Marty Haugen, protestant, “composer”, priestess champ, to lead diocesan translation workshop

From the blog Ten Reasons I found this:

Were the St. Louis Jesuits unavailable?

You wouldn’t think that Marty Haugen, the Protestant composer of so much of the liturgical music that’s come to symbolize "what went wrong" after the Council, would be an ideal expert for a workshop on the translation of the revised missal. [!?!] You wouldn’t, but you’d be wrong. The workshop is sponsored by the Worship office for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and notice of it appears in both the diocesan Clergy Communications newsletter and on Haugen’s website. And to the extent that lex orandi, lex credendi has any currency, bear in mind his main reason for not being Catholic is the Church’s failure “to commission, ordain and welcome all humans as Jesus did–male and female, married and unmarried, saints and sinners. I believe that the Church, God’s people and all of creation have suffered from this omission.

UPDATE. Haugen’s latest passion is eco-spirituality, and he believes "the next few decades will determine whether we will pass on a planet to future generations (and indeed to all life) that is sustainable and life-giving or a planet devastated and dying. This may be the single most important issue facing us today." Accordingly, he has teamed up with a fellow musician to record "Tree of Life," a collection of "earth-honoring" songs "intended to sing with groups at worship and rallies." Personal favorite: "I Am a Child of This Planet."

 

Enough said.

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105 Responses to Marty Haugen, protestant, “composer”, priestess champ, to lead diocesan translation workshop

  1. Mike says:

    Just a conincidence, but I actually just sent a bio of Marty to a friend last night. “Gather us in” gets my vote for the shallowest song ever sung in a Catholic Church.

  2. AM says:

    Hey, I don’t like singing MH’s songs -at Mass-, and some of them are a little syrupy – and the lyrics are sometimes a hair off the mark.

    But he really is a composer. And a lot of his melodies and harmonies are really good craft. No need for the scare quotes.

  3. Nathan says:

    Here in this place, clear language is streaming
    Now is dynamic equivalance vanished away,
    But, in this space, the fears of progressives,
    Brought back composers all so yesterday.

    Gather us in who lost the translation,
    Gather us in, whose Latin is lame;
    Call to us now, and our indignation
    Will now arise while we pass ’round the blame.

    In Christ,

  4. Sandy says:

    Agreed, Mike. At a parish where we sometimes attend Mass, this is often the opening hymn. I have difficulty restraining myself from saying “Yuk!” out loud. Priceless, Nathan!

    So now we have to get rid of the progressives in all the dioceses who put on these functions and invite people who don’t support Catholic teaching. How long, O Lord?

  5. Martial Artist says:

    Thank you Father Z., for bringing this to our attention. I for one am reassured to know that Haugen’s theological ideas measure up to the standards set by his musical creations—both are, at best and stating it both generously and charitably, INSIPID!

    Hardly surprising, though.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  6. wanda says:

    Why in the world then, if it matters, is Mr. Haugen’s music in our Catholic Hymnals? I didn’t publish them, I didn’t not tell purchasers that Mr. Haugen isn’t even Catholic.
    How is the run-of-the-mill (I’ll include myself) Catholic supposed to know these things? I’m not in charge of buying Hymnals, etc. Why is it then that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is having him conduct a workshop on the translations of the revised missal, for Lord’s sake?
    He openly supports wymyn priesssssts and all kinds of whatever kind of relationships. Who’s running the show there in Cincinnati? Yeah, I’ll sing about your trees and your mother the planet and your what-not…NOT!

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    AM, I have to disagree.

    I suppose he’s a “pop” “composer” in some sense of the word. I might call him more of a “songwriter”.

    But as Duke Ellington said, there are two kinds of music, good and bad. You tell the difference by listening.

    Haugen’s melodies are bad. They are banal, repetitive, and somehow simultaneously difficult to sing. The harmonies are as predictable (and as secondhand) as anything by Andrew Lloyd Weber.

    I do not understand why people continue to flog this syrupy, conventional pop dreck in preference to chant, Palestrina, Tallis, Byrd, and the anonymous Germans of the Grosse Katholisches Gesangbuch.

    I think I’m qualified to comment since I started singing in an Episcopal Cathedral girls’ choir at age 6, sang in auditioned choirs in high school and college, and sang in an auditioned Episcopal choir for 28 years that included tours (to Spoleto and St. John in NYC as well as other interesting places) and several recordings.

    My biggest cross to bear in conversion was the awful music, until we found a parish that is still singing chant and polyphony as well as good moderns.

  8. compozor says:

    terribly depressing, not least to those of us who are Catholic and composers and greatly desire to contribute to the “reform of the reform”. http://thesacredarts.org/music.html

    Frank La Rocca

  9. AnAmericanMother says:

    wanda,

    The poor bishops don’t know any better because their musical education has been sorely neglected. If all you’ve ever heard is Haugen, Haas, and the St. Louis conspirators, how should you know better?

    The seminaries ought to include solid instruction in liturgical music, as well as an introduction to the musical treasures of the Church. If young priests have the glorious sounds of chant, DePrez, Palestrina, Victoria, Mozart, Byrd, Tallis, and all the rest ringing in their ears and memories, they will cease to employ second rate hacks.

  10. Father Z, he and Sister Barbara Fiand should get together – they could really go places with all of this stuff. Pet rocks singing “I Am a Child of This Planet.”

  11. AnAmericanMother makes a very good point. When it comes to music, most Catholic churches could learn a lot from traditional Anglican and Lutheran hymnody. When I was a student at Nashotah House (high-church Episcopal) we learned to sing; we learned to chant (Gregorian and Anglican); we learned to point and chant collects, Epistles, and the Gospel. We learned to sing Matins and Evensong.

    I became a Catholic for theological reasons — because I came to believe that the Catholic Church represented the fullness of truth and because of my love for the office of Peter.

    It was not for the music!

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    It seems to me that whether Marty Haugen is several cuts below the St. Louis Jesuits as a composer of sacred music — or whether either him or them have ever composed a piece of genuinely liturgical music — seems irrelevant to whether he’d qualify for a discussion of translations of the Missale Romanum. At least some of them are Roman Catholics, or at least used to be.

    But the more interesting question is What does this say about the Archdiocese of Cincinnati? Wasn’t get a new archbishop appointed there recently?

  13. sejoga says:

    Well, the Church may not ordain men and women, married and unmarried, but Haugen’s sure wrong about the saints and sinners part.

    Although the saints are getting fewer and fewer.

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Amen, David!

    The sad fact is that Byrd & Tallis never converted, and that most of the English Renaissance music and much of the early moderns (except for 4-part Anglican chant) was originally Catholic in fact or in inspiration.

    Talk about giving up your birthright and not even getting a mess of pottage . . . .

    Have you heard “The Highway Code” yet?

  15. maynardus says:

    “The poor bishops don’t know any better because their musical education has been sorely neglected.”

    Is it possible that men who wear french cuffs with gold cufflinks are so ill-cultured that they’ve never been exposed to actual sacred music, or could it be that they just lack taste?

    “But as Duke Ellington said, there are two kinds of music, good and bad. You tell the difference by listening.”

    Agreed, but what is to be done with these nekulturny noodniks? We can’t very well lock them in a monastery and force them to listen to Catholic music until they get it.

