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[rant] The following applies to music, as well as other aspects of our services (be they Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Chaldean, etc.). We have a treasure trove of texts, melodies, services and traditions. Why must we re-invent the wheel and come up with new elements based on western influences while ignoring our own? Yes, it's easier to feed parishes something based on melodies they hear around them during this season. But since when are we on the easy path? This goes for liturgical shortcuts as well. "Do we really need all those verses?" "We can skip over that - the service is almost an hour long as it is!" "What's Compline?" But amazing things can happen when things start being done by the book (as we've been told to do by our boss, the Pope). People hear beautiful music, theologically rich texts and then wonder why they've never heard it before. What do we tell them? 'Well, nobody wanted it'? How can you want something you know nothing about? [/rant]

Professor, please forgive. This isn't a personal attack on you and all of your work. I appreciate the work you've done on chant (for starters). Seeing what I have of parishes, as well as what people can be like, I can't understand these current offerings. People will pick up on these quick and easy, along with any other "normal" (read as what *real* Catholics do) liturgical elements. And, following along from what djs said, traditional melodies will be even more difficult to introduce, it seeming even more foreign. If we were working on a "native" chant tradition for North America (note: anyone who wants to discuss this *please* start another thread) that would be a completely different story. But this isn't NA chant...

Sorry, I feel myself slipping back into rant mode again. This is a topic I get worked up over. I remember back when I was like the majority of the people in our churches: show up for Sunday and (some) Liturgies, sing Amen-LHM-TYOL-GTOL while the cantor wailed away. Then one day I started looking at what he was actually singing, then looking into the music (which was much better than his rendition) and was completely flabbergasted! eek I couldn't believe we had let the meat, the 'good stuff' be neglected so much. I've heard so many 'cradles' say "our services are boring - same thing every time except for a bit of funny moaning towards the begining. I was at a xxxxx church a few times and there's so much variety - so interesting."

Apologies, I must stop - I keep slipping into a rant. I've re-written bits of this a number of times, and thought of not posting it at all, but I feel I must say something. I don't mean to offend.

Andrij

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Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Ilya,

I was not in my office when I typed my reply to you, and didn't have the reference I wanted to quote.

In the booklet "Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: An Outline for Advent Chant," prepared in 1997 and revised in 1998 by Archpriest Roman Galadza of St. Elias Church in Brampton, Ontario, two Western hymns are utilized: "People look east" (given for before the service) and "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" (given as a Communion Hymn in two languages: the English translation of the Latin text by John Mason Neale, and a Ukrainian translation of the text by Archpriest Conrad Dachuk).

I wouldn't be able to use either one of these hymns in the Byzantine Catholic places where I work, because of their "Western" origin. Fr. Roman has used them, and used them well. That's why I was so surprised when you reacted as you did in the above post.

The melodies "Mendelssohn" and "St. Lewis" were both sung in Byzantine Catholic parishes and institutions long before my arrival in Pittsburgh, and are available in the Christmas booklets published by Msgr. William Levkulic (may his memory be eternal!)

The Rev. Dr. Peter Galadza has defended the use of certain hymns and carols of Western origin as paraliturgical hymnody in Ukrainian Catholic parishes.

At this point, I fail to understand what you're getting at. All singing in our parishes which is not according to the eight-tone system is "non-canonical." (See vonGardner, "Russian Church Singing, pp. 101-103, and his discussion of "Canonical and Non-Canonical Singing.") The bulk of the melodies used for the Ordinary of the Divine Liturgy in both the Galician and the Carpatho-Rusyn traditions is "non-canonical" by this definition (excepting, of course, the Resurrection Tones of the Troparia and the ancient znamenny-rooted melodies of the Prokeimena and Alleluiaria).

I go into this in some detail because it is important for the restoration of the prostopinije tradition that there not be a wholesale abolition of non-chant materials, whether choral settings or para-liturgical "spiritual songs." As in many things, this needs to be a "both-and" situation rather than an "either-or" solution.

Greetings of the Fast to all.

(Prof.) J. Michael Thompson
Byzantine Catholic Seminary
Pittsburgh, PA

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Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Andrij,

You posted:

"Why must we re-invent the wheel and come up with new elements based on western influences while ignoring our own? Yes, it's easier to feed parishes something based on melodies they hear around them during this season. But since when are we on the easy path? This goes for liturgical shortcuts as well. "Do we really need all those verses?" "We can skip over that - the service is almost an hour long as it is!" "What's Compline?" But amazing things can happen when things start being done by the book (as we've been told to do by our boss, the Pope)."

