The final day commenced with Dom Samuel Weber's paper on the use of psalms. Extensive illustrations were provided with excerpts from the St Louis Gradual and the St Louis Hymnal for the Hours together with a bilingual edition of Compline. This presentation was essentially a practical exploration of what could be employed on the way to realizing a fuller use of the canonical psalter within the liturgy particularly in the proper texts which Fr Samuel identified as a particular concern in the thought of Benedict XVI.
At 12. 30 in St Peter and Paul's Church Fr James Brucke FSSP celebrated his first High Mass after ordination last week to the sacred priesthood. The setting of the ordinary was William Byrd's Mass for Five Voices which had formed part of Dr McCarthy's earlier lecture. This was a model celebration of the sung form of the Extraordinary Form lasting just over an hour. Considering the discussions of proper psalmody earlier in the day it was slightly surprising to discover some of the proper chants replaced by polyphony with texts not of the day.
Thomas Lacote, organist titulaire of the cathedral in Bourges presented a paper on music inspired by sacred themes but standing outside of liturgical norms. After noting the presence of sacred themes and gestures in some expected places (the agnostic Faure) and some unexpected places (the surprisingly pious Stockhausen) he turned to an examination of a new series of his own compositions entitled Dedication. The series derives it's inspiration from the common texts association with the Feast of the Dedication of a Church and are scored for a variety of forces. Dedication I, for tenor recorder, exploits the consecratory ritual of circumscribing a building during its consecration. Dedication II, for trombone quartet, is yet to be completed. (In a conversation afterwards he mentioned that it's inspiration was associated with the walls of the consecrated building). Dedication III, for organ, is inspired by the Matins antiphon Vidit Iacob scalam and Dedication IV, for twelve voices a capella, a setting of a verse from the office hymn Caelestis urbs, Ierusalem. The excerpts played during the talk illustrated quite clearly the advanced musical language that Lacote is employing inspired by the sacred treasury but not derivative or imitative.
The final address of the day came from Archbishop Raymond Burke who spoke on The New Evangelization and Sacred Music. Archbishop Burke reflected on the presence of sacred music in his early education in rural Wisconsin, the sudden abandonment of the Liber Usualis during his junior seminary days, in 1965, and the realisation of the banality of what was coming to replace it. Whilst he sensed the departure of beauty he noted the general acceptance at the time that this was what the Church wanted. This talk was very carefully conceived with gems in almost every sentence. I hope that the entire talk can be made available in advance of the formal publication.
In relation to sacred music the archbishop noted two general principles in the thought of Benedict XVI: (a) That the true purpose of sacred music is as servant of the sacred liturgy glorifying God and sanctifying the faithful. (b) to this end there are three qualities must be constantly sort; (1) that of Holiness, avoiding the secular and rejecting anything foreign to the liturgy. (2) that of Beauty, in that the music must be artistic, not inferior and of the highest quality. (3) Finally Universality in that the forms used must be subject to the norms of Catholicism. In concluding Archbishop Burke noted that formal aestheticism must be avoided and sacred music must always be oriented 'Godwards'.
At the end of this third day Fr Vincent Twomey SVD gave thanks to the various people who had contributed to FOTA III. In conclusion he mentioned that the subject for FOTA IV would be 'The Roman Missal' with papers being sort on both the recent 3rd edition of the Missale Romanum (and the translations derived from it) and the 1962 Missale Romanum as the edition envisaged by Summorum Pontificum. He mentioned that the proceedings of FOTA II are now with the publishers.
Dom Alban Nunn