Sunday, March 02, 2008

Lest we become what we behold....

The following forum thread has gotten me thinking....
http://musicasacra.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=322&page=1#Item_0

ISTM that it was an act of closed-mindedness to close and sink a thread that directly deals with the “600-lb. gorilla” facing many who decry the use of Marty Haugen’s music: what, specifically, is it in the music that makes it unsuitable for the liturgy? Those few who work with “scholas” that sing for liturgies that focus overtly on tradition can avoid this, but the majority of us who grunt and sweat in average parishes need to address this issue head-on and in very intricate detail.

I am glad to be a member of CMAA because of many of the helpful (philanthropic?) endeavors that they pursue (e.g. Communio, PDF of the 1961 Liber Usualis, book reprints), but more and more I am glad that this organization remains “on the fringe”.

The current CMAA leadership sometimes appears to have no grip on the reality that those of us in average parishes face. I mean, imagine showing CMAA’s Sacred Music FAQ to Joe & Jane Catholic with 2.5 kids and a dog who enjoy singing “Here I Am, Lord” at Mass. You might reach a handful of them with a taste for the esoteric, but by and large, the “start from the ground up” approach that the FAQ uses is asking for people to ignore it. It might work with brand-new Christians, but not with very many cradle Catholics. Every good schoolteacher knows this axiom: “start with what they know”. Every good liturgical music director, too, knows to “start with what they know” when going into a new parish - even if the intent/hope is to introduce radical change eventually.

If you are ever going to critique, say, Haugen 51, there has to be some basis for that critique besides the simple, emotion-laden dismissals like “boy, I’m glad I don’t have to do this music” in the aforementioned thread. And I would also suggest that tales of the difficulty of teaching it to cantors carry little weight with those of us who have worked with many, many volunteer cantors who have little trouble singing it (and/or who have just as much trouble singing unpulsed or Gelineau psalms). Frankly, I have no empathy with the “pain” that these pieces have caused because I consider them all to be of at least decent, if not outright good, quality. (see below) Certainly none offend me.

What is desperately needed, eventually at least, is a real, unbiased engagement with the musical status quo in American parishes. What is good in it? The answer cannot be “nothing of the status quo is good; it all must be discarded.” (Nor do I think the answer can be “things are perfect as they are.”)

This relates well to Todd Flowerday’s situation. He did invite the scorn he experiences of late, and much of his criticism of Mahrt’s SttL appraisal seems unfounded to me, but I do think we need to examine, for example, with as little bias as possible, whether anything good comes from having the piano in church. Is a harp ok? If so, what if I play it by striking the strings rather than by plucking them? If so, what is the difference between that and a piano? I am of the opinion that the piano, just like the organ, can be played in ways that are sacred and in ways that are secular. (organ accompaniments to silent films, anyone?) Let us not forget that organs were BANNED in early Christian liturgy because they were secular instruments!

I am often frustrated with NPM because of the closed-mindedness I see in that organization. The Church’s rich patrimony of sacred music is relegated to the fringe; just recently have they finally added a section to deal with chant - the very music that is intrinsic to the Roman Rite! Many prominent voices in contemporary liturgical music still insist that the congregation must sing “everything”, giving no thought to the singing of dialogues and readings.

But I cannot and will not stand with people whose only expressed opinion on the music of Marty Haugen is “I’ve had such soo so much exposure to this music and am soo so glad I don’t have to deal with it.” This is an opinion that deserves to be closed and sunk, frankly, and is more harmful to liturgical music than Carey Landry’s entire oeuvre. It encourages us to close our minds and to replace thinking with simple emotion. It encourages us to sit on our laurels and not to grow. It closes us off from other people. In short, it’s not very catholic. Were I to stand with such people, I would be no better than the people who so frustrate me in NPM.

My own thoughts on the proposed list of Haugen psalm-songs:

The texts of all are just fine.

best: 51. Straightforward, simple, and pretty.

then: 33. The 3rd and 4th verses don’t “work” as well as the first two, IMO. But I do really like the deceptive motion from G to D/A in the 1st/2nd verses.

then: 22. Again, simple and straightforward. The verses’ octave leap is unnecessary, IMO, but the harmonic motion is effective throughout.

then: 34. I liked the harmony in this more some years back. The cross relation (tonic to flat-3) motive has worn on me, but overall I still think the setting is pretty good.

then: 66. What I have always liked here is the unpredictable-yet-natural harmonic motion in the refrain. The verses don’t work as well, though, IMO.