    I was actually told by a bishop who is quite orthodox but whose taste runs to “Peter, Paul, and Mary” that the music at our T.L.M. was “nice” but that he was surprised that “all of those young people” were interested in it! (the average age of our schola is about 20-25)

  16. my kidz mom says:

    Fr. Martin Fox of Ohio, frequent WDTPRS commenter, I hope you are reading this and can help!

  17. wanda says:

    AnAmericanMother, Thank you for the reply and explanation. I don’t get this at all, our Church has been using forever, the different volumes of Glory & Praise. (Oregon CATHOLIC Press – Haugen, Haas, etc.) Sadly I don’t think we’re due to replace Hymnals anytime soon.

  18. @David Zampino: Brother, I hear you. That’s been my experience.

    That said, can I blame Haugen and/or the St. Louis Jesuits for inspiring my parish’s musical director for playing background music DURING THE LORD’S PRAYER??? I ask b/c Haugen hymns are standard (unsung) fare at Mass. Vindicate me, O Lord….

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    maynardus, we could take up a collection to send them all to The Byrd Festival

    Somebody had to have taught them about French cuffs at SOME point.

  20. Solution, Graduale Romanum in the vernacular (for those that have no liking to Latin), no hymns, no controversy

  21. Michael in NoVA says:

    I thought Haugen was one of the St. Louis Jesuits, too. The fact that he’s not explains the insipidness of his verses and their unorthodox interpretation of the Catholic faith. This raises two questions:

    1) Why the heck were so many of his ding-dong songs included in Catholic hymnals!?!

    2) What excuses do the SLJ’s have for writing such drivel? At least they’re supposed to be Catholic!

  22. Fr Martin Fox says:

    My Kidz Mom said:

    “Fr. Martin Fox of Ohio, frequent WDTPRS commenter, I hope you are reading this and can help!”

    I don’t think there’s much I can do. I don’t plan on attending.

  23. Dave N. says:

    Haugen is a Lutheran (ELCA, as far as I know) and is of course free to believe as he chooses. At least he can articulate a reason for not wanting to be Catholic. And I don’t really see how one can throw rocks at Haugen’s theology, which fits his contemporary ELCA milieu pretty well–after all, it’s not like he’s not holding a gun to the head of the English-speaking Catholic church to buy his music and sing his songs.

    That having been said, UNLESS there’s a lot I don’t know, he’s an obvious choice NOT to have at the Cincinnati workshop–unless he has some long-hidden talents as a translator of Latin and the biblical languages. And my money is on “no.”

    Instead of disparaging Haugen, et al. for their obvious success (whether we like it or not) a better question to ask is why the American or English-speaking Catholic Church has no official hymnal. Every other Christian denomination I know (except perhaps for the “stare at the sky and wave your hands” set) has their own hymnal, and here AGAIN the bishops have done little to nothing on this project over the past 40-50 years–the hymnal was supposed to come out shortly after the NO missal in the 1970s. So if you think the Missal project moved at a snail’s pace, the Missal has nothing on hymnal development. And think of all the trees that would have been saved had publishers not been encouraged to publish those horrible disposable “Breaking Bread” things. :) Sends a pretty clear message to the faithful about our music and our worship imo–”disposable.”

    So if the rest of the Christian world can pull this off, why can’t we? This is not just a rhetorical question–I’d really like to know.

  24. Scott W. says:

    Is the Archbishop even aware that this is going on? It’s a big assumption that he does, so perhaps he should be informed.

  25. Is it just me or is there a conflict of interest in having someone who has the MOST TO LOSE FINANCIALLY give a talk on the new translation?

    I mean, he could literally lose thousands of dollars if the new translation = new music and a change in the music used at mass.

  26. Tom says:

    If anyone is looking for some post lenten mortifications, subjecting yourself to this voluntarily would certainly qualify. http://music.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=music.Discography&artistid=19546898

    In all seriousness, I am sure the organizers were thrilled to get a big name like Haugen for their conference… and sadly, I would suspect that many would be oblivious as to why this is a bad idea.

    Brick by brick as Father Z says, but it takes a whole lot of bricks to rebuild a cathedral, and things like this are a reminder of how far we have yet to go.

  27. jt83 says:

    “How is the run-of-the-mill (I’ll include myself) Catholic supposed to know these things?…He openly supports wymyn priesssssts and all kinds of whatever kind of relationships. Who’s running the show there in Cincinnati?”

    Wanda echoed my thoughts exactly. This is the issue that stumps me whenever people close to me get tired of hearing my “Do the black say the red” diatribes all the time. There is an attitude of “If it’s so wrong to do something in the Mass, or sing this particular song, the priest/bishops/The Church would not allow it.”

    People see “Breaking Bread” hymnals in the pews, they assume the songs contained therein are approved for liturgical worship. They have no idea about any of the politics that most of the people on this blog know about regarding proper liturgical music. They’ve never heard that Gregorian Chant is to have pride of place or that Vatican II never abolished Latin. I don’t know what to do about this…

  28. Daniel Latinus says:

    Instead of disparaging Haugen, et al. for their obvious success (whether we like it or not) a better question to ask is why the American or English-speaking Catholic Church has no official hymnal. Every other Christian denomination I know (except perhaps for the “stare at the sky and wave your hands” set) has their own hymnal, and here AGAIN the bishops have done little to nothing on this project over the past 40-50 years—the hymnal was supposed to come out shortly after the NO missal in the 1970s.

    This is a fact for which I am grateful. Something tells me that if they published an official hymnal back in the 1960s-1970s, it would have been full the same kind of crud that’s in the OCP hymnals now. And if they do it now, I fear the result would not be much different.

    I attended a Lutheran church and school until I was ten years old, and I still miss the old 1941 Lutheran Hymnal.

  29. ghlad says:

    Discussions about the merits (or lack thereof) of the music itself are all rather secondary to the scandal of the fact that such a person is (or is desired to) apparently involved in some meaningful way with the new liturgy.

    At any rate if others will use their musical credentials to backup their subjective claims that the music sucks, I’ll do the same but my opinion on some of the music is somewhat to the contrary. Some of the songs are decent.
    I’ve found at least some measure of comfort in some of the songs by Haugen, Haas, and several others of “that” persuasion by privately listening to them sung by John Michael Talbot. (GASP!)

    The music is not sacred, nor is it deserving to be played during the Mass, but I think people of good will can be of different opinion about the music itself, if not its inappropriateness for masses.

    Tangential story:

    A few years ago I went to a discernment retreat offered by my diocese at the seminary. After the scheduled events for the day were over, I decided to take a walk around campus. I ended up wandering into the main sanctuary of the chapel and praying. Anyhow, a little while later, another young man entered. Afterward, we both left the sanctuary and were walking back towards the living areas and eventually got to talking about music. I happened to mention that I actually enjoyed listening to Talbot every once in a while. The other fellow turned about and faced me, and exclaimed something along the lines of “You mean the music that’s single-handedly ruined my masses? It’s awful! Awful! Terrible!” Then he would hardly talk to me the rest of the weekend. I was just struck by the lack of charity that seems to orbit around discussions like these, the mocking, the assumptions that are made, etc.

    Look, my favorite and preferred masses are said by an FSSP priest and from the 1962 missal, but just because I have some Talbot doesn’t mean I want to hear “Sing a New Church” during Mass.

