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#363864 05/01/11 03:40 PM
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After going through another Holy Week I give thanks that the Council of Hierarchs did not mandate the Revised Holy Week Services. The 1976 books are far better than any of the books of the Revised Divine Liturgy. The bishops admit this openly. And yet they plan to continue screwing up the Liturgy.

Jason D #363867 05/01/11 08:16 PM
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The problem arises when one transitions from Vespers or Orthros into the Divine Liturgy, not to mention deciding which version of the music to use throughout.

Jason D #363878 05/02/11 05:12 AM
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Yet the 1976 books omit considerable portions of the propers for Holy Week, have typos and repetitions for some of the Old Testament readings where the proper readings are called out in the typicon.

None of the 1976 books include the full text of ps 140 (141) immediately leading into the abrigded stichera.

But what do I know?

I'm no expert compared to those who frequent this board.

If we are mandated to use the Green (teal) book for the rest of the year, it would make it easier to have consistency through Holy Week.

The real issues with the "new music" are mostly translation rather than music. Yes, I know there are strong sentiments here against the "teal terror" as some have come to call it. But really, putting emotions aside, what are the issues? Omitted words in the creed, "inclusive" language, and a not very poetic or prosaic translation. The music for the most part is what the majority of parishes that celebrated anything more than just Divine Liturgy were using.

Jason D #363905 05/02/11 11:11 PM
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I agree with Steve and the others that some of the 1976 Holy Week booklets were severely abbreviated. My recommendation – made years ago – was that new editions of them be prepared following the same principles I’ve recommended elsewhere: 1) restore the missing parts, 2) correct the text only where it really needs correcting and 3) correct the music only where it really does not work.

While some insist on a literal application of the Bokšaj melodies I believe that it is very important to respect what the people have memorized and accepted over the past 35-40 years. Change must be shown to be good. Further, the music has continued to mature over the years, and even the parishes in Europe don't sing Bokšaj note for note anymore.

The above could be done quite easily (for an example, please take a look at the corrected 1964 Chrysostom and 1976 Basil texts posted in the translation forum, which have very few changes for the faithful’s texts).

Why is it necessary to respect what people have accepted, learned, and memorized? Because you can’t just go around hurting people and accusing them of being disobedient when they complain. When you do, they have often just up and leave. Further, they don’t easily accept replacing something that is fairly adequate with something inferior. I was speaking a few months back with a priest who was invited to concelebrate a funeral. He reported that the “funeral” part of the Divine Service (old text and music) was decently sung. But when the cantor announced “continue with the Divine Liturgy on page xx of the Green Pew Book” no one picked it up and the cantor sang the rest of the Divine Liturgy by himself.

As to the “new music”, I disagree with Steve. Yes, the revised text (it is incorrect to call it a translation) is incorrect and awkward. But so is the revised music. The first problem is in the style that was chosen. The relationship between text and music is like two people dancing. The text must always lead. But even a cursory examination of the RDL music shows that Slavonic Bokšaj melody was treated as canonical, and that the method of how to abbreviate the melody for a very short text was ignored. There are examples on almost every page of incorrect accents. While those who sing the music will eventually get used to the incorrect accents (even to the point of not being able to see them), those who visit parishes with such music leave wondering if those who lead the singing (or who wrote out the music) are new immigrants who are not native speakers of English. To be fair, there are some settings for the fixed texts of the Divine Liturgy that are unchanged (and the people continue to sing them well). But there are many that are changed, and the new accentuation of the text is not acceptable, and the settings for the changeable texts are the worst.

For those who are musically inclined, I recommend an experiment. Photocopy a few settings of the RDL troparia from the green book. On the photocopies take some strips of paper and cover the music. Take a highlighter and mark the natural highlights in the text (that is, accent the correct SYL-lable – use a dictionary if necessary). Then cover the text and hum through the music, also highlighting the musical highlights (usually the notes with holes in them, as well as transition notes). Then compare the two. Finally, ignore the actual notes and speak the words to the duration value of the notes (1 beat to the quarter notes, 2 beats to the half notes, etc.). For anyone whose ear is tuned to hear such things the issues will be obvious.

