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has been taught that soft, comfortable, reserved sittings can be purchased for oratorio performances; that all who choose may remain seated throughout; that certain ladies and gentlemen in evening dress will appear on a platform and respond with amiable smiles to hearty rounds of applause, this handclapping being repeated after every musical effort they may make ; that it is not irreverent or incongruous to shout 'encore' when pleased; also, that twenty minutes' pause in the middle of the work is a nice time for chat among friends in the audience, and useful for the performers who may happen to need refreshment; and, lastly, that it is clever and desirable to rise and leave the room during the performance of the final chorus, the discomfort to those who wish to remain to the end, and the complete ruin of the composer's supreme climax, being as nothing with the luxury of getting away nicely. How completely all such ideas have to be swept away before people can be taught to listen reverently to an oratorio in church it need not be pointed out. That the hearing of an oratorio may be turned into an act of worship can be easily proved by any who will take the trouble to make personal experiment, and there is less chance of wandering thoughts if such a performance be ushered in by prayer and closed by a Benediction. It is quite certain that all who have once discovered the beauty and edification of such services return to an oratorio in a concert room with very decisive opinions as to its unfitness for the place. This feeling is daily becoming more widely spread, but there still remains, as an obstruction to the adoption of oratorios in churches, a curious antipathy to the appearance of orchestral instruments within sacred walls. The sight of a fiddle or a harp in God's house is still a stumbling-block to many. They, perhaps, have seen this same combination of instruments used outside a tavern door, and the association scandalises them. Others may get beyond this stage, but cannot reconcile themselves to a trombone ; its eccentric and, to them, unaccountable movements as the tube slides in and out, distract and irritate them. There are others, again, who cannot tolerate a pianoforte (in the place of the obsolete, harpischord) in Bach's Passion music. The objections to this instrument in church are simply unaccountable, for a pianoforte is highly respectable, and could produce testimonials as to its good behaviour from all the best drawing-rooms in the country. If the objectors to orchestral instruments in church on the ground of their frequent secular use will study their Bibles closely, they will find that no such affectation troubled the Hebrews.
It is a remarkable fact that the instruments mentioned in connection with revels and debauchery, which called forth the indignation of more than one holy prophet, are identical with those used in the worship of the Temple. Of course it is necessary to prevent, before the commencement of an oratorio in church, that extraordinary symphony of cacophony known as the tuning of an orchestra ; this tuning can be quite as efficiently done in an almost noiseless way, especially by experienced performers.
It is an easy thing to procure the services of a fine band in the metropolis and other large cities, if money is forthcoming, but the expense of getting instrumentalists to some provincial towns is exceedingly heavy. This at once suggests that local amateurs should be organised and drilled for the purpose of forming the nucleus of a cathedral orchestra. Large numbers of enthusiasts can be easily found who would patiently undergo any amount of drilling in order to qualify themselves for such important and interesting duties. These, led by a few professional principals,' would form a fairly good band at a small cost. The number of voices employed must of course vary according to circumstances, but it may be safely said that there are but few cathedrals in which 250 or 300 voices are not ample for grand effects. The introduction of female voices is a question of much difficulty. The task of finding in a small town a sufficient number of trained boys to do justice to the soprano part of a grand chorus would in nearly all cases be hopeless. Yet the question may be asked, Why should not women take the part for which nature has fitted them in the worship of God? Is publicity or 'conspicuousness' an objection ? We reply that they need not be placed so as to be conspicuous :' neither is it necessary for them to dress in highly coloured or curiously designed costumes which invite observation. All other members of the choir, and if possible of the band also, should be surpliced. A sober and uniform attire for all women thus aiding in Cathedral performances would destroy at once that sense of being personally conspicuous which every rightminded woman abhors; and it would not only destroy the sense of it, but it would also destroy the reality. Where oratorios are properly and reverently performed as part of a service, it will not only be found that each oratorio is of value as a vehicle of instruction in the true and beautiful, but also that by a judicious selection a cycle may be formed which will illustrate the teaching of the Church seasons, and, in our judgment, tend powerfully to the kindling of devotional feeling. In Advent might be sung the Last Judgment, by Spohr, Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise, the movements of the Dies Iræ from Mozart's Requiem ; at Christmas, a portion of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, or Handel's Messiah ; during Lent, one of Bach's settings of the Passion, or a Passion-music by Handel, Graun, or Haydn; at Easter, portions of the Messiah, or Sullivan's Light of the World, &c. This list might be almost indefinitely extended, but enough has been said to show how the highest works of music may be rendered subsidiary to the eternal truths of our religion for the common good.
