Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis
Roman Catholic Church Music in England, 1791-1914: A Handmaid of the Liturgy? / Edition 1

Roman Catholic Church Music in England, 1791-1914: A Handmaid of the Liturgy? / Edition 1

by T.E. MuirT.E. Muir


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Roman Catholic church music in England served the needs of a vigorous, vibrant and multi-faceted community that grew from about 70,000 to 1.7 million people during the long nineteenth century. Contemporary literature of all kinds abounds, along with numerous collections of sheet music, some running to hundreds, occasionally even thousands, of separate pieces, many of which have since been forgotten. Apart from compositions in the latest Classical Viennese styles and their successors, much of the music performed constituted a revival or imitation of older musical genres, especially plainchant and Renaissance Polyphony. Furthermore, many pieces that had originally been intended to be performed by professional musicians for the benefit of privileged royal, aristocratic or high ecclesiastical elites were repackaged for rendition by amateurs before largely working or lower middle class congregations, many of them Irish. However, outside Catholic circles, little attention has been paid to this subject. Consequently, the achievements and widespread popularity of many composers (such as Joseph Egbert Turner, Henry George Nixon or John Richardson) within the English Catholic community have passed largely unnoticed. Worse still, much of the evidence is rapidly disappearing, partly because it no longer seems relevant to the needs of the modern Catholic Church in England. This book provides a framework of the main aspects of Catholic church music in this period, showing how and why it developed in the way it did. Dr Muir sets the music in its historical, liturgical and legal context, pointing to the ways in which the music itself can be used as evidence to throw light on the changing character of English Catholicism. As a result the book will appeal not only to scholars and students working in the field, but also to church musicians, liturgists, historians, ecclesiastics and other interested Catholic and non-Catholic parties.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780754661054
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Series: Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain Series
Pages: 310
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Thomas Muir read History at Oxford and taught History and Politics at Stonyhurst College, for whom he wrote the definitive history Stonyhurst College 1593-1993, now in its second edition. Between 1997-2005 he read Music at the universities of York and Durham. His doctoral thesis 'Full in the Panting Heart of Rome', Roman Catholic Church Music In England 1850-1962 broke new ground in the use of database technology for the large-scale analysis of performance repertoire, providing much of the basic research material on which this book is based. The author of numerous historical and musicological articles, he is an experienced composer, his latest project being the composition of a large cycle of chamber music inspired by the legend of the Green Man.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: 19th-century English Catholic music: a neglected heritage; Part I Heritage, History and Liturgy: The historical background; The liturgical framework. Part II Catholic Music in the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries: Plainchant in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; Music at the London embassy chapels and their successors. Part III Ultramontane Influences on Catholic Church Music: Plainchant reinterpreted; The revival of Renaissance polyphony. Part IV Music for Extra-Liturgical Services: Catholic vernacular hymnody, c1842-1913; Music for benediction. Part V The Iron Frame: Catholic Music During the Early 20th Century: The new legislative framework; Plainchant from Solesmes; Renaissance polyphony with an English inflexion: the work of Sir Richard Terry; Conclusion: Catholic church music in the early 20th century: visions of uniformity—diverse reality; Select bibliography; Index.

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