CCWatershed Brébeuf Hymnal
  • MaestroJeff
    Posts: 5
    Just wanted to start an open dialogue about the recently released Brébeuf Hymnal by CCWatershed and more specifically the harmonized version/organ book. Has anyone seen it yet in person? Thoughts?
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    A step backwards in so many ways with dozens of puzzling decisions. It seems that the desire to make a orthodox "Catholic" hymnal, but without a focus on plainchant, resulted in a book without a purpose.
    Thanked by 2MarkB CHGiffen
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 708
    I mainly use this hymnal as source material, as I live in the Netherlands. My remarks reflect that usage.

    First, some positive thoughts. I love the new (or unknown) hymn tunes by composers like Kevin Allen, Flor Peeters or Richard Clark. I already used them with Dutch hymn texts during Lent. Especially the abundance of long meter tunes is one of the reasons I bought this hymnal. Also, the music engraving is crisp and clear.

    Then, there are some issues that puzzle me.
    - Inconsistency. Two examples of which I wonder how they passed the editorial board. One: how is the hymnal actually called? Saint Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal (cover)? The Brébeuf Hymnal (first title page)? The St. Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal (copyright page)? Brébeuf Hymnal (p. vii; xviii)? Two: the text and music sources at the bottom of the page. Sometimes the music source is mentioned first, followed by that of the text. Sometimes it is the other way around. Compare #728 and #729. (The name of the composer is often added separately somewhere in between.) I found this very annoying.
    - Conventions. The hymnal breaks with some sound conventions. Conventions are there for a reason. For example, putting the index in the middle of the book. It's presented as something revolutionary, while I experience it as a serious design error.
    - Superfluous material. I don't buy a hymnal to have thick, full colour pages in de middle of the book about the history of Catholic hymnody. Or to have a biography of St. Jean de Brébeuf. A simple mentioning of both in an introduction would have been sufficient.
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen MarkB RedPop4
  • sergeantedward
    Posts: 135
    I haven't bought a copy yet, but I have a question...will it fit in pews? It looks massive.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 708
    It has common dimensions of 9 x 6 inch, 1 inch thick, and compares (dimension wise!) to the Lumen Christi Missal, for example.
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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 85
    ****NB: In an effort to give a more fair and reasoned review, I am going to add a few editorial comments to my original post here in [italics] whilst leaving the original text unedited.

    I quite like the hymnal itself (although I find the engraving to be just a touch anemic looking (I'm a Dorico user so I've become accustomed to a slightly "bolder" look.)
    ****[The engraving itself is very well done and beautiful.]

    I was actually a part of the review team so I had a sneak peak but unfortunately I wasn't able to submit my revisions in time as right after it was sent to me I moved across the country (3yo in tow) and it was a very hectic time.
    ****[One editorial decision that I was never able to sway was the odd use of barlines. Regular barlines conventions are not used. Often the first measure gets a barline, mid-phrase gets a ' mark and the mid-point of the hymn is treated with a double barline. (This pattern then repeats for the second half of a hymn.) These usages are not common and do not always make rhetorical sense in my opinion. I wish double barlines would have only been used, for instance, to divide verses and refrains.]. Tick mark "barlines" should only be used in unmetered works or in chant. ' is not read as a normal barline even though it is used as one here.

    Some of the texts and melodies are utterly resplendent. Their hard effort researching paid off. That said, I don't understand why the same hymn text is in the hymnal sometimes 8 or 9 times with different melodies. For instance, Ave Vivens Hostia starts page 138 with a straight text translation. It is then set to AVE VIRGO VIRGINUM on page 142, SALZBURG pg 143, AUS DER TIEFE pg 144, NUN JOMM pg 145, CHRISTUS CHRISTUS CHRISTUS IST pg 146, JESU LEIDEN PEIN UND TOD pg 147, ACH WIDE KURZ pg 148, an alternate text-only translation on pg 149, GOTT SEI DANK pg 150, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE pg 151......I'm not even done yet.... ORIENTIS PATRIBUS pg 152 and then a different text only translation by a different translator on 153.

    Do we really need 13 different versions (10 with musical settings) of the same text?!

    Sadly, this pattern repeats itself throughout. Ave Maris Stella has TWENTY THREE VERSIONS. This is not even a joke (I counted), of which 19 or 20 are different settings and then there are a few text-only alternate translations. According to the index Versions of Vexilla Regis go from page 526 thru page 549. 23 pages for one hymn text. I don't mean to sound like I'm ranting (the all caps above were to honor the customary all-caps citations of hymn tune names) but seriously?

    Seriously.

    ****[Here is one place my criticism was perhaps too harsh. After spending more time looking through the hymnal again today, I understand why this was done. Alternate translations are a good thing. They are correct in that they convey different things and are each beautiful in their own right. The problem is that sometimes there are 3 translations and each translation is set to music 4-5 times. There are also a few hymns that the editors are promoting which will not be to everyone's liking; in a certain sense this cannot be avoided as opinions abound wherever humans are.

