OMETIMES PEOPLE want to know the greatest book on Catholic church music ever written. Many say it’s the 1907 volume by Sir Richard R. Terry, and there’s no denying it’s a good read. Others might mention books by Karl Gustav Fellerer or William Mahrt—and there are many others from which to choose.
For myself, I’d be tempted to cite the 1956 book CATHOLIC CHURCH MUSIC by Paul Hume.
Here’s a sample chapter:
* * Chapter IV: • THE PROBLEM OF HYMNS
Paul Hume (1915-2001) served as music editor for the Washington Post from 1946 to 1982, and was once sent a famous piece of hate mail by President Truman after Hume criticized the singing technique of the president’s daughter.
A friend of mine sent me a Google link to the entire book 1 (out-of-print for decades), which was originally published by a defunct company that went out existence in 1990. You can download the entire book, but please exercise caution—you won’t be able to stop reading! Paul Hume is a fantastic wordsmith, and anyone who reads our blog is in love with the subject matter, needless to say.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 By the way, the book’s Preface is by Rev’d Francis Guentner (1917-2013), a famous church musician who studied theology at St. Mary’s College in Kansas. That college—formerly owned by the Jesuits—now belongs to the SSPX, and I’m told the entire property was sold to them for a dollar. (That’s what I was told, but who knows if it’s true.)