Skip to comments.Church Musicians Tune Up for Changes in Liturgy
Posted on 07/24/2009 10:25:33 AM PDT by NYer
CHICAGO At a gathering of Church composers and musicians recently, Msgr. Anthony Sherman asked how many people had looked at the revised order of the Mass. Almost everyone raised a hand.
Msgr. Sherman, the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Divine Worship, might have predicted the reaction during his breakout session at the National Association of Pastoral Musicians Convention in Chicago. After all, new Mass texts require new music and pastoral musicians are preparing to provide it.
Given that music is integral to the celebration of liturgy, composers will have an important role to play in introducing worshippers to the revised translations of the order of Mass found in the forthcoming edition of the Roman Missal, explained composer Steven Janco, who directs the church music and liturgy program at Saint Josephs College in Rensselaer, Ind. Most current settings will require new music for the Gloria and new or adapted memorial acclamation settings. Only a few words of the Holy, Holy, Holy will change, so many existing settings will be adapted rather easily by composers.
Janco has already begun revising his Mass of the Angels and Saints and Mass of Redemption. His publishers World Library Publications and GIA Publications have asked him for versions that use the revised order of the Mass. Starting fresh with the new translation, Janco is also composing a new setting he calls Mass of Wisdom.
Msgr. Sherman explained why the Gloria is garnering special attention: When the initial translation of the Gloria was done, the Latin structure was abandoned and rearranged. In this new translation it has been transposed to be closer to the original Latin text. Changing that structure means the words no longer fit the music, and new musical settings are necessary.
The memorial acclamations will also require new music since three of those texts saw significant alteration in the translating process. Acclamation A, Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again, is pending approval as an additional proposal. Kelly Dobbs Mickus, GIA senior editor and National Association of Pastoral Musicians publicity committee chairwoman, explained: Composers are trying to do settings, and they dont know whether or not to set that. So, weve been asking them to set it, and if we need it, we need it and if we dont, we dont.
Since Marty Haugen set that acclamation in his well-known Mass of Creation, it is frequently used in the United States. On the other hand, it is the only memorial acclamation in the post-Vatican II Roman Missal that speaks of Jesus in the third person rather than the second. It has no counterpart in the Latin Missal.
Dobbs Mickus said other music will require revisions instead of rewrites. We intend to try to keep the music as much like the original as possible, she said, noting that doing so could help congregations participate more easily. In the case of the Holy, Holy, thats fairly easy to do. The changes are not such that theyre going to require a lot of different notes and different rhythms.
Since most worship resources contain Mass settings, the translation process is also having a fiscal affect on the Catholic music publishing industry.
We have had a slump in sales because of our hymnal business, Dobbs Mickus said. She noted that hymnals are an investment and many parishes do not want to repeat that investment when the revised Roman Missal is approved for use. That means churches are putting off purchases, but eventual implementation of the new text could mean sales down the line.
In the meantime, Dobbs Mickus said, GIA is promising to give its customers free hymnal inserts with the new text and music once the translations come into use. She said the publisher hopes that will encourage parishes to buy hymnals now.
When the revised translations of the Roman Missal are approved, music directors and liturgists will have to teach their congregations to use the new texts and music.
Msgr. Sherman said, Youre going to have to have cards, you know, to start this but I think about two months after were under way, people wont even realize [the changes], but were still going to have to keep the cards because there could be a slight slip every once in a while.
Robert Noble, director of music at St. John Nepomuk Church in Yukon, Okla., already has a plan for introducing the new text and music to his parish. It takes my congregation about a month to comfortably learn all of the different acclamations from one setting, then a couple more months for them to really own it. The only difference is the new text, he said. As far as the new chants for the dialogues, I will help my pastor learn them first. After that, the choir then the congregation.
Basically, he said, Well learn new Mass settings in the same way weve learned them in the past.
Amy Kiley writes from
INFORMATION For more information on the revised Roman Missal, visit USCCB.org/liturgy/missalformation/.