    The silver lining here is that this allows you to pick a hymn tune that might be better suited for a different liturgical action. There have been many times when I've wanted to pick a hymn but the tune wasn't right for communion or perhaps the processional (as those moments are very different in the liturgy) but the text itself was great relative to the day's scriptures. The multiple options do allow some latitude in this department which is, in fact, a feather in this hymnals cap and something that sets it ahead of others.]


    So, while you get a book with hundreds of pages in it, you do not get quite as many hymns as you hope. I hope you like only a handful of advent texts, because you'll only be singing about 10 texts all advent. Sure, you have your choice of tunes, but you darn well better like the texts that they picked out for you because you're utterly stuck. Yes, you might even get 3 or 4 different (all beautiful) poetic translations that due the original latin justice, but you are still highly constrained. IMHO

    ****[This is another place where I perhaps spoke too soon. There are still a good number of hymns to choose from. That said, titles are often rendered in Latin for familiar texts, so for parishes where hymns are announced (sigh) this could be confusing. For example, "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" EASTER HYMN is titled "Surrexit Christus Hodie". This is wonderful from an academic standpoint (and from a purely Catholic one) however in practice this will confuse some people. Some of these traditional titles would have perhaps been better as subtitles (or the modern well-known name could have been placed as a subtitle.)]

    To be fair, only "ancient" hymns get the 20+ pages treatment; that said, that's still probably 40 hymns. There are plenty of other examples of single text with single tune (On Jordan's bank to WINCHESTER NEW) etc.

    In Summary: I think this is a beautiful book and a WONDERFUL resource. Every organist should own one, especially if you want to discover new traditional texts to then go in search of motets, etc. But golly-gee would this make me nervous.

    I think the only reason they could do this is because CCW is primarily TLM. Jeff's parish is TLM so this book fits that style. Within novus ordo hymn-sandwich land, however... I have mixed feelings. If you're lucky enough to have enough room in the pew backs to have multiple hymnals, then, supplement by all means. I still think, in spite of all my criticisms, this is better than the hymnal and misallette situation I've got goin on now...
    But I am irked.

    Another thing: they only ever set 3 lines of text to the music, everything else is in blocks below. Based on what I've seen of the accompaniment book, there seems to be a borderline irrational fear of more than one line of text with the music. Most people can easily deal with 5 lines. ****[I'm assuming this is the case anyway. I suppose I could be wrong. I'm just very used to it by now as every single hymnal I've ever played from (of whatever denomination) is set up with at least 5 lines per hymn so it seems neither extraordinary or particularly difficult at this point.]

    I agree, as an organist who frequently cantors at the same time, that you don't want to go overboard and after about 5 verses it gets a tad tedious.  That said, I think 5 lines (even 6 with a line at the start of each line between verses 3 & 4) is perfectly doable. Maybe it's just me; but I looked at the photos of the new "fabulous" accompaniment books with near horror.

    Little poll: what's harder to do while you are cantoring and playing? Read line 4 or turn pages? For my part, I'll read a 4th line any day rather than turn the page 3 times for one hymn. Good luck if you ever want to copy your parts to assemble a binder for a specific liturgy. You'll end up with 15 pages for 3 hymns. No thank you. I find those books a confusing mess and a waste of perfectly good black ink. If they wanted to do an additional line of music for every 3 verses and a final line for a suggested reharm, great! but as it is now, ugh. I'd have to end up making up the accompaniment from memory or photocopying from another source and doing textual corrections. ****[Reference a few posts down for my suggestions for improvement.]

    I think it would have been wise if they had offered that as a supplemental option, whilst still offering the traditional accompaniment method to which we are all accustomed.

    Sorry to rant... I had high hopes so it stings a little more than I was expecting.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 85
    Now that I've taken a second to breathe, again, it really is a wonderful thing. I support CCW with a monthly contribution and I frequently reference their site. I am grateful to them and think they ultimately did a great job. There are just many "unique" features that take some getting used to. If you can see past those things, the hymnal really is great. I may have seemed like quite the nay-sayer above, but I'd honestly toss out our current hymnal for it if we had the funds, so I guess that's a tacit complement.
    Thanked by 1RedPop4
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,821
    many "unique" features that take some getting used to. If you can see past those things,

    …I'd honestly toss out our current hymnal for it


    I notice the word "seriously" seems to come up an awful lot in these three threads. ServiamScores, what can that current hymnal be?
    Thanked by 1a1437053
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    If this is intended as a TLM hymnal, why not include more plainsong settings akin to the Parish Book of Chant alongside the handful of hymns this book includes? I don't see how any parish, TLM or NO, could use the Brebeuf hymnal as its sole congregational music resource.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,403
    So, any bets on how long it will take for this collection to go the way of other CCW hymnals---such as The Vatican II Hymnal?
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 85
    Journeysongs

    I think the other hymnals that they’ve done were never intended to be the ultimate solution, But I bet this is. This is what they were aiming for the whole time. I’d bet this will turn into a print on demand situation.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 85
    Also, (and I don’t know why I’m dwelling on this) I want to apologize for my veritable rant above. I hope I did not offend, especially Jeff or anyone from CCW. I am indebted to them for so many things and the hymnal truly is beautiful. It just seems there are follies that make for a “fly in the ointment” scenario. I’ve been prodding my pastor to replace our hymnals and have been waiting on baited breath for this specific release, so I feel like I’ve got skin in the game. It’s hard to pitch $25+ per hymnal for 330 hymnals when there are weird things index in the middle. Anyone whose ever picked up a book (of any genre) knows to go to the front or back covers. No one will ever instinctively want to flip the middle of a book. Sigh. Least of all boomers who’ve had hymnals with indexes in the back for the past 60 years.

