Damian Thompson has rained vituperation down upon a music CD prepared in advance of the Holy Father’s visit to the UK.
Papal visit CD: musical atrocities that make the Birdie Song sound like Mozart
[I admit that I didn't know what "The Birdie Song" was, but when I clicked the youtube video embedded in Damian's post, I - too my everlasting horror - recognized it.]
Despite everything I’ve written about the incompetence of its organisers, I firmly believe that Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain needs to be a success. Time is running out. The sad trendies of Eccleston Square [For US readers, Eccleston Square is the location of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales] have done enough damage without them handing their critics fresh ammunition at this late stage. My heart sank when I saw that the papal visit team had released two tracks from the official “Pilgrim Journey” CD that comes with the (expensive) tickets for papal events. But nothing could have prepared me for the awful reality.
I’ve just played “Urban Pilgrim (Reprise)” by Alessandro Cherin and “Deus Tuus Deus Meus” by Fr Gerard Bradley to my colleagues in the Telegraph newsroom. And they’re keeling over in embarrassment. “Urban Pilgrim” is described by a friend as “the stuff they play on planes when they switch off your in-flight movie as your prepare to land”. As for Fr Bradley, his vocation does not lie in the area of composition – and the singer has the upper register of a deputy accounts manager on a karaoke machine. [Update: I've just discovered that the poor guy is a seminarian who was presumably pushed into this. So, feeling guilty, I've taken out his name. His voice is perfectly pleasant – it's just that the nonsense he's singing is pitched far too high for him.]
It doesn’t give me any pleasure to make fun of this crap, because it proves that the Church in England and Wales is still in the grip of philistines. I’m not suggesting that visitors to papal events should be given a CD of Renaissance polyphony. [How about the new Gregorian chant CD from the sisters at Le Barroux?] There is such a thing as good Christian rock and pop music; it’s just that Catholics don’t produce it. Instead, “with-it” monsignors and their mates force-feed the faithful with sclerotic folk-style antiphons – or worse. [The cuts I have heard, and I am not sure I need to hear more, are imbued with the sentimentality that characterizes most of the ditties written for World Youth Day gatherings. So, I wonder who the target audience was for this CD?]
Seriously, why didn’t the tone-deaf papal visit team just release the song on the video below? It would be no less humiliating for Catholics.
Don’t take his word for it.
Listen and decide for yourselves.
How to describe my impressions as I listened to the tunes?
I imagine this is what it would be like to be waterboarded first with with Robinson’s Barley Water and then with Lyle’s Golden Syrup.