Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Budget Preparations: Facing the Realities

Welcome to this edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

I'd like to share bits of a long conversation I had yesterday with one of WLP's loyal customers. This customer, a woman who serves as music director for several parishes, called to ask me about the new translation of the Missale Romanum. She told me that she has "fallen in love with" Steven Janco's Mass of Redemption. She said that it is a setting that "works" in the parishes she serves. Where there is a full choir, the choir is able to sing the full SAB (Soprano-Alto-Baritone) version. In parishes with smaller resources, she has taught the SA (Soprano-Alto) version. In her smallest parish with the least number of music forces, the people in the pews have made the melodies of the various parts of the Mass their own.

She was calling to ask me what our plans were with respect to this Mass setting when the new translation is implemented. After having invested in the choir editions for the various parishes, she was wondering how she would deal with the new translation, particularly with respect to the parishes' various budgets. She asked me specifically about what we were doing with the Mass setting. I told her that we have asked the composer, Steven Janco, to rework the Mass of Redemption to reflect the changes in the translation. I sang the first line of the new setting of the Sanctus for her over the phone. She said, "Oh, that's an easy and very workable fix. Could I just use some Wite-out® and make the corrections in the choir editions?" I told her that she certainly could do this for the Sanctus, but many of the other parts of the Mass setting would be problematic. For instance, the Gloria has been completely re-written. The three memorial acclamations have needed to be fully revised. She asked if we could publish the changed parts in a separate edition. I talked with her further about this, asking her if it were the wisest thing to have the choirs moving from one edition to the other as they sang at Mass. I wondered aloud whether or not this would result in a confusing mess for her choir members.

This was a good conversation with a dedicated musician who is sensitive to the budgeting needs of the parishes she serves. I said that there were folks out there who are falsely interpreting this whole new translation issue as an opportunity for publishers to line their pockets. She said that this was certainly not her impression She was looking for ways perhaps to save some money along the way, but admitted that her solutions might indeed cause more confusion than assistance. I urged her to speak with the individual pastors and talk with them honestly about her needs once the new translation is implemented.

I bring this up because the financial issues raised by the implementation of the new translation need to be faced and I think the earlier the better. Parishes are going to need to purchase a new Roman Missal and, given the size and scope of the Latin edition, this will not be an inexpensive proposition. The Sacramentaries in most parishes right now are badly in need of repair or replacement. It stands to reason that the majority of parishes are waiting for the new translation and will need to purchase the newly translated Roman Missal. This is the first and most important purchase. Leading up to the implementation, parishes would be wise to invest in some simple catechetical resources as I have outlined in this blog before, i.e. WLP's Eucharistic Prayers I, II, III, IV as recorded by Bishop Sartain of the Diocese of Joliet, the various pamphlets on the new translation published by Liturgy Training Publications, among others. Also, the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship, in conjunction with the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, has 22 workshops for priests and diocesan personnel planned throughout the United States in the coming months. The registration fee for this workshop is $125.00, plus any travel and lodging expenses associated with these workshops. Publishers will undoubtedly be releasing other resources, scholarly and pastoral, to help everyone through the transition and beyond.

And we have not yet even begun to talk about music resources. As a former director of liturgy and music, and as someone who is involved in the liturgy preparation at my own parish, my gut feeling (and my hope) is that musicians will first take a look at the English chants that have been prepared by ICEL and make the decision to use that chant setting within the first year of implementation. If I were a music director, I would look long and hard at the settings currently being sung in the parish, examine the "re-working" of these settings and make a decision as to whether or not they should be jettisoned from the parish repertoire. Then, I would find the one setting that I feel "fits" the parish and its musical forces and purchase the editions needed to make it all happen.

Folks, the transition into a new translation will obviously not be one that comes about at no cost. I think we need to be prudent and careful as we approach "that day."

It amazes me, as a publisher, that, to this very day, parishes are continuing to purchase musical settings of the current Mass texts. There will undoubtedly be many, many settings from which to choose when the recognitio is received. And composers will continue to keep their ears to the ground and will produce marvelous musical settings of the newly translated texts for years and decades to come.

Once again, I want you all to know that we at World Library Publications will provide the very best resources to assist parishes in the transition. I say this because of the pride I have in the fine work of the many composers who have worked so hard with these new texts. I am also proud of the work of my colleagues here at WLP, all of whom have solid pastoral music experience. Our work has been constantly filtered through our "in-the-trenches" mentality.

Thanks for listening today. Please feel free to comment, as this is a somewhat thorny issue.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Adam Wood said...

