Is it nappy time?

“Behold, he shall never sleep nor slumber….”

Having endured my own capricious behaviors over nearly 63 years, I realize my exit from the Cafe a few years back was an annoyance to many, for which I accept responsibility but don’t necessarily apologize.

Having confessed that, I would like to know before re-engaging as a regular columnist for the Cafe, if there are subjects, protocols, methodologies that those who visit here would prefer that contributors address in order to engage connectivity?

I daily read the Cafe, and have done so since my own self-exile. The readership has been provided, by my estimation, sufficient grist (thanks, Liam) for consumption and digestion. However, if you examine the worthy content of the last two weeks’ worth of posts, there is virtually zero response from passersby. It’s like the staff and the habitues are keeping vigil looking for a rejuvination from above. Well, folks, you are the raison d’etre for this blog enterprise. Where’s the love?

Have we capitulated to sheer provocation? Okay, I can do that, if that’s what you want. I can compose an article defending ON EAGLES’ WINGS solely based upon its musicality to theological content, for which everyone’s dander will rise, guar-an-teed. But that is a “cheap trick,” really, isn’t it? (But if you respond daring me, don’t think I can’t or won’t.)

But the Cafe from its inception was meant to be a conversation haven.
Where have all the flowers gone?

55 Replies to “Is it nappy time?”

  1. Very clever, Mr. C. I see what you are attempting.

    I stopped commenting because I was displaying my ignorance to the whole world. The only time I am the smartest person in the room is when I am alone, and even that can be debated. I learn more when I keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth and keyboard shut. Per the Irish interpretation.

    You wish a penny for my thoughts; here is my two cents' worth (keep the change). Do what you have always done, because you have done it well, both at the Cafe and your own home. There is no such thing as too much info.

  2. It is possible that interest here has declined, as it has across the blogosphere, because the pendulum has begun to swing back in the other direction. Interest in moving the Church and her liturgies to resemble a supposed pre-conciliar ideal has begun to decline, and in fact has been revealed as the favored goal of a tiny, tiny minority of Catholics, and now not the Pope and one must suspect significant numbers of Cardinals, two-thirds of whom elected him. Liturgy is the opportunity for the whole congregation to worship and be nourished, and not merely when an élite few can carry out their preferred rituals. We might as well realize this.

  3. Don't get your hopes too high, Helen. In my experience, the "tiny minority" of Catholics are still boomers, and even more problematic, some GenX and tweener "liturgists," priest-celebrants, and portentious of all, the PIPs are quite satiated with this inarticulate status quo.
    Frankly, blatantly speaking, I think the wool still covers the majority of eyes by design, whether by the imagination of Pius X or the abdication of Paul VI.
    No one in this dimension can validate the speculations about the inner-workings of Christ's Church, save Christ. But at this point in my earth-time's life, trust but verify is a pretty attractive maxim.

  4. Keep the cafe open. Even if I don't comment much, I read nearly every post. I'm a Schola of one in my own home – no venue yet to chant in my parish – so your existence is important. Thank you!

  5. Gee, Ellen, we have a new pope and therefore I guess we should just toss into the garbage can a millenium and a half of Catholic sacred liturgical music tradition, notwithstanding that Vatican II called for us to treasure the same and give it pride of place. Who needs all that vertical elitist God-worshipping stuff anyway? We should all worship ourselves in community in a closed horizontal circle with trite “contemporary” feel good ditties that everyone must sing, or at least the cantor must sing into a microphone at intolerable decibel levels. And after all, it’s what’s people know and expect (altohough of course they have never been exposed to any beautiful, reverent, God-worshipping, traditional liturgical music for the past fifty years in any event).

  6. Charles

    Funny you write this because I noticed that RPINET finally euthanized its discussion forums some time last month. They hadn't been active in the last two years, but in their heyday there was much grist there. They were like a bridge from the old Usenet discussion forums to the blog format.

  7. Summer could be a factor. Ellen , the sentient do not wish to return to the 60s or 70s. The doubleknit dinosaurs are slowing going to their reward.

  8. About a year ago, there was a lively debate which garnered over 200 responses. Names were called, dander was raised; I apologize for being a name-caller, btw (sorry, Deacon!). But that kind of dialogue and participation was the exception, not the rule. I think that the Cafe has become too insulated. I have not seen Todd F. post on here in a while, nor Johannes Petrus, nor any of the other rabble-rousers. I saw merit in all of their points of view. In order to have dialogue and discussion, we need different points of view. Otherwise, all the columnists are saying the same thing. Why bother commenting, then?

