Another lengthy bit from Valle Adurni on the leak of the latest English draft of the Ordo Missae. I’ll confess up front I don’t get the priority on singing the Creed as compared to singing psalms, acclamations, and even hymns. That’s not to say that singing the important stuff at Mass isn’t good. And the Creed is certainly important. Someone once suggested the Creed was placed as it was as an immediate response to any heresies, unintentional or otherwise, spouted in the homily.
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only-begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
“Consubstantial” is getting a lot of press as an improvement (or not) over “one in being.” I can’t get excited about it one way or the other.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
Jesus is the only “man” in the text now.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead.
His kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and he Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.
What we see with the Vox Clara work is a dependence on more Norman French/Latin derived words instead of those of Anglo-Saxon and Old English origin. Maybe they feel more at home with the words of aristocracy. I’d apply the adjectives of “safe” and narrow.”
I remember reading an analysis of food words several weeks ago. The author pointed out that the animals: cow, pig, and sheep all derived from Old English roots. Not to mention farms and fields. These would be the words used by commoners.
The meats: beef, pork, and mutton came from the Norman French and were part of the Middle English deposit.
Latin was seen more in the administrative lingo connected with food: agriculture, commerce, taxation–stuff like that.
(On a potables note, “beer” comes to us from Old English and “wine” from the Latin, and before that, Greek. Make your own assessment from there, if you dare.)
Intentionally or not, we’re seeing a certain regard for Latin-derived words in the new English translations. While I doubt this will initiate a revival of the English cultural wars of the twelfth century, I find it very interesting that a language as rich as English will be confined to a fairly narrow expression within our given vocabulary. As such, it will have the sense of being somewhat exclusive to non-linguist listeners.
“Seen” comes from Old English; “visible” from Old French and Latin.
“Being” from Old English; “consubstantial” from Latin.
“Worship” from Old English; “adore” from Latin through French.
Getting back to the singability of the text, I suppose the longer Latin/French derived words present different challenges from the short Old English derivations. Romance languages depend more on vowels for intelligibility, and Germanic tongues rely more heavily on consonants.
Any language like English that mixes things up is going to present problems for a composer. On the other hand, variety is the spice of excellent music. Not to mention life. Or a good meal.
Speaking of which, it’s about lunchtime here, and all this writing about food has made my stomach grumble. Bon appetit. Caveat emptor. Have a nice day. And all that.