Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trendy composers wail as ICEL backs plainchant for new English Mass

By Damian Thompson

The publisher of those toe-curling classics, the “Israeli Mass” and the “Clap-Hands Gloria”, is one of many “liturgists” worried by ICEL’s suggestion that the new (better) English Mass should be accompanied by vernacular chant based on plainsong.

As the Tablet reports, clucking sympathetically:

UK music publisher Kevin Mayhew said his firm would be commissioning many new Masses, but said worshippers would take months to learn new settings, and felt sure that favourites such as the “Clap-Hands Gloria” and the “Israeli Mass” would remain in use.

Not so fast, Kevin. First, those two works are not “favourites”. They are LOATHED, especially by young people. Second, the Congregation for Divine Worship and ICEL will now have a policy of zero tolerance for liturgical settings that monkey around with the Ordinary of the Mass (as I seem to remember the “Israeli” excrescence does).

I don’t know what the new secretary of ICEL, Fr Andrew Wadsworth, thinks of the greedy cartel of guitar-strumming copyright hawks who’ve had Catholic music sewn up for so long. But he is a classically trained musician who specialises in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. So it’s not looking good, boys.

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