Five Books You Need to Do the Work

Why did I say "five?"  I could have said "three" or "twelve" or two hundred.  What I'm getting at is the idea of certain books which will get you through each Sunday.  Gee, I wish I would hear from you on this subject.  Here's what I suggest and why:

World Library Publications, Voices as One, Volumes I and II

Among other reasons, this is where you'll find Paul Tate and Joe Mattingly.  If I don't mention John Angotti it's because he started one of his songs with the words, 'You brood of vipers.'  Avoid songs which begin in this fashion.  J.A. is pretty amazing, though. 

Spirit and Song, Volumes I and II.

Here's where you find Matt Maher and Jesse Manibusan.

You also need Traditional Choral Praise.  Dude.  Randall DeBruyn works very hard and if you've ever presented his Passion according to St. John, you realize he is inspired.  So his arrangements of the traditional pieces are important to have at your fingertips.  Think of it this way.  If a contemporary Mass were a wine tasting event, you would naturally need to "cleanse the palate," between each vintage.  TCP (traditional choral praise) is just the thing.  Their Parce Domine is very tasteful, easy to learn, and deeply moving.  For the Beauty of the Earth is likewise.  Shantigarh uses two to three verses of it as an introduction to the Beatles' "Because."  This is why many traditional Catholics cannot bear to attend the 5:30 Mass at St. Bernardine in Woodland Hills but, guess what?  That's okay.  They are good people and everyone has their point of view.  They must seek their level.  We must seek ours.  No harm, no foul.  What other books?  The St. Gregory Hymnal isn't bad.  Well, maybe a little bad.  I use it because it informs us of our Catholic heritage before Vatican II.  Traditional Choral Praise, on the other hand, confuses the issue because they include hymns which were never heard in a Catholic Church.  We all appreciate the spirit of ecumenism, but lament the lack of Catholic awareness inspired by this blurring of borders.  When you perform a song which is a staple of traditional Protestantism, announce it.  Explain it.  Enjoy it.  Historicity is its own reward.  Know what you're doing.  Finally, let's get fancy.  The Graduale Triplex is never a bad idea and reading square neumes is no big deal.  

How many books is that?  Well, most of these "books" are actually collections, some dedicated to keyboards, some to guitar, others to vocal.  And the last book I would suggest isn't even a book, it's a website.  This one.  Come to Shantigarh because if you are under the age of 60, or 50, or 40, or 30, you may not know that no one has ever replaced many of the standards in the Glory and Praise publications.  In fact, you will need those three volumes and the Shantigarh Website. 

I'm going to stop now because I realize there is no way I could limit myself to five books but perhaps I've gotten the conversation started.  With Voices as One, Spirit and Song, Traditional Choral Praise and the St. Gregory Hymnal, and the Graduale Triplex, and throwing in the old three-volume Glory and Praise collection and the Shantigarh website which will always have an eye toward Haugen, Hurd and Haas,  I suggest you now have a franchise on the state of music in the Catholic Church.  In the early 21st Century.  In America.  In English.  Wow.  I tried.


Voices as One, Volumes I and II

Spirit and Song, Volumes I and II

Traditional Choral Praise

Graduale Triplex

Glory and Praise Vols. I, II and III

Shantigarh website.

With these resources, your contemporary Mass will never suffer from sins of omission.   So our five volumes because 10.  Who's counting? 

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