Saturday, 21 July 2007

Singing in the Cathedral

Well, we had another sing-song at Mass today at 1pm in St Patrick's Cathedral. I used a setting for Psalm 116 that had been written by my good friend David Goedecke for my daughter's baptism many moons ago. Here it is (click on the image for larger picture):

I think it went down okay--but I do finally seem to have attracted the attention of the Cathedral Capellmeister. Rather than call for an end to this impromptu singing, he suggested (very politely) that since he is in charge of the music in the Cathedral he should determine what psalm settings are used. His suggestion? His own Gregorian settings. That way, he said, there will be some uniformity as to the settings used for the psalms in the Cathedral.

I am more than happy to comply, for two reasons: First, as he says, he is in charge of Cathedral music, and second, his settings are very good. There is a third reason: it will save me time searching for a setting to use each Friday morning. And a fourth reason ("no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition") is that I am glad he didn't just say "quit it".

However, his settings use the NRSV rather than the Grail. I agree with him that the Grail is horribly inaccurate (it amuses me that the Holy See disapproves of the NRSV for inaccuracies when the Grail is more of a paraphrase than a translation). He calls the Grail a "Humpty dumpty sat on a wall" translation--refering to the "dumpty dumpity dumpty dump" rhythm.

And some of the settings of the responses--though beautiful--are a little tricky to learn and repeat after only one hearing, especially if you don't have the music in front of you.

Nevertheless, I take his intervention as an endorsement for continuing the tradition of 1pm lunchtime sung masses on Fridays in Melbourne at St Patrick's Cathedral. Come and have a sing-a-long with us!