In my parish, we use Haugen psalms at communion only, and somewhat sparingly. It’s a large enough parish that 3 communion songs are usually planned, so there is a lot of need for communion music.

Lest anyone think I am some enemy of traditional liturgical music, we definitely do more Gregorian chant and polyphony than does the average parish as well. So far this year, we’ve done or planned:

Byrd “Lord, Make Me to Know Thy Ways”
Anerio “Ave maris stella” (chant/polyphony alternatim)
all 7 O antiphons
Farrant “Lord, For Thy Tender Mercy’s Sake”
Lenten communions: Visionem, Qui biberit (2nd melody), Lutum, Videns
Mandatum & Si ego foot-washing antiphons
Pange lingua (Aquinas)
Crucem tuam
my Reproaches setting (incorporates the “Hagios” lines from the Gregorian)
Palestrina “Sicut cervus” (we did “Sitivit” last year)
Pascha nostrum communion
Victimae sequence
Viadana “Exsultate justi”
Veni sequence
Veni creator
Byrd Ave verum

And last year, many of the aboves plus:
Anerio Miserere
Palestrina “Sitivit anima mea” (2nd part of “Sicut cervus”)
C. Rossini “Improperium exspectavit”
Duruflé “Ubi caritas”
two more foot washing antiphons
Tallis “If Ye Love Me”
Aichinger “Confirma hoc, Deus”

27 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 12:04:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I'm going to stir the pot, but I don't mean to offend anyone, really... or maybe I do (what a great line from the original thread!)

I think many questions about liturgical music start from a poor place. I think trying to judge liturgical music while limiting judgments to "musical aspects" fails to provide any sort of basis of what should or shouldn't be present in the liturgy.

I think the correct place to start is to ask the question: where does the music even come from in the first place and what is its role?

The Church's chant grew out of Hebrew chants and praise and the continued use of the psalms for prayer in community. It doesn't take much time reciting the Divine Office aloud for one to realize that if you were to do this in community, a natural rhythm would develop and inflections could easily give rise to a certain mode of recitation. In a public prayer setting, standardizing the modes is a must if people are to join in.

But here's just the point: the primary item here is the prayer, is scripture. Music is subordinated to this and the texts of scripture and liturgical prayers form the primary means of worship. The questions that remain are how well liturgical music fulfills this role.

Several metrics come to mind by which one can judge music: does it remain faithful to the text or does it subordinate the text to some musical idea? I think there's a reason that chant is unmetered and that's because it nicely removes any need to keep a meter and shuffle syllables.

Related metrics could include whether the text is clarified by the music, or whether the style of music muddies it into some unintelligible soup of sound? Are instruments helping the text be intelligible? Can they even do this since they are a sort of voiceless sound?

A third metric that might appear is whether the recitation of the music is done in such a fashion to reflect the attitude of PRAYER vs. the attitude of PERFORMANCE. People may have awesome huge voices, but if it comes across like they're the center of a show, it doesn't exactly come across as humble prayer. I'd sooner have a less technically gifted cantor who was really praying with the people at the ambo than someone who came across as spiritually sterile yet technically perfect.

So now, if someone thinks that swoopy octaves are not good, well I can think of several Gregorian chants with pretty large jumps here or there that accentuate the text. This seems like a poor criteria since it can be used to bring out the meaning of the text.

On the other hand, if the original text is subverted for this or that musical idea, I do think that should disqualify songs from liturgy.

Does an organ or any other instrument really help people pray, or does it merely help people perform?

Finally, are the people invited to worship and pray with the choir, or are they relegated to passivity. I'm all for silent prayer where it's warranted. It's not warranted everywhere, though. Only here can someone even begin to try and think of how technically difficult it is.

I am by no means offering answers to all the questions I ask above, but I think these should form the basis for judging liturgical music... which doesn't include the much broader categories of worship music, of which I think anything can go, but that has little to do with what is appropriate to liturgy.

Accepting Palestrina, for example, as a given as "good" or acceptable liturgical music without considering modern sensibilities is a mistake. Does it proclaim the text? Maybe if people know Latin and/or have a translation handy. Is it intelligible to the ear? I personally find much polyphony difficult to follow, to be honest. It's pretty, to be sure, but I tend to switch off the music more than not so I can quietly concentrate on the text. Does it invite people to prayer? Maybe, but I think a lot more education of "passive participation" is needed in general to be sure people know what to do with themselves. The fact that its "old" is really not a defense here, either. Because if something is in need of reform, something's been going wrong with it for some time and if it's been going wrong for longer, it just makes it a more serious problem, not less. Hence the need to step back and try to reformulate the metrics for judging music, rather than run in an endless circle of pointless aesthetics.