Liturgy update ping!
Church musicians should always be in tune.
Church musicians should always be in tune.
When I was younger electric instruments and anything beyond a piano or organ seemed wrong to me. Last week I went to the teen mass of my new parish and loved the sound of the happy musical worship. It’s how I think Heaven would sound. But, maybe I just say that because we were singing Matt Mahr songs. :)
All musicians should always be in tune.
Ruthenian Byzantine Rite just keeps using the same Carpathian Plainchant.” We don’t have to worry about changing things back and forth. We sing what this Rite has sung for generations. By St. John Chrysostom.
Are you talking about a church setting?
Yes. Teen Mass.
Amen!! Thank you . That is EXACTLY why I am Melkite. Nothing has changed in many, many centuries. It is as beautiful now as it was when St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil were alive.
(What would Marty Haugen do?)
what year and when was it made? And are you in California or Florida (terrazzo)?
Hopefully, go away. FAR away.
Good. Maybe we'll get less dreck this time.
Of course, if we just used CHANT, we wouldn't have to struggle to fit the words to pop music . . . . with a good chant tone (Gregorian OR Anglican), you can chant anything from a Psalm to a grocery list to the portion of the British Highway Code pertaining to pedestrians to The Weather Forecast.
*snort* I do like Gregorian Chant, but then I also love Anglican High Church hymns (William Byrd, Ralph Vaughn Williams), as well as some of the popular music. What I DON’T particularly like, is what our daughter describes as “Jesus is my boyfriend” music. ;o)
Good thing he's the Pope and not I (aside from the obviously disqualifying factors)!
I had loaned our choirmaster a DVD of the Clare College choir singing Purcell's Funeral Sentences and he was inspired to make it an all-17th-century Sunday!
We did a Christmas program awhile back that had a really good mix of old and new music. Costeley's "Allon, Gay Bergeres", some Gregorian chant "Hodie Christus Natus Est", Tavener's "The Lamb", Adam's "O Holy Night" . . . quite a mix but all good music.
Did you catch Fr. Joel Martin, OSB on EWTN Live, Wednesday night? The topic of the show wass "The Revival of Gregorian Chant." He spoke about the Musica Sacra web site which I'm sure would be of great interest to you. It is an association of Catholic musicians, and those who have a special interest in music and liturgy, active in advancing Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and other forms of sacred music. Here is the link:
Oh, we do lovely music for Christmas! In fact, we did “Hodie, Christus Natus Est” this past year! We do some Early, but mostly Modern music. We’ve done at least one John Rutter piece each Christmas, which is fine by me! For both of the last two Christmases we also did “Rorate Caeli”, and it was just beautiful!
Our choirmaster is big into Musica Sacra. He’s there a LOT. It’s an extremely valuable resource for anybody who’s serious about REAL church music.
It was made in 2003; Mexican manufacture. I’m in NYC
**A, Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again, is pending approval as an additional proposal. Kelly Dobbs Mickus, GIA senior editor and National Association of Pastoral Musicians publicity committee chairwoman, explained: Composers are trying to do settings, and they dont know whether or not to set that. So, weve been asking them to set it, and if we need it, we need it and if we dont, we dont. **
Oh, I pray they dump this. I hate it and will not sing it.
**Since Marty Haugen set that acclamation in his well-known Mass of Creation, it is frequently used in the United States. On the other hand, it is the only memorial acclamation in the post-Vatican II Roman Missal that speaks of Jesus in the third person rather than the second. It has no counterpart in the Latin Missal. **
I just re-read this and found this. Please, please, bishops, dump it.
Barfaroni......I don’t want to know what he would do. Get this as close to the Latin as possible!
Let's all write, email, call, etc. our bishops and ask them to get rid of this. (Even if we know it won't happen right now, the seed will be planted!)
I wish they’d dump the Leonard Cohen Hallelujah. Every time I hear it my mind wanders to that fourth verse.