I think this is huge opportunity for a new generation of young Catholic composers to make their mark in the same way that Haugen et al did a generation ago.
Especially considering the overall economic impact of the new text, I'd like to see composers release new settings under something like a Creative Commons license. I wonder if ICEL would allow for such a thing, or if they really ARE in cahoots with the publishers...

Scelata said...

"It amazes me, as a publisher, that, to this very day, parishes are continuing to purchase musical settings of the current Mass texts."

Yes, and there are parishes that are actually in the process of learning "new" settings of the Ordinary, (with the "old" translation, or sometimes even a paraphrase)!

It may go against the grain to recommend it, but besides teaching the Sacramentary chants, (learning which should be any parish's FIRST musical goal when her parish begins using the new translation,) any music director with an eye on the budget, should know that there will be numerous settings licensed under Creative Commons, and many placed in the public domain.

Yes, new altar Missals will need to be purchased, but as far as music goes, the financial burden on a parish need be no more than the cost of a ream of paper or a package of card stock.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Scelata said...

I am quite certain they are NOT "in cahoots with the publishers".
Nor the publishers with them.
As someone says in some Renoir film, everyone has his reasons.
They may not be OUR reasons, but there is no reason to assume they are malicious.
And just in case you didn't know, Adam, Haugen is not a Catholic composer.
A composers' "Catholicity" isn't really of great moment.
A lyricist's, on the other hand...

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

Chironomo said...

It amazes me, as a publisher, that, to this very day, parishes are continuing to purchase musical settings of the current Mass texts.

And is it not equally amazing that publishers continue to sell them? Hmm...

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

I need to comment here, Chironomo, my old friend. With the delays we have experienced in the past with liturgical text approvals coming from Rome, it is no wonder that people continue to purchase the current texts.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Hello Folks,
An anonymous writer emailed these comments to me:

I always have to smile and shake my head at all of the consternation about publishers (and composers) selling their creative work if they choose, related to prayer and worship or not. As a music director at a parish, I would expect to be compensated fairly for my good work. As a baker or restaurant owner, I would expect to be paid for the food I make, and so on. Being paid for the work one does, be it a salary as an employee of a publishing company or royalties as a composer of a piece of liturgical music, isn't inherently wrong or shameful. The stuff of life (food, heat, doctor's bills, and yes, even some enjoyable luxuries) requires a way to pay for it. Sometimes, one's God-given gifts for creating music or writing prayer texts -- or gasp! selling such things -- make it possible to make an honest living and pay for life's needs and wants doing just that. It also enables one to share earnings through gifts and works of charity. Comments about "being in cahoots" and allusions to publishers and church committees being money-grubbers sure sounds like a case of sour grapes to me, and makes it hard for me to hear any other salient points made by some commenters on this and other such blogs.

Chironomo said...

Perhaps my question would be better said this way... Why would it amaze you that people are buying something that you are selling?

It's not like computer OS's where there continued to be people who used Windows XP after Vista was realeased, or who continued to use Vista and XP after W7 came out... once the new translation is out, the old one is no longer used. I understand all about delays, but selling what are essentially "lame duck" settings seems a bit strange. Do these people who are buying these know that they will be useless shortly? Just asking...

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Of course, my hope is that they do know what they are doing and that they do know that changes are coming. I believe that there are many Catholics out there completely unaware that this is coming. One music director asked me if the particular Mass setting she was purchasing was going to be one of the ones we planned to revise. I responded affirmatively and she went ahead and purchased it, saying that she at least wanted her parish to be familiar with the musical motifs therein.

Chironomo said...

This is going to be a long thread, can't you tell?

Anon... I don't think anybody (with any sense) objects to people making a living, even from the church! Far from it...I do so myself and have for some 28 years now. I also compose liturgical music and distribute my compositions freely for those who care to use them. Sent off three seperate e-mails just today for a setting we used at a workshop over the weekend. Happy to do so without expecting payment...I make my money elsewhere. There are those, however, who are uncomfortable, and for good reason, with the protection of liturgical texts by copyright. As has been demonstrated ad infinitum, this does more to deteriorate the integrity of fixed texts than it does to protect them. As has been done in the past, I'm sure we are likely to eventually see publications with variations on the official texts specifically for the purpose of evading the copyright restriction. How does that help preserve a text's integrity? We all know the examples of this currently, and I don't see anything that would stop this from happening in the future. Perhaps I'm wrong and if so, I'm happy to be corrected!

The baker certainly makes his few dollars when he makes his own bread and sells it. Does he get paid every time somebody else bakes bread also? Can he copyright the "idea" of bread just because he has put work into making his, or is his bread just one example of a greater idea of "bread"? Isn't bread, like liturgical texts, a fairly "public" commodity that has been developed over a considerable time and really belongs to everybody and nobody all at once? I don't see any problem with copyrighting specific books and-or compositions that use liturgical texts, but others should be equally free and encouraged to create such works without having to pay tribute to a copyright holder who has a questionable connection to the texts to begin with, not to even get into the moral question of copyrighting prayer.