Peace,
Mike

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 8:39:00 AM, Anonymous fp said...

well put, cantor.

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 11:19:00 AM, Blogger David Andrew said...

Let me continue along Mike's lines, but in a very specific way. You say, just before your list, " The texts of all are just fine." I don't think I can let that pass. It's all-too easy to dismiss what is perhaps the most important aspect of liturgical music, fidelity to the text.

So, here are my comments in that regard:

In terms of text, I have to say that Ps. 51 is passable, except for the repeat of the antiphon text twice.

In Ps. 33, however, there are a series of issues. First of all, in the first verse the form of address has changed. Instead of the psalmist "testifying" to the nature of God's mercy, Haugen has turned verse 1 into a form of direct address to God. Here, as in many other instances throughout these psalms, it appears to be an attempt to avoid the use of the perceived gender-exclusive pronoun "he" and "his." Vs. 2 eliminates the expression, "fear of the Lord," an important doctrinal concept in the teaching of the Church. Vs. 4 replaces the word "Lord" for the word "God." It was, at the time Haugen wrote these paraphrase texts, common to eliminate references to the Lordship or Kingship of God as outdated expressions that, it was felt, portrayed God as an oppressive figure. The thinking was, "Kings and Lords rule. God is love, therefore images of a Lordly, Kingly God are oppressive and limiting."

Ps. 22 again presents a wholesale replacement of gender-based pronouns. Vs.2 I find problematic in that the reference in the text to the pierced hands and feet of the "Suffering Servant," (what is held by the Church to be a reference to the Savior to come) has been replaced with the less theologically potent phrase "wounded and pierced." Vs. 4 is a foreshortened version of the approved text, once again employing inclusive language.

In Ps. 34 inclusive language prevails. In vs. 2 we find the phrase "Glory in the." In the approved text, the words are, "Glorify the." Perhaps it's a distinction without a difference, but then again subtleties abound in the imagery and theology expressed in the Psalms. If there's a theological implication to be considered here, Haugen may have ignored it in favor of "poetic license." Which, ISTM, raises a key issue. These texts, whether used for communion processions or at the Liturgy of the Word, contain within them theological and doctrinal truths taught by the Church. Haugen's demoninational affiliation can be validly raised. As a Lutheran (now Congregationalist), some of these truths may not be deemed important by him or significant to the overall "effect" of the text, but the implications are important. Is it viable to permit a non-Catholic to, in the name of "artistic license" distort, albeit unintentionally, some of the basic teachings of the Faith? From the standpoint of Lutheran (or Congregationalist) theological and doctrinal sensibilities, these changes might not be significant.

(I have several points to make about Ps. 66, but I think I've expressed my ideas clearly with these examples.)

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 11:26:00 AM, Blogger Cantor said...

David,

As originally published, these songs do not employ the gender-neutral language as much as they do in their updated forms.

Peter Jeffery’s “Translating Tradition” was an eye-opening read for me regarding liturgical texts. Even the lessons in the EF Missal very frequently deviate from the Vulgate.

BTW, when you use the term “inclusive language”, you basically give the “other side” the inherent advantage. Who doesn’t want to be “inclusive”, after all? We make a stronger case, IMO, if we just call it what it is: gender-neutral language.

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 12:18:00 PM, Blogger David Andrew said...

Cantor,

I used the 1994 edition of Gather to review these texts. The editors placed a special note at the beginning explaining that any texts they had changed were changed back to the original at the request of the composer/authors.

Also, thank you for the correction regarding "inclusive" versus "gender-neutral." (Sometimes the influence of the PC crowd can be subtle!)

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

David,

Check the original publication of Gather, from 1988. Marty Haugen is not one of the composers who wished their texts to be de-neutered.

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 1:29:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

The "text is primary" test is a very good one; if the music does not illuminate the text, then the ground is shaky.

Second, (and more challenging) is a "mind AND heart" test of Pius X--that is, if the music elevates only the 'heart' and not the mind, then the music is probably deficient.

For good or no, I'm not real familiar w/Haugen's work. But I am familiar with the piece "Here I Am, Lord" (maybe Haugen, maybe not??)

