Wednesday, May 20, 2009

MacMillan on Catholic Music

Sometimes it seems like the tension between sacred music and its pop-music alternative can't get any tighter. Something has to give, since we are, after all, talking about the liturgical life of the Church and not merely what song we want to listen to on the radio.

Damian Thompson reports:

James MacMillan, Britain's finest living Catholic composer, has told Archbishop Vincent Nichols that liturgical activists have made new Catholic congregational music "a laughing stock" in recent decades. "The faithful are fed up with sloppy practice, inappropriate, terrible music and the gradual drift away from Catholic standards in the liturgy," he says.

Meanwhile, the "National Association of Pastoral Musicians" has given its annual award of "Pastoral Musician of the Year" to Paul Innwood of "Alleluia Ch-Ch" fame. Here is the press release. Here are samples of his music.

Just to put a final point on it, we are not here speaking of an issue between old and new music. It is about the appropriateness of style and approach: is it sacred or is it not? Nor is this only about chant versus other forms. Great liturgical music has been written in every age. It is a matter of knowing what it is and selecting it.

Here is an Alleluia by 12th century composer Perotin.

A final note on music here. ICEL is preparing the new Missal with new music, which you can view here if you have the secret password.

I don't have the password.

No one I know has the password.

My emails to the USCCB haven't been answered.

No one's emails to the USCCB concerning this issue have answered - at least no one I know. Maybe Paul Innwood has them.

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