    One thing that would make the Organ edition better (in light of what it is) is if the verse numbers were larger and boxed out or encircled in the indents. As it is now, I think it’s easy to get lost. Also, opting for 3 verses of text per stave (since that seems the magic number with the pew edition) would make way more sense, still be easily readable, and take up substantially less space (and crucially, fewer page turns!). Finally, I personally never want to see music with the lyrics printed above the music ever again. We are conditioned to always read the notes above and then lyrics below. All general vocal music is this way, all choral rep is published this way (with rare exceptions that are also typically editorial indiscretions) almost all hymnals are this way... so every time lyrics are above, I find it extremely disorienting unless there’s a very good reason (O filii doesn’t make a compelling use case IMO).

    Ultimately people need to just order a copy and assess it in the flesh. It will surprise you with its beauty—regardless.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    So, any bets on how long it will take for this collection to go the way of other CCW hymnals---such as The Vatican II Hymnal?


    Some folks learn from their mistakes, other just repeat them.
    Thanked by 1Schönbergian
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    smvanroode:

    a) I loved the color pages and the biography so much! I can appreciate seeing the development of the hymnal through time!! I know that CCW often uses color pages in their texts, so sitting in the pews on Sundas, I have gravitated towards those pages every time. (My kids even more than me to see the pictures.) Not sure if I’ll find myself in those pages with this book, we’ll see with time.

    b) Regrading footnotes: I appreciate all of the information! Again, sitting in the pew with this text, I doubt I’d notice anything wrong with the order of the footnotes. I’m a high school teacher, the only time I notice those details is when grading MLA bibliographies!!!

    But the physical body of the text is EXQUISITE.

    For whatever reason, I can’t get over the tactile-leathery feel of the cover. So easy to hold.
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    ServiamScores:

    I can only reply to one part of your rant at this time, and that is text and melody repetition. You’re “seriously” objecting to too many versions of treasures?

    a) One major objection to your criticism is that as NO masses go, THEY SING THE SAME SONGS year after year. I mean, if you didn’t hear “Shepherd Me O God” this “Second Sunday of Easter”, then you didn’t fulfill your Sunday obligation at an English speaking Mass. I may be exaggerating, but not by much. Guaranteed the majority of Anglo-speaking Christendom sings “We are the light of the world, may our light shine before all, so that they may see . . . and give glory to God . . ." on Beatitude Sunday. And "Pescador de Hombres" at any bilingual setting.

    Same songs!

    Please forgive this further example, but the 7:00 a.m. cantor at my typical parish doesn’t read this forum and he doesn’t ever learn a new song. God bless his voice, enthusiasm, and love for Christ, but 22 versions of Ave Maris Stella is only a little less than his entire repertorie.

    The Masses most Catholics attend are not musically-led by musically-trained musicians. With one Ordinary Form Mass exception in my local area, every choir or cantor is this way. One exception!

    b) Maybe this isn’t a rant on your rant, but rather a rant at the music at my local Ordinary Form parishes, not just my 7:00 a.m. cantor friend. The entire music ministry hasn’t introduced a new song from the pulp hymnals since the new translation forced it upon him/her to change the words just a little. That’s the last time. Seriously! I asked one "worship leader" since I started composing this.

    Other parishes sometimes have new stuff, but 90% of the music HAS BEEN THE SAME SINCE the hippy-guitars were replaced by the current staff bringing their OCP pulp missals.

    The only thing that I notice real effort being put on a consistent basis is the Responsorial Psalm, since it changes every week for three years straight. 52 x 3, that's over 150 in my estimation. Now there's real variety!

    So to go on and complain about (what YOU think) is an overabundance of treasure, I mean literal treasure . . . Ave Maris Stella for goodness sake . . . This really inspired me (annoyed me enough) to rejoin this forum to say that in spite of the repetition (that you don’t personally like) . . . I can’t see how this isn’t you so very close to your highest hopes.

    I think it's GREAT!

    Does the perfect have to be the enemy of the best new option?

    c) I mean, I understand index placement and “too many options” may be ‘’flies in ointments’’. Old people don’t like changes. I’m kind of older (almost 40s) and every single time I try to find the index, it takes me 3.5 milliseconds to readjust to the middle. So I hear you on that . . . New convention is different.

    But. BUT.

