Betydningen av liturgisk sang – men få katolikker har opplevd den

I går holdt Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth et foredrag om liturgisk sang under en konferanse for Church Music Association of America kalt: «The Fundamental Importance of Liturgical Chant in the Roman Missal and Our Celebration of the Eucharistic Mystery», der han prøvde å definere hva slags sang og musikk som virkelig passer i messen.

(Musikk som passer i messen er bibelske tekster utvalgt til hver messe; inngangsvers, offertorievers etc., tradisjonelt på latin og til gregorianske melodier. Men ofte vil dette også fungere ganske godt på morsmålet med melodier lignende de gregorianske. En litt dårligere løsning er å synge tradisjonelle salmer (dvs. hymner) her, og det dårligste (og uakseptable) er å synge lette, moderne tekster på moderne (pop)melodier.) Slik leser vi om dette i foredraget:

… In our Catholic tradition, liturgical chant is first and foremost cantillation, a song which arises from the text, a song which is essentially a heightened proclamation of a verbal message and which takes its emphases from the natural accentuation of the text and finds its melodic rhythm from the cadence which is already within the words.

As it often sings of the glory of God, the wonder of creation, the richness of salvation in Christ, the mystery of the Church and our continual need of God’s mercy and grace, it is often an ecstatic song which has rather more in common with the song of lovers than it does with the song of colleagues; it should have the familiarity of the song of those who are clearly of the same family, or those who are united as fellow citizens of the same territory. It is likewise never a song of violence, protest or dissent and it is overwhelmingly a song which is more about God than it is about us.

So far, I have outlined what I believe to be the characteristics of the liturgical song of the Catholic Church. It is, I would hold, not merely a subjective formulation on my part, but an accurate description of the character and function of liturgical song as inherited by the Church from the People of Israel, in an unbroken tradition and set before the Church by the Magisterium in every age up to and including our own. The challenge I wish to make is to ask if this is how you and most members of the Latin Rite experience liturgical song, and if not, why not?

… I would suggest that at the present time, liturgical song, as I have described it, is only consistently experienced by a relatively small percentage of Latin Rite Catholics, even if it is also true that there are some individuals and communities who do experience it in this way on a regular or even continuous basis. …

I foredraget argumenteres det videre for at denne mangelen på liturgisk sang ikke var noe som startet etter konsilet (noen tradisjonalister tror kanskje det), men:

… I think it is fair to say that a pre-dominantly ‘Low Mass’ culture in which music is essentially an addition to the liturgy rather than intrinsic to it, was already a centuries-old tradition at the time of Vatican II. In this respect, the current enthusiasm for chant, and a growing competence in its performance, particularly in celebrations of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, is not so much the recovery of a recently lost tradition, but rather the realization of the authentic principles of the Liturgical Movement as canonized by Pope St Pius X in his motu proprio of 1903, Tra le sollecitudini, underlining the centrality of Gregorian Chant, guidelines which were largely unimplemented both at the time of the Council and in its wake.

Some sixty years later, the Pastoral Liturgical Movement, as it had become, had largely abandoned the principles which motivated Dom Guéranger and the renewal he initiated, in favor of influences which are more broadly ecumenical and introduce into the Roman Liturgy elements which are more commonly found outside the Catholic Church. Nowhere was this influence more keenly felt than in the realm of liturgical music, for the principle that a repertoire of liturgical chant which had been proper to the Mass, at least in its most solemn celebrations, was largely and almost universally set aside in preference for music which might be most accurately described as ‘non-liturgical’ in character, given its frequent lack of dependence on liturgical or biblical texts and its introduction into our liturgical celebrations of a voice which is in many ways alien to the spirit of the liturgy. …

Les hele foredraget her.

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