Hymn of the Week: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (LOBE DEN HERREN)

 Hymn Title : Praise to the Lord, the Almighty Tune Name : LOBE DEN HERREN Meter : An absolute staple hymn, Praise to the Lord has been published in 376 different hymnals, according to - and it deserves this widespread fame. With a metrical pattern that only a German Chorale Master could dream up, you won't find any other text set to this tune, nor this tune with any other set of words. So why am I bothering to make it available to you, when I could be featuring other, more obscure hymns? Well, because I want to draw your attention to it - sometimes a gold standard gets cast aside as "too common," and falls out of use. Also your hymnal might have watered the words down, and we can't have that. LOBE DEN HERREN is a strong, singable tune, with a solid, rational arrangement. The long opening lines should be sung in one breath if possible, which should give you a sense of the kind of brisk tempo this piece demands, unless you are in a large, espec

Hymn of the Week: The Church's One Foundation (AURELIA)

 Hymn Title: The Church's One Foundation Tune Name: AURELIA Meter: 76 76 D Andrew Seeley writes in Golden Treasures  (the companion volume to Classic Hymns For Catholic Schools ): "Many of the traditional doctrines of the Catholic Church are shared by our separated brethren. This hymn [The Church's One Foundation], one of the richest in English celebrating the Church, was written by an Anglican clergyman in South Africa and is sung to a tune composed by the grandson of Charles Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. But the reverence for the Church, the Scripturally-rich imagery, the connection with history and eternity make this an eminently Catholic hymn."* There seems to be a dearth of modern Catholic "hymns" about the Church that are actually Christ-centered. I suppose that the dreaded "Spirit of Vatican II" (which has very little to do with the teachings  of Vatican II) told us that we should turn our attention to ourselves and celebrate t

The Liturgical Musician as Teacher

 "He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 18:2-3) Children are amazing. They begin knowing nothing except that they are needy, and over a remarkably short period of time, learn to eat, walk, talk, read, navigate relationships, dress themselves, memorize and repeat an astonishing quantity of information, and so on. For the most part, this is done simply by having things around for them to learn from, by being intentional in speaking to them, and by expecting them to participate to the best of their ability in every day life, correcting gently where necessary. No adult can possibly absorb as much as any average child - our crusty old brains still rely on the patterns acquired in infancy to process and integrate information. Our Mother the Church treats us as the children we are: she places us in a prepared environment  (a beautiful church), speaks to

Hymn of the Week: The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky (EISENACH)

 Hymn Title: The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky Tune Name: EISENACH Meter: LM (88 88) As we are coming up on the Feast of the Assumption (a holy day of obligation... unless your diocese habitually lifts the obligation for feasts that fall on a Monday or Saturday, lest people have to attend Mass two days in a row ), it's time to reach into your Marian Hymn Box. Oh, what have we here? A hymn to our Blessed Mother that isn't Hail Holy Queen or Immaculate Mary? Sign me up! The trick to using Marian hymns in the Mass* is to make sure that at least some of the time, they are addressed to God. If the antiphon for which you are substituting a hymn is addressed to Mary, you may use a hymn addressed to Mary. Otherwise, you want one like this one, which concludes: O Lord, the Virgin-born, to thee eternal praise and glory be, whom with the Father we adore and Holy Spirit evermore. This is not out of any disrespect to Mary, of course! But if you were at a wedding, and found that all the

Resource Review: Worship 4

My overall rating: 2.5/5 Content:  2/5 Book Quality: 4/5 Ease of use: 3/5 Musicality: 2/5 Summary: has some good stuff but won't be everything your parish needs, making it a very expensive supplement. The Worship hymnal line from GIA Publications has been one of their flagship resources for a really, really long time. The fourth edition was published in 2011, so as to include the new translation of the Novus Ordo. Their site rates it as "80% traditional, 20% contemporary," so it's clear that they don't use the same metric as I do for that divide. Per their website, " Worship IV is filled with the finest organ-based hymnody GIA has to offer. " I don't doubt that this is true. the Good There's a ton of stuff in here. There are over 1200 separate pieces of music, encompassing hymns and canticles for the Liturgy of the hours, eight complete Mass settings, alternate psalm settings, traditional hymns, contemporary works, and more. The accompanimen

I Had This Idea

People keep telling me that they can't join the choir because they don't read music. Well, reading music is nice, but not necessary, depending on the level of musicianship and the difficulty of the music in your parish choir. But it got me thinking... what if they could? So I asked my pastor for a minute at the end of each Mass one weekend to make "an announcement." (To be fair, if he didn't want me to go on for a bit, he should have said no - he's seen the length of my previous "announcements," so it's on him, really.) Below is the text of the announcement I gave: "Hello, my name is (Kathleen), and I am the director of music here at (church). For over 20 years, it has been my honor to help enrich the liturgical life of this wonderful parish, with the help of a team of dedicated and talented musicians. I’m not actually here to recruit you to join the choir - in fact, the choir is just about to take their summer break, so that announcement wi

Hymn of the Week: I Bind Unto Myself Today (Updated music!)

 Hymn Title: I Bind Unto Myself Today Tune Name: ST PATRICK"S BREASTPLATE / DIERDRE Meter: LMD (Long Meter Double, that is, 88 88 two times) The first hymn I put up on this site was a fine example of an old Irish lorica  or prayer of protection. This one is the Big Great Grandaddy of all Old Irish Loricas, named the breastplate of St Patrick. If hymns were people, this one would be a legendary general. If hymns were food, this one would be an entire banquet. If hymns were dwelling places, this one would be a fortress. Performance of this wonder should not be undertaken without preparation - it's hard to know what is going on and when, unless everyone has looked over the music together at least once. The first verse is a shortened version of the subsequent verses, so I have typeset it first by itself, outside of the repeats. Then, you may notice that the remaining verses are numbered 2-5, then 7. This is because, not content to be a great hymn, this one sidetracks for the s