OLLECTING, TRANSPORTING, AND COPYING the 30,000+ pages of antique books found in the LALANDE ONLINE LIBRARY taught me so much. One book that really caught my attention was the Weinmann 1909 Graduale, which uses medieval noteheads on five modern staves. Sadly, it never really “caught on” because it uses the Vaticana system of rhythm. But until yesterday I had forgotten something important.
Each week, I replace the scores on GOUPIL with improved scores that provide two (2) translations. Recent examples include 01; 02; 03. But Fr. Weinmann beat me by 100 years; do you see how he provided a German translation?
It’s not always easy to give a verbatim translation. 1
I CAN ONLY ASSUME that Fr. Karl Weinmann was attempting to bring Catholics closer to Jesus Christ by helping them understand what they sing. Now it’s our turn, and that’s why I have been trying to replace the Goupil scores. Hopefully by February they will all be finished.
But there’s a difference between our current situation and that of Fr. Weinmann.
Catholic schools have long since abandoned serious musical works, so good Church musicians today usually come from secular universities, where masterworks are still taught and appreciated. I’ll never forget the way the secular professors mocked the Catholic Church in the graduate school I attended, saying things like: “They had it all. They had the greatest composers of all time—Palestrina, Marenzio, Lassus, Vierne, Franck, Fauré, and a thousand others—yet they abandoned them…and for what? Composers like Marty Haugen!”
University professors don’t sit around wondering whether they should teach the music of Tomás Luis de Victoria or David Haas. They don’t break into a sweat trying to decide whether to expose their students to Dan Schutte or the Graduale Romanum. They may be atheists (some of them) but they realize what great music is. Nor is it a question of which is “simpler,” because Gregorian chant can be extremely simple yet sublime. Once a college student gets hooked on the real stuff—even a simple piece like Jesu Dulcis Memoria—there’s no turning back. Once they have fallen in love, they will follow their passion no matter what.
Because I have sung sacred music exclusively at Church for a decade, it seems weird that my college choirs sang so much sacred music at secular venues—Machaut, Byrd, Monteverdi, Morales, Verdelot, Uttendal, Bach, Duruflé, Langlais, Widor, and so forth—but we sure did.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The lengths of the Latin words create restrictions—but I try my hardest, and the alternate translation I mentioned above helps clear away any difficulties. Sometimes the words themselves are puzzling. The word “immittet,” for example, is usually translated “encamped,” but that’s not really what it means. Perhaps someone who knows German can explain how Weinmann translated “immittet.”
From someone who knows German, regarding the footnote:
The translator is using the German verb “lagern” here which does mean “to encamp” It is used reflexively here and means essentially “to encamp himself ” or something like set himself as a protector or set himself in a camp as a protector. It emphasizes, thus, that the angel is active, that he is the one taking this strong action on our behalf, or , as the text says, on behalf of those that fear him.
So, from beginning to end:
The angel of the Lord places himself in a camp, round about those who fear him, and saves them: taste and see how sweet the Lord is. ( Yes, it really does say, “sweet”. As in the sweetness of honey or fruit.)