Gather IV Review: Easter

What’s the next stage of our review of GIA’s newest edition of the Gather hymnal? Easter, naturally. The season, not the day.

Twenty seven entries are hymn-tune heavy. Here’s a breakdown for numbers 556-582:

  • traditional organ + choir, 10
  • contemporary stanza hymns, 4
  • ensemble responsorial songs, 5
  • plainchant and its adaptations, 3
  • Iona or Taize refrains, 2
  • world music, 3

It’s a subjective list, as some of these overlap. The Haugen adaptation of O Filii et Filiae. How to classify Hillert’s “This is the Feast,” as it could be arranged well for contemporary ensemble.

The hymn tunes are pretty much the ones you would expect. As for a piece like “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” I’d suggest Tony Alonso’s arrangement is about as good as it can be for adapting an old tune for a new millennium.

Other commentary:

  • Look! A Ukrainian text on #568, Taize’s “Surrexit Christus.”
  • Four Tony Alonso compositions, plus a few more traditional tunes he’s arranged well in other collections.
  • Mary Louise Bringle has been around for decades, but suddenly I’m seeing more of her fine texts, like #569 “Be My Hands and Feet.” This one is my least favorite Alonso compositions–I think the text is forced into the melody a bit more. Another composer on this one, please.
  • Another high point of this section is at #571, the Huck/Alonso “Joyous Cup” that I want to program for Communion in Ordinary Time too.
  • Marty Haugen’s “On The Journey to Emmaus” (#579) continues from earlier editions, but I think the Bob Hurd text and tune about a wider range of post-Resurrection events is superior.
  • At #582 Michael Ward’s big “In The Breaking of the Bread” is a worthy inclusion. It bumps another Bob Hurd composition, and maybe I have mixed feelings about that. The Ward song is a bit more adaptable than the California theologian’s more reflective effort. It can be simple, or it can be bold and brassy–just like people like their Easter.
  • One important omission I see is M.D.Ridge’s text “Three Days,” well-set to Thaxted. Another publisher, of course. By the way, I think the Welsh tune equally fits any skilled contemporary instrumentation compared to the usual organ+brass you hear in big churches.

I have mixed feelings about this section. Maybe another B-minus from me. If GIA is rationing pieces from other publishers, there are better offerings than one or two of the OCP representatives here. These pages are hymn-heavy, but if the chief accompaniments in the instrument editions are designed for ensembles and not just the (very) old organ arrangements, maybe it would bump Gather IV’s Easter section up to a solid B. 

For Triduum, I have to say I’m glad I’m not stuck with any single hymnal.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Gather IV Review: Easter

  1. Pingback: Gather IV Review: Ascension and Pentecost | Catholic Sensibility

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