How could you assume that the posting of these new texts for use before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy even possibly (!!) take the place of any liturgical text? Where did I post such a thing?

I get a considerable amount of "flak" for insisting that services be done in their integrity, both with texts and with the proper prostopinije melodies. We are singing things at the Seminary and at the Cathedral that haven't been in common use in those institutions since the time of Fr. Stavrosky (may his memory be eternal!) in the 1950s--podobens, different melodies for various portions of the Divine Liturgy and the Divine Praises, and even paraliturgical hymnody from Carpatho-Rus'and Galicia.

Where did the concept come from that I wanted these things to take the place of anything liturgical?

Especially at Christmas time, when the melodies of the Alleluias in the eight tones are replaced by those of Galician carols, and when the "Lord have mercy" response at the Litija of the Nativity Compline are complete replaced by stanzas of Galician carols---both of which practices are pretty unknown in the Rusyn world---well, what I am saying is that those practices are quite common. And they are not practices which I would recommend in any Rusyn parish, because we don't need to change the "canonical" melodies to accommodate the Christmas carols. The only use of carol melodies in the Divine Liturgy among Rusyns would be the singing of the Cherubic Hymn, the Anamnesis Acclamation ("We praise you...") and the Communion Hymn to the carol melody, "Divnaja novina."

Somehow, someone has set up a straw man.

To conclude: I am not an advocate of replacing liturgical texts/melodies with non-liturgical texts or melodies. I am, however, an advocate of trying to add a liturgical and seasonal dimension to the paraliturgical singing in the Byzantine Catholic Church. None of this is done with any sacrificing of the traditional melodies--indeed, they are used and fostered and taught in all the places where I am fortunate enough to be employed: the Seminary, the Cathedral, and the Metropolitan Cantor Institute.

Sincere best wishes for a peaceful Philip's Fast.

(Prof.) J. Michael Thompson
Byzantine Catholic Seminary
Pittsburgh, PA

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Professor Thompson,

I continue to applaud your efforts to assist those of us who attemting to restore the traditional cycle of liturgical services in our parishes. Your arrangements of Byzantine hymnody in "western" melodies have allowed our cantors to recover in a introductory way our liturgical patrimony in a small, but effective, manner. So in a real sense your work has had a didactic effect upon our cantors, and although to some who have posted here they view this as a step backward, it has allowed our cantors to go beyond the standard repetoire of opening or recessional hymns. (Hey they do not even sing Marian hymns at Communion.) For us, there has been teaching moments as well. In addition, we have begun to introduce Festal Vespers on a limited basis, which was not celebrated in years past, and on the December 5, we celebrated Vespers for Saint Nicholas. There were about 25 faithful in attendance on that Friday night which was a very prayerful experience for those who participated.

Thank you again!

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Dear Professor Thompson,

My apologies. I didn't mean to imply that you personally wanted to make liturgical changes. From what I've learned previously I reaslised you are a traditionalist. It was meant as a general rant.

At times I can be pessimistic and fear a 'slippery slope'.

Please forgive.

Andrij

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Question:

Were not these original Rusyn, Galician, and the such, melodies based on traditional folk melodies? It seems to me that using melodies of our culture is traditional.

Furthermore, if I had the talent of a Tchaikovsky, could I not write new tones? I didn't realize that tones were canonical and hallowed in and of themselves. (Wait until the Russians and Ukranians find out that their tones are heretical wink )

John

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I am very sorry if I offended.
As for the singing of western songs in our church in Brampton, needless to say I was too young when my father printed those books. We havn't sung "people Look East" in years. I still have a problem with "O Come O Come Emmanuel". Give me a few years on that.
I completely agree that things are not perfect in Brampton, but after 4 months of being in ottawa there is no comparison.

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Originally posted by Professor J. Michael Thompson:

How could you assume that the posting of these new texts for use before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy even possibly (!!) take the place of any liturgical text? Where did I post such a thing?

You answered your own question. Why aren't the 3rd and 6th hours read before liturgy? Why aren't the Prayers after Communion read after?
I do have a problem with Alleluia sung to "vo vyfleemy" etc. I think there is a lot of better music out there that is meant for liturgy.
I am sorry but I stick to my original position.

