Sunday, September 16, 2007

“Too Many Notes” (and too much other stuff) at Mary Mags

We look back and smile at monarchs who complained of music that had “too many notes.” And few follow the dictum of Thomas Cranmer for church music:

In my opinion, the song that shall be made thereunto would not be full of notes, but, as far as may be, for every syllable a note.

But while attending Mary Magdalen for High Mass this morning, I found myself thinking Cranmer had a point. For multiple times, I found it impossible to sing various parts of the service along with the congregation because the music was so complex that even with the notes in front of me I couldn’t sing it. They made even “Alleluia” difficult. I’m not kidding.

And a big part of the problem was a constant bombard of syllables with two or three notes. Often, the notes seemed random -- I couldn’t see or hear any pattern.

It really was a hindrance to worship. I’m sure a regular gets used to it, just like I got used to the music at my home parish. But still.

The service had some other weirdness that put me off. The intercessions included prayers for Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. Now Greenpeace I can actually handle though I think it inappropriate. But at Friends of the Earth, I stopped kneeling. I haven’t heard of them in years. But I long ago called them “Fiends of the Earth.”

And during the distribution, not only was a lady deacon presiding over a side altar, an unvested woman (Heck she didn’t even look dressed for church, period.) was handling the cup. The male celebrant doesn’t get off easy either. Though standing on the West side of the altar, he faced the congregation during the Sursum Corda. I’ve never seen that and was taken aback. If you’re going to face the congregation, then get behind the table. Don’t turn your back on the altar.

Yes, I find that irreverent. I guess I’m getting to be a nitpicky Anglo-Catholic. But it is really strange that they have incense and the Angelus, and apergages (or however you spell it) etc. etc. then do inappropriate stuff like that.

There was more that told me something wasn’t quite right. I thought about leaving early I was so uncomfortable. And no, I didn’t go forward to receive even though I intended to at the beginning of the service.

Yes, I can be a real stick in the mud. I don’t like being that way or being pushed to be that way.

Well, I can’t say I wasn’t warned. I knew Mary Mags was very Anglo-Cath. But I’d been warned somewhere that it was a bit weird. And it was.


On a more positive note, lots more pictures are up. Some of them are really nice if I may say so myself.

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