Category Archives: Liturgical Music

St Cecilia Days Past

In my experience, observing the feast of the woman most cited as a patron saint of music has been an on and off thing over the years. In my last archdiocese, there were annual gatherings. I remember one on the … Continue reading

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More 70s Thoughts On Psalms

A social media contact made some inquiries some weeks ago about a well-known liturgical song, asking me my sense of it being a flashpoint between various musical camps in the Church. I think it’s a one-sided controversy, if that. I … Continue reading

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Some 70s Thoughts On Psalms

Every so often, it’s worth looking back in time. What did our parents and grandparents really experience in the aftermath of Vatican II? Reformers and progressives speak of struggles and small triumphs, a work hardly complete and mostly just barely … Continue reading

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Autumn River

Or, a creek, more like. Soon we’ll reach the shining river, Soon our pilgrimage will cease, Soon our happy hearts will quiver, With the melody of peace. I’m reminded of that lovely passage in Isaiah 60: Then you shall see … Continue reading

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Singing With Saints

Today’s Lectionary offerings are a true lyrical feast. Singing the entire Liturgy of the Word would be nearer the intent of the texts than an ordinary reading. The Anglicans label the first reading a “Song of the Redeemed.” It’s probably … Continue reading

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Mary Lou Williams

A brief feature at Crux Now on the jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams. Another pianist has penned her biography. I will need to hunt that down. I certainly have been aware of her since I began following jazz in the early 80s … Continue reading

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Expanding The Communion Repertoire

Or, alternatively, perhaps I could suggest a different direction. Maybe some parishes–mine included–don’t need more pieces, but alternatives instead. When music directors and music publishers compile lists for songs to accompany the Communion procession, there are go-to texts. An inheritance … Continue reading

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Gather IV: Complete Masses

Way back in May I wrote I might take an extended look at the newest hymnal in the GIA assembly, Gather fourth edition. I attended an online session led by five of the publisher’s leading lights and I have to … Continue reading

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Bread Of Life Songs: All Who Hunger

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Post-Conciliar Psalmody: For The Church Year

You can’t buy an original of this collection anymore. It’s been “archived” by the publisher. In its day it was something of a landmark–the first collection of common responsorial psalms for piano/guitar groups. By the early 80s, many of the … Continue reading

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Post-Conciliar Psalmody, A Gelineau Interlude

  Liam was right to point out my omission of the Gelineau Gradual in post-conciliar psalmody. The shift from performance music to dialogue in the revised Roman Missal was tough on some folks, like this one. Wouldn’t you think there … Continue reading

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Post-Conciliar Psalmody, Part 3

Owen Alstott, I once heard, scribbled the first notes to his Heritage Mass on a paper napkin in response to the need for simple, serviceable music that anybody could sing, and most basically competent musicians could lead. Say what you … Continue reading

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Post-Conciliar Psalmody, Part 2

  How did singer-songwriters compose songs in the 1970s? Noodle a bit on the guitar or piano, then add the words in later. It was kind of an impressionistic thing with that method: see what mood hits and try to … Continue reading

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Post-Conciliar Psalmody, Part 1

Yesterday’s discussion on Psalm 34, and taking care to watch the verses assigned for the Sunday Liturgy of the Word, got me thinking. How did Catholic church musicians start programming the psalms and how did we get to where we … Continue reading

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The Season Of Psalm 34

One of two repetitions in the Sunday Psalm cycle, this year’s sequence of Psalm 34 was interrupted by the observance of the Assumption. (For the first time since 1982.) That said, the citation of verses given on the USCCB website … Continue reading

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