Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Thrilling, and the Trite

I was curious about what music was used at the installation Mass for Bishop Kevin Farrel in Dallas, Texas. Here is the video. The long entrance began with tasteful classical works on organ and other instruments. Then the schola sang Vidi Aquam and it was glorious, magnificent, ominous and beautiful, steeped in history and yet timeless. Very promising and encouraging.

As the Mass moved forward we come to the Sanctus, which used a setting I can vaguely recall hearing before but can't place. I'm sure someone can. It is probably one of those unsubstantial pieces in innumerable missalettes, just another throw away, chosen, no doubt, because lots of people know it. It diminished the occasion, and it was a foretaste of the "peoples" music that would follow on the Agnus Dei and after, all dominated by a smiling cantor.

It was followed during communion by a glorious piece of polyphony, O Sacrum Convivium by Gionvanni Croce. Then came more of the trite but tuneful stuff, and it lasted and lasted. There is a serious disconnect here that just can't last. Can we really go on and on giving all the great music to the experts while "letting" the people sing only the junky stuff drawn from popular culture? What does that say about what liturgists really think of the People of God? Must they always be thrown scraps?

Someday the Kyriale will again be discovered by the mainstream, and the people can regain their musical dignity, and make a real contribution that is truly integral to the liturgy. Print and distribute please.

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