  30. Is this just a “taste” of what is going to happen all over the US re: the new translations?
    If so, this is going to “poison the well”, at the grassroots; just like what happened during the “changes” when priests were taught all the wrong things at “workshops”, etc.
    Thank God for the internet.
    We didn’t have it then. We do now.
    Those that want to know the “real story” have it at their disposal.
    Ugh!

  31. Maggie says:

    The bishop in my previous diocese (Madison) banned “Gather us in” from any liturgy. About 4% of us breathed a collective sigh of relief. The other 96% went out and bought organic tar, synthetic feathers, and recycled pitchforks. It’s gonna take a long time to get bad liturgical music out of the parishes.

  32. Re: Haugen’s financial interest

    Actually, it’s to a composer’s monetary interest to have new hymnals with new music in them. A tiny change in wording means a brand new copyright date. Other than the PITA factor, and the sick feeling any songwriter gets when needing to change something and not wanting to, there’s no downside here.

    New rules also mean new workshop appearance fees, as you can see.

    Re: sacred vs devotional music

    I agree that there’s plenty of this music that’s not objectionable, outside Mass, as devotional material. And yes, Haugen does have some decent stuff that does work okay for sacred music. (Heck, he’s so enviably prolific, I don’t understand why he doesn’t just hide the crud ones away instead of reprinting them.)

    My major objection is that he’s been allowed to publish so much stuff that is obviously not finished. Plenty of lines that were obviously problem areas, but which were printed anyway. Plenty of lines that don’t make logical or poetical sense, even without the theology problems. Where are the editors on these things? Too busy changing “man” to “one”?

    He’s able to do better than what he’s done, and he’s never going to do it while his dreckiest drek sells as well as his good stuff.

  33. catholicmidwest says:

    Shortly after I converted in 1985, I kept hearing about the St. Louis Jesuits from the RCIA team and others, so I set out to find a cassette tape of them. (This was 1985, remember and before the Internet.) I looked high and low, everywhere and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find one. Finally, I did, in the back shelves of a 7th day adventist bookstore, covered with dust. I paid too much to a clerk with a tilted eyebrow and took it to my car, ready to listen to heaven on a slim piece of cellulose. NOT. I found out in short order why the market was not flooded with the St. Louis Jesuits. They were TERRIBLE. So much for contemporary Catholic religious music. I was just beginning to find out how completely horrible most of it is.

    I won’t listen to much of anything “Catholic” willingly unless it’s been composed at least 100 years ago, and then only if it’s sung by non-Catholics. Catholics don’t even realize that they have this little dirge-drone-flat thing going on even when they try to imitate protestant worship music. I have no idea what that SOUND is, but they’re oblivious to it. Arrrrghhh.

    Classical music, yes, and okay in a liturgical setting. Protestant worship music, yes, but only on the car radio or purchased from the store. Catholic contemporary music, no thanks. I can do without the misery.

    PS. There are a few exceptions, a precious few. There is a divine mercy prayer that they used to air on EWTN now & then that sounds pretty decent. I don’t know how they managed to avoid that dirge/drone/flat thing but it’s not there.

  34. Nathan says:

    Catholicmidwest, to use the phrase from my growing up in the world of Revival meetings and altar calls (prior to my 1980 conversion), “You’re preachin’ to the choir.” Oh, and “choir” was pronounced “kwah.”

    I love your description of the “dirge-drone-flat thing.” Unfortunately, the Sistine Capella sets the example in most annoying use of the the dirge-drone-flat thing.

    I still try to be reverent to my roots. I’m one of the only people in the congregation (when I make it to an OF Mass) who sings bass from the 4-part hymn harmony I learned growing up.

    In Christ,

  35. catholicmidwest says:

    PS not only do Catholics sound like a bunch of stray cats on a binge, but they’re being taken left and right by the liturgical music publishers they do business with.

    Like the previous poster says, every time the publishers alter the words or tune, even a little bit, they can get a new copyright and make megabucks all over again, all at your expense. Ever wonder why the words to Amazing Grace, a good old classical protestant tune to start with, keep changing and you can’t keep up with it??? Now you know. [PS, don't let the protestants know you're killing a venerable old hymn of theirs. They love that hymn, original words and all.]

    BTW, the origins of the Catholic contemporary music saga are peppered with people who have affiliation with the catholic church problems &/or dissidence problems &/or “personal orientation problems.” Some of this stuff sounds kinda campy for a reason; you really shouldn’t want to be caught dead singing it.

    “Here I am, Lord, Ain’t I great, Lord,”
    …….
    “And that’s the way we became the Brady Bunch.”

    Hum it and see, it’s the same tune.

    PPS: Don’t we own any copy machines and internet stations so we can get some REAL CATHOLIC music going for FREE??????

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Nathan,

    Yes, the sistine screamers, indeed. That’s inexplicable to me. The Methodists down the road sound like heaven’s own angels compared to…wait for it…St. Peter’s own choir!!!!

    WHY>??????

    I’ve been there and seen them with my own eyes. It’s not the fault of the TV. If anything they sound worse in person.

  37. pcstokell says:

    So is it a liturgical music hootenanny with a discussion about the texts thrown in, or is it a serious discussion of the translation from the get-go? The handout linked on the blog really isn’t clear.

    The parish I know that’s doing one just used sources like this.

    I had no idea the last Abp. of Cincy was that bad.

  38. PostCatholic says:

    Wow, how mean-spirited. I’ve met Marty. Really great guy and really interesting to listen to when he talks about the song-writing craft. If you don’t enjoy his folk-style songs and hymns, fair enough, but he also has written quite a few settings for the Psalms that are quite lovely.

    I do not understand why people continue to flog this syrupy, conventional pop dreck in preference to chant, Palestrina, Tallis, Byrd, and the anonymous Germans of the Grosse Katholisches Gesangbuch.

    The most popular Mass setting of all time is based on a very popular secular Renaissance soldier’s marching tune. Even the exalted Pierluigi da Palestrina himself borrowed straight from pop music as a cantus firmus for one of his Masses. For at least 500 years composers have been riffing on that same marching tune as a Mass setting. True story.

    I wonder if anyone knows what I’m talking about. Someone is bound to…

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    nazareth priest,

    This happened with the CCC too. There’s always a covert attempt to undercut the work of the Holy See before it can be put into action. That’s all the more reason why the Holy See should move faster, but they’re not onto that yet, apparently.

    However, hopefully, the Holy See will do what it did with the CCC, and that is print mega-copies from all kinds of publishing houses, including non-catholic ones. From there, the book-toting catholic people and their internet quoting did its job and served the function.

    Likewise, this thing should be on sale everywhere from the discount department store to the mall. People will show up at mass with pretty little books and xeroxed copies and say the responses emphatically over and over until it’s done right.

    I personally plan to go to mass all over this diocese, prayer book/xeroxed copies in hand. The day of the missal is re-dawning dear sir and there will be many of us leading the charge.

  40. catholicmidwest: May you be legion! I’m not kidding. And you are absolutely correct about the CCC (“Only for the scholars; the intellectuals; the academics!”) Bullroney! It was purposefully written at (I forget 6th grade, 8th grade?) level.
    If you can’t understand the CCC, you need a GED.
    You’re illiterate.
    The same with the new translations. These folks will stop at nothing.
    It reminds me of when I taught high school; these kids could come up with the most insane rationalizations for their misdeeds:<)!