  9. I for one, have noticed a bit more of a sacred music presence at NLM since CMAA took it over, and there was a while where there were a lot of duplicate postings, and have mainly looked more to NLM in the past few months. I never posted here very often, unless I had a point I wanted to make. ('Ear all, see all, say nowt, as they say.) I do, however, have a few points now; please take them as my personal experience over the past couple of years. YMMV.

    First: During the reign of Papa Ratzinger, I noticed a greater interest in authentic sacred music, and a greater sense of liturgical orthopraxis in many of my own parishioners, and in neighbouring parishes. I thought "Wow, isn't this great MR3 is doing wonders; and isn't Benedict's vision slowly becoming reality." From my perspective that has changed. I am not blaming Papa Bergoglio, I hesitate to point out, but, BUT, since his elevation to the See of Peter and his supposed 'New Direction' for the church I have seen an awful lot of back-sliding to the '80s. Priests are still using MR3 but they've started disobeying the rubrics again – because they feel it to be "pastoral" to do so.

    I have also sensed (even in mine own parish) a flagging in the interest in and commitment to authentic sacred music and 'High Church' liturgical praxis – this started happening within six months of the new papacy. Again I am NOT blaming FRANCIS – I AM blaming the MEDIA (secular and Catholic) and the image of him that they have spun.

    I am not speaking dogmatically for everyone, things may be, and hopefully are, different in your are. I am only speaking of mine own observations in this regard.

    Second: I had converted to chant, polyphony, etc. in my infancy as a church musician. It's nice to read some articles about good church music programs, and whatnot, but articles trying to convince me that chant is the way to go are a bit uninteresting to me at this point. Sing the Mass, don't sing at Mass; yup, got it, let's move on. At my current state, I'm much more interested in reading about, say, St. Gall & Laon and their interpretation, or the reform of Holy Week under Pius XII, than about the propers being superior to the 'four-hymn sandwich', so I've spent more time at NLM. I do read the Cafe, and will continue to do so. I found Adam Bartlett's entry about SEP and Lumen Christi Series very interesting, indeed.

    However, I obviously don't mean to remove articles promoting chant and polyphony from the Cafe, as I'm sure there are many, Many, MANY people who come here specifically for that information, especially considering this is, in fact, a blog specifically about that. Great work, all round at the Cafe, from everyone.

    I hope this helps, though it may not. No disrespect to anyone intended. Glad to see you back Mr. C.

  10. Great observation, John.
    If you use a different "handle nom de plum" at MusicaSacraForum then you'll know there was some spirited debate over the issue of banishment and censorship there as well. As there is direct affiliation with CMAA for both this and that forum site, one of them should seriously be tough enough to tolerate divergent opinions without resorting to a "shunning."
    And maybe, as Liam suggests, we may be seeing the sunset of the relevance and attraction to blogs of all stripes, particularly in liturgy and even religion in general. They all seem to suffer from an immune deficieny when it comes to viral attacks via ad hominems, digression, pedanticism, etc.

  11. (cont)
    The current roster of contributors here, barring myself, are incredible resources of knowledge and practicum. But they are also incredibly busy in their "real, daily lives" and a few are necessarily pre-occupied with new ventures and duties that will actually change the facade of musical worship practices in RCC Land for decades.
    So, what do we lovers of music want or need to talk about? Like I said, I could be my old clever self and intentionally write a tenable defence of "On Eagles' Wings" to rake the muck, but I don't much see the point in just stirring a burnt, crusty stew of opinion just to get viewer hits to this site, do you?

  12. I'd like to see some feedback as to how folks are (or not) incorporating chant and/or polyphony into their regular masses. What are we doing to follow the rubrics? (On a related note, how does slavishly following the rubrics in music effect other "departments" of the mass…) Just some examples.

  13. Hi, Charles!

    You shoulda asked me! I can tell you what's different between now and a year ago: the authors on Cafe have not been writing and posting as much as they did. A glance at the Blog Archive menu in the lower left is enough to confirm that. While our fearless (anarchic) leader JT is on sabbatical working on his new company, the rest of us need to take up the task of finding and sharing beautiful music and interesting ideas. Let's get to work!

