Deficiencies with OCP
  • benedictgal
    Posts: 798
    In another thread regarding the English version of the Exultet, y'all were kind enough to point out what that strange comnposition I heard in lieu of this venerable composition was. I was able to talk to someone from the Archdiocese of Portland, OR to complain about this aberration.

    During the course of our conversation, she noted that this version should not even be in use since the text is supposed to match what is in the Roman Missal. I told her that the hatchet job done to the Exultet was only scratching the surface. The settings used for the Masses with Children (in the OCP book Rise Up and Sing) is not even faithful to the text. The Mass of Hope by Bernadette Farrell is one major violation. She reworded the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei does not even sound like the Agnus Dei. The happy, clappy Gloria is still in their service music section and this is not even a close approximation of the official translation of the prayer.

    She agreed with me that we should not be watering down the Faith for the children and that they needed to learn the authentic prayers of the Church. It is sad that my parish's children's choir (which is made up of mostly pre-teen girls) has to sing this drek week after week, along with some rather insipid compositions (Hurd, Farrel, SLJ). When the girls did not have to sing (they sing every Sunday morning) and our parochial vicar chose sound and traditional hymns, the kids just had their arms crossed and did not sing.

    Unfortunately, this is a huge problem in our diocese. The kids at the Salesian school are singing Protestant Praise and Worship stuff from the OCP Spirit and Song book (if St. John Bosco were to show up at one of their Masses-they also have dancing-he would not be slow about taking out the whips and chords and telling them to stop). The young adults at the local monastery are also taking a page from OCP. The bishop does not respond to any liturgical problems and is not easily accessible.

    For all of y'all's complaints about GIA, at least the older Worship III hymnal was far more superior than anything that OCP puts out.

    OCP has no real quality control. Just because Cardinal Levada sits on the board that does not mean anything. He is in Rome, not here. In fact, a lot of what is contained in the OCP arsenal flies in the face of what Pope Benedict has written about in his books and other writings. Furthermore, their Spanish versions of the parts of the Mass take a hatchet job to the Gloria, deleting direct mention of the Holy Name of Jesus and any references to God the Father. Bob Hurd's Spanish version of the Agnus Dei strings everything together with no separate invocations. This is bad liturgy. It is as though nobody at OCP has taken the time to read Liturgiam Authenticam or any of the authoritative documents of the Holy See.

    The only ray of hope that I have is that Archbishop Malcolm Ranjinth, the Secretary to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments told me back in November that there will be a document from the Holy See addressing the problem of music in the Mass. I certainly hope so.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    The surest way to deal with the problem is to reverse the trajectory of what created it: the market. When people stop paying for it, it will not be produced and sold.
  • benedictgal
    Posts: 798
    That is true. Unfortunately, OCP has the Spanish language market cornerered, so there is nothing anyone can do. Even the stuff in the WLP missalettes is from OCP.
  • benedictgal wrote:
    For all of y'all's complaints about GIA, at least the older Worship III hymnal was far more superior than anything that OCP puts out.

    I respectfully disagree.

    Worship III does have a broader selection of hymn tunes, but it is affected by GIA editors’ zeal to update hymn texts according to their own standards. Also, don’t overlook the rather small selection (as I recall?) of songs with refrains in Worship III. ISTM best to use only responsorial songs at communion....?

    Also, consider that Breaking Bread *does* do a fairly good job of covering most/all bases. Observe, too, that keyboard accompaniments for it “default” to the organ accompaniments rather than the piano ones for songs like “Eye Has Not Seen” (which have accompaniments for both instruments published).

    Don’t overlook, too, the Trinitas label under OCP for some very nice (and often substantially challenging) choral pieces for the liturgy.
  • benedictgal
    Posts: 798
    Felipe, that is why I said that the older Worship III was better. Furthermore, OCP has managed to take a hatchet job to some of the older hymns even in Breaking Bread. The bottom line is that OCP is more interested in promoting their particular brand of music instead of the Church's.

    Have you leafed through Rise Up and Sing and Spirit and Song? These are the worst in music. Unfortunately, they are also the ones that are promoted the most. As far as the children are concerned, the songs are "dumbed down" to the point of being laughable. The rewording of the parts of the Mass is also unconscionable. It is as though OCP never even bothered to read Musicam Sacram, Liturgiam Authenticam and the GIRM. At least GIA has Proulx, its one saving grace. His Mass settings are far superior to anything Hurd, Farrell, et al have composed. Granted, GIA has Haugen, but, OCP has picked up his stuff as well as David Haas'.

    There just is no quality control for either publisher, no matter who sits on the board.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    I wonder sometimes if the folks out there in Portland monitor this forum. If they do, I'd love to be a fly on the wall there.
  • Jeffrey, your comment about driving the market is so true. I have wondered about something that you might know about. Is it true that there is something in canon law about dioceses having a commercial conflict of interest? As I remember, a portion of OCP's revenue goes to the diocese. I'm way out of my league with this question, but thought you or someone on this forum might have thoughts about it.

    At any rate, I would think that the appointment of a fierce, faithful, and savvy bishop to Portland would be at the top of our prayer list. Market-driven worship being what it is, especially in the U.S., not much can be done until then.
  • benedictgal: I personally find more worth in having the original (i.e. non-gender-neutered) texts than in having a broader selection. (Though I would really like it if Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern were in Breaking Bread.)

