Friday, March 10, 2006


Dave Pawlak used to be a Haugen fan. Then he wisened up!

But he does offer a cool challenge in that same post - find at least one or two decent pieces of music by the following:
Marty Haugen
David Haas
Michael Joncas
The St. Louis Jesuits

I was able to come up with a little something here:
For the St. Louis Jesuits, John Foley did go to bat with "Who Has Known", and "The Cry of the Poor". I should have listed "Patience, People" as a performance piece. I credited Dan Schutte with "Only This I Want" and "Christ, Circle 'Round Us".
From the pen of Michael Joncas, there is "As the Watchman" and "Lord, You Have the Words". Both are gems compared to much of anything else he'd written.
From the pens of Haugen and Haas - absolutely nothing. I could say the same with Carey Landry, but he wasn't listed for Dave's challenge.



Anonymous said...

Oh come now....Haugen's Ps. 25 is pretty, as is his Ps. 91. The Ps. 103 is overdone, but it's also nice. Mass of Creation's Gloria is well-done, I think, as is the Sanctus.

Haas "Mass of Light" has some nice moments, like the Lenten Gospel Acclamation. He is the lesser of the two, I'd say.

Dave said... challenge will include any post-1965 folk/contemporary songwriters.

Since you brought up Carey Landry, I will admit to liking "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman". But I can't stand hearing Landrey sing -- he sounds like a sheep.

Brian Michael Page said...

I could fall asleep listening to Gentle Woman, no offense against you, Dave, whatsoever. It's either that or I start doing the Elvis impersonation thing ("wise man say, only fools rush in...").

A couple of years ago Jason and I collaborated on coverting HM/GW to Gregorian chant. Yes - Jason had written a Latin text for the Gentle Woman part (the Hail Mary was a no-brainer for any real Catholic musician), and I had re-written the melody in chant (ah yes, using neums and all that good stuff). I had it on hard copy, but lost it in a fire on 11/14/03. Was a cool project for fun though.

Picture a bunch of snarks chanting "Ave Maria/Clemens Mulier"! (in Jason's words: Swishy!)


Anonymous said...

Ugh! The first time I heard "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman," I wanted to leave the room. It is the most banal thing I've ever heard in my life.

As for Mass of Light ... the Agnus Dei, my former choir director used to call the "goose" setting because of that stretch in "you ta-ake away ..." and that one would have to "goose" another person just to make that jump. The choir director at my home parish in San Diego had the answer to cover that jump - transpose down big time. It felt like he transposed more than a major third down, it was so low I remembered. I could live without that dreadful Gloria - "Glory to God in the highest, sing Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God's people on earth."

Blech. Unfortunately, we're stuck with this setting for the rest of Lent. Minus that Gloria, of course.

Todd said...

Easy challenge, and a far more productive one than writing parodies. Foley and Joncas both have had substantial classical music training. From the former, I would easily add "Take Lord Receive," "We Praise You" and the latter's settings of Wilbur's "Every Stone Shall Cry," Psalm 139, the second Psalm 91, among many others.

Haas did a nice setting of a John Henry Newman text titled "The Guardian's Farewell." LEt's leave it at that.

Marty Haugen's later Mass settings were huge improvements on Creation. His psalm settings of 51, 91, and 34 still have appeal twenty years later.

I will mention that it is rare to have the talent for composing as well as writing a text. The better work of any of these four is when they use a poetic text by someone else.

Brian Michael Page said...

When I think "Take, Lord, Receive", the prayer of St. Ignatius, I think of the Peloquin setting (A Prayer of Self-Offering) - Lord, I freely give all my liberty to you.

Your last paragraph, Todd, is probably one that I would agree with you the most in a long time. I for one will admit to being a far better composer than an author. Which is why at this stage in my life and my career, I'd far rather just set liturgical texts to music than try to write my own texts and realize I just created garbage myself.