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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“It was a riveting adventure to move by degrees into the mysterious world of the Liturgy which was being enacted before us and for us there on the altar. It was becoming more and more clear to me that here I was encountering a reality that no one had simply thought up, a reality that no official authority or great individual had created. […] Not everything was logical. Things sometimes got complicated and it was not always easy to find one’s way. But precisely this is what made the whole edifice wonderful, like one’s own home.”
— Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (“Milestones” pp. 19-20) 1997

PDF • “Hosanna” Catholic Hymnal (285 Pages)
published 19 January 2018 by Jeff Ostrowski

90658 Ludwig Bonvin HOSANNA HYMN BOOK Catholic ORK CONTINUES on the Brébeuf hymnal, which is scheduled to be released this year. I am honored to be part of its international committee, and we often discover the most interesting books while doing research. Fr. Ludwig Bonvin was a Jesuit priest who served as music director at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. 1 In 1914, he published a hymnal with a company in St. Louis, Missouri:

    * *  PDF “Hosanna” Catholic Hymn Book (285 pages)

Jesuit Fr. Peter Leonard was appointed Censor of this work by the Bishop of Buffalo. He has nothing but positive things to say about the creation of his confrère (his assessment is printed at the very beginning of the hymnal) and I do agree this is one of the better American hymnals from that period.

Bonvin wisely chose many Divine Office hymns (Catholic), with English translations frequently taken from Hymns Ancient & Modern (Protestant). This is rather remarkable, since the tradition at that time was to use translations produced exclusively by Catholics: Donohoe, Caswall, Newman, Bagshawe, and so forth. Fr. Bonvin’s book was reviewed favorably in 1916 by his friends at the Catholic Choirmaster (cf. page 13):

    * *  PDF 1916 Review “American Catholic Hymnals”

Bonvin was concerned about the state of Catholic music in those days:

“Many choirs of children still use hymnals that are wretched from a musical as well as an ecclesiastical standpoint, hymnals that offer not only tasteless and insipid texts and musical bunglings, but even adaptations of well-known English, German, and French secular songs. Even such decidedly secular tunes as Tyrolese and Swiss Yodels, or such unbecoming music as abbreviated arias from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Rossini’s operas are not wanting; all this, too, in a form so corrupt, mutilated and bungled, that in the concert hall or in the family circle we should turn away from it in disgust.”

Speaking of Catholic Choirmaster hymnal reviews, here’s one for the Old Saint Basil Hymnal by “Hymnologus” (a fake name) from 1916:

    * *  PDF 1916 Review (“Old Saint Basil Hymnal”)

The language is quite strong—and the author even uses Dom Pothier’s famous disciple (Dom Lucien David) to attack—but we must remember this was published by Nicola Montani (d. 1948) whose hymnal was in direct competition with the Old Saint Basil Hymnal.

The anonymous author seems not to be in love with Germany:


For myself, I think that tune is quite dignified, and often used with “Glorious things of thee are spoken.” Moreover, if memory serves, Haydn did not actually compose that tune—he adapted it from a Croatian song.


1   Canisius College was founded in 1870 by members of the Society of Jesus from Germany and was named after St. Peter Canisius, whose church in Switzerland was used for the images in the Campion Hymnal.