  14. I'm still editing, it's what I do best and it's what I'm good at, that's probably why I read but basically just keep on doing what I do best.

    Hey C, "it's patent pending".

    Keep the sarcasm, it's our way of dealing with the crazies.


  15. I no longer read the Chant Café, nor many of the writings of officers of the CMAA wherever they appear, due to the fact that they would rather promote their own personal (CMAA) agenda rather than Holy Mother Church's. These authors wish to promote their own publications and their own thinking, not the mind of the Church.

  16. Perhaps you would care to explain how the thinking of the contributors here is at variance with the mind of the Church. I'm sure that they would like to know so that they could correct themselves, since as far as I can see, they want to be in conformity with the Church.

  17. Very difficult to implement the chant in English as the bishops can't even decide on the English translation they want to use. Perhaps in the States you have your official translation approved and you can move forward. Hence we get the brilliant Simple Gradual by Adam Bartlett. But here in England and Wales the bishops are still pfaffing about and God only knows when they will decide on anything. In the meantime it seems every monastic house in the country is now coming out with their own "Propers". Many are drawing on relics from the 1960s and 70s and not an agreement among them about the translation. Plus we even have some who offer you a choice of proper for the day which has little or no resemblance to what is given in the official books for the liturgy. And we still have the "hymn" mentality whereby we want a nice, easy singable little ditty that makes one feel about five years old. Not to mention the fact that the liturgy is even more mixed up with hymns and propers from a variety of sources. It is so disheartening. And we get nothing from Rome or from the Bishops' conference for guidance because, it seems, they don't regard the liturgy (Mass or Divine Office) as having anything to do with their programme of evangelization. And I really resent having to have dumbed down, happy-clappy Sunday Mass just because one child is receiving first communion or someone is being baptised. I read the Chant Cafe regularly and am inspired by what many are involved in and able to achieve but it is as though we are having to fight our way through the hierarchy of the Church to get anywhere with bringing beauty and worship back to the liturgy.

  18. RC, Rolling Ron nailed it, I was phishing, obviously. But it's difficult to self-assess if a detailed review of another composer's work is of actual value to the readership, and that was the impetus for my "return" to the Cafe.
    Now if you can give me lessons on the scrolling music during Matt Curtis' demos process, and then tell me how to insert that into Blogger posts (I think there is a button for that!), I'd be in your debt, again!

  19. Marcel, I understand the general direction towards which your criticism tends, but I think that if one wants to snipe, one ought not use a shotgun.
    Reviewing a collection of music by Dr. Kwasniewski is not at all tantamount to shilling his "product." Peter's (as well as Adam B's, Arlene's, Kathy's et al's) allegiancy to Holy Mother Church is publicly impeccable. And Peter knows me well enough to trust that if I need to address what I perceive as deficiencies, he's made it abundantly clear that I have that license.
    Below, the sister from the UK nails the real systemic origins of our "music wars" for which CMAA or NPM, for that matter, cannot possibly solely mitigate. The trouble is that the corporate myopia from the Faithful all the way up the heirarchical ladder leads everyone to point the bony finger of indignation (or occasional praise) at loyal and orthodox musicians.

  20. There may be another audience that people do not appreciate that visit the site, that is those, like me, who love church music, but who do not have the skills nor talent to be able to sing chant. Any comment I would add would not impart any meaningful addition to the conversation.

    Rather I visit this site because I am able to find music here that I simply cannot listen and pray with at my home parish. It is a window to the world that I wish I could experience and worship with in my parish life. Perhaps, one day such a reality will materialize.

    Please keep what you are doing, for at least to me, I can find good music that lifts up my soul to God.

    One last comment that you can take with a grain of salt. I think it may be interesting to expand the frequency of the sites expeditions into other traditions of liturgical music that are orthodox. One example, may be the Choral Evensong as practised by Anglicans.

