Friday, February 06, 2009

New (and free) propers online from Fr. Columba Kelly

A few months ago, ICEL made public a seemingly new policy, which ICEL denies is new, but it was new for everyone else in the world, so far as I can tell. It clarified that it would not take legal action against people who post the Missal text for free digital download (for now the policy only applies to existing and not proposed texts.)

The result of this annoucement has been a flurry of new music made available all over the internet - which is a glorious thing for anyone concerned about the parish budget and about artistic creativity in the service of the faith.

I'm so pleased to announce what is surely among the most spectacular additions so far. For many years, Fr. Columba Kelly of the Saint Meinrad Archabbey and a great chant specialist, had been writing magnificent musical settings of the Missal propers in English. These were privately circulated due to copyright fears. The abbey worried about releasing them because of the legal ambiguity. (Think for a moment about the tragic loss involved here.)

Moving forward, ICEL's new announcement, first revealed on NLM, changed everything. Fr. Kelly and Saint Meinrad gained assurance that they could share his work with the world and not face legal reprisal from ICEL.

The results I'm pleased to share with you: Sacred Music Project.

What you will find here are beautiful settings of the propers in English, useful for every parish. (They are the Missal propers, not the Graduale propers, which raises an interesting academic debate about the relationship between the two, a debate which has no relevance for practical issues of music in parishes.)

The listing is not yet complete but they are available for Lent. Please send this link to your music director and ask him or her to try them this Lent. I'm highly impressed by them.

Together with Chabanel Psalms, what you have here is a beautiful and even complete program of propers set to sacred music for the ordinary form parish. This is a huge step in the right direction.

Congratulations to everyone involved. And a special thank you goes out to Fr. Kelly and his magnificent gift to the faith.

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