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 lives with his wife and two children.
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In the '60s, I thought this emphasis on congregational singing was to encourage good Catholic hymns like "Immaculate Mary" and so forth … but after the Council, they threw them out, too!
— Fr. Valentine Young, OFM (2007)

“Live” Recording Of Polyphonic Kyrie VIII
published 16 September 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

294 Extraordinary Form MASS AST SUNDAY, as you can see by the musical program I post each week, we sang a beautiful composition by Richard Rice. I’ve mentioned how much I like this piece—and if you haven’t done so, you should download the entire Mass—so I won’t repeat what I’ve said already.

Last Sunday, somebody in the pews took this “live” recording:

    * *  Mp3 Audio • “Live” Kyrie VIII (Rice)

Is it a perfect performance? Certainly not; but we’re on the right track. Moreover, when you consider that our FSSP parish in Los Angeles has existed less than a year, I think you’ll agree we’ve made fine progress.

WHEN I STUDIED MUSICOLOGY in grad school, they made us read “source documents” from the Renaissance. One Cardinal complained vociferously in writing about a Kyrie he said was too happy. I’m paraphrasing, but his argument went something like this:

“Doesn’t this composer realize the Kyrie is supposed to be sad and mournful? It’s supposed to be written in a sad mode, but he chose a happy mode. Is this what art has come to? Have we reached a point where composers don’t even realize the Kyrie should sound sad?”

In fact, the Cardinal was dead wrong. The Catholic liturgical tradition is much more complicated than “sad vs. happy.” For instance, the same melodies—the exact same melodies—are used for the interlectionary chants during Lent and Eastertide. You can even find “happy” melodies setting the CRUCIFIXUS. The reason is because our Catholic faith is a mixture of joy and sorrow. This is illustrated well by the name “Good Friday.” Another example would be “Felix Culpa.” For the record, Richard Rice’s Kyrie—if sung well—should should extremely happy, although a few “dismal” elements are hidden within it as well.

In a biography of Saint John Bosco, it’s mentioned that Don Bosco would fall out of bed each morning at 4:00am and immediately pray for an hour … in thanksgiving. Another described the saint’s whole life as a massive outpouring of thanksgiving. In my life, I have so much to be thankful for. Were I to list everything and everyone, this blog would go on forever.

Let me just mention three things:

(1) I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with our choir and organist here in Los Angeles.

(2) I’m grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for the gift of Summorum Pontificum.

(3) I’m grateful to the CCW donors, who give $5.00 each month. Thanks to them, we can share our hopes, dreams, failures, and successes here on Views from the Choir Loft.