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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“I have, on the other hand, retained several more or less traditional tunes, absolutely valueless and without merit from a musical point of view, but which seem to have become a necessity if a book is to appeal—as I hope this one will—to the varied needs of various churches.”
— A. Edmonds Tozer (1905)

A Tale Of Two Monsignori: Schmitt & Vyverman
published 22 April 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

EADERS KNOW very well my admiration for Flor Peeters and his associates at the Lemmens Institute, so I need not repeat that at this time. However, I need to remind readers the Lemmens Institute is located in a place called “Mechelen” in Belgium. It turns out “Mechelen” can also be written as “Mechlin” and “Malines,” depending on which language a person is using at the moment. In the article below, I notice that Msgr. Schmitt (who liked to be called “Father Schmitt”) spells the region as “Malignes.” Fr. Schmitt was a notoriously bad editor when it comes to spelling and proofreading (and he often made fun of his abilities in these areas). I’m not sure whether “Malignes” is technically a correct variant spelling or simply an error on his part. Very soon, this Blog will allow comments. If we had comments enabled right now, I’m sure some Dutch-speaker could tell me whether it was a typo. In any event, I thought it would be fun to use “Malign” in the subtitle (hence: Did Schmitt malign Vyverman of Malines?).

Here’s the article I spoke of by Fr. Schmitt:

      * *  7521 • Article by Msgr. Frank Schmitt (Winter, 1962) [pdf]

As alluded to above, Msgr. Jules Vyverman was an associate of Flor Peeters at the Lemmens Institute. Vyverman contributed to the Nova Organi Harmonia, along with Msgr. Jules Van Nuffel, Marinus de Jong, Gustaaf Nees, Henri Durieux, and Edgard de Laet. A picture of Vyverman is in the upper right corner.

In Schmitt’s article, he mentions a chant method by Msgr. Vyverman. I’ve never seen it. I sure would like to obtain it someday.

As I was reading, I saw that Schmitt spelled Joseph Gogniat as Joseph Cogniat. I thought to myself, “Ouch, there’s a typo.” Reading more, I saw that Schmitt spelled Gogniat as Cogniat a second time. That would seem to indicate he truly forgot Gogniat’s name, which is really odd considering Schmitt’s admiration for Dr. Peter Wagner and his student (Gogniat).


Don’t be to bothered by Schmitt’s attacks on the Solesmes ictus. This is a constant theme (obsession?) with him. It would have been better for Schmitt to have simply said, “I don’t like the ictus. I don’t find it helpful to make my choirs sing beautifully.” Instead, he chose to write volume after volume about the ictus. In the end, it made very little difference. Schmitt pushed for Rembert Weakland to be CMAA President. (Weakland is a disgraced Catholic bishop who did tremendous harm to the Catholic Church). Schmitt thought having a bishop as President would make the Conference of Catholic Bishops listen to the CMAA. It totally backfired. Weakland ended up pushing for the “hootenanny Mass” and I think he only lasted one year as CMAA President.