  41. PostCatholic says:

    Haugen is a Lutheran (ELCA, as far as I know) and is of course free to believe as he chooses. At least he can articulate a reason for not wanting to be Catholic.

    Actually, he’s UCC.

  42. catholicmidwest says:

    PostCatholic, don’t tell me that Palestrina borrowed from the Brady Bunch or you will be on my “too screwy to be believed list.”

    As for the borrowing from pop music thing: The Brady bunch is not only “pop music,” but a commercial sitcom theme song and cheesy as a california bath-house. Please.

    Let’s not get carried away with equivocations around the term “pop music” either, okay???
    Have you ever heard the pop music that Mozart, my favorite composer, wrote? Here’s Don Giovanni, popular music of that day:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zitL2aZsVPY&feature=related
    It’s not religious music as you might be able to gather, although he did write religious music too.

    Incidentally, Mozart was Roman Catholic–no pretending like what’s his name Haugen.

  43. catholicmidwest says:

    Why does he not write for the Lutherans then? Why do we have to put up with him, PostCatholic?

  44. catholicmidwest says:

    Answers, which I know full well: I was Lutheran some time before I was Catholic.
    a) They have a body of perfectly good church music which serves them well.
    b) They don’t spend the kind of money on sheer crap that Catholics do because they’re Lutherans and Lutherans are Germans and TIGHT.
    c) Haugen couldn’t sell them anything, because he’s a 2-bit amateur. They can do better than Haugen. And they clearly have.

    PS, I’m not sure Haugen could even write advertizing jingles. Yes, it’s that bad.

  45. AngelineOH says:

    Pray us in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and especially our new archbishop. What we need is a complete housecleaning from the top on down, and I do mean CLEAN. And that conference should be cancelled immediately unless, of course, they decide to have orthodox Catholics in charge. Sorry, just terminally frustrated…

  46. Dave N. says:

    This is a fact for which I am grateful. Something tells me that if they published an official hymnal back in the 1960s-1970s, it would have been full the same kind of crud that’s in the OCP hymnals now. And if they do it now, I fear the result would not be much different.

    I attended a Lutheran church and school until I was ten years old, and I still miss the old 1941 Lutheran Hymnal.

    Perhaps the 1970s hymnal would have indeed been terrible; you’re right. But we would probably be at least one or two hymnals beyond the 1970s hymnal already–e.g., the case with Lutheran Hymnal 1941.

    But the point is that, like the other denominations, there would at least be SOME WAY of excising bad music as we grow to realize that the music is indeed not good and/or doesn’t mesh with Catholic theology. The way things are now, the publishers only have interests in continuing to push and republish what they already have rights to, ergo, there a huge economic bias to maintain the status quo. With the bishops in control (assuming one day we have bishops who want to control something) there would at least be the possibility of someone bringing some pressure to bear–e.g. the Vatican and the revised missal as a good object lesson here–to make some changes.

    Now, almost everything is up to the publishers who have the biggest economic interest. And publishing music is big business. Why would the powers that be have allowed this to fall into the hands of outsiders? (For that matter, why did the bishops recently hand over the publishing rights of the brand new psalter to GIA, home of David Haas–giving them a sort of textual/musical monopoly over Catholic psalm texts?)

    It’s not logical. I would really like to know how this happened and why it continues to happen.

  47. PostCatholic says:

    Where did I say that Palestrina borrowed from television themes? I said he borrowed one of the more popular secular songs of his day, a soldiers’ marching tune. Actually he was about 100 years into the tradition of using this song for a Mass.

  48. Dave N. says:

    Why does he not write for the Lutherans then? Why do we have to put up with him, PostCatholic?

    Haugen does write for Lutherans, e.g., the popular “Holden Evening Prayer.” The only composer that has more hymns than Haugen in the current ELCA hymnal is Martin Luther.

  49. david andrew says:

    Nice try, PostCatholic.

    The convention of the “parody” Mass, of which you speak, is much more complex a technique than merely taking a “marching tune” and bringing it through the doors of the temple. The compositional technique employed involves, among other things, augmenting the rhythmic durations of the original melody so that what what is heard are pitches of great length, without a recognizable rhythm or melodic profile, and then employing it as a bass line. It is not merely “aping” the harmonic or melodic profile of a popular tune, slapping quasi-heterodox lyrics to it, and calling it sacred music, like our friend Haugen does.

    This “beer-drinking tune” or “village dance tune” canard has been tried and used as a justification for the bringing of some of the most inexcusable music into the Church, and the Church has always vigorously objected.

    And, to put Palestrina and Haugen into the same league is just laughable. I’ve sung Haugen, I’ve sung Palestrina . . . Haugen is no Palestrina. I don’t think Haugen would even know what the term “voice leading” means.

    Haugen as composer = fail.

  50. Peggy R says:

    Setting aside Haugen’s awful music and non-sympathetic views on Catholicism. Why does an archdiocese hire a non-Catholic to offer a presentation on the new translations to the Roman Missal? What does a non-Catholic have to offer to such an occasion? Shouldn’t some one who is Catholic and employed by the diocese (or a liturgical/translation expert) be a more appropriate presenter at such an event? Of course, it would also help that the person is supportive of the translations.

  51. Dave N. says:

    Actually, he’s UCC.

    Thanks postcatholic. I’ve always been told he’s Lutheran–it’s the popularity factor of his music at work again.

  52. Bressani56 says:

    This is the sickest thing I’ve ever seen.

  53. Sam Schmitt says:

    PostCatholic,

    I do know what you’re talking about. I’ve heard the “but Palestrina borrowed secular tunes all the time!” argument more times than I care to remember and it never works.

    True, sacred composers have “borrowed” from secular sources for a long time. But if you noticed, they transformed the secular material and incorporated it into their own style – unlike what Haugen and Co. do, which is to borrow the secular style wholesale. In other words, masses by Palestrina and Josquin based on secular songs do not sound like soldiers singing around a campfire or peasants in a field – they sound like Palestrina and Josquin.

    Why? Because a cantus firmus is a pretty covert way of sneaking in a secular song, wouldn’t you say? Josquin, for example, wrote both sacred and secular music (the charming “Il grillo,” or the heart-breaking “Mille regretz” are great examples of the latter) and they do not sound like his masses of his motets. He employed different styles for each, even if he sometimes hid a secular melody within the choral texture of a mass. But these masses with secular tunes in them sound no more like secular music than the motets based on chant melodies sound like chant.

    Haugen on the other hand sounds like an amalgamation of a bunch of secular styles, and rather pedestrian ones at that: 1980s Broadway ballads, TV jingles and and easy listening radio, among other things. The melodic style, harmonic language, rhythms, etc. are all borrowed from these styles without much modification.

  54. Dave N. says:

    Actually, he’s UCC.

    Per the ever-popular Wikipedia:

    “Haugen was raised in the American Lutheran Church (ALC) in Minnesota, and also writes contemporary hymns and liturgies for the Lutheran church despite being a member the United Church of Christ.”

    Perhaps the ELCA (a successor to the ALC) has liberalized enough for him to return one day.

