ut superba” for the office of feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
  • A number of years ago, we looked at contemporary hymnals, mainly Glory & Praise. My premise was that one positive innovation offered by contemporary genres was a deeper connection to Scripture.

    I didn't read much farther than this. The reason is simple: there are so many problems here that I needed to consider them before I proceeded.

    Glory and Praise didn't intend to be a hymnal. To treat it as if it did, and then hold it up as a standard of comparison with Worship III is to compare apples to oranges.

    To say that Glory and Praise offers a "deeper connection to Scripture, he must (it seems to me) define what Glory and Praise does as "present an deeper connection to Scripture", and then find that the connection between Glory and Praise and Holy Writ is exactly how he defined it. To claim, however, that the relation of Glory and Praise is deep on any level, except perhaps its immersion in contemporary culture, is to accuse it unfairly.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,219
    Here is an excellent summary of the historical issues, involving Pope Urban; they are much different from those in this discussion and have to do with the study of Latin poetry.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 273
    To claim, however, that the relation of Glory and Praise is deep on any level, except perhaps its immersion in contemporary culture, is to accuse it unfairly.

    I'm not entirely sure what you are saying here, but I take Todd's point to be that the original three Glory and Praise collections consisted of songs that were almost all scriptural paraphrases. So they had a connection to Scripture not unlike the metrical psalters of the Reformed tradition. Are you saying that this does not qualify as "deep"? I'm just not quite clear on what your criticism is.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,219
    I don't think it qualifies as deep, anymore than a homily that is only scripture is deep. Great hymns see scripture as a whole and pray about it. Here is an example
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  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 273
    I think there's a difference between a song that paraphrases Scripture and one that reflects on Scripture, but it doesn't seem to me that one approach is necessarily "deeper" than the other. I know from other things Todd has said that he wants to give G&P credit for taking Scripture more seriously than the previous generation of folk-Mass composers. This doesn't seem to me to be an outrageous claim.

    One way in which I might want to qualify his claim about depth would be to note a lack of breadth in G&P's Scriptural engagement: there seems to be a strong preference for Deutero-Isaiah and a neglect of many other parts of Scripture.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Adam Wood
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,597
    I have never had much interest in anything Flowerday has to say. For certain, he likes his little self a bit much, which to me, seems conspicuous. "Glory and Praise?" He has to be kidding. What an abominably written collection of trash. Yes, it may have been a "deeper connection to scripture" than what preceded it, but that's not saying much.

    Why he is reviewing Worship III, I don't understand. That hymnal is somewhat obsolete and has been replaced by Worship IV. You may or may not care that much for the hymnal IV - I tend to think there is much worse out there. But why third edition? Is anyone still buying it?
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,219
    there seems to be a strong preference for Deutero-Isaiah and a neglect of many other parts of Scripture.

    I heartily agree! Thank you for saying this so clearly.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102
    This is a strange conversation.
  • ...strange...

    Yea, even bizarre!
  • Deacon Fritz,

    I can string together any number of sections of Holy Writ, and not qualify for having had a deep connection to it. Just for fun, try the following; read St. Matthew's account of the tempting of Christ. Satan has a connection to Scripture, since he can quote it to God Himself, but he twists the meaning. Or, if you prefer, try adding "Go thou, and do likewise" to any of the following:

    Cain killed his brother Abel....
    Saul held the coats of those who stoned Stephen...
    and God rained down fire upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah...
    He shall separate the sheep from the goats....

    Even if we choose longer pericopes (There, I finally got auto-correct to stop calling them periscopes, as if they were submarine parts) merely quoting Scripture doesn't prove a deep connection to it.

  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I have had as many frustrating dialogues with Todd as anyone here, including a period of radio silence as I'd reached the same conclusion Kathy mentioned quite early in terms of his intransigent argumentation. However, the only way to sway his negative prejudice away from CMAA and "us" is to further a dialogue, such as we've maintained with Frs. Chepponis and Krisman, and that which we failed with Mr. Haas. Many things are unhelpful, but we ought to not be among them.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,350
    CGZ argues:
    I can string together any number of sections of Holy Writ, and not qualify for having had a deep connection to it.