    But 3.5 milliseconds for Ave Maris Stella!! So worth it.

    3.5 milliseconds for the Abecedarius from the 5th century!! Sure Wilfrid Wallace wrote all the translations, but I can see it being snuck in a Novus Ordo recessional with the Trinity College tune! (Crossing my fingers.) So worth it.

    d) Last, and again, trying to limit myself to only one of your complaints, I hope you are able to spend some time in the opening preface, where some of these issues are addressed. “No single translation can fully capture the meaning.” “Printed extremely rare translations…[to show] the admirable way our forefathers sought to faithfully translate the Latin.” “We provide modern translations [to help congregations].” “Several tunes…to force one’s mind to ‘consider again’ the meaning—something conducive to intelligent prayer.” “The text alone.” "Sixteen Instructions."

    There were reasons given. Anticipated by the editors of the hymnal.

    And you’re welcome to offer your contrasting opinion, but I am one non-musician Catholic who is trying actively to get this resource into the hands of my Ordinary Form music ministry and pastor, and I’m one whose opinion is that The Hymnal is Worth Our Effort.

    - - - - -

    I want to apologize, I hope I did not offend, especially since we’re in the same fight together trying to see holy and reverent liturgies.

    Here, there’s definitely also skin in the game, and while I will probably fail, I will be making an earnest pitch for this hymnal.

    Also glad to know you had some good things to say, sounds like your Masses would be the ones I’d want to take my family to on a weekly basis if I was at your parish.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I haven't seen this particular hymnal but have examined its predecessor. My biggest issue with it was that it didn't follow standard hymnal format. The editor was not transparent but clearly included all his personal biases. The format was, to be charitable, quirky. The layout was so odd it got on my nerves. And all those page turns - sheesh!

    Repetition seems too common in several hymnals. I look back to even Ritual Song and ask just how many texts set to "Ode to Joy" does anyone really need? I can see using a tune a couple of times with different texts, but that's about enough. Include some other tunes and texts that are worthy of inclusion.

    As for new hymns, I introduce about 3 in any given year. The new hymns are sung by the choir and played at various times during mass. By the time the congregation actually sings them, they have heard those tunes for several months. I don't use the music of the seventies and never did. That stuff isn't worth wasting my time on.

    As I noted, I haven't seen this particular hymnal. But if it has kept the layout of the Vatican II hymnal, I will pass on it.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,001
    Does the hymnal have ecclesiastical approval (aka an imprimatur)? I know it seems to be worth less today at times, but...
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    CharlesW:

    You state twice that you "haven't seen this particular hymnal", thanks for clarifying! My guess is you're basing your opinions on the samples posted on CCW?

    From this person-in-the-pew, the layouts seemed super clear in the hard-bound hymnal. Not sure what you mean by layout or what text you refer to, but then again perhaps you haven't seen enough. (or maybe you have and made your choice public before actually seeing a copy).

    And the claim that the editors included their own biases...well, don't they all? I mean when the OCP alternates between funky art child-drawn covers and dignified artisitic ones, aren't we seeing the literal clash between two visions of what a hymnal should be? I always reflect that in that alternation year after year, we see the two biases of two camps in their editorial offices. Not a criticism of their covers, just an observation based on the most public evidence they provide.

    Your opening paragraph had examples of at least three of your personal biases...you like transparency, dislike quirky layouts, and dislike page turns. (Just observing, I agree with 2 of your biases). I'm just pointing out that like you have your preferences, many of us have grown to appreciate this new hymnal and actually prefer many of the biases of the editors. You're definitely entitled to "pass on it".

    However, your comments about the old hymnal are more appropriate to the 2011 threads about it.

    Page Turns have been mentioned earlier. But there's an issue to clarify for your remark and others: are you talking about the hymnal itself in hard-bound cover? or the accompaniment in spiral-bound? I am waiting for my copy of the spiral (expected late this week) to say anything, since I haven't seen enough yet.

    I have not seen one page turn in the hard-bound cover yet. But that's more for the congregation, who have both hands available to turn pages usually. I have little babies at Mass, so usually don't have an arm to spare.

    As far as the accompaniment book, I will share my thoughts when. I. actually. have. a. copy. in. my. own. hands.

    Can't wait to see it!

    P.S. Your musical choices sound like a dream compared to what I described we live in our Ordinary Form parishes! I wish our local liturgical leadership was as thoughtful as you and many of the members of this forum are! Even amidst all of our minor-ish differing opinions!
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 85
    a1437053, no offense taken. If anything, I opened myself up by my rant (and hence my later apology).

    I agree with you that multiple versions isn't a bad thing per se. That said, twenty three does indeed seem excessive. You mention your poor cantor's very limited repertoire. If the multiple musical settings of one single hymn exceeds his entire repertoire, how do you expect him (or her) to acclimate to twenty different melodies for the same text? The text is rarely the issue for my cantors. It's the music.