  55. Sam Schmitt says:

    david andrew – you beat me to it. Better explanation of the same thing.

  56. catholicmidwest says:

    And here is Mozart’s religious music. Until we can match that, we’d ought to be using it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXjn6srhAlY

    We also have many other genuine Catholic composers, who have written music that’s actually Catholic in tone and content. We should be using this instead of jingle-of-the-week.

  57. PostCatholic says:

    Actually, David, I was talking about not about a parody mass but a missa firma, based on the Renaissance equivalent of Yankee Doodle Dandy. That tune has many, many times been “aped” for its tune, most recently (that I know of) by Karl Jenkins/Adiemus (who’s a much better modern analog to Palestrina than Haugen).

    Anyway, you’re missing the point, which was this: There is an ancient tradition of using vernacular music styles and popular tunes for the sacred. Whether or not you think Haugen is successful in that tradition, he’s merely attempting what Palestrina and Josquin and other Renaissance composers did successfully. Five hundred years from now, will anyone be singing his songs? I don’t know. Were I a betting man, I’d put my money on no.

    The other point I was making is that the insulting and angry tone that Rev. Zuhlsdorf and other contributors here have been using is unbecoming. I’m having trouble getting used to you spiritually advanced folks, but give me time and tutelage and maybe I’ll be able to work up a similar lather.

  58. frjim4321 says:

    As student music director in the seminary I remember culling through all the various hymn anthologies (including the FIRST “People’s Mass Book”) and learned very early that no anthology is perfect, no composer is perfect. Every anthology and every composer has a certain number of “dogs.” For example, there were some beautiful Lucien Deiss settings, but the dear man did have a number of clunkers. Just as “back in the day,” what seems equally important to the composer of a selection is the musical judgement and liturgical judment exercised in the planning of a particular liturgy. The other day I heard a Magnificat set to some kind of Rocky Mountain hymn tune, and also the Song of Farewell set to OLD HUNDRETH. Both were abysmal. But there were other settings available in the anthology that would have been fine.

    Less attention to the choice of composer, and more attention on the musical/liturgical judgment, please!

    Father Jim

  59. catholicmidwest says:

    We have 2 universities in this diocese, along with many small colleges and junior colleges, all with music departments. Every single high school in this diocese has a music department. There are glee clubs and barber shop quartets. We have musicians coming out of our ears and this is just one little bitty diocese in Michigan. The truth is that Americans live in a very performance conscious culture. There is NO EXCUSE for the abysmal clatter we have to put with at mass.

    People who know music and people who can perform music are repelled in favor of those who can’t. It’s part of the CAtholic culture, apparently, to accept trash in lieu of the real thing. It’s got to stop; it hasn’t always been that way. Perhaps it’s a post V2 thing.

  60. catholicmidwest says:

    PostCatholic,
    Develop a sense of pitch and you won’t have to work up a lather. It’ll come to you when you hear the caterwauling that passes for Catholic liturgical music.

  61. PostCatholic says:

    I was going to respond to that insult personally, but I’ve decided it’s not in our interests. I’m sorry I’ve provoked you.

  62. “Liber usualis”, “Liber hymnarius”, “Gregorian Missal”…yeah, that’s the answer.
    Forgetta about Haugen.
    Loser.
    And for the English, Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB, is doing some fine work with English chant.
    http://archstl.org/worship/page/institute-sacred-music

  63. And, if you are “wary” of a conspiracy theory, please read this:
    http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2010/04/publishers-tell-us-that-they-need-at.html
    Oh, boy.
    It’s getting even better! The “reigning regime” ain’t gonna give it up without a fight!

  64. PostCatholic: Don’t take it personally. Really.
    There are all kinds of emotions and opinions about liturgical music that just create a “nuclear bomb” these days…I’m the Gregorian chant kinda-person; but I celebrate Mass in the OF with all these other kinda things (not really paying attention, is that a sin?) and just hope that our community and the slow, methodical rebuilding of sanity in Catholic liturgical and musical life will eventually take place. Maybe I’m too optimistic; (I am not inclined to be melancholic about this; I’m too choleric!)…nevertheless; we just have to do what we can, with what we have and move forward. That’s it for me.

  65. catholicmidwest: I have to tell you: it was a Lutheran choral director/teacher that made Gregorian chant and polyphony something ‘real’ to me; he was opposed by the campus ministry at my ‘Catholic’ college for doing a Mass by Palestrina (in the OF, in the early ’80s, no less). Our choir was laughed at by the campus ministry folks, their “Glory and Praise”, et. al. repertoire; but this Lutheran man probably gave me more than I could ever imagine: I am a monk singing Gregorian chant; offering the EF frequently…God is good.
    It’s about faith, truth, love and beauty.
    Many Catholics have forfeited their patrimony for “pottage”. It’s sad.

  66. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Daniel, I too miss that 1941 book. It probably had more influence on my life prior to my conversion than any other book.

    As to Haugen’s being a child of this planet, please refer to I John 2:15-16. http://drbo.org/chapter/69002.htm

  67. PostCatholic says:

    Thank you for your generous reminders, nazareth priest.

    You know, if you want to see musical abuse, pick up a copy of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s hymnal Singing the Living Tradition. No UU’s are too happy with a bunch of re-written lyrics; no less than Lutheran radio host Garrison Keillor recently took a few prominent emotional jabs at the way the Christmas carols in it are handled. Trust me, we’ve got it worse than the Glory & Praise hymnal. I know all about music that doesn’t fit the worship experience. I suffer through it most Sundays.

    I just don’t get so riled at it that I have a need to lash out in anger and hatred at those who see things differently from me. If one’s opinion is worthy, it will stand on its own in the economy of ideas. To me, teaching and modeling the cardinal virtues (temperance, fortitude, prudence, justice) are to me hallmarks of the authentic spiritual leadership. I don’t see a lot of that happening here.

  68. capchoirgirl says:

    Uuuuuuuggghhhhhhhh.
    That is all.

  69. Ed the Roman says:

    “the Song of Farewell set to OLD HUNDRETH. ”

    I cringe when that is requested (I’m a cantor). And it is. Frequently. By the family.

    Bob Schaefer has a much nicer English version, and, of course, there’s the chant.

  70. catholicmidwest says:

    Well, PostCatholic, what did you expect from the UU Church?

    When I was a Lutheran, the songbook was very stable, all old fashioned German/Scandinavian hymns. Very good. I expected at least as much from the Catholic church. Didn’t get it.

    I used to sing in choirs on a regular basis. I’ve been in a number of them from childhood up until about 15 years ago. No more. I won’t sing the garbage that passes for music in most catholic parishes. It used to sadden me a lot, but you can’t live in sadness forever. I’ve been Catholic for 25 years now and the church has so many problems that the music is just an annoyance for me anymore. I listen to good music at home and don’t expect it from church and then I’m not as disappointed when I don’t get it. It’s apparently just a trial to be endured and I see no end to that state of affairs, unfortunately.

  71. catholicmidwest says:

    So if you don’t have a tin ear, you just have to learn to regard a lot of “music” at church as background noise and then things get better for you. Sorry to be frank, but it’s true and it took me a long time to realize this because I really do like good music and hoped for it for a long time. Not gonna happen anytime soon, unfortunately.

