“Generally the feedback has been very positive.”

On the site of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, there is an audio/podcast with Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of ICEL about the new, corrected translation.

Podcast: Mgr Andrew Wadsworth of ICEL talks about the new translation of the Roman Missal

In a few days [ϴάλαττα! ϴάλαττα!] Catholic parishes in England and Wales will begin to use the new translation of the Roman Missal for the celebration of Mass. Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of the Secretariat of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), talks about the new translation:

“There has been a lot of feedback from the countries that are already using elements of the translation. The Order of Mass is already in use currently in South Africa, in New Zealand and in Australia and a number of places including ourselves here in England and Wales are now implementing the sung parts of the Mass, and looking to an implementation of the Order of the Mass at some stage between now and the beginning of Advent.”

Feedback

Generally the feedback has been very positive. People find the elegance of the language, its dignity, the sort of cadence of the language – which particularly lends itself to the sung parts of the liturgy – they find all of that to be a great improvement.”  [It isn’t perfect, but it is a great improvement.]

Music

“The printed altar edition of the new Missal has the largest amount of music of any Missal the Church has ever produced in any language. The style of the music that’s in the altar edition of the Missal is Gregorian chant, which is a common form of liturgical song which is traditional in the Catholic Church and takes us back to the Church of the first Millennium and the earliest centuries. That’s the music which is in the Latin Missal, of which our English Missal is a translation.”  [It could be that people forget that.  The English book is a translation.  Our real book is in Latin.]

“So the music that we have in the new Missal, that’s about to be implemented, is an English adaptation of those same Latin chants that are found in the Missal. Now we’re not saying that that will exclusively be the style of music that people have to adopt in their liturgies. The Church admits a great diversity of styles, not only of liturgical celebration but particularly of liturgical music.” [Gregorian chant and polyphony are to have pride of place, of course.  Also, the Gregorian chants actually set the text of the Mass.  Can’t go wrong there, right?]

Creativity

“I think it’s exciting to think that there will be a great moment of creativity. A lot of composers have already responded very positively to this challenge and a lot of new Mass settings are becoming available at the present time. A lot of very familiar settings that we’ve sung for a long time [relevant to… what?] have been revised by their composers so that they meet the needs of the new text.”

In England and Wales, the Order of Mass in the new translation will be used in Catholic parishes from September 2011, and from Advent 2011 all of the Mass will be said using the new translation.

It won’t be long now.

At the time of this writing, 2 months and 24 days until full implementation.

Podcast: Mgr Andrew Wadsworth of ICEL talks about the new translation of the Roman Missal

Roman Missal front cover

In a few days Catholic parishes in England and Wales will begin to use the new translation of the Roman Missal for the celebration of Mass. Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of the Secretariat of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), talks about the new translation:
“There has been a lot of feedback from the countries that are already using elements of the translation. The Order of Mass is already in use currently in South Africa, in New Zealand and in Australia and a number of places including ourselves here in England and Wales are now implementing the sung parts of the Mass, and looking to an implementation of the Order of the Mass at some stage between now and the beginning of Advent.”

Feedback

“Generally the feedback has been very positive. People find the elegance of the language, its dignity, the sort of cadence of the language – which particularly lends itself to the sung parts of the liturgy – they find all of that to be a great improvement.”

Music

“The printed altar edition of the new Missal has the largest amount of music of any Missal the Church has ever produced in any language. The style of the music that’s in the altar edition of the Missal is Gregorian chant, which is a common form of liturgical song which is traditional in the Catholic Church and takes us back to the Church of the first Millennium and the earliest centuries. That’s the music which is in the Latin Missal, of which our English Missal is a translation.”

“So the music that we have in the new Missal, that’s about to be implemented, is an English adaptation of those same Latin chants that are found in the Missal. Now we’re not saying that that will exclusively be the style of music that people have to adopt in their liturgies. The Church admits a great diversity of styles, not only of liturgical celebration but particularly of liturgical music.”

Creativity

“I think it’s exciting to think that there will be a great moment of creativity. A lot of composers have already responded very positively to this challenge and a lot of new Mass settings are becoming available at the present time. A lot of very familiar settings that we’ve sung for a long time have been revised by their composers so that they meet the needs of the new text.”

In England and Wales, the Order of Mass in the new translation will be used in Catholic parishes from September 2011, and from Advent 2011 all of the Mass will be said using the new translation.

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17 Responses to “Generally the feedback has been very positive.”

