Check out a new composer of Sacred Music

From a reader:

I happened upon this website providentially and am impressed with the efforts of this musician. He is doing what many more liturgical musicians should be doing: composing new music that conforms to the spirit of the liturgy and is beautiful. He is very generous too, as he gave me some advice for my own efforts at liturgical composition. Could you give him a boost? Thank you and God bless you, Father.

The composer is Nicholas Wilton.  He is in the UK.

Check it out by clicking here.  Try the music samples.

Frankly, I’d like his CD!

Here is one piece called Ave in aeternum:

We must foster new sacred music, new compositions for your living Church’s worship.

Progress… growth… in continuity.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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15 Responses to Check out a new composer of Sacred Music

  1. Gravitas says:

    Father, I’m all for new composers and am glad there is interest. But when are we going to focus on all of the existing sacred music that has been burried by the vatican for half a century? Our children are being robbed of this in favor of banjos and rock music.

    When is the Holy Father going to reinstate an office of Sacred Music? When is someone going to take this seriously?

  2. Gravitas: Then get to work and do something about it.

  3. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Our parish choir sang Wilton last year, led by our very talented ‘brit’ Director. Wilton is a great example of good new music. While there is a huge amount of beautiful church music that is being ignored and which should be done, neither should we stagnate in the past.

    Not all recently written music is ugly or inappropriate for liturgies, although we get that impression because of the overwhelming amount of bad new music done in today’s churches. It is entirely possible to perform newer music written in accordance with Church guidelines that is both beautiful, appropriate and raises the mind to prayer.

    Also, along the lines of Father’s recent posting on the Musica Sacra Colloquium, new compositions are presented by the authors attending which are sight-read at some point during that week. Its enlightening to witness such genius still flowering among today’s church musicians.

  4. chironomo says:

    I share the lament of Gravitas…. and while the good Fr. Z is on mark as usual (“then get out there and DO something!”), there is only so much that can be done without the force of authority behind the effort. Much of the new music being composed for liturgy is quite beautiful, and worthy of its calling. There are mandates for what kinds of hosts must be used, what kinds of candles must be used, what types of vestments must be worn, what readings must be used… why not a comparable attention to the music? Would it be all that difficult to set out a body of music that is allowed, and by default, a much larger body that is “disallowed”? We say it’s not just a matter of taste, but then act as though it IS a matter of taste…

  5. Form a choir.
    Practice.
    Become good.
    Offer your services.

  6. JL says:

    To Father’s advice, I add:

    Support good composers. Perform their music, buy them a beer every now and then…
    BE a good composer. Even if inspiration only hits once, it deserves to be heard.

  7. Gravitas says:

    Father, my church has all of this. We’re traditional church.

    And I’m not subjecting my children to the novus ordo so I can go in and work from within a bad system to fix one place.

    We need leadership from Rome.

  8. Chironomo says:

    QUAERITUR… does anybody have a TEXT version of the Propers for the Novus Ordo in English? I have wanted to get started on some settings in English of these texts, but cannot find an “official” source… the best I can find are some informal translations of the corresponding Proper Texts from the TLM.

  9. Jayna says:

    Gravitas: I wouldn’t say that the Novus Ordo is to blame here. It’s just the tendency of those who support it at the expense of the EF who give it a bad name. It can be celebrated with reverence and dignity, but it is unfortunate that that is not always the case (usually not the case, in my experience). We do need leadership, but I think it should be aimed at reforming what we’re working with rather than scrapping the whole lot.

    As to the music, it’s beautiful. Would that it were acceptable in my parish. I would be all for forming a choir, but I can’t sing to save my life. I know what I like, but would be completely incapable of implementing it myself. And trust me, I’ve had a fair few conversations with the parish music director. She will have none of it. It’s a complete up hill battle with absolutely no one but myself in my corner.

  10. Chris says:

    “We do need leadership, but I think it should be aimed at reforming what we’re working with rather than scrapping the whole lot.”

    At what point are we going to give up on reform and just start restoring?

    Good grief, how do you reform instruments that were never allowed at Mass? How do you reform protestant and pagan music?

    You don’t. You restore what was thrown out like trash.

    And that starts by example and then by force from Rome.

  11. Paul J. B. says:

    It seems to me Fr. Z. has it right. Traditional sacred music, or other forms of liturgical tradition are likely to “work” in parishes only if people will love, or at least accept them. This they must be taught to do by education and persuasion. Rome could try to be as forceful as it likes, and still many would not obey, lacking this “positive” appeal. This will take time, lots of time, perhaps, and lots of patient work. The truth is that, although the Church is essential to our eternal salvation, in sociological terms it behaves a lot like a voluntary organization–at least in the modern West. Sorry to say it, but you simply cannot coerce volunteers effectively, unless they let themselves be coerced. So, brick by brick is the right strategy!

  12. Jayna says:

    Chris: You’re turning it into an argument of semantics. If we want to look at a definition of reform, we can: “the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory”. I should think that would include restoring past traditions as it would be the improvement of what is wrong, etc. We can scrap what is utterly out of sync with Church norms, but that does not include the entire OF Mass. I wasn’t referring specifically to music in that respect, I was merely responding to Gravitas’ assertion that the OF is the root cause of the problem.

    I am also not saying that there isn’t call for force in the situation. The problem is that many staunchly progressive parishes don’t respond to force. Trust me, I’m in one and they react very negatively anytime they feel as though their ideology is being challenged.

  13. wsxyz says:

    The problem is that many staunchly progressive parishes don’t respond to force. Trust me, I’m in one and they react very negatively anytime they feel as though their ideology is being challenged.

    It all comes down to what the bishop is willing to permit. The local bishop could transform your parish in a short time if he wanted to.

    However, you and I have the same bishop and so we know that nothing is likely to change in your parish for quite a while, but you can always go to a different parish.

  14. Peter L. says:

    I happened to come across Wilton’s music about 6 years ago while searching for new music for our choir ( Latin Mass Choir in Rochester, NY). I immediately fell in love with his music and the style which I think is very fitting for the situation in the church. He uses a lot of minor chords in his music and if you listen close you can hear the conflict but at the same time hope as the chords resolve themselves. In my opinion it’s very exciting to have a composer writing exceptional church music who is still alive. He seems like a very fine person as I have had the please of exchanging notes with him these past few years.

    I’ve also purchased the sheet music for several of his works. The great thing about his music is that, though it may sound complicated, the notes on the page are quite simple. Almost any choir which has reasonably good voices can sing his music and sing it well. He also wrote his own “Misse Brevis” mass. It’s dedicated to Our Lady of La Salette, which tells you right there a lot about the composer. Although, I have not asked outright I am quite certain he is a traditionalist and his music, at heart, is written for the extraordinary form.

    He also has new material that is not on the CD. I have had the pleasure of receiving advanced copies of his works and our choir always enjoys singing his pieces.

    If anyone wishes to know how to contact him let me know.

  15. Jayna says:

    However, you and I have the same bishop and so we know that nothing is likely to change in your parish for quite a while, but you can always go to a different parish.

    Too true. I could go to another parish, the problem here is that I truly do like the people and I love my priests. And on the bright side, when I get confirmed in January (I’m the only one getting confirmed because I’m picking the date), the liturgist/music director promised me Latin hymns. The desired effect for me, besides just satisfying my desire for better music, would be that a good number of people will give positive feedback over the change in music. I do think it’s possible because I overheard a plenty of people doing so when they sang Pie Jesu a while back. So here’s hoping…