Seems to me that "here I am" is more "heart" (and body) than mind, by quite a bit. That imbalance is critical, and not good.

As to 'instruments,' it seems to me that the logical argument (again) begins with "purpose." The liturgy's purpose is to 1) glorify God, and 2) edify the faithful, and 3) raise the minds and hearts of the faithful to God. (Pius X)

Then the question becomes "what instrument(s) achieve all THREE ends?" (b/c if they don't, they are not appropriate per Pius X).

Here, I think, one cannot simply ignore common (secular) usage of the instruments in question--any more than one can simply ignore the Latin-deficiency of most folks. We can agree, I think, that the saxophone carries far too much 'secular' freight to be admitted to Mass. The piano is a more difficult call, while at the other end, violins/cellos are pretty much "acceptable" (given that the music is also 'acceptable'.)

Unfortunately, all of this comes back to education. It IS the responsibility of the music-critter to educate (as you have done.) That's the "elevation of the mind" part.

Long-term project, eh?

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 1:30:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

Correction: the purpose of MUSIC in the liturgy is to glorify God, edify the faithful, and raise the minds and hearts of the faithful to God.

 
At Wednesday, March 05, 2008 11:31:00 PM, Anonymous Gavin said...

Correct as usual. A few thoughts:

As annoyed as I was by the whole "it is a mortal sin to say anything good about Haugen/Haas" attitude on the board, I can kind of understand where they are coming from. I'm to the point in my parish where the last thing on anyone's mind is why we're not using Glory & Praise anymore. My boss had cut the "top 40" before I even entered the job, for me it was just a matter of upholding it. But I do understand the mindset that won't tolerate the usage of some music, even among other parishes. At the end of the day, some music really is offensive to the liturgy. I have no tolerance for the usage of "Let there be peace on earth", and I'm giving some serious thought to banning "Gentle Woman" from funerals. There are some cases where you HAVE to make a stand against some music. Now I agree with you that much of Haugen's work is rather good and shouldn't be subjected to a total axing, but I also view what's "appropriate" as a subjective judgment. Although I may disagree, I make an effort not to begrudge someone their pet peeve music. That said, if the CMAA is going to flat out ban all Haugen among its members, that's something I can do without.

This was the topic of my last blog post; that we should count the good gained in the past 40 years BEFORE we fix the bad. So many musicians are willing to ignore the focus on quality in choirs, attempts to get laity interested in music, wealth of composition, and promotion of congregational singing. When we look at this good, we are in a better position to set about "fixing" things rather than entering a parish with a mindset of starting over.

And regarding theater organ, I recall that when I was young(er), I played "Let There be Peace on Earth" on my church's Rodgers organ with all the orchestral stops and full tremolo. I got quite an upbraiding from my boss, but playing it in a cheezy way DID 1) make it sound good and 2) by such demonstrate just how inappropriate it is!

 
At Thursday, March 06, 2008 1:11:00 PM, Anonymous pdt said...

I believe the gorilla was "sunk" not because CMAA is a fringe group, but because a lot of its membership have grown weary of H/H bashing as a staple diet. Like it or not their music is approved by the respective dioceses responsible and published in the most commonly used hymnals and familiar to the people so move along.

You don't like the music, fine. What do we DO about it? Where is the readily accessible, singable, your-particular-take-on-liturgy approved, music to be found? Our church can't afford a thousand new hymnals. We can't go printing five thousand weekly worship aids. Our choir has sung nothing but Gather for the past year with the exception of 3 Christmas hymns and the Sister Act "Hail Holy Queen" for the annual church festival.

They are frankly not interested in some manuscript somebody cranked out on Finale last night. They might just like some nice music if people would stop making it so hard. They don't need "Here are 75 pieces by Palestrina you should memorize this week in your 60 minute choir practice."

So I think the idea at the CMAA forum was to quit the nitpicking and DO come to grips with "the reality that those of us in average parishes face."

 
At Thursday, March 06, 2008 1:20:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

It's a good thing Catholicism isn't one of those religions that asks for anything remotely approaching effort from anyone. Otherwise this appeal to what everyone knows and does as a matter of course in the average parish might seem out of step.

oh wait...

surely there's a middle ground to be had that brings reform where needed while not alienating people.

 
At Friday, March 07, 2008 10:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post.