I am glad to hear that you are doing work at rhe seminary with podobens etc., but what about the rest of the byzantine churches in the states? Should we be giving them an unnecessary desert before they eat their own dinner?

It's the next generation of hell-raising Galadza's.

I am sorry again.

Ilya


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Funny enough,

Tchaikovsky was taken to court because he did not base his music on old church melodies. There was actually a law passed in pre-revolutionary russia that prohibited "new" church music compositions (ie ones that were not at all based on traditional chants). This was done as an attempt to move away from baroque and Saint-Petersburg style of music. This is why there is such an awsome revival of znamenni chant at the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century. Kastalsky was a pefect example of this, traditional chants INFLUENCED by folk music and it can be done with our stuff too.

I am not saying that traditional carols anf stuff have to be removed, that would be silly. Work with what we have.

Ilya


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Ilya, I think you have the story on Tchaikovsky slightly amiss. His legal problems originated from publication without approval of the censor; Bakhmetev wished to keep the monopoly on publication of religious music. From Bortniansky to that time, the composed music had a heavy Italian, and later German, influence. The publication of Tchaikovsky's setting of the Divine Liturgy is regarded as a break with controlling officials who were maintaining that current, and a return to ideas that were more authentically "Russian" (in the broad sense).

You bring up some interesting points, but this topic will be harder to discuss than Purgatory if you don't try to be a little clearer by what you mena by Western, what is inappropriate in e.g., Bortniansky, what is appropriate about Kastalsky. Is it simply antiquarianism or do you have somthing more substantial in mind? In this regard, is part singing appropriate? If you justify that Western innovation, how and where do you draw the line?

Andrij, I am not sure what you are making of my point that you cited in your post to PJMT. The two strongest cultural currents in the parish lives of most members of the BCC in the US are Carpatho-Rusyn (whether they know it or not) and American Borrowing of tunes from our own cultures - this is highly precedented in our music, as mentioned by others. Our tones, however, represent a particular development within our church. I am passionate about our cherishing this patrimony. It is a particular responsibility that we have. And, I see no reason to import any other tone schemes from any other traditions into our church. That is the idea behind my remark. Others might not like our way, but it's probably one of those things that people from one particular church should show some solicitude about, rather than ranting on the traditions and currents in another particular church.

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Prof. Thompson,

I to apologize if I offended. I did not mean what I said as a personal attack. In fact I think that the texts are quite nice and eastern sounding.

My whole point was that instead of introducing new paraliturgical hymnody to be sung before the liturgy, why not draw on the existing chant repetoire for vespers and matins?

Our choir still has to sing Adams' "O Holy Night" on Christmas because "it's traditional." See what I mean?

John.

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I think that the Ruthenian Metropolia has to re-evaluate the lack of concern for the tradition of Plainchant. While it might be nice for some to hear newly-created para-liturgical hymns, I think there is a greater need for the study of Prostopinije as a whole. We all know that there has been too much disregard for the education of trained cantors. Instead of trying to create a overly-simplified reptoire of chant melodies in order to quickly train new cantors, a more extensive study and rediscovery of Plainchant has to be created. There have been cantors who have created voluminous collections of Plainchant which the heirarchy has refused to recognize. For what ever reason, our hierarchy really doesn't what to retain our indigeous liturgical tradition. It will be a sad day when this once-time honored tradition disappears because of apathy.

Ung-Certez

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I would hazard a guess, by the way, that Galician/Kievan/Znammeny tones in our particular church would be more controversial than most hymn tunes that are well-established in the American culture.
This comment is strange if not ridiculous. Why would melodies near if not within the tradition cause consterntation? Is there some inherent bias present here?

I have heard Tone 6 Kyivan in use at more than one BCC parish, and by the way many Galician melodies are close to Prostopinje melodies. Both Galician and Rusyn churches have borrowed melodies back and forth.

In the far reaches of the Midwest/West where any Greek Catholic parishes are few and far apart, some have mixed congregations and thus mixed musical usages. Nothing wrong with a more well-rounded and inclusive approach to incorporating the chant tradition of the Slavic churches.