I attended the Ruthenian Liturgy for years here in Portland but my family wanted to continue in the neighborhood Latin Rite parish. I love the Eastern Rite. I have heard that indeed changes were made in the last year or so. It is upsetting many worshippers because the changes were unnecessary and unauthentic. What were the changes?
Cue “The Vatican Rag” by Tom Lehrer.
Actually, the changes were really minor. We say "Theotokos" instead of "Mother of God," and instead of saying "May our lips be filled..." we sing "May our mouths be filled..." The processions and rites are still all the same. I am not aware of other changes beyond some translation adjustments.
I know what you mean about loving the Rite.
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15). These are the jewels in the crown of the Catholic Church.
Like freeper redhead, I too am a RC that has found a home in the East. More than 5 years ago, I joined a Maronite Catholic Church; it has been a veritable blessing in my life. I especially appreciate the fixed liturgical calendar. Its constancy is most welcome, especially after experiencing 40 years of continual change in the Latin rite liturgy.
Because of Bl. Theodore's mission status and the distance to the mother parish, we sometimes have our fixed feasts transferred to the nearest Sunday by the bishop. It makes it easier for us to get to Liturgy for that feast, but as a cantor, I have to say that it can sure COMPLICATE the music! I've been singing with the cantors for almost two years, and I'm still unsure of what goes where. Father does a good job of keeping us supplied with a list and page numbers, so I can only chalk up my lack of confidence to lack of confidence. LOL!
I especially love the reverence of the prayers, and all the smells, bells, and processions, and ESPECIALLY mirovanjie! (anointing with the Oil of Gladness). I thank God every Sunday for putting this little parish where I could find it.
Congratulations on joining the cantors! Every voice is a shared gift. It’s wonderful to hear how you have immersed yourself in the parish and been joyfully blessed with increased faith.
Some of us have been preparing for this for a while - and the moaning started when we heard that Marty Haugen was working to shoe-horn the "new" words into the Mass of Cremation.
We did a simple, modern, antiphonal chant Gloria this morning and it worked just fine - and only took two minutes. Why do composers feel the need to make it all so complicated?
I HOPE we will get rid of the Massive Cremation when they change the words, and just use our music director's own-composed Mass. It's chant based, the melody is very simple, but the harmonies are out of this world. So the congregation gets a simple melody, and the choir gets to play. Everybody's happy.
And since it's chant-based, it's a very simple matter to adjust it slightly for the new words! I'm sure he's up to the task.
I knew that one years before I became a Catholic. It's still a hoot. Boy did Lehrer have that whole thing pegged!
My typical gear
We do different settings for different seasons. Unfortunately the Mass of Cremation is in the rotation.
I'm surprised the sheet music doesn't just burst into flame.
Congrats on being an Aunt! It’s one of the best jobs there is.
Auguri! Boy or girl?
We had to sing it today because the congregation LIKES it. I think they're just accustomed to it.
Our music director has it pegged. He said, "The very first time I heard it, I knew it was awful and everybody was going to love it!"
I nearly drove myself into a frenzy trying to adjust to the switch from Episcopalian cantoring to Catholic cantoring. But I finally took to heart our music director's words -- if you make a mistake, so long as you don't throw up your hands and shriek "OMG! NOES!" chance are nobody outside the choir will know you made a mistake. This turned out to be quite true, so now I don't worry any more.
(I still cantor with a Brit accent though, even though my speaking accent is VERY Southern!)
LOL! This has been my philosophy all along. 9 times out of 10, we are the only ones who can read the music, so let it go. Cantoring in the Byzantine Rite is a little different, since the entire service is sung. The only "solo" is by the Lector, who chants the First Reading. But we have no instruments and no prep time, so we have to be able to "cold read" the day's special parts. No tin ears in the schola, thank God, but several in the congregation. Sometimes we get some strange little harmonies going.
Boy. Everybody’s healthy.
Hurrah! Is this her first?
Everybody’s first, so he’s going to be a bit spoiled.
Is that Marshall a Valvestate?