As for your comment about heaped scorn, I think it underscores more the foibles of my critics who cannot confine themselves to simple logical and passionless arguments. "I disagree, and it's because of n, n, and n." Some people tussle with me in that way, and it's not unheard of that I would change my mind in response.

Too many church musicians have slipped into the Culture of Complaint. They get so used to the "Fire, aim, ready" method of interacting with others they cannot conceive of getting tagged themselves.

Ask them a true or false: Ray Repp (!) had turned to plainsong and Latin before the 70's were out.

You are spot on with the notion that liturgical context and musical ability are vital to the interpretation of music and instruments as sacred. Before Vatican II, the organ was not only associated with the church, but also the ballpark and the theatre.

Mindless critics bring on their own alienation, and have no one to blame but themselves.

We all get too personal and stray into sin when we criticize others. The difference for those in the Culture of Complaint is that other people are always the transgressors--never themselves.

Todd

 
At Friday, March 07, 2008 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

Before Vatican II, the organ was not only associated with the church, but also the ballpark and the theatre.

And the eminent sociologist, Rembert Weakland, OSB, tells us that the organ was also associated with whorehouses.

To which one COULD respond: So what?

 
At Friday, March 07, 2008 3:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One could, when confronted with the criticism that the piano is a plucked string instrument, also respond: So what?

The point is that the experience of a musical instrument in the secular world may have less impact on liturgy than some might think. Far better yardsticks would include the quality of the musician playing, the repertoire in use, the context within liturgy, the spirit of prayer brought by the musician and the assembly.

Todd

 
At Sunday, March 09, 2008 7:50:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

But you know that the piano is NOT a "plucked" string instrument, right Todd?

Try "percussion" instrument.

 
At Monday, March 10, 2008 1:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point; must've been thinking harpsichord there. I just can't get my head out of the 17th century, I guess.

So the piano's a hammer on the strings instrument: so what?

Todd

 
At Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:39:00 PM, Blogger Jeffrey Tucker said...

Pretty harsh to write off a 135-year-old, all-volunteer organization because an admin on forum thought that a thread has run its course. I really don't know what to say about that. As for the FAQ I'm sure it could be improved. The CMAA is a large and diverse organization that is doing its best to upload a tradition of excellence -- and doing this at great personal cost to everyone involved at all levels. We'll keep trying.

 
At Tuesday, March 11, 2008 4:36:00 PM, Blogger Jeffrey Tucker said...

One more comment about this idea that the CMAA is banning this or that music. We are all at different points on this journey to the ideal. None of us have arrived, and few of us ever will. The point isn't to say that this or that music must never be heard at Mass, but rather to provide some direction toward the ideal, which is given not by the CMAA but by the Church. If you understand that point, you will understand all you need to know about the organization and its goals. No question that we could be doing a better job, and we are all still learning.

 
At Wednesday, March 12, 2008 1:19:00 AM, Blogger Cantor said...

Hi Jeffrey,

Thank you for commenting.

Pretty harsh to write off a 135-year-old, all-volunteer organization because an admin on forum thought that a thread has run its course.

1) Not only did you think the thread had run its course, but you enforced that reality in a way that few other threads (which also run their courses) encounter. I, for one, thought there was a good deal more to say about the “lesser among potential evils” idea. I really would like to see more heads-on encounter with the status quo repertoire in American parishes, and the responses to this post indicate that I am not alone. A discussion of why, for instance, “Sing Out, Earth and Skies” is more (or less?) offensive to good liturgical taste than “Eye Has Not Seen” could bear good fruit as folks write new liturgical music - perhaps in a different way than merely highlighting the canonically great pieces.

2) Your actions as a CMAA representative shape people’s opinions of the organization. Closing and sinking that thread was seen by more than just me as an unwillingness to discuss the status quo beyond a blanket dismissal, which, in turn, reflects badly on CMAA. Likewise, of course, people who think Haugen & Co. should be banned probably thought a bit more highly of CMAA.

In response to your follow-up comment, I think the concept of the “ideal” continues to shift. Maybe it’s undefinable. Would we really say that, for example, “Pascha nostrum” is unquestionably the best text for communion on Easter? Might not the Hillert “Festival Canticle” be just as worthy a text, and its easy-but-dignified congregational refrain an additional virtue?

 
At Wednesday, March 12, 2008 2:08:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Cantor,
You beg the question again but leave no solid suggestion on how to answer it.