    Isn't that beside the point? The discussion above is about songs and their texts, and about how those texts draw on Scripture. That's all published material; we can be objective about it. It's not about the authors of the songs: we don't have to know the authors' state of soul in order to make sound observations about the song texts.
  • Chonak,

    I don't know the first thing about the state of another's soul, but I'm not claiming to do so. What I mean is that merely quoting large sections of Scripture doesn't qualify as a song's ticket to being appropriate for Mass or having drawn out (musically) anything deep in the Scripture cited.

    As the most obvious example I can think of, On Eagle's Wings does almost nothing but quote Scripture in the verses. The music sounds like someone swooping down from the parapet of the temple. For all I know, the composer may be a saint. The song's treatment of Scripture sounds more like the presentation of the Devil in St. Matthew's Gospel rather than King David's in the psalter.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,219
    I'm trying to think if one of my motivations in life should be trying to sway Todd's irrational prejudices. Nope. No, I don't think that is something I should be working to do.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Context and literary value, as well as musical value, are the crux of it all.

    One would get the impression that these persons thought that quoting scripture was something new. Where have they been!

    Anyone can, and does, quote scripture, and always has.

    Old Beelzebub knows scripture backward and forward.

    So do the manufacturers of the tons of worthless happy-clappy drivel that would make a nice bonfire - except for the matter of air pollution.

    The author-composers of the propers could quote scripture, but, alas, that doesn't count in the steam of today's cultural decay.

    The 1940 is not the only hymnal to be chock full of scripture! 'Immortal, Invisible, God only wise' is but one of dozens, but these won't do, will they - they don't have the right folksy bounce, do they? And their like may be found in other hymnals than the 1940, but they're just not what the happy-clappy crowd is looking for. You see, it's not just scripture - it has to swing and have guitars and combos and electronic keyboards.

    Tallis and Byrd, and Poulenc and RVW, S.S. Wesley and our friend Lauridsen, can and could all quote scripture and lovingly grace it with musical genius - but, that's not what the happy-clappy crowd really have in mind, is it! The works of these men don't count.

    We quoted scripture at Walsingham this morning! In our 1940's hymnody we sang scripture quoted and alluded to ("Praise, My Soul...' and 'Jesus Shall Reign...'), our choir sang a psalm, Palestrina's Sicut cervus during communions. I'm sure that some others here could say as much for their churches. But again: it's just not whatever is in that 'glory and praise' brain, is it. It doesn't count.

    With this milieu the object really isn't quoting scripture so much as couching it as pedestrianly as possible and framing it with as little aesthetical worth as they can devise and manage. It doesn't count that H. Howells, et al., quote and compose scripture. Alas! They don't call for guitars, and, pity!, they don't have the right beat. And so it goes. Be ye vigilant and be not fooled! This is a cultural war masquerading as a scriptural crusade.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,350
    Part of having sound judgment is the ability to give some credit where it's due.

    If you're not familiar with the sort of repertoire that preceded G&P, you can subject yourself to this YouTube playlist.

    Is it intolerable that someone give faint praise to G&P songs by saying (correctly) that they were more often based in Scripture than the folk-mass songs that preceded them? This is not about comparing OEW to Howells. It's about comparing works of the St. Louis Jesuits to vapid songs like "Brand New Day" and "Sons of God". (OEW came out after volume 1 of G&P, and appeared in volume 2.)

    If CGZ thinks that G&P songs are so bad that they have to be blamed on the devil, then he ought to say what is bad about them, and not just post useless vague warnings.

    The facile suggestion that the devil might be behind some lousy work of art is a trump card which has the effect of stopping rational examination of the work. And whatever is anti-rational is un-Catholic.

