Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Problem with Catholic Church Music

From James MacMillan:
Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting. A whole industry has grown up to promote this material, mainly in the USA, where, it is alleged, there is sometimes dodgy publishing and promotional carve-ups between "composers", specialist publishing houses and Church authorities.

My writing for choirs will continue, but I want to help in the development of music for the assembly – the ordinary Catholic man and woman in the pew, the musical non-specialist who needs to be able to sing their prayers. Rather than adding to the huge and unnecessary load of modern congregational material, musicians would be better employed in the careful curating of a traditional reservoir of beautiful chant that can be adapted for the reality of the contemporary church. The alternative is terrifying.

There is clearly something wrong with an organisation that has allowed this to happen. Opening up the Church to the modern world was not an invitation to commercial populists in full lounge-lizard mode. (Read more.)

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