How does one determine what is "good" or the "ideal"? Your answer of, "Might not the Hillert “Festival Canticle” be just as worthy a text, and its easy-but-dignified congregational refrain an additional virtue?" implicitly suggests one metric (ease of singing) but is that the only one? Your original thread suggested sticking to only musical critiques to determine what is good or not, but this seems to ignore more basic aspects of the liturgy itself and the role of music within it.

Until people can agree to a set of metrics to discuss the issue of liturgical music, there can be no meaningful discussion of it. Ease of singing might be a very good metric to use, but if that's the only one then out goes all polyphony, foreign languages, difficult "swoopy octaves", songs with significant ranges. Another metric might be conformance to liturgical texts, which would situate Gregorian chant squarely in place, but would expose the enormously large gaping hole in the vernacular repertoire.

These are the issues you should be bringing up.

-Mike J.

 
At Wednesday, March 12, 2008 8:50:00 AM, Blogger Cantor said...

Mike said:
Until people can agree to a set of metrics to discuss the issue of liturgical music, there can be no meaningful discussion of it.

I’m not sure I agree; psychologists have discussed intelligence for a century now without any reliable metric thereof. And of course, mathematicians worked with “limits” for a very long time before someone came along and actually gave that concept a rigorous definition.

 
At Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9:40:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Cantor,
having a rigorous definition and most people agreeing to a concept (even if presently nebulous) are different things.

What this particular discussion is about is to resolve what really makes "good" liturgical music. Person A may think "good" means singability and Person B may think "good" means age. They'll look at the same music and disagree about it's "goodness" not because the music actually is inherently good or bad, but because it is good or bad in the way each individual has defined it. The conversation will never move on from that point and they'll have to "agree to disagree". The thing to do is talk about the definitions to see if some agreement *can* be made.

-Mike

 
At Friday, March 14, 2008 12:40:00 PM, Anonymous Gavin said...

If I might join in this (possibly dead) thread to elaborate on Mike's last comment, it occurred to me recently that music is like beer. I stopped drinking college beer for real beer shortly after turning 21. Since then, it seems to me that music and beer are alike in that I can SAY that a local MI microbrew is better than Bud Light. I can also say that Tallis is better than St. Louis Jesuits. But no one will agree with me in those. I can then point to evidence: Tallis is organically developed from chant, SLJ is a pop style, you know the arguments. I can also point out my favorite micro has a significant amount of hops or malt or robust flavor or aroma. BUT most drinkers of Miller or Bud won't recognize those things as making beer good; they see their beer as superior BECAUSE of its lack of everything that makes beer beer. The same could be said of Tallis: pop advocates will reject it BECAUSE of what we judge to make it superior.

 
At Friday, March 14, 2008 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Gavin,

Thank you for your comment, but I still think you are comparing an apple and an orange.

Compare Tallis to Rossini propers because these are both for the choir to sing alone.

Compare “Abba Father” to Hillert “Festival Canticle” because (in Catholic churches, anyway) these are meant for a congregation to sing.

 
At Friday, March 14, 2008 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Cantor,
This is precisely the point of seeking out other metrics.

I *can* compare apples and oranges on the basis that they are both fruits, both grow on trees and are suitable for cooking with chicken.

Beer and wine are comparable since they can both be drunk with a large steak. Beer is obviously not the same as wine, but are there things that make a beer or a wine preferable with a specific steak and sides or not?

Elsewise, it is just a matter of saying, "how can you say an apple is an orange?" and dismiss the entire enterprise. Also, one might say, "I prefer apples to oranges." and also dismiss the entire enterprise. Neither of these are fruitful dialogues to be had. If we step back, though, and agree that, yes, we have fruit, first, now, are there things about the fruit which makes one or the other more suitable to go with this particular chicken dish, then we can actually start thinking about why an orange or an apple might be better situated.

I shouldn't comment while hungry...

-Mike

 
At Friday, March 14, 2008 2:15:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Mike,

There are some times, though, when we must choose either an apple or an orange. After communion, for example, we can’t sing Tallis because GIRM 88 says this is congregational singing time.

The reality that I face in my own parish is that a choral introit is not an option. Choral communions are just starting to work their way in. Offertories are ok for choral singing.

Regardless, it would never be licit (in the OF, anyway?) to use the “Ite, missa est” from the Machaut Notre Dame Mass because it’s an apple, and that point in the liturgy needs an orange.

 
At Friday, March 14, 2008 10:07:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Rather than continue two threads, I'm going to leave this one and continue on the other post.

 

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