  21. OK, several things. First, I've been reading the Cafe since I discovered it about a year ago and have enjoyed it. Like Ewald above, I have no talent for singing, chant or anything else. How it grieves me that I don't. Perhaps a Novena to St. Cecilia would help. My own parish is dying. The majority of Mass attendees go the Spanish Mass with the execrable Alabare! style of music. There is one English Mass with fairly traditional music, a painful choir of older people singing what would otherwise be decent music. There is a morning Mass and a midday English Mass with no music whatsoever. The previous pastor was a post conciliar liturgical stickler, with all the lackluster tackiness you could hope for. The new pastor is has no idea what to do to revitalize the place, but certainly chant in any form is not part of that vision, I think he hopes for a guitar Mass to attract the youth. Those in charge of youth formation (I work with the Confirmation program) look at me funny when I suggest moving in that direction, for them, it seems, there is no other form of Catholic life than the cultural devastation by which they've been surrounded by the last two generations. I feel like I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, and I can't even stay on key.

    As for not being at one with the 'mind of the Church,' I know very few who confess themselves having a lock on the Holy Spirit, and avoid them. So far as I can see, I have received the Holy Spirit who acts in and through me from time to time, probably when I'm least paying attention 'cause I don't see it much. The ideas that come to me I discuss with others likewise gifted with the Holy Spirit who have different ideas. As I read Church history 'the mind of the Church' has never been a monolithic, static thing frozen at some immutable point in time, but is always lively and disputatious.

    I read the Cafe because it enlightens my mind with learning, elevates my spirit with great music, and strengthens in me the virtues of Faith that God is in fact at work in His Church and Hope that I may see the good that I see other people striving for. I am continually reminded that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world, and that as a result there is a lot more going on than I know about; there better be 'cause I don't know much. Which is why I seldom have anything to add.

  22. If I wanted to write, "Quick, somebody, does anybody have the Stabat Mater in the key of G, with both soprano and tenor descants and a violin solo?" I would write that on the Forum.

    There is also a kind of conversation that continually goes on at the Forum that can best be described as meta-. I wouldn't personally start that kind of discussion here on the Cafe, and actually I try not to do it too much on the Forum, partly because it's going to happen whether or not I start it anyway. It's a bit too naval-gazing for my taste, to be always wrapped up in questions of identity. Who are we as a group? Is this the way we think? Should we think this way? What is my own personal take and how does it fit in with the group? Are we being too judgmental? Should we be so judgmental? Etc etc.

    For me, both the Forum and the Cafe are not about us, but about the thing that we are talking about: liturgical music. The Cafe is more theoretical, I think, and more of an ongoing, fluid statement of purpose of the music side of the Reform of the Reform, while the Forum is both more practical (please send me a PDF for my 2 pm funeral this afternoon) and more about conversation. (But hopefully not constantly a conversation about conversation.)

  23. I don't know if this has been addressed, but if you are viewing the mobile version of the site, none of the comments appear. I always switch to the desktop version to view the comments or add my own.

  24. Perhaps the point that the venerable Marcel is trying to make is this: There are other resources that are suitable for the liturgy of Holy Mother Church (extraordinary or ordinary) that get no face time on this blog because they aren't composed/authored by the small handful of people whose work this blog is constantly promotes. At the same time, this blog is no longer about "chant". It's really become a forum for a small handful of people to push random thoughts about liturgy and sacred music. It's turned into the ugly stepsister of NLM, if you ask me.

  25. If the Café is more theoretical, then the audience has been greatly reduced. Perhaps the admin team can gather to refocus away from the theoretical.

    For what its worth:

    The purpose: evangelizing Sacred Music at liturgy according to her documents.
    The audience: engaged to less-than-engaged Catholics, with an eye towards the musician who plays or sings at Mass, without knowing what the documents say.
    – For the regular Catholic, this site can teach and explain and persuade towards Sacred Music.
    – I am speculating, that a typical Catholic musician rarely stumbles here because the Café doesn't match up with his/her Google searches: "chords Christian rock". Does the Café preach to those already convinced about Sacred Music?

    Last . . . as some of the leaders have fragmented towards their own projects, perhaps this site can respond-re-tweet-re-post the blogs that abound. CCWatershed is blogging voluminously, and while their web-site structure does not allow me to catch up or respond, the information there overlaps with some information here.

