About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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The Vatican Gradual cheered our hearts by restoring the authentic form of the hymns therein. But there are very few hymns in the Gradual. We looked forward to the continuation of the same work, where it was so much more needed, in the Vesperal, and then in the new Breviary. Alas, the movement, for the present, has stopped. The new Vesperal and then the Breviary contain Urban VIII’s versions. So at present we have the odd situation that in the Gradual the old form of the hymns is restored; but when the same hymn (for instance “Vexilia regis”) comes again in the Vesperal, we must sing the seventeenth-century mangling.
— Adrian Fortescue (25 March 1916)

Introduction To “Views From The Choir Loft”
published 30 December 2012 by Jeff Ostrowski

LEASE allow me to welcome you to “Views from the Choir Loft.” Credit for the clever Blog name belongs to Andrew Motyka, one of the founding contributors. I hope our Blog title is sufficiently descriptive, because I dislike Blogs with excessively enigmatic titles.

I will not attempt to describe the kinds of blog entries our contributors will be creating since I assume this will be obvious to our readers. For myself, however, I anticipate posting two different types of items: (1) reflections on Catholic sacred music & liturgy; (2) short reflections on interesting things I come across. To illustrate number 2, here is an example:

This was found in a very interesting article by Dom Gregory Anthony Murray (“Catholic Action and the Mass”) published in a 1935 edition of Caecilia (Volume 61, No. 10, page 439).

“In the opinion of all save perhaps the actual singers” . . . How true is this statement by Dom Gregory Murray! So often, singers attempt music they ought not to. But there are ways to remedy this, and I hope to write many more articles explaining how this can be fixed. I also hope to continue providing resources on CCW to help fix this problem.

One more example of an “interesting” thing I would pass along would be this statement by Monsignor Francis P. Schmitt:

It may not seem like forty years to some Pittsburghers since Paul Koch succeeded the redoutable Carlo Rossini, but it is. Prior to that he had studied at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Tech. Graduate study took him to Leipzig and Paris, 1936-1939, for work with Gunther Ramin and Marcel Dupre. Not the least of his accomplishments in Leipzig was slipping out of class one not-so-fine day to snap a photo of the Nazis demolishing an heroic statue of Felix Mendelssohn. Taken into custody, he was released only after they found the negative.

This was taken from a 1989 article (“Regalement In Pittsburgh”) in Sacred Music. I will be including a lot more by “Frank Schmitt” (as his friends called him) because he was a good writer with “wit” . . . perhaps too much wit.


I will sometimes end my blogs with the following motto, repeated often by a great Church musician:

“Remember: the life of a Church musician is a life of sacrifice.”