    As I stated above (and we certainly agree) many of the texts are fantastic. Their research paid off and we owe CCW a debt of gratitude for bringing some of these treasures out into the light. I also agree: these texts are true treasures in the eternal sense. I also have no issue whatsoever with introducing "new" (read: old) things. Yes, there's a standard repertory in modern hymnals (close to a third of which—if not more—needs to be put to rest and never heard again) and I'd argue that the good hymns from said repertory are present in this hymnal anyway.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    a1437053:

    I did mention twice that I based most of my observations on the Vatican II hymnal. That thing was a mess compared to the layouts in standardized hymnal formats. I am wondering if the same folks - one in particular - are involved in the latest hymnal.

    You seem to have many biases of your own. Are you involved in the publication of the new hymnal? Surely sounds like it.
    Thanked by 1Schönbergian
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 85
    To echo a1437053, there are no page turns in the pew back that I'm aware of either (excepting text only English-Latin translations of certain very long texts which can't be avoided anyway).

    EDIT: I'll also add: (absolutely to their credit) it appears that in the pew version they made a very concerted effort to make anything that needs more than one page to lay open as spreads. stabat mater, for instance, in both English and Latin lays open as spreads. Many other things such as translations are the same.
  • petrus_simplex
    Posts: 32
    I have viewed the web page several times, but I am still not clear on this point: Is there actually a printed choral edition for this hymnal? If not, does one have to purchase pew editions to receive the choral CD?

    We reviewed the pew edition of this for congregational use, but decided that it did not suit our parish. I would like a set of printed, bound SATB choral books for the adult choir if/when they are available.
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    petrus_simplex: There is a printed three volume choral arrangement book. (Mine is on the way, won't say anything about it until it gets here.) It is on a Lulu ordering service.

    Here's a link to the first one: http://www.ccwatershed.org/brebeuf-organ-accompaniment/volume1/

    I am not sure what the DVD options are, I didn't know about it until you mentioned it here.
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    CharlesW:

    Good sir, of course I have biases! I can admit that I surely do! But I also add that they come from what I imagine is the same source as some of yours may be . . . if I may be so bold to make assumptions about your heart . . . I am 100% biased towards products and people trying to promote reverent liturgy.

    If I am mistaken and my comment brazen, I apologize. But I think we're cut from the same cloth . . . seeing that you lead music at Mass and read this forum and post a lot, my guess is that you and I have way more to agree on than to disagree on in the grand scheme of things.

    And for the record, I don't get any money from the sale of these hymnals.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,177
    The departure from conventions will certainly be a significant consideration in popularity. Lyric placement and treatment I would think is the main one.

    Take the top five hymnals of all time... what are the primary conventions of those publications (starting with the 1940)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,730
    Just identifying the top five hymnals of all time is a daunting task. Sure, I'd start with the 1940, and maybe even throw in the 1982. Then what to do for Catholic hymnals?

    Worship III was more attractive than its predecessor, but Worship II had better choices in content.
    Does the Pius X Hymnal deserve to be on the list? The St. Michael? The St. Gregory?
    Thanked by 2cesarfranck BruceL
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I still play from The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941. It keys into the chorale preludes based on those German hymns from the time of Bach forward. I would put it in the top 5 with the 1940 Episcopal being the best.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen cesarfranck
  • janetgorbitzjanetgorbitz
    Posts: 894
    I just received the 3-book set of organ accompaniments for the hymnal... haven't really had a chance to look through it carefully, but it seems very nice.

    I'm considering bringing the hymnal and organ books with me to the Colloquium so that people can have a look at the book table... I wonder when the choral book will be ready...
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,403
    I have not seen this hymnal in person, but I do have to say one thing that seems to have been missed in this discussion: Words alone do not a hymn make: the tune is important, too. Which is why, except for rare examples, tunes have not been recycled for various texts since the death of the Metrical Psalter and the rise of the modern hymnal. Play WINCHESTER OLD for anyone, and ask them what the piece is, and you're bound to get the answer "While Shepherds Watched their Flocks"--despite the fact that (1) the tune was written simply as yet another Common Meter tune that any Metrical Psalm in Common Meter could be fitted to, and (2) after Tate & Brady wrote "While Shepherds Watched", WINCHESTER wasn't even the most common standard tune to which the text was sung (that would have been LYNGHAM). Ask someone to sing you "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken", and they're bound to sing AUSTRIA, unless they're from England (or a major Anglo-phile), in which case they might sing ABBOTS LEIGH, and this despite the plethora of other good 8.7.8.7.D tunes. No hymnbook that I have ever seen, intended for liturgical rather than scholarly use (e.g. The English Hymnal as opposed to The Oxford Book of Carols), has more than ever two tunes for the same text. Having up to 10 tunes for the same text is silly, and destroys the important connexion between text and tune that actually makes a hymn popular: Many fine texts have languished until paired with a superlative tune, so to have many fine tunes been unknown because of less than adequate texts.
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 793
    It would seem sufficient to offer an index of tune meters which would allow one to substitute a more familiar tune as needed without bothering to write out multiple versions of each hymn.