  26. I would also like to know how the writing on the Cafe is at odds with the Church's teaching. Pray tell!

  27. not constantly a conversation about conversation
    This second time around, Kathy, that is exactly what I'm going to try avoiding at all costs.
    But I'm also trying to discern if detailed analysis of any sacral music aspect (ie. Laon/Gall, Solemnes/Vatican Edition, modern polyphony/Renaissance polyphony, Latin/English, theory/performance, etc.) is more beneficial that merely reposting a video performance from some singers we like, or composers we prefer.
    To illustrate this concern, is it in anyone's interest to compare and contrast the differences between the antiphons in SEP versus Lumen Christi, or settings of psalms by Oost Zinner versus Esquerra or Ostrowski, or Kelly's vernacular propers versus Weber's. Are these sorts of qualitative, subjective assessments of value? Or are we more comfortable just talking about whether the Biebl Ave Maria is better than the Victoria, as in "Mikey likes that!"
    Is it too much to ask musicians to actually talk about music in a meaningful manner? Lord knows few blogs can sustain that sort of discourse before it disintegrates or digresses to boiler plate issues. Help!

  28. Your comment must be approved by the site admins before it will appear publicly.
    That's kind of odd, RC>>>?

  29. More theoretical means less readers, less conversation. In the post above, the author describes that something is wrong when "there is virtually zero response from passersby." He even bemoans, "where is the love?"

    I have nothing against theoretical and only suggested a move away from it because I see it as the cause of the "decline" described above. If the admin of the Café choose to go that way, this blog can continue to thrive, but I would venture to say that it should lower its eyeball/conversation expectations. (Which isn't a bad thing, just different.)

    Also, when you said "theoretical", what did you mean? (Some of the forum conversations run DEEP DEEP DEEP. I was recently asking "Neumes or Modern Notation" on the forum, and I don't think it gets any more theoretical than that.)

  30. Just so you know, a "nappy" is a baby's diaper in some parts of the world. But I still read the post!

  31. Yes, Charles, the comment system flagged one of your comments for moderation. MWA HA HA. (rubs hands)

    No, actually it does that all on its own, and it sends me a notice automatically. Of course I am not on-line all the time, so the comment has to sit on hold until I see the e-mail and act on it. Depending on circumstances, it might be a few hours, especially if I'm off with the authors, "keeping vigil waiting for a rejuvenation from above."

  32. Discern away, Charles, but I don't personally feel the Cafe is the "forum" for this discernment.

  33. My dear Kathy,

    Nowhere in my comment on this post do I claim that the Chant Café is "at odds with the Church's teaching." I merely state that they push their own opinions and their own published works, not the Church's. The general "norm" here is to "settle" for a bone. "Let's settle for the SEP or for the Oost-Zinner Psalms or for the Introit Hymns for the Church Year." "Let's promote these things as if they're the options everyone should be using."

    Now, why not promote the Church's books and offer the other publications as mere substitutes for the real thing which (the substitutes) are clearly musically and textually inferior to the real thing?

    Why not promote the COMPLETE use of the Propers (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion), not just the ones squawked about constantly (Introit, Offertory, Communion)? Perhaps because none of the CMAA publications include the Gradual or Alleluia?

    The Church has taken care of these issues for us. She gives us the Graduale Romanum. THE only prescribed music for the Roman Rite. "But the vernacular," you say. The Plainchant Gradual of Burgess/Palmer is the music of the Graduale Romanum set to beautiful English text. Problem solved. "But those are too hard," you say. The Anglican Use Gradual includes the same beautiful English texts, but with extremely simplified melodies – simple enough for any parish choir. However, neither of these are composed by the writers at Chant Café, nor the officers of the CMAA.

    I'm not going to go on any longer because, for most on this blog, this has gone in one ear and out the other. Thanks!

  34. Fair questions.

    I too have noticed a slowdown in comments, and have given some thought to whether the conversation should be stirred up. So far my response has been, no. Stats about comments are by no means the main measure about readership, any more than letters to the editor are the main stat measuring the quality of a journal. Readership, subscriptions (i.e. RSS feeds), ongoing recognition by other blogs–these are robust numbers. On the anecdotal level, anytime I spoke in Rome to an English speaking seminarian, if he seemed interested in liturgy, I would say I wrote for a blog called the Chant Cafe, and he would instantly recognize and express appreciation for the blog. Our readership is great. Could improvements be made? Undoubtedly, and all of our writers can be reached through the sidebar if there are any suggestions.

  35. Oh, I understand now. Sorry.

    Yes, I perfectly agree with you that the Graduale chants are the norm, and the vernacular efforts are a bridge. I don't know if all of my colleagues here would agree, but that is my conviction.

