Friday, July 13, 2007

Back from NPM

PrayingTwice went to CMAA a couple weeks back, and I just returned tonight from the NPM national convention in Indianapolis.

It was my “maiden voyage” through such an event; way too much happened for me to compress it all into a single posting, but these are some highlights I recall:

* Names with faces. I met many people in real life with whom I previously had had only online correspondence. Particularly nice was to make the acquaintance of those with whom I have not infrequently had disagreements.

* New friends and acquaintances.

* James Savage and Edward Schaefer’s Musicam sacram lectures. Largely stuff I knew, but very helpful and reassuring to hear this stuff talked about by big names in the field.

* Hearing the Haydn Paukenmesse done fairly well using only two violins, two trumpets, timpani, and organ.

* Fr. Michael Joncas’s plenum address, including hearing his 8-part motet on the “Rorate cæli” (introit for 4th Sunday of Advent).

* Finding some resources for composed-through (i.e. pulsed/metered) settings of the proper responsorial psalms for Sundays. It seems to me a Herculean task to be doing all this, especially given the fact that the Lectionary will change before too-too-terribly long (typos, plus Liturgiam authenticam) - the changes in the Lectionary will likely necessitate recomposing at least some parts of those settings. Anyway, I look forward to seeing what these people produce, since I have some cantors who prefer not to sing Gelineau/Guimont/etc.

All, of course, was not well. Actually, I suppose there was a fair amount that was not so good:

* The choir’s apparently under-rehearsed execution of Joncas’s motet. Really, the idea of hearing the “On Eagle’s Wings” guy write an 8-voice motet in Latin should turn some heads, but it was disappointing to hear it executed. (I could be wrong, but it did sound like a decent piece, just not sung well.)

* Steven Warner’s opening address. Ok, much of it was good, but at one point he glorified the guitar Mass (enh...), talked about how we need a full implementation of Vatican II (yes...), and then turned and stated, “We do not need a reform of the reform!” (Applause ensued.) Whoa there, Wilbur! Many of us were feeling a mite uncomfortable, even unwelcome, after that - and this at a convention whose theme ostensibly was, “that all may be one”.

* Ricky Manalo’s plenum, all about multicultural issues, failed to mention even once the single most unifying element of our liturgy: the Latin language.

* Fr. Edward Foley and Sr. Judith Kubicki’s talks on Musicam sacram. While the latter’s discussion was more balanced, I am told that the former was a pretty contempt-ridden look at the document.

* The Morning Prayer liturgies omitted the canticle between the psalms as well as the responsories and the antiphons around the Benedictus. And there were all kinds of paraphrases, new-Grail-that-doesn’t-want-to-call-God-He/Him-so-it’s-ugly-instead, etc.


At Monday, July 16, 2007 11:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not go, but my colleagues had almost the exact opposite take from yours.

I guess that's why we NEED the reform of the reform ;o)

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World!)

At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1:57:00 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Not surprising.
Your take is resonant with why I left NPM after 21 year membership in 2000: Being "all things to all people" is a self-defeating M.O. in the ritual business, one would think.
Year after year of convention lectures, addresses and forums that went nowhere of substance, along with a magazine that seldom deals with the latter aspect of its moniker "Pastoral Music" makes me automatically associate "NPM" with the band King Crimson's song from "DISCIPLINE"- "Talk, talk? It's only talk!"
That's what was so beautiful about CMAA this summer in DC- they kept the talk to the point, then walked it with lot's of "Let's shut the yaps and mostly sing!"


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