    Just ordered and received 2 copies of the Brebeuf hymnal (one for home and one for my office) and the organ books (took advantage of the coupon). I look forward to exploring it more in depth, but I have to agree that setting each verse of the hymn separately is strange and less advantageous than not having any page turns while playing. Sometimes I'll improvise the harmony simply to avoid page turns. Then again, I suppose page-turners need employment too, but if the rationale was to better suit the solo singing organist, I would assume no page turner is available either.

    I'm sure I'll enjoy exploring these books and they will make a nice addition to my library, but I don't see them being readily adopted by a typical parish. Besides all the quirks which I could learn to live with, the price point is too expensive for most parishes considering that 2 copies of Saint Michael Hymnal or Worship IV, etc. could be purchased for the price of one of these hymnals. We are all concerned with the quality of the contents, but most pastors will be more concerned with the bottom line in the budget.

    I'm currently trying to convince a pastor to invest in the Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal, but he is leaning towards Ritual Song since you get more hymns/songs including readings in one volume for less money. He's aware that Ritual Song lacks chant, proper texts and the hymn texts have all been tampered with, but it's cheaper and that all that really seems to matter.
    Thanked by 3MarkB CharlesW CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    At some point, I will likely look at this hymnal and try to evaluate it fairly for my place and people. But not right now. The parish doesn't have the money and I don't have the time.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,055
    ZOMGosh, get St Michael or even Worship IV before you get RitualSong! For Pete's sake!
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,593
    Does the hymnal have ecclesiastical approval (aka an imprimatur)? I know it seems to be worth less today at times, but...
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • AndreaLeal
    Posts: 27
    It says “Published with ecclesiastical approval”...But do most of these hymnals with “On Eagles Wings” and such have an imprimatur? I’m not sure it matters. Besides, anyone who owns a copy of the Hymnal can see very clearly that it’s a work of beautifully authentic Catholic tradition.

    Those who take issue with things like placement of the index should actually read (on page xv) the reason for this. It’s no innovation but rather based on - surprise! - tradition.

    Anyway, the truth of the matter is that it is very, very important to look at this as a whole. Does it have good, traditional Catholic hymns? YES. Does it have hymns that the entire congregation can easily sing? YES. Does it have beautiful melodies and ancient prayers? YES and YES. Can it be used for either form of the Mass? YES.

    Bonus: Is it pretty to look at?? YES! Lol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    It is always nice to be able to blame it on the bishop when someone complains. Hooray for ecclesiastical approval.
  • AndreaLeal
    Posts: 27
    Oops sent too soon! One last thought:

    It’s seriously the best thing out there right now and flexible enough to fit in any parish that cares about tradition and beauty (in either Form). A lot of these melodies are truly heavenly!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,730
    Those who take issue with things like placement of the index should actually read (on page xv) the reason for this. It’s no innovation but rather based on - surprise! - tradition.

    Now don't go giving us cognitive dissonance: the concepts of surprise and tradition do not go together. How far back does one have to go to find mid-volume indexes as a common practice? To the era of the scriptoria? Maybe it's an archaeologism.
  • AndreaLeal
    Posts: 27
    Chonak- did you read the explanation?
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    I'll be honest - all of the defenses of the Brebeuf hymnal so far read like pre-packaged marketing lines by members of the development team. "It's simply heavenly! A true Catholic hymnal!"

    I'm still not sold that a book like this could be used as the only congregational resource, which should be the driving impetus. It can be as Catholic as the Pope, but if it's not useful to pastoral musicians, it might as well not exist.

    Things like the index come across as being different or quirky for the sake of it. We have hymnal standards for a reason. (Although the Brebeuf hymnal follows the disgusting well-known practice of stemming notes together in the harmony edition wherever possible, making the music far more difficult to read, so it's not like practices were eschewed everywhere.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    That's what I don't get either. Hymnal standards exist for good reasons. They are familiar, easy to read, and don't throw unexpected and unwanted surprises at the performer.

    I taught school for years and observed a few things from middle schoolers. The CCW folks seem like a precocious middle schooler who does something totally odd, then gives you that smirking look like, "how do you like that, buddy?" Or even worse, looks at you like, "aren't I special?" Uh, no, you're not.

    Waiting for the helicopter mom to swoop in and defend the kid to the death.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 708
    The explanation for the centered index gives the Missale Romanum as an example. The Ordo Missae is in the middle, because it is "the part used most frequently". The reasoning is that because an index is the part used most frequently, it should therefore be in the middle, and not – as is the centuries old convention – at the back.

    But it's not the frequency of use that made bookbinders of the past put the Ordo Missae in the middle. It had to do with the fact that the missal should lay open most of the time at this part. Putting the Ordo in the middle makes it more easy for the book to stay open there and it reduces strain on the binding while it's open.

    An index, however, is different. My hymnal doesn't have to lay open most of the time at the index. It's not even the part that I use most of the time (that are the hymns). It's a reference. I quickly look up a hymn, a tune or title and then go to the hymn. And it's this going back and forth between the index and the hymns that frustrates me most with the Brébeuf Hymnal, next to difficulty with locating it in the first place. When an index is in the back (where it has been for centuries), I know where to go to find the hymn: scroll back. But here, I need to go either back (<565) or forward (>652)!

