The New Liturgical Movement has an interesting post on whether Gregorian chant 'can be re-established as the primary and living musical language of Roman Rite Catholics around the world' - consistent with statements in Sacrosanctum Concilium!
NLM's Mr Jeffrey Tucker argues it can be done, using the example of the revival of Hebrew as a living language. In the late nineteenth century, he points out, Hebrew was essentially a liturgical language only, akin to Latin for the Catholic Church. A deliberate and concerted plan was launched to change all of that though, as a means of supporting the Zionist movement, and it succeeded.
Now personally, I wish the Catholic Church would attempt the same exercise in relation to the Latin language, and not just chant. Still, chant is a good place to start, and could be an important tool in driving out the banal music that dominate so many novus ordo masses.
And this is an area where traditionalists should in theory at least be able to spearhead such a campaign, since most TLM communities do have a schola or choir of some kind, and there a number of people in Australia with considerable expertise on the subject.
In practice, however, I suspect that most traditional communities here are struggling to maintain there own sung masses, and are not in a position to lend aid to other parishes interested in learning to sing a few versions of the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, etc) even if they were inclined to so.
Still, if restoring Gregorian chant really is the aim, it is these groups that need to be re-invigorated into providing the base for such an objective. So what is there current status?
No Australian scholas have as yet added themselves to the International Registry of Gregorian Scholas mentioned on NLM recently.
Still, Sydney appears to have the most active choir training programme currently (with an eye to 'succession planning', with its men's schola, St Radegund's choir, and junior choir). There are also a series of workshops running there through June associated with Juventutem to attempt to spread the word.
Melbourne also has an active schola, with 'a small but expanding a capella choir'. Hopefully the planned Juventutem workshops on chant in July will give that a boost.
Adelaide has a sizable, good, and very youthful choir.
Canberra has only a very small group mainly of very longstanding members, albeit supplemented for special occasions.
And what about the congregations? Do they sing the Ordinary and responses??? Have any of the music directors attempted to do any training of their broader communities? Is anyone working with other parishes to teach them chant or help them establish choirs for new TLMs?
I'd be interested in intelligence others are able to offer on these topics.
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