The bishops have openly acknowledged the problem. But they’ve also said that they were not about to change anything because the books are already printed. They are correct in that people can get used to bad theology and awkward music. But they should respect the people enough to make sure they have accurate liturgical texts and music that is not just properly accented but also inviting to non-Ruthenians.

If you can, get a hold of the draft settings done by Professor Daniel J. Kafka of Philadelphia. Mr. Thompson rejected them, preferring his own settings, but Prof’s settings were far superior to what was mandated.

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The interesting thing is that Bokšaj's "Prostopinije" was commissioned by the bishop at that time in 1906 to combat the widespread variations in liturgical use and to have a more common music text, much as is the intent of the so called "new music".

I bring up the distinction between the text and the music specifically for the reason you point out, though seeming to always blame Prof Thompson as much as the Democrats blame GW Bush for all the problems. Perhaps it is not always at it seems.

The true problem was how the BISHOPS handled the whole affair. first by have a secretive process for the translation and secondly for not having cantors and musicians involved in the TRANSLATION aspect. Without cantors or musicians involved during the translation, it came out very awkwardly.

The insistence that only what the most recent generations (35-40 years)have memorised is a red herring to the underlying argument.If every parish had a distinct way of singing the liturgy, there would (or should) be over 200 variations in common use, the reality is there are not. My own personal experience traveling before and after the promulgation of the "new music" has led me to find that there is far more commonality than difference in the memorised (1964 or 1978) and "new music" liturgies.

Who has a copy of Kavka's material that I could get a hold of it? Were the drafts from the recent liturgical commission or the 1964 commission, which he was also on? (My grandfather was also on the 1964 commission with Kavka.) I have inherited most of the music grandpa had when my dad passed away.

The 1964 commission had issues with bishop Kocisko regarding how to set the translation to music. Even then, the translation was updated in 1970.

We have only had 5 years of this new translation. There will be changes. It is the Byzantine way. Be patient, though persevering. Not all is bad with the "new music".

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Originally Posted by Steve Petach
Yet the 1976 books omit considerable portions of the propers for Holy Week, have typos and repetitions for some of the Old Testament readings where the proper readings are called out in the typicon.

None of the 1976 books include the full text of ps 140 (141) immediately leading into the abrigded stichera.

But what do I know?

I cannot speak for your typika, but the Greek (and Arabic) typika and Triodion call for abbreviated versions of the psalms of the Vesperal Stichera and also for the Lauds psalms of Orthros.

Jason D #363945 05/03/11 01:03 PM
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Omitted words in the creed, "inclusive" language, and a not very poetic or prosaic translation. The music for the most part is what the majority of parishes that celebrated anything more than just Divine Liturgy were using.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

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We have only had 5 years of this new translation. There will be changes. It is the Byzantine way. Be patient, though persevering. Not all is bad with the "new music".

You should stop calling it a "translation", Steve. It's an entirely new recension, which is not what the Commission was commissioned to produce. It's also a piece of second-class scholarship that reflects more the interests and pet rocks of the members than it does the content of the Slavonic original. A little humility on the part of the translators would have gone a long way.

As for the music, if you came from a parish that didn't sing, no big deal. If you came from one that did, the changes were catastrophic. Put bluntly, it's just congregationally unsingable, which, when put together with the many arbitrary and unnecessary changes to the text, created a massive psychic dislocation in the faithful.

In five years, we have seen the loss of between thirty and fifty percent of our membership. Extrapolating further, will there be anyone left in five years to care about fixing that which is broken?

Jason D #363946 05/03/11 01:18 PM
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If you can, get a hold of the draft settings done by Professor Daniel J. Kafka of Philadelphia. Mr. Thompson rejected them, preferring his own settings, but Prof’s settings were far superior to what was mandated.

