Saturday, 25 June 2011

New Translation - Commissioning New Mass Settings?

This question has recently been raised:  If the new English translation is the single most significant event in the post-Conciliar era since the Novus Ordo Mass was implemented (at least as far as English speaking countries are concerned), should it not be celebrated with the commissioning of new Mass settings - choral and congregational - by the various Bishops' Conferences?  So far, dozens of new and revised settings are being published and distributed amongst parishes, with virtually no safeguards as to quality or fitness for purpose (except the Bishops' endorsement of some settings, which would appear to mean only that they are better than the rest).

Westminster Cathedral has a long history of commissioning new Mass settings - in Latin and in the vernacular - and it would appear that St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney may be establishing a similar tradition.  For example, for the canonisation of St Mary MacKillop, David Drury, at the behest of the Cathedral Music Department (see here and here), composed this Mass, using the new English translation:

If we are to experience a real improvement in sacred music, can it be achieved without expending some money to ensure quality output?  An issue on which to ruminate.