13 May 2003

Another copied entry from previous blog. This one is from Friday, 25 April. I was thinking about it a bit today, as I saw both of the parish musicians I worked with while in high school today. As soon as they ascertained that I am indeed home for the summer, they started fighting over who gets me for Pentecost morning. I think I'm going to end up wending my way down to the Lutheran church with the guy who now works there. Tony, who is the parish music director, said I would probably find their taste in music more acceptable (i.e., more conservative). Anyway:

I've become so interested in sacred music it's nuts. Perhaps I'm destined to be a church musician after all. Ok, yeah, I always knew I would do parish work no matter what else I ended up doing. But I'm really encouraged by reading stuff from the webring "St. Blog's Parish" and by taking chant seminar. Dr. Ed showed us all kinds of nifty extra books today. I'm learning fast which hymnals are worth shelling out the cash for and which ones I should scream "run awaaaay!" at the mere mention of. He showed us a Graduale Simplex, which is a very useful thing. It is a book of Proper and Ordinary chants for the Mass, but they're simplified. Everything would be quite easy for an average volunteer (read "nonmusician") choir to sing. They are in Latin, with approved texts, and it uses responsorial Psalms instead of Graduals (promulgated by the Vatican in 1974--post-Vatican II). Nifty, and as I said, a very useful thing.

"By Flowing Waters" is basically an English version of the Graduale Simplex, but Dr. Ed said that, while it was a nice idea, the guy who did it didn't do a good job, besides the fact that it's all in round-note notation, which annoys me. Good to know it annoys Dr. Ed too.

I wish there were more books of the type he showed us in Music of the Catholic Church last semester. Nice little books of polyphonic music that were pretty simple. Some SATB, some SA or SSA for children's choirs. Think kind of "dumbed-down Palestrina." I read an article today that suggested it would be better for choirs to do this sort of repertoire and allow the esteemed Palestrina to rest in peace rather than cause him to be restless in his grave. A good idea, especially when I recall my parish choir's attempts at Sicut Cervus. Don't even get me started on the Handel, which I'm still not convinced even belongs in a Catholic liturgy anyway....

I half hope that I do become a parish musician--the primary musician of some parish--someday, if only so that I can put all of the knowledge I've gained to use. I really wish I had more influence in my parish at home. I've heard so many people complain about the awful electric guitars and terrible music they play. The point of this raucous music is ostensibly to encourage participation by the congregation, yet the complaints I hear are mostly to the effect that the people can't sing along with this music. Yet I see the congregation at our Chant Mass here singing the Ordinaries in Latin and I want to bow in awe before whoever composed music that is so sublime and yet so accessible. I suppose I shall have to content myself with bowing before this beauty's Ultimate Source.

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