NPM on Chant, Motumanics on Stehle

My latest issue of Pastoral Music arrived yesterday, dedicated mostly to “Gregorian Chant.” There is a “section” of NPM dedicated to chant, did you know? They have their own newsletter, Custos.

The commentariat is in full camouflage gear at Father Z’s because somebody-we-don’t-like has been hired as the cathedral’s music director in Washington DC. The heat’s been turned up at NLM over it too. My friend Jeffrey laments:

Something tells me that I should have intervened in this thread earlier. Now it seems impossible to untangle.

Suggestion: delete the whole thing.

When my brother’s slinky got tied in knots, Mom threw it in the trash.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to NPM on Chant, Motumanics on Stehle

  1. Todd,
    Not all debate and discourse in comboxes need be characterized as “commentariat,” suggestive of sinister, agendized prejudice. I read the thread at Fr. Z’s; it’s not all just about “taste and opinion” of which we are all gifted in the mouth and, well, you know.
    The factors of history and tradition, community interest and concern as shown by the number of St. Matthew’s parishioners who’ve posted therein, and the very real differences of philosophy and performance practice that are evident and embedded in the Pittsburgh to D.C. connections, ARE cause for genuine interest.
    Yes, combox threads tend to go tangential and get tangled. Heck, I added to the tangle of the one at NLM in response to the St. Patrick’s is too resonant for polyphony contention. But I think trying to find and follow the line of reason in a combox thread can be like looking for nuggets of gold flowing downstream; you can get lucky now and then and find something really valuable.

  2. Todd says:

    Charles, I think comboxes are what make blogs interesting and lively. I rarely read the ones without them. I should reiterate in some big way that “commentariat” is a term also of semi-affection. The other semi is of course the tyranny conservatives so love to decry elsewhere coming back to stick to their faces like make-up.

    The arrival of a new music director is often a cause for concern. Enough of the comments at NLM and WDTPRS struck me as insulting. and for what? The guy hasn’t even waved his first baton in the choir loft of St Matt’s.

  3. Gavin says:

    That’s all rather shameful. I have nothing but contempt for the music that was done at the DC Mass, but I don’t dislike Stiehl over it. There are several likely possibilities no one ever considered that would not preclude Stiehl doing a great job at the cathedral:

    – Weurl pressured him to do the bad music
    – Stiehl thought the music was appropriate based on odd circumstances (location, young people present, large number of people, warding off boredom, etc.)
    – Composers wanted to contribute their own music
    – Maybe he thought the pope would like it?

    None of this indicates at all that Stiehl WON’T go into the cathedral and have the ictus on the right salicus. It just means he doesn’t look at sacred music in such a dogmatic way as Jeff, Fr. Z, and even myself. Maybe he’d go into the cathedral thinking, “gosh I’d love to have bongos and the Mass of Light, but darn it, this is a Catholic cathedral! I have an obligation to do chant!” and run a program centered the Church’s music. Why should it matter if he retires to his office and taps his toe to Haugen?

    Honestly, I think a lot of the outrage is, like ANYTHING else in the Church, over power and influence. The cathedral hired a musician who isn’t “reform2″ or in the CMAA, and people are upset. Either that or people were hoping, as with the pro-abort politicians, that Stiehl would be publicly humiliated rather than rewarded for his music at Mass. I suspect Jeffrey was just reporting on things of interest to many. Fr. Z I think cares more about results than ideology, so same thing there. But perhaps a lot of the outrage is just over the fact that while the movement to restore the liturgy is growing, it’s not in a position of power in the US Church yet.

    You know what I’m about? I’m about doing my own job. I don’t have time to worry about what ideology someone at a church I won’t attend subscribes to.

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