Prof. Kavka had decades of experience leading congregational singing, and understood very well the strengths and weaknesses that come from a multitude of untrained voices. Prof. Thompson, I think, is much more comfortable dealing with a trained (indeed, a professional) choir, and this shows up nowhere better than in the recordings he made with the Scholar cantorum. To paraphrase from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "So dry, like toast. . . " Listen to the recording of Paschal Orthros--every note perfect, yet utterly dead.

This carries over into how Professor Thompson leads his choir in actual liturgical services. I had the opportunity to hear the Schola Cantorum sing the Divine Liturgy, and found it greatly inferior to the much rougher, less talented parish choir with which I sang.

Liturgical singing is a dialogue between the celebrant and the people/choir. In this, the celebrant sets the pace and also (alas!) the key. The cantor/choir must play off the celebrant, responding to his parts at his pace and in his key. Even when the choir sings in harmonized parts, it must be able to respond immediately to the ecphonesis or doxology; there is no time for extended pitch and tuning. If the choir can't hold its pitch from one part to another, then it isn't prepared to sing liturgically. Might be good for concerts, but not for the Work of the People.

Above all, the choir must feel and believe the music and the words. I can excuse a host of musical imperfections if the singing is from the heart, and would take that any day over the technically perfect, overly prettified and utterly dessicated sound that, to me, turns Prostopinje into the Ruthenian Madrigal Society.

Jason D #363970 05/03/11 07:24 PM
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In dealing with translations, most fall between two extremes, the metaphrase (word for word literal translation) and paraphrase. How the translator chooses to metaphrase or to paraphrase a particular text is an art.

Here's an example from Spanish to English, for those who took Spanish in high school this should be familiar:

¿Como te llamas? Me llamo, Juan.
Metaphrase translation: How do you call yourself. I call myself John.

Although this is a literal translation, that is not how we speak in English.

The correct translation, using the paraphrase or dynamic equivalence method, is rendered as:

What is your name? My name is John.

Of late, however, I haved heard non-native Spanish speakers use the following:

¿Que es tu nombre? Mi nombre es Juan.

This is an example of a metaphrase (literal translation) from English to Spanish, but it is incorrect. One can only imagine who wrote that Spanish lesson.

So it may be quite difficult (and subjective) to translate a given text, especially when the source language is no longer used as a spoken language.


Jason D #363979 05/03/11 10:05 PM
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Steve:

The Bokšaj "Prostopinije" was a snapshot of the chant in a particular parish at a particular time. I do not know, but I would not imagine that they would have considered it to be the fixed version to last forever. Earlier Irmologia differed, and future ones will differ. Chant has its own life. For English speakers the chant will surely develop so that it works better with the English text. The example was set by the Slavs who took Greek chant and adapted it to the Slavonic texts. It changed year by year and will continue to change over time.

You are correct that many focus on Mr. Thompson. That is probably because he is the one who was given the responsibility for the RDL music. Ultimately - as you state - the bishops are the ones who hold the responsibility. Likewise, the bishops entrusted Bishop Pataki with the task of producing new books. Here, too, the entire Council of Hierarchs retain the ultimate responsibility. I pray for them daily - that they may restore the normative and ordinary form of the Byzantine Liturgy, that they correct the texts so that they are accurate, and that they prepare better music.

I will disagree with your (Steve's) comment on what is memorized being a red herring. The changes to the fixed texts and settings were indeed memorized. One could walk into any parish and start singing "It is truly proper" (and a number of other similar hymns) and the people would instantly join in from memory. A good comparison here is if on Christmas Eve in almost any Christian parish the people were given new words and music to "O Come, All Ye Faithful". The authorities might be able to compel the use of the new text and music, but they could never force people to like it, to love it, or to sing it from the heart. The end point here is that people must readily accept the change put before them, and really that change must be positive. [Let's remember that after Vatican II the changes made to the RC Mass caused almost 1/3 of Roman Catholics to walk away. A good percentage of them never returned. This time around every parish (at least locally to me) has multiple workshops, demonstrating and educating the people so that they might willingly embrace the corrected translations.]

