Desperate Music Director Seeks Help…

The OF offers too many choices. What is supposed to be liberating turns out stifling. What if we would just all write letters to the complaint department at the top? I offer here my musings posted over at NLM.

9 Replies to “Desperate Music Director Seeks Help…”

  1. Cute fable, mon cher AOZ. A bucket of fruit pies next time we meet in Rome, I hope.
    But, couldn't every homilist write the Holy Father and CDW with very similar concerns?

  2. The Roman Rite also offers the opportunity for self-discipline, organization, and gradual improvement.

    There are given frameworks in any parish music program. What is in the assembly's repertoire? Maybe 100 pieces? What is their tolerance for novelty? Perhaps one new piece a month, and maybe if they trust you, a bit more. Have you assembled an ideal repertoire for choir and assembly? How long does it take to get you there? What are the priorities? Ordinary Time? Major feasts?

    Rather than feeling stifled, I always felt I was piecing together a puzzle.

  3. 100 pieces? Everyone knows that Catholics only know three hymns: Hail Holy Queen, Holy God We Praise, and Immaculate Mary 😉

    Todd, it is a heck of a puzzle, I must say. It is exhausting. People like you, me, and Arlene can dig it, but the average musician working in a parish today is completely lost much of the time. This is why these people are easy pickings for publishers who wrap it all up with a bow and say: sing this!

  4. I don't want to belabor the point, Jeffrey, but though my personal disposition since putting my lot in with CMAA would that the music genie could enable all the musicians in my four parish cluster under my administration to sing chant/polyphony 52/year, my tenure of four decades stands as proof that negotiating AOZ's enumerated concerns is not, literally, exhausting. It, like everything else, requires deep commitment and discipline.

  5. Jeffrey, you forgot Franck's Panis Angelicus. You wouldn't believe how many times that gets requested. As a convert I came into the church with no preconceived notions or nostalgic attachments regarding either EF or NO. I gave equal contempt for Eagles Wings and the Schubert/Bach/Gounod etc Ave Maria's. Can't we just substitute what's readily available on CPDL from the great polyphonic masters? I'll provide as many manuscripts as possible. The 5th edition of the Parsons is now ready, we're singing it in Ars Nova this coming concert. If anyone has any manuscript requests please just ask Jeffrey and I'll do my best to provide.

  6. Yes, it is exhausting and requires discipline and commitment. And I am not suggesting that there aren't individuals up to the task.

    But it is not unreasonable to think that the reason we have to make some of the decisions we do (I'll guess half) are political. I wonder how much energy all of this is taking away from the devout and artful rendering of the music itself.

    And please no one tell me that politics are part of every job and that is just part of life. That much I get. I am a grown up 🙂

  7. Clare – thanks for your comment. Let me be clear – the music itself is not easier in the EF. It is more challenging as a rule. It takes dedication and endless hours of work. What is easier, though, is making decisions about WHICH music will be prepared and rehearsed for Mass. The difficulty comes not from the music itself, but from the choices that need to be made in the OF. That was my point.

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