måndag 11 mars 2013

Cecilia shortcomings and solutions

The shortcomings of the new Cecilia are starting to emerge. In our parish, it seems that some people will want to continue to sing music that has been weeded out. Others will find the 1300-page books cumbersome or will want to protect them from excessive use. The Franciscans of Jonköping have already produced an 8-page booklet with the mass tax. There is still no musical setting for the Swedish translation of the Creed. The "flying eggs" notation system for the Swedish and Latin Gregorian chants is difficult to read and leads to flat and expressionless singing.

There are remedies for all of these, but they mean that parishes will continue to produce their own material, which partly defeats the object of the publication. As regards the Latin, the easiest solution is either to buy sets of Liber Cantualis at €8.40 from Solemnes, or to produce leaflets, one with the Creed, Pater Noster and responses, and others with the most-used Ordinaries ie Lux et Origo, De Angelis, Cum jubilo, Orbis factor, Simplex and XVII. Each of these fits nicely on four sides of A5 on a folded A4 sheet. Speaking from experience, I would suggest that they are printed on tinted paper so that they do not get mixed up.

Re-setting the Swedish translations of the Ordinary would lead to a better standard of singing but whether it is worthwhile is another question. Most people know the Latin and everyone knows what the texts mean even if they cannot do a word-for-word translation, so there is not really an issue of comprehension. Personally I think it is worth the effort but quite a lot of work is involved to re-write the music and check for accuracy.

Please respect copyright
And please don't photocopy Solemnes' copyright material! It is the monks' livelihood. There is plenty of free or old stuff out available, it is not quite so sharp or clear but it is perfectly usable. Liber Usualis is on the internet, there is material from the Church Music Association of America, and there are still old copies of Plainsong for Schools floating around, which are probably out of copyright by now.

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