--

Matta:

You are correct that typically Psalm 140 and 141 was abbreviated, as was Psalm 103. This is certainly a topic worthy of a different discussion. But, for now, I will note the following. Psalm 103 should probably be abbreviated in parish usage so that the Kathismata Psalms can be read. I don't object to 140 and 141 being prayed in full, but the custom of singing them to the appropriate tone developed after they were shortened, and singing them in such a way makes them lengthy.

--

Deacon John:

You are correct that the task is a difficult one. Ultimately, the bishops gave the translators their directives, and I'm sure they followed them. [The disagreement is with the designated task, the goal, and not with the individuals who worked hard and with love.] The issue is a controversial one across the whole Church (note the differences between the RAR-NAB Bible and the RSV Bible. Liturgiam Authenticam gave - in my opinion - wonderful direction to the Church. Unfortunately the bishops have rejected it, and used an approval obtained just a few months before LA was promulgated.

But there are translators who can translate accurately and with elegance.

John

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Ah, but elegance is in the eye of the beholder...

Jason D #363988 05/03/11 11:42 PM
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Deacon John,

True to an extent. Some consider a George Carlin standup comedy routine from the 1980s to be elegant. But the Church considers that to be profane (outside the temple). I find the King James Bible to be elegant, as is the RSV and some of the other translations that have root in that translation. I remember watching the U.S bishops debate on the RAR-NAB five or more years back. One bishop rejected the translation "feedbox" in Luke 2. I can't really imagine anyone trying to convince me (while keeping a straight face) that "Away in a feedbox, no crib for his head..." is elegant.

The context of my point is that unnecessary change should be avoided. Politically correct gender neutral language is inelegant (yes, to me, but also to many others, not to mention that Rome has labeled the style used in the RDL to be "theologically grave"). Putting aside the political language, a good translation can be made elegant by the input of an English teacher and maybe a poet. We asked for such a review for the group project effort in correcting the 1964 Chrysostom and the 1976 Basil. I think it made a difference. Those who have seen it and have commented to me have praised it, including Roman Catholics who had some involvement in their new translation.

LOL - I found the following from an article in First Things by Father Richard John Neuhaus: "Everyone who has sung or listened to Handel's “Messiah” knows the words: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV). Magnificent. Here, as of this week's amended Missalette, is the New American Bible: “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” Try singing that. Whether under the rules of literal accuracy or of what, taking liberties, translators call “dynamic equivalence,” that is no more than a pedantic transliteration of the Hebrew. It is not a translation. It is a string of possible signifiers. It is not English. To be fair, the passage is not representative. Most of the NAB is English, albeit of a down-market variety."

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I give up! You win.

Jason D #364005 05/04/11 02:26 PM
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Yeah, the 1976 Holy Week Books are not perfect. But they are better than any the Ruined Divine Liturgy books. If we pray hard enough maybe we'll get one more year to be real Byzantines.


Jason D #364006 05/04/11 02:31 PM
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In dealing with translations, most fall between two extremes, the metaphrase (word for word literal translation) and paraphrase. How the translator chooses to metaphrase or to paraphrase a particular text is an art.

The Golden Rule of translation is simple to state, difficult to achieve: Be as literal as possible and as loose as necessary. Unfortunately, the RDL jumps back and forth between two extremes, being excessively (stiltedly) literal in some places and crossing into paraphrase at others--and we haven't even spoken of places where they just plain got it wrong or substituted (without rationale or documentation) words which are not even in the original text at all.

Beyond this, Liturgy is to a large extent poetry, and the RDL demonstrates that the "translators" don't have a poetic bone in their bodies.

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