Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Musical Shape of the Liturgy, William Mahrt

Everyone who loves Catholic liturgy is deeply in debt to William Mahrt, president of the CMAA and the godfather of the contemporary revival of chant. It's perhaps the first time that this has been said outright, but let's face it: this is what's true. He brought to the effort an stable temperament, a broadness of mind, a persistence and a willingness to work for unity, an exceptional musical talent, forty years of experience in conducting chant in his own parish, plus a lifetime of original scholarship to support the effort.

Over the years, he has written fantastic articles (some long, some short) in Sacred Music and other places, and together they amount to what is really a manifesto: The Musical Shape of the Liturgy. It could be about 450 pages (my current estimate). It is a very complex typesetting job, with page after page of musical and manuscript examples. It is going to be very expensive in money and time. However, it is worth it. We need this book. Yes, the articles are available here and there, but the book is the key.

We are moving fast on this and hope to have it out in January or thereabouts. Just so that we are clear: Mahrt is a musicologist with an international reputation. But he is also more than a scholar; he is a practitioner and advocate. He gives voice to what many of us can only intuit, and brings an intellectual weight to the cause that is unmatched. This book will make a critical difference going forward, entrenching the accomplishments so far and preparing the way for a bright future for Catholic music.

If you can help, please consider a contribution. There are two ways. There is the traditional way using the widget below (your contribution is tax deductible). There is also another way: help with extracting texts from PDF scans. This is technical work and a bit tricky but it is essential. If you are interesting in doing this, see this thread on the forum.

Here is the full Table of Contents.