We have now briefly shown three ways in which cathedrals may further the culture of Church music-namely, by presenting to the world the highest type of cathedral, congregational, and oratorio music. In striving thus to reach a high standard of excellence, precentors will find that their posts, so frequently looked upon as honourable sinecures, call forth high responsibilities and constant hard work, while organists will be grateful to their precentors for leaving their hands unfettered to deal with purely musical questions by relieving them of much collateral toil. Fortunately for the patience of the reader, the relations between precentor and organist do not strictly come within the scope of our subject, except in a negative manner—that is, if ever the relations between these two officers become what diplomatists term 'strained,' the culture of Church music must in the end be injuriously affected. When there is complete understanding and mutual confidence between them there can be no doubt that considerable benefit must accrue to the ends which both are conscientiously striving to reach. As to the necessity of carefully tending the education of chorister boys, all are now agreed ; they should be, if possible, gathered under one roof, and gently trained by those whose knowledge of character and experience of the world have taught them the peculiarly sensitive nature of children gifted with musical talent, and daily breathing, as it were, the atmosphere of emotions and highly wrought sensuousness. It is inevitable that chorister boys cannot, with their frequent disturbances of routine work, hope to run a race with boys in ordinary schools; but, if their musical training has been on a true basis, and their taste for the beautiful in sounds directed aright and quickened into a new sense, they will have received a lasting source of joy in after life, which they would not barter for any rare book-lore or any rewards held out by those who frame artificial standards for gauging the results of education. The question of what should be done with boys who show signs of musical genius
old associatin hovering ing so is opene was trainemising
is of no less direct importance than that of their primary schooling. It has been customary to apprentice a promising lad to the organist of the cathedral where he was trained as a boy. The advisability of doing so is open to grave doubts. If he should remain hovering round the old spot and clinging to the old associations, there is much fear that he will drift into some small groove of thought, or fix his ambition on some easily obtainable status. Much better would it be to send him either to some sound school of music in our own capital, or to one of the many admirable conservatoires in Germany. It is much to be hoped that our Universities will some day awake to the necessity of providing as good an education in music as in any other subjects. When this has been brought about, a joint education in music and in literis humanioribus would be the best reward a Dean and Chapter could offer to a talented boy who had deserved well. Thus, indeed, would they further the culture of Church music in the highest sense; and they would probably be amply rewarded by finding in after years the now highly developed and fully trained musician hover around and finally build his nest near those walls in which he had so often sweetly sung that he would rather be a door-keeper in them than dwell outside in worldly luxury; and doubtless to the service of the sanctuary he would devote every whit of the talents entrusted to his charge. If our cathedral authorities could bring a few score of such men to the front, there could be, under God's blessing, but little doubt or anxiety as to the future of Church music. As it is, far too often the pretty little boy who has filled the church with persons who have deeply felt the influence and charms of his tender budding genius is lost sight of when the romance of boyhood has departed, and when, for want of further means of education, he seems likely to become only an ordinary man, although so lately an extraordinary boy. Perhaps the real reason for this cold neglect after daily eulogy has yet to be told : another boy has been found to take his place.
In conclusion, it must be said that, although much has yet to be done, there is cause for sincere thankfulness at the present improved state of cathedral music. The fruit of hard work at the hands of young unbiassed musicians, and of more genuine sympathy in such work from those in authority, is beginning to show itself on all sides.
ART. VII.—THE PRESENT POSITION OF THE
1. La Réforine Catholique et l'Eglise Anglicane etc., de
HYACINTHE LOYSON, Prêtre. (Paris, 1879.) 2. The Petition of Père HYACINTHE to the Episcopate as
sembled at Lambeth, and the Answer of the Episcopate.
A QUESTION of no mean importance is now raised in our branch of the Catholic Church. It is expedient to prepare the way for the discussion of the particular subject by the consideration of some general principles applicable to what might be called the international relations of Churches in different countries.
It is, on the one hand, most desirable that no usage generally respected in the Catholic Church should be violated or disturbed by the adverse action of any one portion of that Church,' aliis inconsultis. It is, on the other hand, the duty of each branch of the Church not to refuse to administer any succour or aid in her power to another branch, which from local or peculiar circumstances is labouring under an unjust denial of the privileges incident to a Christian Church. May we not go a step further and say that a Christian congregation (or part of a church) unjustly deprived of rites and sacraments incident to the fidelium communio, may, after having vainly sought relief from the branch of the Catholic Church in the country in which it happens to be, be entitled to the assistance of a Church in a foreign land ?
This is really the question presented by Père Hyacinthe to the Anglican Episcopate, and by their reply.
We think it very desirable that the documents themselves should be laid in extenso before our readers.
1 In the Vetus et Nova Ecclesiæ Disciplina, of Thomassinus, there is a chapter (xxix. T. i. 99) on the occasional necessity of appointing two bishops in one see, or two parish priests in one parish. He instances the case of inhabitants speaking different languages, especially in Greek territories, such as Cyprus (now the object of so much interest); the necessity of relaxing the general rule proceeded from the fact that, after the conquest of the Crusaders in the East, Latin bishops were forced upon Greek sees.