  72. Gail F says:

    To return to the topic of the post… the workshop in question is called “Worship Ways” (or possibly “WorshipWays” and is something that he does with Tony Alonso (who redid “Take O Take Me As I Am” as a communion song for Lent) and Fr. Jan Michael Joncas (he of “On Eagles’ Wings” fame). How’s that for a triumvrate??? It is on their websites. Haugen’s says:

    “Three talented and experienced liturgical leaders, teachers and musicians have joined together to create a weekend conference for all those interested in the renewal of faithful and vibrant worship. Through presentations, workshops reading sessions and actual worship, they invite and inspire attendees to imagine and experience how liturgy can draw upon the rich Christian worship tradition and simultaneously speak in a powerful and meaningful way to contemporary culture.”

    Great, eh? Rich at Ten Things said this was a presentation about the new missal because an article in our Archdiocesan paper said so, but I can’t believe it is true. It seems to be a packaged, weekend workshop they present all over the country and has nothing to do with the missal at all. I wonder if it is something that was scheduled to “go along with” the preparation for the new missal. That would also be problematic, of course, but it would be a different problem. More information is needed…

  73. PostCatholic says:

    Fortunately, catholicmidwest, the hymnal is just one piece of my church’s music program. I used to be a parishioner of a Catholic cathedral with a 4-manual french romantic pipe organ and two professional choirs. I can honestly say that as a UU I haven’t had to miss that, because I’m grateful to have been treated to some astoundingly good choral and instrumental music to which I might not have otherwise been exposed.

    If only we could fix the darn hymnal. Such beasts are made by committee.

    The little mouse to the right as I write this is cracking me up. Not sure why it’s there but it’s a nice light touch. Rev. Zuhlsdorf’s stock just went up with me for it.

  74. catholicmidwest says:

    On the hamster we agree, PostCatholic. Isn’t he cute?

  75. catholicmidwest says:

    I swear if we start singing, “I am a child of this planet,” I am going to get a set of antennae and wear them to church.

    Like this maybe: http://costumezone.com/Light_Up_Antenna_Alien.asp

  76. jucundushomo says:

    PostCatholic:

    I’ll speak for myself (and, if I may, some others here) when I say that there’s a qualitative and phenomenological difference between Palestrina and Haugen when they riff a tune.

    Palestrina’s composition are characterized by harmonic complexity matched by an engaging rhythm and clarity of line. It is music that may take L’Homme Armée but transforms and transcends it. In doing so Palestrina reaches into the context of his time as well as sacred tradition. He consequently produces something that surpasses its “historical moment” and remains both beautiful and relevant half a millennium on. Palestrina is accessible without being pedestrian, and his artistic priorities are closely allied to truth – that is, God’s grandeur through Catholic faith and worship.

    Marty Haugen’s compositions are characterized by a comparatively direct transcription of popular music to the hymnal, which chains his music to its time – say the 1970s onward. This tends to make Haugen sound “dated” and banal. Mass and worship becomes just another part of the week rather than its place as “the source and summit of Christian life” in the Eucharist. Haugen’s music participates in the surrounding culture but does not seek to transform it. It is intensely politicized through the composer’s explicit design and open admission.

    The text of the Mass has remained stable for millennia, particularly in the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc.) Palestrina respected this while engaging it with his own creative, making a fusion of sacred tradition and a genius given of God. Haugen pens lyrics that have no similar roots – rather than turning to the Ordinary or Propers of the Mass, he composes to his own poetic moment. There is no competition in terms of the sources Palestrina and Haugen use, respectively.

    The highest worship we can offer is latria, that is, to God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) alone. Do we do better to offer this through the sublime or the pedestrian? What I mean is: within the Mass, does not God deserve sacred music inspired by and presented to Him rather than a Broadway singsong?

    G.K Chesterton often discussed his conversion to Catholicism, describing it once as “the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.” I offer the above as an argument that Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina reaches to the universal that is the Catholic faith and thus gives us music to sustain the passing of years. Marty Haugen does not achieve this, and instead of writing upon the culture itself is found instead on yellowing score sheets and pulped copies of “Gather”.

    P.S. For a composer contemporary to our times striving to meet sacred tradition in a universal way, check out Kevin Allen, for example.

  77. TonyLayne says:

    Here’s a link to a clip of the choir of St. Peter Claver in New Orleans. Although it’s not liturgically appropriate, and it’s not my cup of tea, musically it’s better than 99% of the songs in the “Gather” missal my parish uses:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c38VaLZUeJQ&feature=player_embedded

    I try to remember, as my ear is assaulted by tone-challenged weekend warblers stumbling through an up-tempo song as if the casket had been left at the undertakers’, that I’m there for the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of my Master in the Eucharist … not (please God!) for the music. Which just goes to show how I allow myself to be distracted. I’m sure if I had the gift of concentration attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, I would be able to truly (and innocently) say, “What choir?”

    But I do have to interject a cautionary note to the musical purists and classicists in the audience: As much as I too enjoy classical chorus pieces and chant, we have to remember that the vast bulk of liturgical music—at least 75-80% of it—has to be singable by Joe Schmuckatelli in the third pew from the front, who can keep in tune as long as he’s surrounded by others who are in tune themselves. As bad as the songs are, the average guy can sing them. How do you do homage to the best of our musical tradition while keeping the melodies relatively simple? Ultimately, the Mass is not a class in music appreciation, and the congregation is not chock-full of chorus singers. And I don’t think the answer is 100% “out with the new, bring back the old”. There is an implicit challenge to those of us with some training in theory and composition to write new pieces that aren’t by their nature reserved for the semi-professionals in the chorus yet aren’t insipid, clamorous or schmaltzy.

    Am I crazy? Am I asking too much by asking the extremes to somehow meet in a dialectical synthesis? Am I sick or just in love? What kind of fool am I?

  78. jucundushomo says:

    TonyLayne-

    There is such a dialectical synthesis and solution – Gregorian chant.

    It is suitable in either Latin or English. It’s easy to learn. It’s liturgically appropriate (reverential), rooted in sacred tradition (transcendent), and a harmonic musical expression of the divine (mathematical, metrical, and logical). It is also uniquely beautiful and Catholic, the Church’s own creation.

    And we should all be fools for God!

  79. pelerin says:

    I love the hamster too – it has some really cute expressions – and have installed his brother/sister onto my google page. It was some time before I realised how to feed it by using the mouse! Whoever designs these are brilliant.

  80. Kerry says:

    That the reputed sources of great music come from ‘Pop, snaps and crackles’ cannot override music theory, or the way notes, and sounds interact. For instance, the overtone series. Play any particular note, and notes above it will also sound/vibrate. (I cannot recall the correct term.) One octave above, then a third above that and so on. When the overtones clash we say “Bleeh. Rock ‘n roll”. When the counterpoint is exquisite we say, “Bach”. (Bach studied composition by copying other composers manuscripts. Our choir director winces, telling us Haugen has no, I say again, NO musical training. I think he writes jingles, and the same ones over and over.) Open fourths…’do’-'fa’. Hear Aaron Copeland in your mind’s ear. Copeland used these to suggest wide open spaces, and is quintessentially American for doing so. Can you hear the opening theme of The Tender Land? (Oops. Just went to the piano, do-sol-mi-do-do. Not an open fourth, perfect fifth.) The sol-mi is the (inverted?) open fourth. (Help me theorists! It’s been since @ 1958.) At any rate, sounds carry meaning. Or, in his case, meaninglessness. The best use for the blue him-nal is as projectiles thrown at church assailants to distract them long enough for those with firearms to return fire.