    It's nice to see that an explanation is given for this editorial choice, but imo the reasoning is flawed and the comparison between an Ordo and an index is just wrong.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,107
    No hymnbook that I have ever seen, intended for liturgical rather than scholarly use (e.g. The English Hymnal as opposed to The Oxford Book of Carols), has more than ever two tunes for the same text.

    Look again. Just to put this in perspective, from the year of my birth, The Hymnal 1940, has three tunes for two of its hymns: #598 - Meirionydd, St. Alphege, & Ely Cathedral [76. 76. D. (Iambic)]; and #415 - Aberystwyth, Hollingside, & Martyn [77. 77. D].
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,730
    Chonak- did you read the explanation?

    Page xv? Is that available on-line? I've only seen the book in person briefly.

    [Followup: thanks to smvanroode for providing the further info.]

    I'm afraid treating the index to a hymnal like the Ordo in a Missal is too clever by half.
  • JacobFlaherty
    Posts: 236
    I really appreciate all of the good work CCWatershed and Jeff have done in the past. That litany of work is excellent! However...

    I have found it to be the case that in working in both Traditional Latin Mass circles and in Ordinary Form circles, this book would not help either all that much. In the TLM,
    1.) Most of the people don't need convincing of the Mass' beauty.
    2.) They are often not encountering the banality that this hymnal seeks to alleviate.
    3.) The attendees are literally trying to manage their little children. My wife, as she wrestles our two-year old while I'm up in the loft, struggles holding the St. Edmund Campion Hymnal and Missal because of its size. She doesn't have time (nor should she, since we're actually in Mass) to read about the history of this or that, lest we be like the theologian who does a great deal of talking about God but never to God.
    4.) No resource needs to have more than a handful of tunes for any given text. If another tune is desired, simply play it if it is familiar, or print it out if it's not. Chances are, sadly enough, that most lay people in the pews could look at any number of tunes and not know that theirs is being played.
    5.) I know where the Index is in a book because I flip from the back cover. Does a mid-book index seem as easy to find? No. Does it have theological implications? No. So why do it...? If doctrine can develop, so too can our publishing methods, particularly if the question is answered 'No' to the two questions above...
    6.) It might be of some kind of trivia-type interest to have lots of slight variants of an Ave Maris Stella but does it deepen prayer? Why not find the most faithful version and/or the most devotional and stick with that? If the sought-after response is, "Whoa, that's kind of neat how the translator uses x word or x phrase," are we really praying the Mass?

    In the Ordinary Form, much of the reasons are the same, but now you have to convince even a willing pastor not only to drop some of the silliness that can be found in so many places, but you have to get him to additionally help his flock get over so many little logistical hurdles on top of it. This is also to point out that sacred music will continue to seem like a foreign object to the Liturgy when the bulk of other liturgical activities are done so cheaply. The servers are irreverent or clueless? How well does a Palestrina Motet or a Gregorian Chant fit with that? The church is uglier than sin, or there are 10 Eucharistic Ministers 'Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion' - How well does singing about the sacred presence of Christ, the nature of the 'terrible mystery' and the transcendence of God work when our Lord is treated with such irreverence? You could have the Dead Sea Scrolls in your presence and it wouldn't do much good. But I digress...

    Mainly, it is a good book of piety and love, but it is for musicians, clerics, and music historians, not for the average person in the pews. I feel badly, but it missed the mark of being usable...
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    This is the often noted refrain from the TLM crowd about how the NO is somehow inferior, leaving something out, can't have good music, etc. It's all BS. We have Eucharistic Prayer 1 (Roman Canon), no Eucharistic Ministers, and the music probably makes us sound like closet Anglicans. We enjoy our traditional hymns, they serve a purpose, and are enthusiastically sung by the congregation. There is no lack of reverence and our Gothic structure with incredible stained glass is gorgeous. Goes well with the pipe organ, too. Yes, I know there are NO parishes that are off the wall, but there are TLM parishes with a unique collection of dysfunctional nuts, too.

    I haven't seen a hard copy of the new hymnal so I can't criticize it. I can only hope it didn't carry over all the things I didn't like in the Vatican II hymnal. I can see about that later, but I am wondering if it would be suitable for my congregation. Time will tell.
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores bdh
  • JacobFlaherty
    Posts: 236
    some of the silliness that can be found in so many places


    Charles and all,

    I did say 'some' and 'many', not 'complete' and 'everywhere'. But I don't want this thread to get off track. My point is that for those places that are just trying to win orthodoxy back, these difficulties with the hymnal (listed above) are an added layer of complication.