    Good point that OCP has done a bit of its own futzing with texts. Still, I think GIA offends more deeply here, and the presence in Breaking Bread of songs like Farrell “Bread of Life” and Hurd “Ubi caritas” for communion more than compensates for the higher number of texts/tunes in Worship III.

    Do you really think Voices As One (WLP) is substantially different from Spirit & Song? GIA has a new Spirit-&-Song-ish hymnal out called Generations; do you think this is that much different from S&S? And really, if you look past the question of musical langauge, you will find quite a number of settings of solid Scriptural texts in S&S. We are a far cry from “Kum-ba-yah”.

    I know Bari Colombari, their senior editor, and I assure you that their editorial staff are very well aware of the various documents and the issues surrounding them. Publishers, even non-profits (as OCP is), answer to the almighty dollar, too. ISTM there is a lot of pressure on these guys. The St. Louis Jesuits’ Mass may not be the best choice among the various ones available today, but it’s still very popular, and they cannot ignore that from a business perspective, I would think.

    I really think the publishers are not the problem. All they are doing is responding to demand; there is good (and bad) music available from all of them. What ought to happen is getting people to refuse to use altered Mass texts, which would prompt the publishers to remove those settings from publication.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    @MA, I don't know of a canon law issue here. It is an interesting question. The problem to my mind is not so much that private enterprise is providing the music but rather the absence of boundaries and the predominance of the profit drive over the evangelistic drive. They are supposed to be publishing music for liturgy. What comes out are advertising jingles and the like. This is due to a lack of discernment over the purposes of liturgical music.

    @Felipe, I see your point but the problem is that most Church musicians look to publishers for leadership. More accurately, they look to them for cover in confusing times. If GIA/OCP/WLP publishes it, they musician figures that he/she has a rationale for deploying it in liturgy. Given this reality, publishers really do have a responsibility. I can't fathom the cynicism of people who happy to dish out schlock knowing full well that it is bad music and knowing that they would never attend a parish that used it. You are precisely right that the managers and employees are not stupid. They are actually well versed in the documents. But they see their commercial interests and the aesthetic responsibilities as separate. This reminds me of a restaurant I used to work for, in which the employees were routinely disgusted that anyone would eat the food they prepared much less pay for it. The restaurant eventually closed, and rightly so.

    Also, there are serious problems here from the point of view of marginal profits. They are able to make a higher margin by selling new works under copyright rather (or so they believe) than public domain music, and a culture has developed within these firms that fears all free distribution as a threat and any un-protected music as a grave danger. Well, that so happens to include, well, the whole of our music tradition. The publishers need to release themselves from their IP model in the course of reform. The PBC here is the model. It is a bestseller, based entirely on public domain music, and why? Because it is well edited and well produced. People are getting some of real value for their money.

    I would gladly fly anywhere to talk to the management of these companies about reforming their business model.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193

    It's an interesting dichodomy, because we know and understand that the "big three" control the flow of published music available, and through the seminars, workshops, conventions, etc., put on in collaboration with groups like NPM, steer the unknowing or poorly educated/informed musician toward "deploying" the music in the liturgy (love the use of that word!). We also know (or should realize) that the reality is they will say (at least on the word from an interview I conducted with Robert Batastini, former Ed.-in-Chief of GIA) that as long as the "market demands" the kind of music serious-minded sacred musicians claim is inappropriate or ill-suited for the liturgy, GIA et. al. will continue publishing it and making it available.

    In other words, they create the "market demand" by example through a very clever marketing campaign along with a carefully-crafted "educational" system, then fill the demand with the music they have propped up as being the best thing for the liturgy, all the while claiming that it's the demand itself and not their creation of that demand that is at fault.

    Ooo. I have a headache now. I need to go lay down.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, but I don't entirely buy the line that "we can do no other because this is the stuff that people want." First, giving people what they want is not always the right thing. JPII wrote in Centesimus Annus that "even the decision to invest in one place rather than another, in one productive sector rather than another, is always a moral and cultural choice." If that is generally true, how much more true when it comes to providing music for liturgy?

    Second, from an economic perspective, the job of entrepreneurship is not only about discerning people's existing wants. It is also about enlightening people as to needs they never thought they had. It is about education also. Five years ago, no one wanted a Wii. Now, it seems like no American family can do without one. If Nintendo were only looking to fulfill EXISTING market demand, they would have never come up with the Wii and their profitability would have stayed moderately average. They saw rather that there was a need out there that was not only unmet but UNKNOWN and thereby changed one aspect of the American way of life by rearranging the they way people order their own value scales.

    This is how truly great and truly successful entrepreneurship works. It is not a matter of fobbing out as much cheap schlock as people are willing to buy. It is about creating a new sector of demand by changing the value scales of potential customers by imagining what might be possible and then achieving it through educating and marketing. So I might suggest that the core problem of the Big Three is not so much their commercialism but rather the apparent absence of their own willingness to go from good to great in the area of product entrepreneurship. They aren't doing as good a job as they could do even in the area in which they supposedly specialize.