Sunday, June 17, 2012


Its biggest competitor, GIA, took that title away!

In case you're wondering, yes, I'm revisiting Worship - Fourth Edition, GIA's newest "flagship" hymnal.   Or is Gather - Third Edition the new "flagship" hymnal?  At any rate - Worship these days seems to be about half Worship and half Gather, and Gather seems to be about half Gather and half WorshipWorship was the hymnal for hymns, and Gather was the hymnal for sacro-pop.  Now, just about anything GIA puts out is the hymnal for sacro-pop.  Well, Worship does have some of the old standards, and have added some tunes that I'm pleasantly surprised to see, and there are the good old standards.  However, as I have previously mentioned a few months back, there are many new texts, and many altered texts.  And like the OCP Music Issue, you will find good things, but you have to sift through a lot of crap to get to them.

Let's just say, since a friend of mine returned my copy of Worship IV to me after having borrowed it for a bit, I'm finding more flaws in the book now than before. Here's an example I just discovered today:

#615: God, Whose Song Became Creation
None of the first verse makes any sense:
God, whose song became creation, Touch our lips with burning coals.
Free our hearts to sing your praises While your music shapes our souls.
We would sing with other nations, Sing with worlds as yet unknown,
Sing with angels, sing with rivers, Sing with birds and sing with stones.

HUH?  Sounds like something from Dr. Seuss!  (Sing with angels, sing with planets, sing with rivers, sing with a fox, sing in a box...)
I for one would find it hard to sing once my lips hit the burning coals.  I'd be hurting.  Really hurting.  And this thing about singing with worlds as yet unknown, the last time I remember trying to sing with a Martian, the little ******* tried to evaporate me!  And it's very hard to sing with stones.  Let's face it.  I'd be more likely to have stones being thrown at me than stones singing with me.

Now, get a load of this second verse:
Songs so new and yet so ancient, Songs with no geography,
Songs unchanged, yet ever changing, Songs that set their singers free;
Sung on streets and sung in kitchens, Sung in churches, sung in jails,
Sung in silence, sung in chaos, Sung whenever speaking fails.

Songs with no geography?????  Also, each of those places the author mentions in the last two lines all require a different type of song.  So I hope that what I sing in church is not what I normally sing on Central Avenue, I-95, the ACI, and in Chez Page.  Oh, and that Dr. Seuss motif again - sung on streets, with my feet, sung in jail, while reading my mail, etc...

And now, how about the music?  First of all, the melody is unsingable.  Watch this...
Common time, F key signature
C A A C | Db Ab Ab G | Eb c c Eb | Bb Ab G |
C A A C | Db Ab Ab G | Eb c c Eb | Ab G Ab |
c c db c | c Bb Ab Eb | c c db c | Bb Ab G |
C A A C | Db Ab Ab G | Eb c c Eb | Ab G Ab ||
 (NOTE: The capital "C" is middle C, the small "c" is an octave higher.

Not only is it hard to sing, let me remind you that it's in the key of F and the ending note is Ab, and appears to serve as the tonic.  And this from the pen of Hal Hopson, who's penned numerous choral octavos.  WTF?????

I hope to review more "hymns", but this is a start.  So if you want to sing songs with no geography, Worship IV is the book to get (If this is the new Worship, I'd hate to see what the new Gather is like).  If you want books with actual hymnody that makes sense, may I suggest the St. Michael Hymnal or the Vatican II Hymnal.



Scelata said...

Oh my word, that is appalling.
Dr Seuss was the first thing that came to my mind too, as I started reading your post.
I'm surprised, didn't Hopson write that very serviceable metric version of I Corinthians 13, Gift of Love?
Ah well.... everyone has an off-day.
Hey, someone told me you were at Colloquium, are you here in Salt Lake?
I'd like to meet you.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Brian Michael Page said...

Nope - not at the Colloquium. Here at home with my family. Sorry.