    P.S. I have played and sang the Ordinary Form my entire life, so I know that things being a bit loose is not the exception. The Ordinary Form can have good music, but unless the rest of the Liturgy is sound, the music feels like a foreign entity, which is just one of the reasons why this hymnal will have a difficult time succeeding. I used to believe that "if the people just knew what Vatican II actually taught" then the argument for sacred music can be made. But what I've come to discover is that if any one part of the Liturgy is casual, formal sacred music is foreign. I used to abhor the fact that musicians were blamed for this. But it's kind of true - we can be the problem, even though through the letter of the law (and in the eyes of the Almighty) we're not. Unless the servers serve well, the Blessed Sacrament is respected and reverenced well, and the church is decorated in a fitting and awe-inspiring way, we can sing Mode III chants and sing Sicut Cervus and have really pretty-looking books till the cows come home - it won't matter because we will be seen as out-of-touch with everything else around it, again, only one reason why serious books like this will be seen as out-of-touch with many, not all Catholic liturgies.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I think that we were blessed to have two pastors - one for 38 years and one for 18 - who trained the congregation in what Vatican II actually decreed and meant. That's a good legacy to build on. I know you are correct about some parishes, but we strive to not be like them.

    This book is new, so I plan to wait a while and see how it gets reviewed and used by other parishes.
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    There's so much posted here, I'll limit myself to a couple of ideas:

    Re JacobFlaherty:
    1a. use in the Extraordinary Form: the hymnal sits in our TLM pews. I can't tell you how much we use it because, like your wife, I'm juggling rambunctious kids. Or escorting them to the bathroom. Or changing diapers. It seems to work for our tiny parish.

    My 10 and 8 year olds are drawn to the color pages and to the pictures in the Campion book very much. My 5 year old too. Before those ages, I'm just trying to keep them from slobbering over the books!

    1b. Your points about the Ordinary Form are so insightful! In all honesty, everything you wrote is why we ended up at an Extraordinary Form parish. Reading it moved my heart to remember myself asking: when the liturgy is seeped in the abuses 'lack of reverence' of the Ordinary Form, what impact can sacred music have over the long-term? For me, and only me, the answer was that reforming the new Mass wasn’t possible in my lifetime; the old Mass was where I’d have to take my kids, lest I spend their childhoods fighting for reverent altar-servers or propers in the vernacular. Maybe that will be their fight after growing up in the old Mass. (I could not find a reverent Novus Ordo within a reasonable drive at the time.)

    You reminded me of when I tried to encourage my friend and favorite cantor to sing the propers when the Simple English and Lumen first came out. "NOPE. Maybe once in a while." You reminded me of when I thought we found our reverent Mass when the music was sacred, but the army of EMHCs ceremoniously squirting hand sanitizer, the pastor's "folky-walk-down-the-aisle homily", and the obvious lack of reverence everywhere else was exactly what you described in your post!

    So, I agree wholeheartedly with your observation that music isn’t enough. But yet I reach the opposite conclusion.

    Every single hymn is this hymnal is "safe". That is, I can give our cantors a typical hymnal, and there is always a hearty portion of “strange, catchy, familiar, etc.“ music. (I’m most familiar with OCP and WPL.) I can’t give them Lumen or the Benedict XVI Ignatius texts because the parish is not even close to adopting the propers. However, in the dream that would be adopting this hymnal, we could have elevated the entire musical structure in one fell swoop. They can’t pick terrible songs in this book. We can sing the 4-hymn sandwich, with these Catholic hymns.

    I think we can see the same thing and reach different conclusions?

    2. The other things (index placement, song quantity, color plates and explanatory information) are reasonable points of disagreement. And if they're insurmountable, well they're insurmountable. Different situations suit different people, parishes, priests. For this dad, non-singer, non-director . . . they're not "deal-breakers". But I don't run a parish, a choir, and have only spent money buying two pew books to study and share...and the first accompaniment book. I just want to share my enthusiasm for a new option. You can share your enthusiasm against the new option.

    3. I do plan on re-reading the above "accompaniment" page-turn comments and try to respond to clarify what the spiral-bound books have. Mine arrive next week and the CCW sample page didn't have enough for me to see. (I don't have the DVD or any other copies...although, thinking out loud, perhaps the videos show some of the layout?)

    I think it would be important to have a clarification of what the accompaniment page-turn situation is for people to have the accurate information.

    As far as the pew book, almost no page turns.
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    Ok and to that dude that called me a helicopter mom right after talking about middle schoolers......YOU HAD ME LAUGHING!!!

    lol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    The helicopter mom wasn't directed at you but came from my teaching days. They exist, they are evil, and I think most of them must end up in Washington trying to defend the indefensible. In this context, I remember CCW, like the helicopter mom, trying to defend the Vatican II hymnal which had grave deficiencies.

    The new hymnal, we will see. I am interested in the experience of others.

    NO mass. It doesn't have to be bad and there are certainly things in the TLM that needed reforming, which the Council did. The 1962 missal you are supposed to be using did have some reforms in it.

    Propers: I think they are almost a false god some hang their lives and property on. There is nothing wrong with them and I always use the Communion Propers. The others I sometimes can't incorporate. However, Propers are not the essence of the Mass by a long shot.