segunda-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2010

«Cantar a missa não é a mesma coisa que cantar na missa»

O artigo infra dá conta de um percurso pessoal e de uma nova perspectiva face à música litúrgica de uma católica goesa.
Fala-se de actuosa participatio, do Concílio Vaticano II, de canto litúrgico e de canto sacro, de abertura ao mundo e de abastardamento cultural e litúrgico:

It's time to sing the Mass again

"Why can't Catholics sing any more?" musicologists ask, recalling the Gregorian chant and grand polyphony they used to hear at Mass, when the people in the pews could handle world-class music. Fine liturgical music is an heirloom for all humanity, and everyone has a stake in encouraging church musicians to keep it alive.

In the language of the Second Vatican Council: "The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value." Funnily enough, many blame that very Council (1962-1965) for the low-grade music currently sung at Mass in a majority of churches.
This is unfair. Although the Council opened the doors to the world's cultural variety, the relevant document-the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy-clearly affirmed the primacy of the Gregorian chant and the necessity of high artistic standards in new compositions.

Catholic liturgists ask a different question: "Why have we all but stopped singing the Mass?" The singing we usually hear in church can at best be described as hymns, not the words of the Mass itself. The biblical readings and prayers are carefully selected for each action of the Mass.

The purpose of the singing is to extend the dimensions of solemnity, beauty and fervour of those same actions, not some other. This is what liturgical music means. It is different from devotional music-hymns sung in other contexts. And it is very different from profane music-all the stuff from 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' to 'From this Moment'.

While parishes around the globe face these challenges, my comments are chiefly about what we suffer at Mass in English in Goa. As one involved in church choirs here and elsewhere for the last forty years, I must say I too believed we were spreading "the spirit of Vatican II" when we introduced catchy innovations during Mass.

I was told "the people's participation" was all-important. We choir types were pleased when members of the congregation came up after Mass and said, "Oh, we really enjoyed it!" as though it were a show. We concentrated on four hymns, thinking that was our bit. No one ever told us in 1970 to sing the Mass, to aim at inner participation, helping people enter more fully into the meaning of each liturgical action.

In the last few years, especially at weddings and funerals, I have often heard choirs do devotional and profane music at various parts of the ceremony, even interrupting the liturgy with so-and-so's favourite song.

Almost invariably, some schmaltzy number replaces the precious Psalm chosen from the hymnal Jesus himself used. Then again, there is a habit of singing prayerful words to plagiarised pop tunes. When a choir of seminarians erupted into an Alleluia to the tune of 'Oo Oo Ah Ah Sexy Eyes', I was surprised the congregation remained solemn. Alas, we have stuffed our ears with cotton wool. Now is the favourable time to change all that.

Starting this Advent season, we have a year to settle choral scores. On November 27, 2011, Catholics in India, together with those in most parts of the English-speaking world, are scheduled to begin using the scholarly translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.

There are a few changes in some of the Mass prayers and responses. The choir needs to learn its part much before the congregation. Besides, the New Mass implies new musical settings. Composers and publishers got busy years ago, using the so-called grey book of semi-final texts, and the final arrangements will be out very soon.

While (...) not learn the rules? 
As to what must be sung at Mass, there is this classic 1969 answer from the group of bishops and experts set up by Pope Paul VI to implement the Constitution on the Liturgy: Texts must be those of the Mass, not others, and singing means singing the Mass not just singing during Mass.

Fatima M Noronha is a writer and editor by profession and takes a keen interest in church music. The views expressed are those of the writer.

Read more: It's time to sing the Mass again - The Times of India

Via The Chant Café.

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