Monday, July 5, 2010

The Preconciliar World of Catholic Music

It is extremely interesting to look through the legacy issues of Caecilia for a gimpse into the preconconciliar world of Catholic music. Many things are familiar (not enough pay, in-fighting among musicians, focus on petty issues that do not matter) but many things are not (focus on excellence, uniformity in vision, shared understanding of what liturgical music is for, the constant striving for ideals). Three new issues are up now, one from as far back as 1930.

Here is a quotation from a 1930 issue:

0nly a limited amount of energy is given us. Perhaps we would tackle the problem better by leaving off preaching the beauty, and all that, of the Chant, and beginning to convince the world and ourselves in particular by giving the Chant a chance to talk for itself. If we admit that its exalted mood of meditation and mystic calm and all that is a bit foreign to the hip, hip, hurray spirit of twentieth-century America, then the task of making Gregorian chant prevail begins where our vocabulary leaves off. The solution seems to be: less talk and more honestly patient work.
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