Monday, January 22, 2007

THE MUSICAL QUESTIONS

And My Snarky Answers

Cantor at Cantate Deo asks the blogsphere five questions (um, THREE questions):

1. Why must people insist on replacing Latin terms for the liturgical texts (“Gloria”, “Agnus Dei”, et al.) with English equivalents, like “Glory to God”? Maybe because I’ve spent so much time, as a choral musician, with the Latin texts, that people referring to them in a vernacular tongue just sounds strange. Anyone else feel like this is just goofy?

I was questioned in the opposite way when I was on the NaPalM message boards. The question was something to the tune of Why are you using Latin and old terms for music you're singing in English? For example, when I wrote my hymn lists, I used "Introit", "Gloria", "Offertory", "Sanctus", "Mysterium Fidei", "Per Ipsum", "Agnus Dei". Surprising, I didn't think of using "Pater Noster", I don't know why? But I knew I wasn't committing any liturgical crime. Besides, the GIRM (funkified for U.S. tastes) STILL uses many of those very terms I speak of here.

2. Am I correct in thinking that the time since V2 is unique in that the Church is expected to worship not only in Latin, but also in vernacular tongues? The examples I see Mitchell cite of the history of liturgical/Scriptural translation seem more to do with translations that replace, rather than complement, the original texts. (note: "Mitchell" is Nathan Mitchell, who has a column in Worship magazine called The Amen Corner.)

Yes, you are, good friend. In fact, I can recall a page in the old Liturgical Press gem of the '60's, Our Parish Prays and Sings, which had laid out which parts of the Mass should be said/sung in Latin and which should be in English. I don't have the book anymore, as it got lost in the infamous Pawtucket Mill Fire of 2003 (which burned my house to the ground and destroyed many others). It seems since the Paul VI Mass that Latin got dropped, thanks to progressive misdirection, despite Pope Paul VI's handing the Jubilate Deo booklet to every parish in the world in hopes that the average Joe in the pew would have access to the simplest of Mass chants in Latin.

3. Why do Bp. Trautman & Co. assume that active participation in the liturgy is inimical to the use of Latin or “more Latinistic” English? And, are those who think that way favoring “participation” to such an extent that participation in the liturgy is hampered? I mean, if it’s just about participation, let’s get rid of anything liturgical - clearly, it is important to recall that V2 emphasized not just participation, but participation in the liturgy.

That was a big stink we argued about on the RPInet boards a few months back - there was one particular person who insisted that full, conscious, and active participation (FCAP to the snark population) means that every single sung moment just HAS to involve the people. GOD FORBID the choir sings a motet version of the Communion proper (read: polyphonic and in Latin) at Communion, where said text is assigned in the first place. Ah yes, the Trautman/Mahony/Brown-istic misconceptions of FCAP (sounds like a bad drug, doesn't it?). After all, listening is participation, too.

Peace,
BMP

1 comment:

Charles said...

Geez, Brian....since I left RPI I've forgotten so many of the "regulars"....but, wait, wait...the name "Anne" surfaces. Am I warm?