  81. dmreed says:

    Gail F,
    yes you are correct, “Worship Ways” does sound like a canned workshop they’ve been trotting around the country for sometime, however the archdiocesian clergy communication letter describes the intent of the workshop as:
    “Begin to look at the new texts of the Roman Missal…”
    This of course leads one to believe the thrust behind hosting this workshop is the new texts of the Roman Missal.
    What gives me hope is the fact that the following statement was slipped in:
    “More information to come.”
    Hopefully, when “more information” is made available available by the archdiocese, this whole workshop will be corrected of its heterodoxy.

  82. TJerome says:

    Marty Haugen, another doubleknit dinosaur. Look friends, if we just used the Music specifically created for the Mass (gregorian chant) which can be found in the Liber Usualis, we could forget this 4 hymn sandwich nonsense. Think of all the money the Church could save on hymnals, missalettes, Marty Haugen workshops, etc. That money could be spent on the “poor” to steal a phrase from the liberal playbook when they rail against building beautiful traditional Church buildings, purchasing vestments, chalices, etc.

  83. PostCatholic says:

    I’ll speak for myself (and, if I may, some others here) when I say that there’s a qualitative and phenomenological difference between Palestrina and Haugen when they riff a tune.

    I think I’ve already said that. My chief objection is the the “quotes” “around” the “word” composer, and the angry and uncharitable way others have spoken about him. There is no need to insult a man’s life work. Let the songs stand on their own, but Haugen is still a composer.

    The highest form of worship you can offer is to honor the dignity and inherent worth of your fellow man. But then, I don’t think there’s angry God that it would benefit me to imitate.

  84. Gail,

    It is billed as a workshop for the missal translation in both the Clergy Communications newsletter and the Catholic Telegraph; both are published by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

  85. Denis says:

    Someone raised the issue of a CATHOLIC HYMNAL…

    It’s not true that we don’t have a Catholic Hymnal.

    There are, in fact, TWO officially sanctioned Catholic hymnals: the GRADUALE ROMANUM, and the GRADUALE SIMPLEX. A parish using either one of these would need no other music for the Mass.

  86. One more thing …

    Gail is probably correct that the workshop was created without reference to the missal and that they shoehorned it into the project later.

    My prediction is that they’ll let the show go on — it’s standard fare for the Worship office — but the Archdiocese will disconnect it from the missal.

  87. Henry Edwards says:

    “It is billed as a workshop for the missal translation”

    Here, at any rate, is a listing of the complete all-star lineup:

    Change is coming: The Roman Missal
    http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1236:change-is-coming-the-roman-missal&catid=1:local&Itemid=2

    On June 9-10, Msgr. James Moroney, former executive director of the USCCB secretariat for Divine Worship, will offer a workshop in Cincinnati and Dayton for local priests on “Roman Missal and the Eucharist.”

    On Sept. 23-24, Father Michael Joncas will lead a workshop for priests, “Roman Missal and Praying the Texts,” in Cincinnati and Dayton.

    On Sept. 24-25, “Worship Ways” with Father Michael Joncas, Mary Haugen and Tony Alonso will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Centerville. This workshop is for clergy, musicians, worship commissions, pastoral leaders and liturgical ministers.

  88. Tina in Ashburn says:

    What Henry Edwards said in both of his posts.
    The real point here is: why is Haugen’s opinion on the translation being promoted?

    Is Haugen a Latin scholar? Does he love the Church? Does he promote the teachings of the Church? Does he even comprehend the value of the Mass and the reason for its existence? Uhm, is he Catholic?
    Is Haugen is being used to promote an agenda not in line with Church teachings or culture by certain members of the hierarchy?

    Haugen’s music may be a poor example of model Church music, and our clergy and hierarchy bear most of the blame for his rampant popularity. That’s beside the point of the discussion, however.

    To Dave N: The Church’s official hymnal is the Graduale Romanum. We DO have one, these kinds of publications are simply ignored. And BTW, hymns strictly speaking, don’t belong at Mass. Originally, hymns were intended for observances outside of Mass such as processions, adoration, and such. The music at Mass is supposed to be the prayers of the Mass. The Graduale contains the prayers of the Mass set to music. Those that understand that the Mass is a conversation between the priest and God the Father, will also ‘get’ that the music should reflect these prayers.

    Angelsdefendus: GREAT point. What will these musicians do with all their inaccurate texts? Boy we could save a lot of trouble if we’d go back to singing in Latin, huh. Skip the translations altogether so we don’t have to go through this ever again. Publishers and composers may make money on new works, but no author wants to see their work set aside and forgotten.

  89. irishgirl says:

    This is so weird-and I used to sing Haugen’s music in my NO days! Even ‘Gather Us In’-go figure.

    American Mother-I I clicked onto the ‘Highway Code’-hilarious! I even remember ‘The Weather Report’ by the same group-all in Anglican chant! And I love Anglican chant, from my travels to England and hearing it at Evensong in the various cathedrals I visited!

    Nathan-I know what you mean by the ‘Sistine Screamers’. I’ve heard then several times via EWTN’s coverage of papal events in Rome….ouch! Someone should give them pitch lessons!

  90. robtbrown says:

    Wow, how mean-spirited.

    Come on, you can do better than “mean spirited”.

    I’ve met Marty. Really great guy and really interesting to listen to when he talks about the song-writing craft. If you don’t enjoy his folk-style songs and hymns, fair enough, but he also has written quite a few settings for the Psalms that are quite lovely.

    The “song-writing craft” is the problem. I am not interested in being subject to the products of someone’s “song writing craft”. If he wants to write it for himself or that it be performed by others in concert, fine. As for mass, include me out.


    I do not understand why people continue to flog this syrupy, conventional pop dreck in preference to chant, Palestrina, Tallis, Byrd, and the anonymous Germans of the Grosse Katholisches Gesangbuch.

    The most popular Mass setting of all time is based on a very popular secular Renaissance soldier’s marching tune. Even the exalted Pierluigi da Palestrina himself borrowed straight from pop music as a cantus firmus for one of his Masses. For at least 500 years composers have been riffing on that same marching tune as a Mass setting. True story.

    IMHO, 400 years ago the distinction between religious and secular music was lost. Once that happened, even though it began with some sophisticated music, it opened the door for the present situation.

    The true liturgical movement was intended to bring the congregation back to chanting the Latin commons, instead of listening to a dozen people sing them in polyphony.

    I wonder if anyone knows what I’m talking about. Someone is bound to…
    Comment by PostCatholic

    Although I like Palestrina, IMHO, it is performance music, not liturgical music.

  91. PostCatholic says:

    Come on, you can do better than “mean spirited”.
    Perhaps I can, but I don’t want to be baited.

    IMHO, 400 years ago the distinction between religious and secular music was lost. Once that happened, even though it began with some sophisticated music, it opened the door for the present situation. … Although I like Palestrina, IMHO, it is performance music, not liturgical music.

