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Mander Organs
MusingMuso

WHOOPS! THEY DID IT AGAIN.

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Hmmm, I have no stats but I doubt this would be a majority view across CofE churchgoers generally.

 

You may doubt, but if you have no stats you don't know. Of course it would be very difficult to obtain meaningful stats anyway, because part of the debate would have to include those who no longer attend, or attend elsewhere, because of the new style of worship, which in any case varies from place to place. In any discussion on this subject it's not just the churchgoers that count, it's also the past, or potential, congregation who don't attend, and they are very difficult to assess.

 

My experience as a locum across 30 different CofE churches in 2005-8 is that the Prayer Book Communion service is extinct in the context of the main Sunday morning service.

 

You may well be correct, but that doesn't mean that the majority of those who could or would attend prefer the alternative(s). It simply means that someone in authority, e.g. the parish priest, or a vociferous individual or group with influence on the latter, has decided to impose change.

 

When our last priest arrived some years ago, he introduced Common Worship for morning services, and stated that he didn't 'do' Evensong. When I suggested to him that our congregation generally preferred BCP, his reply was "If they don't like my services they can go elsewhere." Some did just that and others just stopped going. The complaint now is that the congregation is dwindling.

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The church is but one generation away from extinction (but before you get too worried, it always has been).

 

So a question I'd be asking is what is the average age of the congregation in churches that predominantly use the BCP compared to the average age of those attending Common Worship and other contemporary styles of worship. Now, I hope noone would assess the spiritual strength of a church purely by the number of people on a Sunday, but there is surely merit in raising the question as to the sustainability of the congregation. My experience has been that young people tend to be put off attending churches with a predominantly older congregation particularly if the latter are not welcoming of young people. If the individual church takes the view that because we've always done it this way, we always will, and doesn't notice a gradual drop off as saints leave for sunnier climes, eventually there will be noone left.

 

I do love the BCP service and don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I attend church in spite of the liturgy, not because of it. And I think, bringing back the thread to organs, that there remains a role for the organ just as much in the services of Common Worship as in the services of BCP.

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The church is but one generation away from extinction (but before you get too worried, it always has been).

 

So a question I'd be asking is what is the average age of the congregation in churches that predominantly use the BCP compared to the average age of those attending Common Worship and other contemporary styles of worship. Now, I hope noone would assess the spiritual strength of a church purely by the number of people on a Sunday, but there is surely merit in raising the question as to the sustainability of the congregation. My experience has been that young people tend to be put off attending churches with a predominantly older congregation particularly if the latter are not welcoming of young people. If the individual church takes the view that because we've always done it this way, we always will, and doesn't notice a gradual drop off as saints leave for sunnier climes, eventually there will be noone left.

I think there is reason to put church liturgy in a similar category to Radio 4 and Classical Music. Whilst some children are brought up with them as part of their lifestyle from the cradle and a few (slightly perverse, in the sense of not following the herd) teenagers discover their joys, the majority don't appreciate them until they are in their thirties or later. I seem to remember the BBC getting very worried that the R4 audience would die off but they seem to have seen the error in that way of thinking and stopped their attempts to make it appeal to a younger audience; that's what R1 and R5 are for.

I do love the BCP service and don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But I attend church in spite of the liturgy, not because of it. And I think, bringing back the thread to organs, that there remains a role for the organ just as much in the services of Common Worship as in the services of BCP.

Agreed.

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I think there is reason to put church liturgy in a similar category to Radio 4 and Classical Music. Whilst some children are brought up with them as part of their lifestyle from the cradle and a few (slightly perverse, in the sense of not following the herd) teenagers discover their joys, the majority don't appreciate them until they are in their thirties or later. I seem to remember the BBC getting very worried that the R4 audience would die off but they seem to have seen the error in that way of thinking and stopped their attempts to make it appeal to a younger audience; that's what R1 and R5 are for.

 

Agreed.

 

 

=================================

 

I once had a cat which gave the impression of enjoying both classical music and Radio 4, but I suspect that the reality was somewhat different. I believe that what the animal really enjoyed, was being close to me; the source of all warmth, food and security. As a kitten, it was naturally terrified of thunder storms, but by a process of hugs and cuddles, it was quite happy to sit watching the flashes and the bouncing rain with the back door open, as I sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor with the cat in my arms. Amusingly, the lighting would flash, and the cat would then lick its lips nervously and flatten its ears, awaiting the inevitable thunderclap which followed. The same animal would go with me for a walk; never straying far. This happened every night; summer or winter, come summer moonlight or winter blizzards; the difference being that during blizzards, the cat would bury itself inside my jacket and poke its nose out to investigate the snow flakes.