    That trump card can be played to smear any work. After all, the devil is able to compose polyphonic church music too. Would it make sense for us to follow every new composition posted here with a warning to readers that the composition might just be a mask for evil?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,597
    My favorite. And Judas went and hanged himself. Go thou and do likewise.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,896
    Didn't SC tell us that the closer a composition is to Gregorian chant, the more suitable for the liturgy it is? I believe it also says the opposite is true: the further from GC a composition is, the less suitable it is for the liturgy. So, even V2 is telling us that GC is the standard by which "other" music for the Mass must be judged. Here are a few things that describe GC for comparison: (remember that execution counts)

    1. GC is in Latin.

    2. GC is unaccompanied.

    3. GC is not dependent on any instrumental accompaniment, with the exception of possible use for pitch support.

    4. GC is not related to any secular style, and does not resemble any secular style of music in form or performance.

    5. GC uses sacred or religious text (I.e. text of the Mass Ordinary or Proper, text of the Divine Office, formal prayers such as "Ave Maria," or other devotional prayers.

    6. GC is free from doctrinal error and is in accordance with Catholic teaching and theology.

    7. GC has melodic intervals that are mostly seconds and thirds.

    8. GC is free of chromaticism. There is only one accidental, the flat, that is only used on the solfeggio tone of SI.

    If I was writing a composition intended for use during the Mass, I would use the above as a checklist of sorts. The more of those items the composition is in accordance with, the closer it is to GC and therefore, according to SC, the more suitable for the liturgy. The same would be true if I was evaluating a composition to determine suitability for use during the Mass, again in accordance with SC.

    As for Mr. Haas, our goals don't make him more money. If we succeed at n returning true Sacred Music to the Mass, there will be less room for "alius cantus aptus" and therefore less of a market for his wares.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102
    "Didn't SC tell us that the closer a composition is to Gregorian chant, the more suitable for the liturgy it is?"

    Tra le sollecitudini - paragraph 2 of #3: "On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the suprememodel for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down thefollowing rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple."
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    This is a strange conversation.

    And it's getting stranger.
    *Proof-texting accomplishes very little in dialogue.
    *MJM only offered that being conversant about Todd's exegesis of hymnal content _might_ prove a worthwhile activity for _some_.
    *MJM's opinion of Todd's status here is just an opinion.
    *Words have meaning, whether in hymns, verbal praise or condemnation. Charity of thought should precede those words; charity, as far as I know, is neither a gong or a weapon that is only used to injure.
    *This music we champion (cMaa) is at once a modus and vehicle. Some are better than others. To actually legislate one vehicle over all others seems, well, prohibitive. Whose chant shall prevail? Ought we sing polyphony? Is the Coronation or Vierne Mass polyphony? All this is old news on this forum.

    If there's "nothing to see here," move on.
    Thanked by 1JL
  • Ask, and you shall receive....

    (same document, once as pdf)
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    Actually, I've noticed that all the hymnals from the publisher of Worship have a tendency to give the Scripture references (or some of them) for contemporary hymns, but not to give Scripture references for old hymns, whether they be Catholic or Protestant. I don't know if that's the case for Worship III or IV, but I've sure noticed it elsewhere as I become more familiar with Scripture.

    I conclude that hymnbook editors are somewhat ignorant about Scripture, or at least don't have any special knowledge. So they print what they're given. Contemporary music publishers cite; old composers thought you should already know.

    Of course, the solution is probably to feed publishers a list of Scripture citations for old hymns, so that they can finally get up to speed in Worship V or the like. But it seems kinda silly to have to do it.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    Oh, hey! Chris Garton-Zavesky, neat paper!

    The reference to eagle's wings is actually from Deuteronomy 32:11, from the midst of a rare OT passage about God as Father --

    "Is this the return you make to the Lord, O foolish and senseless people? Is not He your Father that has possessed you, and made you, and created you? Remember the days of old, think upon every generation. Ask your father, and he will declare to you, your elders and they will tell you.

    "When the Most High divided the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He appointed the bounds of people according to the number of the children of Israel. But the Lord's portion is His people: Jacob the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, in a place of horror, and of vast wilderness. He led him about and taught him, and He kept him as the apple of His eye.

    "As the eagle enticing her young to fly, and hovering over them, He spread His wings and has taken him, and carried him on His shoulders.