    A very interesting thought. But, robtbrown, if music must be practiced, studied, rehearsed in order to be used to its proper effect in worship, how is that different from performance? I infer you would not say that liturgical music is a performance in a particular setting (liturgy), but how would draw the distinction?

  92. Henry Edwards says:

    PC: I infer you would not say that liturgical music is a performance in a particular setting (liturgy), but how would draw the distinction?

    Easy. Pope Pius X allegedly said one should “sing the Mass, not merely at Mass”. The former is liturgical music, the latter generally is not (whether or not it’s good music).

    So liturgical music consists of the texts of the Mass (or Divine Office). Most sacred music — into which category I believe most of Mr. Haugen’s compositions fall — is not liturgical music; again, its quality as music (whether good or bad, in whoever’s opinion) is irrelevant to the distinction between liturgical and non-liturgical music. [I am not sure about that. I think we need to refer to sacred liturgical music. Even the delimiter "liturgical" implies that it should be good music.]

  93. AnAmericanMother says:

    The problem with claiming that “well, the old composers used campfire songs and madrigals and troubadour’s cansos . . . ” is overlooking that important word “used”.

    They took the melody and transformed it. They did not take the accompaniment, the harmony, the style, or even the meter. In many cases the melody is buried down in the tenor line and sung so slowly against the other parts that it is unrecognizable until you trace it out on the printed page.

    To take and transform a simple folk or popular melody is quite different from transporting the beat, accompaniment, style and questionable lyrics of somewhat dated popular music wholesale into the Mass. Not only is it objectively wrong, it’s bad musicianship.

    Note that I name no names and feel no mean-spiritedness at all. I simply desire better than pop for our Holy Mass. I sat at the music department table at the Ministry Fair today for 2 hours (and 3 hours more to go tomorrow), recruiting new choir members while listening to heavenly chant and medieval and Renaissance polyphony on my faithful iPod (broadcast to the room thanks to Harmon-Kardon’s ingenuity). Why would anyone sell that reverent, transcendent (and ineffable) birthright for a mess of pottage?

  94. AnAmericanMother says:

    irishgirl,

    The “Highway Code” is on the flip side of “The Weather Report” which (since it is shorter) also includes a version of the Highway Code in Gilbert & Sullivan style. The G&S parody is nowhere near as successful, though (and I’m a G&S fan).

    It’s an old Parlophone 45 rpm record. I actually found a copy of it and have preserved it among my chiefest treasures . . . but I made a digital copy.

  95. I’m sorry, call me a curmudgeon…but this is all about $$, folks.
    Forget about “tradition”, “style”, whatever.
    M. Haugen makes money for the publishers. And they see him as the “real deal”.
    I’m not a pessimist by nature.
    But this bloke is raking in the ‘mula’ like nobody’s business.
    Why?
    I don’t have a clue.
    Unless it’s tied to this “modernism” and “revisionism” in the Sacred Liturgy, which, like candy on a stick, is going to sell.
    We just have to keep on keepin’ on with the Church’s tradition of chant and Sacred Music.
    This bunch is going to meet their Waterloo, one way or the other. I’m no betting man, but believe you me, chant is going to outlive this crap.

  96. Jaybirdnbham says:

    This morning I drove 45 miles up to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, for what I guess could be called a private mini-retreat. Wasn’t trying to get there in time for Mass, but as I walked into the sanctuary, Mass was just ending, and the nuns were singing in Latin and the organ was at full volume. It was like Heaven had come down to earth!

    If you’ve never been in the sanctuary at the Shrine, the acoustics are wonderful, so even average singing would sound pretty good. But this… oh this is what a Catholic Mass is supposed to sound like!

    So after that brief but moving experience this morning, then just now reading this thread about these pathetic “hymns” we’ve been force-fed for years… well I just couldn’t help but post this about the beautiful singing of the nuns in Hanceville.
    I’m not trying to even make some point or other in the argument here. Just wanted to say how moved I was by 60 seconds of chant in Latin this morning, and what a poverty that other music is by comparison.

  97. Marysann says:

    To all of those who have expressed a desire for an American Catholic hymnal from the bishops, be careful what you wish for. If the bishops published a hymnal, it I would bet any amount of money that it would resemble “Glory and Praise” and not the Libre Usualis, and we would be stuck with it.

  98. robtbrown says:

    A very interesting thought. But, robtbrown, if music must be practiced, studied, rehearsed in order to be used to its proper effect in worship, how is that different from performance?

    I infer you would not say that liturgical music is a performance in a particular setting (liturgy), but how would draw the distinction?
    Comment by PostCatholic

    A few simple principles:

    1. From the beginning of the mass until the end, no singing unless it is the liturgy. The liturgical movement (cf. Dom Gueranger) was intended so that the people might sing the propers.

    2. Except for great feasts, no performances by the choir during mass. Whatever singing they do is for leading the people (the commons obviously are an exception).

    However beautiful a Palestrina mass might be, that is performance singing.

    IMHO, that leaves two options: The contemporary garbage that I try to ignore during mass and Gregorian chant. Guess which side I’m on.

  99. Gail F says:

    We got to sing a Haugen song today at mass, hurrah. Personally, while I am no fan, I would ten times rather hear a Haugen song than something by, say, Bernadette Farrell. But to me music has become a distraction. Whether it’s a cantor who cannot keep pitch, a song selection made in complete disregard for the abilities of the choir, or a melody that makes me think of a similar-sounding commercial or television them song, I have gotten to the point of cringing before every song. Now, I do not understand how music is supposed to work in the liturgy, but at our masses all the songs are prayers except the opening, closing, and communion songs (which are hymns). And I hate the prayer songs too. They take far too long, for one thing, and interrupt the flow of the mass. And it’s impossible to pray silently during them because they are so intrusive. I do not like feeling this way at mass so sometimes I try to block out the music entirely and other times I try to sing along to at least feel part of it. But neither really works for me.

  100. robtbrown says:

    1. From the beginning of the mass until the end, no singing unless it is the liturgy. The liturgical movement (cf. Dom Gueranger) was intended so that the people might sing the propers.

    Should be: so that the people might sing the commons.

  101. PostCatholic says:

    I have no opinion on what Catholics should sing or not sing, robtbrown. I do think it’s sad that you limit your worship to one particular style of musical innovation and grant no latitude for future creative endeavors.

  102. Dave N. says:

    To Dave N: The Church’s official hymnal is the Graduale Romanum. We DO have one, these kinds of publications are simply ignored. And BTW, hymns strictly speaking, don’t belong at Mass.

    Yes, I agree completely, but on the other hand I don’t think it’s realistic to think we are anywhere near the end of hymn-singing at Mass. So in the meantime we need something that’s decent and not heretical. I’d say anything’s better than the status quo.

  103. robtbrown says:

    I have no opinion on what Catholics should sing or not sing, robtbrown. I do think it’s sad that you limit your worship to one particular style of musical innovation and grant no latitude for future creative endeavors.
    Comment by PostCatholic

    Are you saying that Gregorian Chant is “one particular style of musical innovation”?

  104. robtbrown says:

    and grant no latitude for future creative endeavors.
    Comment by PostCatholic

    If someone want to be “creative” about worship, that’s their business, but why should I have to be subject to it?