Not trying to be objectionable, but these are important questions.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Ah, Chironomo, my friend, Anonymous has responded. Here you go:

Hi, Chironomo. For some reason I can’t comment directly on Jerry’s blog (old computer?), hence the anon id. My name is Jennifer. Nice to “meet” you. I guess I am honestly simply not as concerned with the integrity of texts as much as I am with the integrity of people. While I see many shades of grey in almost everything, this is pretty black & white to me.  If someone else owns something, and I want to use it I have to ask to borrow it or rent it. I may not think the other person deserves to own “It” but honestly, that is beside the point to me. I may be allowed to borrow “It” for free, I may have to pay a sum if I plan to use it to conduct commercial business (but in that case I’d hopefully be making up the fee anyway with sales), or the owner might just say no (maybe because “It” is a car and I am a proven reckless driver). If I am going to trust that the Church does its absolute best to determine the appropriateness of the texts of the prayers I pray each Sunday, well, I guess I have to trust that the Church and Her affiliated committees are copyrighting these texts for a greater good and will put any  income generated on them to good use (paying for the temporal needs of clergy, long term investments for financial sustainability, the costs of flights for face-to-face ICEL committee meetings to review said texts to make them the best they can be, etc.). I fully admit I may be na├»ve here, but trust is trust, right? Re: copyrighting bread, well, no, I know you can’t do that, but I know one CAN patent a specific recipe with ingredients and techniques/procedures, as well as a brand name or recipe title. “Cereal” can’t be copyrighted, but I know that General Mills has patented specifications in terms of nutrition and manufacturing that allow them to make specifically created, little round circles of cereal and call them Cheerios. Even though I think nutritious food like cereal should be a human right, for free, not beholden to the whims of a large corporation, the reality is that in our fallen world, I will need the patent holders’ permission to duplicate their ingredients and processes in order to legally make my own line of “JenniOs.” Such is life, huh?

Anonymous said...

I will need the patent holders’ permission to duplicate their ingredients and processes in order to legally make my own line of “JenniOs.”

Only if you wish to sell them, and there is the rub in this issue. If ICEL would allow composers to use the texts and distribute their compositions, whether online or through other media, for free without paying the tax, there would be no complaint from this particular corner, and I suspect most of the corners I am familiar with. That is the real issue.

You also are making a real stretch of an assumption when you refer to ICEL as the "owner" of the texts. These texts, in their various incarnations throughout the centuries, existed long before ICEL and while considered something of an intangible property of the Church, were nonetheless treated as public property, free to be set to music and distributed without having to pay for their use.


Anonymous said...

Quoth Chironomo:
"You also are making a real stretch of an assumption when you refer to ICEL as the "owner" of the texts. These texts, in their various incarnations throughout the centuries, existed long before ICEL..."

Open your copy of Dante's Divine Comedy. Dante's original is public domain, obviously. But the English translation is probably not. Someone spent a lot of time and money to translate that. It is in their best interest to copyright and owner those texts. Whether they make a profit is up to them.

It is not a stretch to refer to ICEL as the owner of the texts. In fact, Chironomo, you are wrong. They own the translations. No one can claim ownership on the Latin or the Greek. Let's not lose sight of that.

In fact our current translations of the Gloria and the Te Deum were owned originally by ICET (International Consultation on English Texts) which existed from 1969 to 1975. I profess ignorance in the knowledge of the current ownership of ICET texts. ICET owned them but did not charge for their use.

-Anonyme Deux

Chironomo said...

Anon Deux...

No, I am not wrong. I KNOW that they own them... that's the problem. I'm not saying they don't own them, I'm saying that they (the texts) shouldn't be "owned" at all, regardless of their origin, etymology or whatever.

Your analogy to Dante is faulted though. Nobody is mandating that you read Dante at all, let alone a particular translation of Dante's works. Nobody is stopping you from translating Dante on your own and publishing it or deriving other works from it. With our liturgical texts however, we have no such freedom. As of the day it is promulgated, there will be no option but the text owned by ICEL. There is something a little uneasy about HAVING to make use of a text that has been afforded exclusive rights to a particular individual or individuals. I believe that it opens up publishers to charges of collusion that are probably not entirely accurate but which can't be avoided because of the setup. At a time when new music should flourish, it will be stifled by prohibiting the free distribution of liturgical settings using the official texts. That should be encouraged, not stifled.