Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gregorian Chant Wars

The NLM folks point to an editorial by the estimable Fr. Schmitt (Boys' Town choral guy) from the pages of the 1957 Caecelia magazine.

Nothing has changed, folks.

That it will be sung in different ways is not a matter of great import, indeed it is something fruitful and desirable. Apart from varied systems of chant performance, can you imagine that the people in Holland will sing it precisdy as those in Italy, or the French as the Germans, the English as the Hungarians? But in the good old USA-woe to the midwest Pennsylvania Dutch, Irish, and German-Russian, if he doesn't swallow his quilisma exactly as the Dutch, the Irish and the German-Russian brethren in New York or San Francisco! This is the real quarrd we have: the unmistakable tendency of most of the neo-Solesmes adherents to rule out any other
possible chant. The majority of the editors of Caecilia do not follow the Solesmes ritual, nor do a good many of its associates

By the way, look carefully at the masthead--and then look (with fond memories) at the advertisement for the Boys' Town Choirmasters' Workshop, featuring Flor Peeters, Roger Wagner, Sr. Theophane, OSF, (Milwaukee), Paul Koch (Pittsburgh), Fr. Richard Schuler (St. Paul,) Fr. Elmer Pfeil (Milwaukee), and others...all for FORTY DOLLARS!

The "Associates" roster bears some of those names, and others:

Fr. Udulutsch (Mt. Calvary, WI), Art Reilly (Boston), Dom Gregory Murray, Alex Peloquin, Westendorf, Dreisoerner, Szynskie...

The Caecelian/Regensburg roster.

More from the editorial:

Even today if you do not follow what are engagingly described to seminarists as the "footfalls" of the ictus, you run the risk of being labeled a Medicean! It was from Fribourg in Switzerland,
that there came, as early as 1907, a defense against "Der Kampf gegen die Editio Vaticana". And there persisted a cry for unity, not conformity. No, let all of us face facts as best we can,
and keep the chant a vital thing in the courage of conviction
. The history of Caecilia has been honourable in this regard. In its pages you may find the arguments of the mensuralists, the accentualists, and the rhythmic proposals of Solesmes. There is no need for apprehension.
The very first editor, John Singenberger, though trained at Regensburg, put aside the Medicean editions in favor of the manner of the monks of Beuron before they had ever lost Roman

Singenberger was the 'great-grandpappy' of the Milwaukee Caecelians.

To this point the finest of them have not publicly given more than a hint that the rhythmic method of Solesmes is historically suspect,-only that the artistic performance it
secures, gives it, by their own clear implication, some kind of validity. The matter of artistry is open to debate, and the polite musicological nod is hardly brave or scientific

Some of you readers will understand why this post is important. I will tell you that it is entirely coincidence that I spotted the item.

1 comment:

Phelony Jones said...

I actually did not read it.

I hope it does not change.