  1. Titus says:

    A lot of very familiar settings that we’ve sung for a long time have been revised by their composers so that they meet the needs of the new text.”

    May the saints preserve us!

  2. AnAmericanMother says:

    “A lot of very familiar settings that we’ve sung for a long time have been revised by their composers so that they meet the needs of the new text.”

    Fear not. It won’t work.

    These “composers” — who are by and large pop semi-musicians who don’t really understand the nuts and bolts of what they are working with — for the most part did quick and dirty “patches” to make the music fit the corrected translation.

    If you survey the revised music (or try to sing it) it’s apparent that it’s not really singable. The patches are in places where they don’t fit the proper rhythm, or in places where the congregation will just tank right over them before they realize where they are.

    I think it’s going to be so bad that there will be only two choices: keep singing the old version, or toss it altogether and find a new setting. Goodbye, Massive Cremation (and long past time!)

    Our music director has composed a very nice chant-based setting which fits the rhythm and meaning of the new words and is quite singable. He calls it the “Mass of St. Benedict”, and the choir is rolling it out for our Young Professionals group at a special sneak preview in October.

  3. Sword40 says:

    I’m looking forward to 11/27/2011. I’m praying that our choir director will use lots of chant but I fear that the music will still have the “Stardust Memories” flavor to it. At least I’ll have the TLM for two weekends a month. So I guess we’ll tough our way through the other two weekends.

    At least those two weekends will be liturgically better, if not musically so.

  4. albinus1 says:

    In a few days [???????! ???????!]

    egelasa, egelasa!

  5. ridiculusmus says:

    Thank you Xenophon. anabainomen

    ridiculusmus

  6. lawrence_ocds says:

    “At the time of this writing, 2 months and 24 days until full implementation.”

    Sadly for us here in the Philippines, we still have a long and agonizing wait till the First Sunday of Advent 2012! That’s 2012!!!

  7. frjim4321 says:

    I don’t know if Wadsworth is reporting accurately the reaction from South Africa. What happened there has been reported in numerous places. Calling a reaction “positive” does not make it so.

  8. TMKent says:

    I am in favor of this new translation and very much looking forward to it. My diocese has done a commendable job of getting the word out and educating the masses. Still, I spend a great deal of time among the rank and file active Catholics all across our state. These people are neither old nor young – both liberal and conservative and everything in between. These are the folks that keep things running at every level in the Church. I cannot believe the griping and complaining I hear at every turn. Easily 90% of these charitable, working, practicing Catholics don’t want “change”. The bottom line is that most Catholics are lazy when it comes to Liturgy. My fear is that this will NOT go well.

  9. Evelyn Stell says:

    It’s good to see chant making a comeback in the new Missal, but at Forth in Praise (Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh music advisory group) we’re finding that the form of notation used by ICEL is causing problems for many organists, especially the inexperienced ones.

    In particular, the lack of rhythmic precision is worrying them. ‘What time values do we give these blobs?’ How long is a “breathing space”?’, they are asking. Even if the Church’s intention is that the Missal chant should be unaccompanied, many parishes for whom this type of music is new are going to want an organ lead, at least at the beginning. Which puts organists in the front line as of next Sunday.

    Eventually Forth in Praise grasped the nettle and have now turned the main people’s parts of the chant into staff notation, with some easy accompaniments, using a bit of imagination here and there (http://www.forthinpraise.co.uk). But why couldn’t the powers-that-be have used staff notation to start with, a form of music as universal as the Church itself?

  10. Singing Mum says:

    TMKent,
    Sadly, you are right in observing the laziness factor. I have found this the biggest obstacle BY FAR to liturgical renewal. People just don’t want to give effort to worship. It’s part of our weakened nature, but it’s also a direct result of consumerism. Everyone wants somethng great. Guess what? Greatness takes sacrifice and commitment from all involved. You can’t just buy it or expect other people to do it. Sacrifice and commitment are increasingly foreign in the comfy West.

