Tuesday, October 09, 2012

When Who Says "Jump," do we sing "How high?

The following commentary is based upon an article published today in CRISIS (online) MAGAZINE today by Jeffrey Tucker entitled "Musical Corruptions Continue Despite Vatican Intervention." It can be accessed here:


Never let it be said that Jeffrey minces his thoughts. Nor do I for that matter. But allow me two observations that we two have personally discussed pertinent to two major points in this article that, to me, are glaringly obvious by their omission here.

One, on the brick by brick road to liturgical OZ, Jeffrey himself endorsed an erstwhile quick fix to engaging congregational participation in the Latin chanting of the De Angelis Gloria as arranged by our mutual friend and chant expert, Aristotle Esquerra. This arrangement employs the same antiphonal "refrain" by relegating the congregation to cadentially inserted repetitions of the famed 5-5--3-2-1 incipit intoned by the celebrant. This was circa 2005-2006. This came to my attention via Jeffrey's mention of it at Musica Sacra or NLM. There's nothing wrong with his now revised opinion. But to not own up to that accomodation then, and to launch a serious salvo towards other composers and their publishers without that disclosure damages credibility somewhat. And while we're on the Missa de Angelis...

Two, is not the interpolation of polyphonic portions that are poorly invented by local Roman composers into the de Angelis Gloria as "performed" by the Sistine (Screamers!) Choir* and which otherwise mangle a noble and simple rendition by the people's choir and all other congregants at Papal Masses in St. Peter's an "occasion of liturgical sin" (?) much more magnified and deliterious to worldwide sensibilities than the local singing of the incipit as refrain Jeffrey so villifies? IMO, what happens at St. Peter's to this day also, ironically functions as musical, not textual , troping. Oops. Troping, if only understood by novice liturgists or musicians from the content of Jeffrey's article, would seem a modern invention, doubtless led by the apostate Haugen! Nothing could be further than the historical truth of the acccretion of tropes to emerging liturgical texts in the first centuries. One of the undergraduate level examples is the obvious approbation of the sometimes secular use, sometimes pagan use of "Kyrie eleison." That one form of the Penitential Rite still prefaces that with an invocation is a result of troping the Kyrie. This is old news and basic.

We just need to paint our opinions with less broader and more intellectually honest strokes.

It also was with no small sense of irony and humor that a related link on the CRISIS site under JT's post was on Cdl. Bartolucci's address of the state of sacred music!

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