    On the other hand, I wonder if you are aware that in most parishes, we're in an emergency situation. Propers, in any form, are not even dreamed of, in most parishes.This means that most Catholics not only do not believe that Gregorian chant is the norm, they positively believe that there are 4 hymns sung at every Mass. Addressing this quite astounding misunderstanding with resources that can be employed immediately has got to be somebody's mission, and I for one am delighted to be associated with the single organization that has done the most to make these resources available to the entire English-speaking (English-singing) world.

    On the other hand, we could admittedly talk more about what happens when we've crossed the vernacular bridge, and are ready to sing the propers as they have been sung since the first millennium of the Latin rite. I think you will see this admitted lacuna addressed soon.

  36. No argument from here,
    Will therefore stay tangible, not tangential.
    Great post on the ordination, btw.

  37. What an interesting question!

    You're right, Marcel, to observe that writers here don't say much about the Gradual or the Alleluia. There's no coordinated policy about that.

    I can tell you that CMAA actually doesn't make money from selling its most successful book, Simple English Propers. The Association used donated funds to support its development, and committed itself to sell the book at cost, so we do. And of course we give away the PDF file for free.

    The tendency to emphasize the introit, communion, and offertory comes from several sources. First, the introit and communion are relatively easy chants to sing. Authentic Gregorian offertories are more advanced material, yet the offertory is a time in the Mass when choral pieces are commonly presented anyway. Because of that, some parish musicians have chosen to add chant offertories to their repertoire.

    The Gradual faces some challenges in implementation. Many clergy don't know that it exists, because it is barely mentioned in the Roman Missal. Few lay people know about it, so they need to be reassured that it's a legitimate option named in the GIRM. The lack of an officially approved English translation can raise hesitations. (This is less of an issue for introits and communions, when "alius cantus aptus" is permitted.)

    If you're a practicing church musician, you probably know already that quite a few lay people like singing the Responsorial Psalm, and would feel disappointed if the Gradual were to take away that opportunity to sing. In addition, the melismatic Gradual chants are virtuosic material and deserve careful preparation.

    Now, if you take the opinion that writers here are too prone to settle for small changes, that is based on a CMAA principle. The Q&A page on our main web site discusses the importance of gradual change:

    Q: Won’t a drastic change alienate people?

    A: The liturgical upheaval of the late 1960s and onward confused and alienated many Catholics. Some people loved the new pop style and other people were embittered by it. Attitudes toward sacred music remain a source of division among Catholics today. While the need to restore the sacred is urgent, pastoral sensitivity is necessary to avoid the disorienting approach of the post-conciliar period. It will take time for the liturgical aesthetic to recover from the errors of the recent past so that it may be deepened and matured. The restoration of sacred music is a long-term project that requires years of relentless progress.

    Anyway, I am glad to see a reader with your zeal for the work of implementing sacred music. I hope you are having good results with it in your church!

  38. What an amazing way to promote conversation, Mr. C! Let's keep the fire burnin'…;)

  39. I generally don't read anymore because there is such an emphasis on the TLM or Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Why can't there be more emphasis on the Latin form of the Ordinary Form or Novus Ordo? That form allows more congregational participation. And how to make a vernacular OF following the intentions of the Church? The majority of American churches are using the OF….we need to reach them, not try to bring back the EF as the main thrust of renewal.

    I also am uncomfortable in discissions of types of chant. I learned Solesmes way, but now it's under criticism and scrutiny. So I have completely lost my footing….

  40. It's really become a forum for a small handful of people to push random thoughts about liturgy and sacred music. It's turned into the ugly stepsister of NLM, if you ask me.
    Venerable Marcel, it's called a "cafe" for a reason.Randomness is part of the equation and as been so since its inception. And to denigrate all who participate, yourself included, as pushers (shills) for the POV or product is disingenuous. How are Dr. Kwasniewski's exhortations or Fr. Kocik's declarations or all of the visual evidence of the glory of the Vetus Ordo at NLM no less "pushes" for their deeply held convictions? How is your indignation as stingingly delivered above not a push for your agenda?
    I welcome, for one, your dissent or disgust. But as one of Chonak's little homily boxes states at MSF, "Remember who we are."
    PS. Another critic characterized my post words, "Where is the love?" That question has its origin in the clearly stated motto of the Cafe from day one: "Cantare amaris est." (S. Augustine)

  41. I would think that the vast majority of readers of the Cafe and of chant singers out there are still using the Solesmes method or some gently modified version of it. Very few of us are chant experts who can go to the neums and bring all the voluminous subtlety of Dom Cardine et alia to them.