  11. AnAmericanMother says:

    Evelyn,
    I felt much the same when I first laid eyes on Solesmes notation.
    The ICEL notation is a fairly well-known compromise between Solesmes and staff notation — the American Episcopal hymnal (1982) uses much the same system for chant, including in the organ parts. Most of it was arranged by Richard Proulx, an excellent musician — whatever you may say about the Episcopalians (and I’ve said plenty – I used to be one), their musical taste is impeccable.
    One of the problems with the modified notation is that it discards all the signals in Solesmes notation that answer the questions, “what time values do we give this blob?” and “how long is a breathing space?” There are at least 3 different lengths of breath in Solesmes and each has its own mark, and note lengths are indicated by various dots and lines. So by using the compromise system the ICEL has raised almost as many questions as it answered.
    The problem with forcing chant all the way into staff notation is that chant doesn’t have note values in the same sense as staff notation, and notating it as though it did makes it sound rather odd – it freezes it in an unnatural, stiff way, is the only way I can describe it. You just have to learn a different style of singing or playing — and that takes work.
    Our parish is very fortunate in having a music director who came up in the old Catholic school programs, as did his father, also a church organist. He teaches chant (in the Solesmes form) clearly and well. We now sing almost exclusively from the 4-space notation. The congregation uses leaflets that he prepared using the compromise ICEL/ECUSA notation. After a month or so of singing, everybody knows when to breathe.
    But for those who don’t have the advantage of a good teacher on the spot, I can see the good points of a “stopgap” use of more familiar notation to get organists “over the hump”. But eventually they’ll have to make the transfer to the more relaxed and free note values. And ultimately they’ll have to learn Solesmes in order to sing/play the chant correctly.

  12. tnconvert says:

    Sadly our music director has picked a “protestantized” musical setting for the new Mass translation, ruining an opportunity to elevate the music to match the dignity of the Mass. With its refrains and sing song meter, I fear I will be permanently resigning as a choir member, unable to change the prejudice ingrained against any chant this woman has… This is the heresy of personal preference!

  13. AnAmericanMother says:

    tnconvert,
    Have you tried approaching your pastor about one “chant Mass” a month? Or maybe an Evensong/Vespers service? Or a visiting choir?
    Sounds like you’ll have to do an end run around the music director, but it might work. If you can get 4-5 like-minded people to go with you to the pastor, so much the better.
    How many people in your choir do you think would support a little chant?

  14. schmenz says:

    Dear God, Father in Heaven, when will this whole Novus Ordo nightmare end? We have suffered enough these past 35-odd years with this insipid Mass that inspires few to none, but has decimated our churches and is crushing the Faith. Still tying their wagons to this Edsel of a mass, now our Church leaders wish to re-paint it in a new color, polish it up and re-present it as something new, better and great, as if they can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. They will try to adorn it (maybe) with better music but even that, I fear, will do little to mask its inherent ugliness and banality.

    Please, dear Lord in Heaven, end this punishment (which we all have richly deserved) and bring back real beauty and solemnity to Mass, the ancient Mass, the Mass that produced Saints, Scholars and Artists. Amen.

  15. Evelyn Stell says:

    American Mother, thank you so much. You’ve filled in a lot of gaps. I’ve long been wondering how the ICEL notation had been arrived at, and had suspected it was a compromise.

    Teaching chant to people who have never sung it before is difficult enough in itself, but asking them in addition to cope with an unfamiliar and imprecise form of notation intensifies the problem. As you wisely say, it can help to start off using the mensural notation they are used to, which is why I’ve done what I’ve done at http://www.forthinpraise.co.uk. I do hope I don’t get excommunicated for meddling.

    Having said that, though, I’m delighted to see chant return. It is being promoted strongly with us, and will hopefully offset some of the awful post-Vatican II stuff that is being ‘revised’ for the new liturgy. I’m sure that sooner or later many of us will be trying to model ourselves on Solesmes!

    One thing I haven’t found out yet – what is the origin of the ICEL Gloria? The Sanctus and Agnus are from the old Requiem Mass, and the Kyrie is familiar, too. But the Gloria? Can anyone tell me?

  16. AnAmericanMother says:

    Evelyn,
    The Gloria is from XV, “Dominator Deus”.
    You can get the entire Liber here:
    http://musicasacra.com/2007/07/17/liber-usualis-online/
    The file is utterly humongous, so I downloaded it. Once you do that, it’s searchable.
    Have fun!

  17. Evelyn Stell says:

    American Mother, that is brilliant! Thank you for your research. I started downloading the big file, then had an inspiration and put Dominator Deus into Google. I was able to download the Gloria on its own, in the usual four-line, square-note chant, at http://antoinedanielmass.org/scores/15%202%20Gloria%20XV%20Dominator%20Deus.pdf
    I have to say I much prefer the Latin version!

    Thanks again.