 

So the cat and myself had a sort of routine: a liturgy even, which we both followed and understood. It was re-assuring and even comforting in a way, and whatever it was that we shared, neither of us questioned it; not least because one of us was incapable of questioning anything.

 

When the cat died, the liturgy came to an abrupt end, but it was good while it lasted. What I cannot do is to maintain the liturgy in the false hope that the cat will come back to life.

 

I believe that the only true way of playing Bach's organ-music is from the perspective of being historically informed, and as true to that as I can muster. It separates me from those who would choose a different way, by playing the music too fast or with great dollops of romantic registration. It also separates me from those who dream-up over-elaborate and unnecessary ornamentation, in the false belief that they have much to add which they believe improves the music.

 

Beliefs often divide, and liturgy sometimes has to die.

 

The Salvation Army set up a soup kitchen outside a local jobcentre recently, and a small queue of 'hoodies' were drinking soup and eating bread-rolls, provided by elderly ladies dressed in strange uniforms. They all seemed to be getting on fine together.

 

MM

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Of course, another problem is that the mass texts are no longer ecumenical, which sort of flies in the face of all this talk of better relations with the Anglicans, but I suppose that's a different discussion/rant altogether. I'm also not entirely convinced that most of the Roman laity know what "hosts" are (sanctus reference).

 

I've seen some of the new musical settings of the mass, and I remember that one of them was sort of half English and half Latin, which sort of struck me as an admission of failure- because a mass setting should really stand up in just one language. The new texts really fall down quite badly as far as setting them is concerned. On the other hand, it IS an opportunity to move away finally from all these paraphrased settings like the dreaded "Peruvian" Gloria.

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I've seen some of the new musical settings of the mass, and I remember that one of them was sort of half English and half Latin, which sort of struck me as an admission of failure- because a mass setting should really stand up in just one language.

But the settings of the Tridentine Mass generally switch between Greek and Latin. And the troped Kyries of the Sarum rite were macaronic, I think.

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Perhaps I could have made myself a little clearer. I'm not quite saying that a good setting must remain in one language throughout. That would be impossible for one thing, on account of the Kyrie. What I meant was that you shouldn't need to keep switching languages and throwing in random phrases in something else just to make the thing fit properly.

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Perhaps I could have made myself a little clearer. I'm not quite saying that a good setting must remain in one language throughout. That would be impossible for one thing, on account of the Kyrie. What I meant was that you shouldn't need to keep switching languages and throwing in random phrases in something else just to make the thing fit properly.

 

 

==================================

 

 

Eh?

 

I have the words in front of me as I write, and I cannot find anything in any other language but English.

 

The language may be dull, dull dull, but it isn't foreign!

 

Explain please!

 

MM

 

EDIT: I'll leave the above reply as it is, because it demonstrates the lack of communication. Actually, "the little red book" does have bits of Latin thrown in, but the version I was looking at is a weekly flyer in English.

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Ok ok. I'll start again-

 

Now that we have this new translation thrust upon us, a number of new mass settings have come along with it. That MacMillan one being the best known I suppose. Anyway I recently saw one (I forget which) but all I remember was that it was a wierd blend of English and Latin. I wasn't sure if it was stylistic or whether it was to make it fit better. I was unimpressed either way.

 

Surely they're not all like that of course- I haven't seen any of the others though so I couldn't say. The point is that it's a very clumsy bit of English that doesn't seem to like being set to music.

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Ok ok. I'll start again-

 

Now that we have this new translation thrust upon us, a number of new mass settings have come along with it. That MacMillan one being the best known I suppose. Anyway I recently saw one (I forget which) but all I remember was that it was a wierd blend of English and Latin. I wasn't sure if it was stylistic or whether it was to make it fit better. I was unimpressed either way.

 

Surely they're not all like that of course- I haven't seen any of the others though so I couldn't say. The point is that it's a very clumsy bit of English that doesn't seem to like being set to music.

 

 

===============================

 

The former highlighted above, is all part of the Latin option, which the Vatican presumably regard as a progressive step ( :huh: ),

and the latter point entices musicians to take that option. I am trying to avoid this, but such clumsy words tend to lead to clumsy music.

 

The sad thing is, we sing an "in house" parish setting, which was the work of a member of the congregation, who has a certain gift of melody. I harmonised his efforts, and the result was very singable.

 

I suppose we should draw this discussion to a conclusion, because it isn't really organ related, save for the sheer frustration catholic organists are enduring at the present time. :angry:

 

MM

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As you yourself said earlier in this thread- it has a lot to do with organists actually, because we're at the helm of this in terms of appliance.

 

I'm not sure if this was an alternative setting, as I said, I can't remember much of it. It seemed more a case of trying to work round the worst parts.

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