Saturday, September 26, 2009

Old Words with New Tunes

At chapel this year we are praying Matins (LSB pg 219) on Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, and using Service of Prayer and Preaching (LSB pg 260) on Tuesday, Thursdays. A couple of years ago, when Pastor began teaching us the canticles in Service of Prayer & Preaching, I liked 'em. We sang them for a few months. But when we stopped, I didn't miss them. It's nice to be singing/praying those Isaiah and Pauline passages again on a regular basis.

But you know what? I suspect that by the end of the year, I may have had my fill of them. (Not unlike how much I utterly adore garden tomatoes, but right now I'd rather see them go into the canning jars than into my mouth. Never thought I'd see the day that I didn't want to inhale tomatoes but would prefer to have a short break from them!) As much as I love these canticles, there's something about the Venite and the Benedictus and the Magnificat and the Te Deum (from TLH and now in LSB) that is transcendent. I can sing/pray those every day -- even multiple times a day -- and they grow more and more beautiful and precious.

And that's what got me to wondering. When I read about the new music being written for the church, good churchly music, I've wondered sometimes about the constant pursuit of new settings for hymns and liturgy. There's nothing wrong with the new things. Many of them are very good. Many of them become my new "fave" for a few months. But why the frequent desire for something new? Is it the difference between what's beautiful and what's exquisitely sublime? Do we eventually tire of the beautiful and well-written new church music, whereas the old (at least, the old that is still with us!!) never becomes tiresome?

1 comment:

  1. I'd hate to abandon the talents of men like Magness, Starke, and others, but it is true that the settings in TLH have stood the test of time and heavy, heavy use remarkably well.

    I do think there's room for both. I think there's a middle way.