And with regard to Znamenny, those are fightin' words. The proper traditional Dohmati and Irmosi even in the Prostopinje chant tradition are Znamenny melodies or often derived from Znamenny. Znamenny is a definite part of the Rusyn chant tradition, although it has all but fallen into complete disuse.

Dear Ung, you raise some good points. Like with seminaries, educational institutions and the like, it would be nice if the Greek Catholic churches of Carpathian extraction would work together instead of either competing or operating in vacuums.

Would it be so hard to unify on the preservation and promulgation of the unique corpus of Carpathian chant, both prostopinje and samoylka? I'm dreaming again, excuse me.

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Is there some inherent bias present here?
from dictionary.com
bias: a preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.

Of course, there is some bias! I also have heard tones from other traditions in our church. My preference or inclination would be to use our own, even though I might impartially judge as better, musically or for simplicity, some substitute. If we, ourselves, do not work resolutely to preserve this particular legacy, who will?

The situation in parishes that are serving people of different traditions obviously requires more flexibility, but, ISTM, that typically within the BCC, it should be automatic that we should promote song of our own tradition, which, as I noted above is first Carpatho-Rusyn prostopinije and secondly American. These traditions would strike a resonance that other, unfamiliar "melodies near if not within the tradition" would not.

What, btw, are your criteria of "nearness" of a melody? Tones from across the border might be close in geography, they might sometimes be close also in some musical senses, but ultimatley they will lack the familiar nature, the sense of "ownership", that is inherent in "our" music.

I agree that there has been substantial borrowing and have read on the connection of our Irmosi to the Znamenny. But I don't see how that would warrant substitution of the latter, when different, for the former, apart from occasional exotic departure. And while borrowing across the Carpathian ridge in hymnody has been very substantial, but again this is not to suggest substitution for liturgical prosopinije.

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Originally posted by Ung-Certez:
I think that the Ruthenian Metropolia has to re-evaluate the lack of concern for the tradition of Plainchant. While it might be nice for some to hear newly-created para-liturgical hymns, I think there is a greater need for the study of Prostopinije as a whole. We all know that there has been too much disregard for the education of trained cantors. Instead of trying to create a overly-simplified reptoire of chant melodies in order to quickly train new cantors, a more extensive study and rediscovery of Plainchant has to be created. There have been cantors who have created voluminous collections of Plainchant which the heirarchy has refused to recognize. For what ever reason, our hierarchy really doesn't what to retain our indigeous liturgical tradition. It will be a sad day when this once-time honored tradition disappears because of apathy.

Ung-Certez

Ung-Certez
Ung Certez,

You seem to imply that there is a lack of concern regarding the plainchant at the executive (hierarchal) level. I would disagree in that what I see is a steady return to the traditions by both the hierarchy and the parishes. As one of those cantors attending the Metropolitan Cantor Institute in Pittsburgh over the past 4 years, I can most certainly state that the focus is anything BUT an emphasis on a "overly-simplified reptoire of chant melodies in order to quickly train new cantors".
If that were the case, I would not travel the distances I do!

Rather than bemoaning what you feel will happen inevitably, help out, be proactive rather than reactive. Support the cantors, support the Seminary, support the seminarians and deacon candidates.

" It will be a sad day when this once-time honored tradition disappears because of apathy."

I agree that it will be a sad day, however I will do what it takes to NOT let that happen in my lifetime.

Steve

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You missed my point. In a parish of mixed provenance between Galician and Rusyns, why should there not be a mixed Carpathian musical tradition?

Quote
What, btw, are your criteria of "nearness" of a melody? Tones from across the border might be close in geography, they might even be close some musical senses, but ultimatley they will lack the familiar nature, the sense of "ownership", that is a very important quality.
The similarity of melodies of various Carpathian subtraditions has been noted by various musicologists. Likewise anyone who has spent much time in both Galician (especially parishes made up of Hutsul, Boyko and other mountain people) and Rusyn parishes can hear that some melodies are similar. Some of these vary only by a couple of notes, some by entire phrases.

So because one melody is from another village on the other side of a mountain, yet within the general musical and liturgical tradition, that should be discarded for one in another culture entirely that is neither of the liturgical tradition nor anywhere near the musical?

If I am concerned with trying to save Tennesee Appalachian fiddle music I would certainly consider a Kentucky fiddle tune part of the family musically and not set those tunes to Jamaican reggae.

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