    "The Lord alone was his leader: and there was no strange god with him. He set him upon high land: that he might eat the fruits of the fields, that he might suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the hardest stone, butter of the herd, and milk of the sheep with the fat of lambs, and of the rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats with the marrow of wheat; and might drink the purest blood of the grape."

    There's also Exodus 19:4 -

    "You have seen what I have done to the Egyptians, how I have carried you upon the wings of eagles, and have taken you to Myself."

    There's also a possibly-relevant passage at Revelation 12:14, where the Woman Clothed in the Sun escapes from the dragon into a place prepared for her in the wilderness:

    "And two wings of a great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the desert to her place...."

    The rest of the chorus is a mashup of Psalm 138/139:9 (although it's really "wings of the morning"); Sirach 50:7 and Matthew 13:43 ("shine like the sun"); and Isaiah 40:12 and Isaiah 49:16. Probably all done by memory rather than by plan, unless it's some antiphon reference I don't know.

    Yup, hymnbook editors are lazy. At least Catholic ones. (Although some Protestant "reference" lists I found were pretty far off.)
  • rogue63
    Posts: 410
    "Hymn book editors are lazy....ignorant about scripture."

    This is plain, indefensible slander. Either this forum needs tighter moderation or I need to find a new online hangout.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Upon a closer, comprehensive reading, Todd's initial review doesn't seem all that contentious. As Fritz mentioned, not a lot to be outraged over. There's some irony with his observations about the SOP concerns of first and second person addressing, and direct petition/mention of God, issues which surface here almost weekly.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 273
    From the critique of OEW attached above:
    should one modify Holy Writ, even metrically, to make it singable; and does the Church have some obligation to admit any such piece to her treasury of Sacred Music?

    The Church has, in fact, done this with some regularity in the antiphons of the Daily Office. Indeed, the Domine non sum dignus at Mass is a paraphrase of Scripture and the form of consecration conforms to none of the four scriptural accounts (a point about which the Protestant Reformers complained).
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102

    We need to separate the Matthean creche from the Lucan creche....
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,219
    Ok, so one guy starts this thread complaining about too much moderation, and then someone else complains about not enough moderation.

    Just sayin'..
  • Rogue63,

    I'll let Maureen defend herself, but I would think that "lazy" is a more charitable observation than others which might explain their conduct (negligent). "Ignorant" is preferable (and more charitable, at least in its original meaning) than "willful" or "ideologically driven".

    Let me make a distinction, in my own posting about OEW. To say that something is diabolically inspired does not mean that I believe the composer is possessed or anything similar.

    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,597
    To say that something is diabolically inspired does not mean that I believe the composer is possessed or anything similar.

    I think that there are times when those "demons" lead those "composers" all the way to the bank.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Kathy,

    Well, surely, the solution is Justice Kennedy's: each of us has the right to define reality for ourselves .........

  • Liam
    Posts: 4,102
    FWIW, I doubt that objective reality is an alien concept to Fr Joncas:
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,350
    Thanks to CGZ for offering some observations about flaws in OEW. Many of the songs written in that era were produced by composers and authors with plenty of good will but not plenty of musical and literary training.

    For @rogue63: in general, your friendly forum admin [me] maintains a rather free approach; see the Forum Etiquette Guidelines for information.

    I care about apparent slander directed at individuals, and I try to make sure it doesn't go uncorrected. Some cases are ambiguous.

    On the other hand, more generalized negative assertions about categories of people (e.g., "hymn book editors") don't really hurt the reputation of anyone in particular. The audience can judge the quality of such remarks and their authors. In addition, other users can respond, so feel free to do that.

    If you think something needs emergency attention, send a message to me through the forum system, and I will receive an e-mail notice; and I will at least look at the matter as soon as possible.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    I agree that it was an unfair generalization about hymnal editors. I withdraw it with apologies.

    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,359
    TODD has now achieved something that would make the neckbeards of 4chan tip their hats with great intensity:
    Troll by proxy.
    Thanked by 2Kathy Spriggo
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,117
    I am bored with Mr. Flowerday's assertions about music and texts in general. Next.....
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,597
    He's had his fifteen minutes of fame. Give him the hook!