supposed to do now. There was a concerted effort on the part of a few people who be lieved that all the sacred music of the past came from periods when the liturgy was cel ebrated in defective ways and hence was not appropriate music for the liturgy at all, much less for the new liturgy of our time. So they encouraged music which they thought would be more directly accessible to the people and especially-as it hap pened in the late 1960's, the culture being what it was-to the young. It seems to me it was a misapprehension of what appealed to the young but nevertheless it became pretty well-established. The word went out that this had been approved by various bishops-indeed bishops' conferences-and therefore it was perfectly legitimate to have essentially coffee house, kiddie-style music as the normal accompaniment to the Sacred Liturgy.
KP: Are you at all familiar with the origin of the so-called "Hootenanny" or "Guitar Mass"? In a sense it sprang on the scene in 1965 but didn't it have a slightly longer history, going back to the 1950's in England?
es: Not so much in Catholic circles as in Anglican. There was Fr. Ian Mitchell and what was called, something like, "The Church Light Music Group." He was a rather charismatic personality who thought that he would attract the young by doing the sort of music you would find in coffee bars in London and so on. And that was all the rage for a short period, pretty much before the time that Catholics got into Guitar Masses but he had an influence and I am sure Catholics looked to him and thought, "If they can do things like that, why can't we?" I am sure they were thinking along those lines. I am not aware of a direct connection nor am I aware of any efforts at all before 1965 to play guitars in Catholic churches and sing folksy songs as liturgical music.
KP: Would you comment on my thesis that the guitar Mass as well as other variants (the Polka Mass, the Mariachi Mass) resulted rom a trickling down to the popular level of the blur ring of the distinction between grace and nature which you find expressed in certain theologies such as the theology ofsecularization-where grace becomes simply the highest form ofcreated nature-and thus there results an ecclesial celebration of"the common," as in that famous book rom the early 1960's, John Robinson's Honest to God.
es: Actually the seminal book for that was one by Harvey Cox called The Secular City (1965), which maintained that any distinction between secular and sacred was an artificial construct and that, hence, all we do in church ought to resemble as much as possible what we do outside of church. I am parodying the argument a bit, but it tends to come down to that. So, if music in church seemed quite different from what people listened to on the radio or in nightclubs or the like, then it was almost irrelevant to their lives and was to be banned in favor of music which sounded just like what they lis tened to in other contexts. You would think that it would be fairly obvious that fewer people would go to church if they could get the same effect with virtually any other human activity. But this secularization theology was very popular and I am sure it in fluenced a lot of the people who drafted the agenda for church music back then.
KP: You mentioned that neo-model style which was happening before the Council in the 1940's and 1950's and early 1960's. Were you speaking of such composers as Flor Peeters?
Flor Peeters, Jaeggi, Andriessen, Hermann Schroeder. In France, somewhat more advanced figures like Langlais and Alain and, indeed, Messiaen. And a few highly significant composers in Austria such as Anton Heilor and a composer named Doppelbauer who was influential at the time and who were, from the standpoint of church music, slightly more avant-garde than the other composers whom I named. Of course a few very big name composers wrote music which could be considered either liturgical music or possibly concert religious music such as Stravinsky's Mass. There is a very beautiful Mass by the American composer Vincent Persecetti which I recom mend to anyone who can sing it-which is not many choirs. es: