ERY LITTLE IS AVAILABLE publicly about Paul Inwood, who was called “England’s foremost composer of Bad Catholic Music” by Damian Thompson. From what I can tell, Inwood was born in London on 7 May 1947, and de facto runs an internet forum where he promotes his compositions (using a fake name: “Southern Comfort”). Nothing I can find says whether Paul Inwood is married, has children, and so forth. Along with Ernest Sands in 1993, Inwood co-authored a guide for producers of religious television broadcasts, the fruit of training courses he’d offered with Sands during the 1980s. Personally, I find Paul Inwood’s compositions repugnant. As a youngster in the 1980s, my Church used his goofy songs—such as this one. Even as a child, I instinctively knew such songs sounded hokey. Since Inwood’s songs were sung in Kansas during the 1980s, it would seem he was popular once upon a time. Preparing for this article, I reviewed recent examples of Paul Inwood’s compositions, and they have not improved. They are uninspired, heavily syncopated, and embarrassingly predictable—in my humble opinion.
Inwood vs. Ostrowski
A former student recently sent me this:
* PDF Download • Inwood Vs. Ostrowski
—Paul Inwood speaking about the Ictus and harmonies.
Paul Inwood is incorrect. Not everyone accepts the “ictus theories”—which are normally referred to as The Classical Solesmes Method. In general, I have no issues with melismatic ictus placement by Solesmes; those are wonderful. But when we enter the realm of syllabic chants, that’s an entirely different ball of wax. This PDF chart does a good job of demonstrating how syllabic ictus placement can be hard to swallow, especially for amateur singers. I’m not saying I reject the Classical Solesmes Method. I’m saying I’ve been thinking about this for 20+ years yet still cannot embrace some of the syllabic ictus placement.
Inwood erroneously believes there’s just one system of Gregorian accompaniment. He is wrong. He should explore the Nova organi harmonia ad graduale juxta editionem vaticanam. In particular, he should read the PREFACE—posted at the top of the page in French and English—which explains the methodology of modal accompaniment. Mr. Inwood should also download the book on Gregorian accompaniment by Flor Peeters, which we have scanned and made available for free at the Lalande Library. I’m quite comfortable with my understanding of the different schools of Gregorian accompaniment. Between 1998-2008, I personally scanned about 15,000 pages of accompaniment books, including items by: Théodore Nisard, François Fétis, Joseph D’Ortigue, Georges Schmitt, Abbé Lepage, Ernest Grosjean, Abbé Brun, Dr. Peter Wagner, Max Springer, Dr. Amédée Gastoué, Henri Potiron, Maurice Emmanuel, Abbé Tissot, Julius Bas, Abbé Méroux, Dr. Eugène Lapierre, Dom Jean Hébert Desrocquettes, Abbot Raphael Molitor, Father Arnaldo Furlotti, Achille P. Bragers, Monsignor Leo P. Manzetti, Dr. Franz Xaver Mathias, Father Andrew Green, Monsignor Jules Van Nuffel, Monsignor Jules Vyverman, Marcel Dupré, Aloys Desmet, Monsignor Franz Nekes, and Flor Peeters.
Judge For Yourself
Not long ago, I published an article with nine (9) different organ accompaniments for “Victimae Paschali Laudes.” If Paul Inwood had read this article, perhaps he would not have written what he did. Contained in that article, I included my own harmonization, which adheres to the ictus of Dom Mocquereau in a “strict” or “rigid” manner. To help you evaluate, I also included a fully-notated version of the sequence in English—which matches the Latin accents exactly—so you can compare apples to apples. You can download that score, as well. On Easter Sunday, I used my accompaniment (the one that adheres strictly to the ictus). Here’s how that sounded:
* Mp3 Download • VICTIMAE PASCHALI LAUDES
—Accompaniment “strictly according to Solesmes” by Jeff Ostrowski.
I don’t claim the performance is perfect; the point is that the accompaniment is 100% according to the Classical Solesmes Method. Now I just have to make up my mind about whether I agree with it! Words like “reconciliávit” come out like “re-CON-ci-LI-a-VIT”—and that’s hard for me to swallow. Paul Inwood wrote that when the ictus does not fall on the tonic accent, that’s “part of what gives the chant its other-worldly quality.” Many distinguished Gregorianists agree with his statement.
A Case Of Disappearing
Paul Inwood is part of a cadre of “Vatican II Musicians” who contribute in various ways to the Pray Tell Blog. This group includes: Father Michael Joncas, Paul Inwood, and David Haas.
It seems everything related to David Haas has been deleted. When you click on the links, they have all been removed. They are still available on the internet, however, and we see PrayTell was publishing troubling articles by David Haas as recently as 14 May 2020. As far as I know, none of the Corpus Christi Watershed authors have written anything about the recent David Haas revelations. The situation is so dirty and salacious, I suspect none of us wants to even think about it. The following video—available publicly on YouTube—is quite sobering:
The gentleman shown speaking—Mr. Alec Harris—is president of a private company which was given sole administrative custody over the “Revised Grail Psalter” by the USCCB in 2008. Anyone who wanted to print, broadcast, or reproduce the official Responsorial Psalms had to pay money to GIA Publications. Many went berserk when news of this leaked. Jeffrey Tucker of the Church Music Association of America wrote a billion articles condemning this scheme—such as this one—but the USCCB went forward anyway, because the USCCB does what it wants.
Some illiterate person will undoubtedly email me, telling me to stop judging the soul of Alec Harris. I’m not judging Mr. Harris. What I’m saying is this: the decision to let a private company administer the Psalms of David was nightmarish and ghastly. The situation with David Haas makes this hideous decision even worse. Mr. Jerry Galipeau (no friend of traditional Church music) said it best in his 22 April 2010 article:
GIA Publications is “the worldwide agent for the Revised Grail Psalms.” I cannot understand why a private family (the owners of GIA Publications) can be granted a position as “worldwide agent” for the official prayers of the Church. Once the Lectionary for Mass is revised and the Grail Psalms are printed in that revised Lectionary, GIA Publications will receive payment when those psalms are published in worship resources, hymnals, missals, and other resources. How that payment is distributed has not been made public. […] I just don’t understand how a private family and music publisher could be granted the status as “the worldwide agent for the Revised Grail Psalms”—which will eventually become the official version used in the Church’s liturgical books. While I understand how a family business is granted worldwide rights to intellectual property— that is what all publishers strive for—what I don’t understand is how the Church allows a private business to control and license what are official texts of the Church.
David Haas was “canceled” from places like GIA Publications after a tidal wave of allegations; and rightly so. But why had he been allowed to continue, even after he publicly declared that whether one believes in God is not important? Why doesn’t the Church ban texts by people like David Haas, and return to texts from Sacred Scripture—such as what is found in Gregorian chant? When will the bishops finally decide to stop trying to make money by selling the official texts of the Church, even daring to sell indulgenced prayers? When will the bishops learn that allowing private companies—such as GIA Publications—to sell and administer official texts of the Holy Mass is a horrendous idea? When will the bishops ban any “church music” company which publicly rejects Church teaching on, for example, sins against the holy virtue of purity?
I can’t shake the feeling that we have much work to do; and we must unite with good priests and faithful Catholics. The time is now.