Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wrapping up the Musica Sacra Colloquium

We're snatching food from the hot plates before the caterer puts everything away; we had a very nice brunch after a beautiful, solemn celebration of the Holy Mass in the Crypt Church of the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation's capital.

It's been a very busy week, if you attempted to learn both chant and polyphony; I forewent the polyphony, for two reasons: (1) I really won't sing polyphony any time soon, and (2) I needed to focus my energy on chant, which I do sing.

I want to say the lectures have been extraordinarily good -- pointed, substantive, delivered with clarity and good humor, very persuasive. I've sat in hours of presentations that were gassy, overly long; these were tight: a lot of material covered in about an hour, each case.

Some will wonder how practical all this is. Well, this music is slowly returning. Even parishes that never hear a word of Latin do use polyphony, and a lot of people don't know they're not supposed to like Gregorian chant.

This movement is growing: we doubled our participation this year, with many more turned away; the plan is to accommodate many more next year. For Piqua's part, the music director and I have several folks in mind who say they want to come next year.

As it is, I had it rather easy. This year, I wasn't a main celebrant, so I didn't have to worry about intoning any of the prayers; but I open to doing so, even in Latin, which is still rather new to me. But I was glad others got the opportunity this time, and I was very happy to be a concelebrant. All I had to do was pray.

Why should we rekindle and bring back out the treasures of chant and polyphony? Because it is part of who we are, because it expresses the faith so well, because -- as music specifically composed for the Mass -- it conveys something special, and above all, because it is beautiful.

The Sacred Liturgy must be beautiful.

This doesn't mean only chant and polyphony; but it does mean these must not be excluded. On the contary, the Church, at the highest level, teaches they merit "pride of place" (particularly chant).

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fr. Fox - could you explain in simple terms for a non musician who loves chant - what's the difference between chant and polyphony?
Love your blog - I learn things from it all the time!
Lesley

Biby Cletus said...

Hi, i just surfed in searching for interesting blogs on Spirituality, you have a cool blog. Do keep up the good work. I'll be back even though i live far from where you live. its nice to be able to see what people from across the world thinks.

Warm Regards from the Other Side of the Moon.

On a related note perhaps you might find the following link interesting. Its propossing a theory and i'll like to hear your take on the subject via comments. See ya...

Was
Jesus an Essenes ?


Bibby

Kerala, India

Malcolm Harris said...

Fr. Fox,

You are on the right path. You are an example of how the renewal of the Church called for by Vatican II will grow mustard seed by mustard seed.

Alleluia!

As for Biby and the Essenes, they were a fertile part of children of Abraham among whom God planted his church. Jean Cardinal Danielou, one of the greatest scholars of the origins of Chistianity and a most orthodox Catholic, called the Teacher of Righteousness found in the Dead Sea Scrolls the missing link between Christianity andd Judeaism. However much silliness and sensationalism is written about them.

mrsdarwin said...

Why should we rekindle and bring back out the treasures of chant and polyphony? Because it is part of who we are, because it expresses the faith so well, because -- as music specifically composed for the Mass -- it conveys something special, and above all, because it is beautiful.

The Sacred Liturgy must be beautiful.


I wish the words "sacred" and "beautiful" would replace the words
"community" or "accessible" in parish liturgical discussions. Thank you for all your work to bring a sense of the sacred back to Mass.

Tom said...

Yes, Gregorian chant is beautiful! If it were possible to go back in time and hear a church full of school children in the 50's singing the Mass of the Angels it would bring tears to anyone's eyes. I helped my local school choir learn "Salve Mater Misericordiae" this year for May, and they picked up up easily and enjoyed it.