sep 112011

Jeg leser vider i doktoravhandlingen fra USA om katolsk kirkemusikk – som jeg skrev om her. Forfatteren forklarer hvorfor pave Piux’s motu proprio om kirkemusikk ikke ble lyttet til (i USA). Bl.a. brydde prestene seg ikke om musikk, og visste ingen ting om (kirke)musikk. Og mange steder brukte man bare amatørmusikere, som ofte bare kunne klare det vanligste og mest banale. Med også i de større menighetene i byene, med dyktige musikere, brydde man seg ikke om pavens ønsker; der øvde man bare inn flotte konsertmesser (slik at folk ikke fikk synge ordinarieleddene (som de burde)), mens proprieleddene (som koret skulle ha sunget) ble ignorert (fra s 241-43):

The glaring anomaly was that musicians – generally the ones with the most training – simply allowed choirs continually to usurp the role of the people, outlined by Pius X himself, in singing the Ordinary. Without doubt this non-compliance on the part of parish musicians was a key to the non-reception of TLS. It was the practice of the time, both in Europe and the US (albeit one often condemned), to publish programs of Mass music in the various newspapers and journals, and one can readily see in these the continued focus of choirs on providing polyphonic versions of the mass ordinaries, to the exclusion of Gregorian settings (not to say the congregation), and little attention to Gregorian propers. Pius X is said to have commented dryly on seeing just such a printed program:

“At that moment the Holy Father stood up and fingered through a pile of papers on his desk,
until he found a newspaper clipping which he pulled out and showed to me, with the remark that it was from Canada. It was a list of musical works performed in different churches of Montreal on Easter. There were pieces for orchestra, Masses in all the keys, with solos and duets composed with the virtuosity of the theatre carried over into the church. Pointing with each finger to these programs, Pius X said with an ironic smile: ‘Do they do this kind of music in Paris, too?’ All I could say was, ‘Alas, Holy Father, alas!’” (In Ehmann, “Church Music,” p. 210)

Even at conventions for “liturgical music,” the music chosen for demonstration is remarkable for its lack of attention to congregational singing. In Orate Fratres a priest warns that “Variety in music at Mass must come from the singing of the proper by the trained liturgical choir; and the choir must not be allowed to usurp the parts of the ordinary which belong to the people,” . . . [T]hese parts belong to the people ordinarily, and . . . there is no hope for better participation at Mass until they are given back to them.” and as late as 1945 Rev. H.A. Reinhold is still pleading in the pages of The Catholic Choirmaster “to give the people a part in what rightfully belongs to them – Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and all the Responses.

Sadly, the practice of choirs usurping the Ordinary is abetted both by clergy and publishers. And in a further twisting of TLS, “so often we find that, while the choir monopolizes the congregational parts, it neglects to sing its own parts”: the Propers, especially the Gregorian originals, were ignored. In his landmark 1933 letter in America, “Shall the People Sing at Mass?,” Fr. John LaFarge remarks:

“As for our more exquisite gatherings, if one quarter of the energy that the choirs put into preparing elaborate musical settings for the Common of the Mass (which the people themselves are supposed to sing) were expended on learning the figured setting of the Proper, we should have perfect achievement.”

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