    More broadly, I have not noticed a particular emphasis on the EF at the Chant Cafe. On the contrary, there is much discussion of good English hymnody, good English plainchant, and various ways to elevate the general tone of the Roman liturgy. In any case, it's also necessary to rediscover the EF if the OF is ever going to be deeply re-integrated into the Roman liturgical tradition, from which it was artificially cut off through a combination of ideology and bad praxis.

  42. Bernard and Richard, you have a strange hermeneutic of suspicion.

    The CMAA has made incredible contributions to authentic sacred music by means of many great and useful publications that embody the ideals of the Magisterium. But I have not seen the Chant Cafe or even the Forum turn into a kind of orgy of advertising for this or that product. What I have seen are enthusiastic mentions of useful publications for church musicians who want to bring back the qualities of sacred music: holiness, artistic goodness, and universality.

    I will admit, however, that I would love to see more articles go up on this blog. In the old days it seemed as if a week could not pass without some major contribution from Kathy or Jeffrey or Adam Wood Fr. Smith et alia — the kind of thing I would rush to print off or send around to my friends. This has become rarer, and I'm happy that Charles is back to blogging — and not just because the proximate occasion happens to be writing about my compositions! 😉

  43. Hence Jennifer and Peter- my new post published today, (written last evening.)
    We have to let our pastors know where each of us DM's "stand" on the issue Fr. Friel eloquently states.

  44. I would like to make extremely clear to all that the above post was in no way intended to slight or criticize the work of the wonderful panel of contributors to the Chant Cafe.
    I offered that the readership has had more than sufficient "grist" to engage prior to my return, stating all as "worthy content." The intent from me was to help me deliver content as valuable as Ms. Pluth, Fr. Smith, Prof. Bartlett and my pal, Adam Wood et alia. My exchange of discourse with Kathy should testify to that sole motive. I have not tried to engage in sarcasm as any form of derision.
    In a word, this second time around, I just want to help others through the prisms of my experiences and my chosen emphases (composition and performance practice) without artificial pretense. If I have already erred or failed, I apologize to the readership and my colleagues. But I in no way intended to restart by seeming to "go rogue" at the outset.
    Thank you for your interest.

  45. I was a pianist/organist who became a conductor out of necessity. My training is all over the map,(contemporary composer,classical pianist and organist)and I had no idea why the choir sounded so bad. I started accompanying a very good children's choir, and then accompanying and singing with an amazing church choir(Paul Salamunovich, St. Charles Borromeo). I learned about vocal production in the simplest fashion, and I was singing the best Catholic music ever. What to do? Now I knew how to make the choir sound better, but they still couldn't sing ANYTHING contrapuntally or complicated. And let's face it, OCP octavos are generally the back up singers ' part for the soloist. Then I attended a CMAA convention, I found the online resources, especially Richard Rice's Simple Choral Propers. I sang lots of simple chant, I taught my women the Cum Jubilo chant Mass, I used every unison or two part but still beautiful piece I could get my hands on for the choir, gave them confidence, and even wrote uncomplicated music when I couldn't find an appropriate piece for a particular Sunday. I learned about the 'WHY' of the choir from the CMAA. I appreciate all this material that dedicated people have made available to the world. The group definitely needs to keep bringing in new faces and differing viewpoints- anything that starts as 'anti-establishment' can become just as stuck and insular. But kudos to your dedication. I suggest even the non-singers attend a convention and undergo a complete immersion in a new (old) way of participating in Mass. You might be surprised at the ideas and influences you can pass on. I really believe that once you answer' Why', your path becomes clearer.

  46. Do you have an OF Mass in Latin anywhere near you? That animal has been extinct in my diocese for a long time. On the other hand, there are a smattering a EF Masses and people willing to learn about their heritage.

  47. I wish there were OF Latin. That's my point. Why is it extinct? I think it provides a better bridge. They are less intimidating for those who have never had any Latin Mass. At least it can be can paralleled with the vernacular version.

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