Saturday, March 21, 2009

New hymn blog

Via the Catholic website Hymnography Unbound, I found out about a new hymn blog, Catholic Musicians.

The post I found most amusing was the one lamenting a particularly awful piece of schmalz that (as it turns out) was foisted on parishes everywhere by a contemporary Catholic composer:
Sometimes composers set music to sacred texts that become so well-known that one can hardly read the words without hearing the tune. Who can ponder Isaiah 9 without hearing Haendel's "For Unto Us a Child is Born," or who can help but to think of Brahms' Requiem when St. Paul taunts, "Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?" These "ear worms" stay with us and heighten our appreciation of these Scriptural passages.

Alas, not all such situations are to be celebrated. Take Psalm 90, for instance. It is quite possible that many cringe at the mere reading of that text, for it immediately conjures up the sounds of one of the most popular--and one of the most poorly-written--pieces of music in the history of the Catholic Church. I speak, of course, of "On Eagles' Wings," or, as a friend of mine--no ideologue, she--calls it, "that yoohoo song." ("Excuse me!!!" she once said, approaching Michael Joncas, "aren't you the guy who wrote that yoohoo song?" Joncas, once he figured out what she was talking about, just laughed and admitted that he really should have revised the piece.)
The author is a big fan of Gregorian Chant. In many ways it seems to be my counterpart in the Roman Catholic Church — except that in his church, the doctrinally devout do not also have to worry about an unfolding schism and property fight.

In another post, Lawrence praises the Anglo-Catholic worship at a Philadelphia parish:
S. Clement's uses a Mass that is essentially the Traditional Mass said in a sacral vernacular, translated by someone who was clearly literate and aesthetically sensible. It offers perhaps the solution that Rome should have pursued in the mid 20th century. Alas, I need hardly comment on how far afield we've gone from that.
Alas, the St. Clement parish is in the diocese of Philadelphia, the same diocese until recently headed by the corrupt Charles Bennison, and the diocese determined to snatch the Good Shepherd Rosemont property from the most devout Anglo-Catholic parish in Eastern Pennsylvania.

The St. Clement website does not indicate where the clergy stand on the great theological and cultural issues dividing the Anglican Communion. So it’s hard to tell whether they’re Anglo-Catholic (as defined 150 years ago) or merely High Church Progressives.

1 comment:

DavidbWade at said...

I'd have to say that they seem to be High Church progessives, from some of the comments of their rector in their newsletter. Alas.'s+church+philadelphia+schism&hl=en&gl=us