Thursday Oct 12th
All the way back from Manchester on the train I read the Holy Father's book "Sing a New Song to the Lord" (Ignatius press - available in Britain from FAMILY PUBLICATIONS, King St, Jericho, Oxford) about music and the liturgy. It is simply superb. So enjoyable that every now and then I'd sit back give a little wriggle of comfort, and look at the rainwashed window and England whizzing past all damp and green and feel completely blissful.
And it couldn't have been a better preparation for the Catholic Cultural Group meeting which was held in Gloucester Street, at the home of a most generous friend, Alexandra, with Jeremy de Satge of The Music Makers as guest speaker. He was extremely interesting, had some wonderful examples (on CD) of glorious Church music, especially some Byrd, and also plainchant, helped us hear the different cadences, started an excellent and most useful discussion. He repeated, in his own words, something the H. Father says - that, in the presence of God, man finds that mere words are not enough - the soul soars up in music. Music Makers' latest CD, Regina Caeli would make a lovely Christmas present. Jeremy is currently doing a lot of useful work, including training seminarians to sing the Mass, has plans to do something for schools. He emphasised that it it not at all hard to get together a group to sing plainchant, and there is no reason why we should continue to have to endure the ghastly mess of silly noise that is presented as music in so many Catholic parishes. It was especially interesting to hear him on the subject of the Gloria :"It's such a superb prayer....the current translation doesn't do it justice. The way it should really be is all there in the original: the strong 'Glory to God' with its drama and majesty, and then the softer 'and peace.....'. And you can't - you really can't - do this great prayer by having people clapping a rhythm between the lines...no!"
Home late, and the house terribly messy even tho' I'd only been away for 24 hrs. Jamie looks sort of bleak, bed not made, great muddle of books, and the sink is full of the most horrid-smelling plates.....why eat cooked fish if you aren't prepared to wash up afterwards? J. has the (??male???) approach to washing-up: leave the things in the sink and eventually some one will do them. THE INFURIATING THING ABOUT THIS APPROACH IS THAT IT WORKS.
However, v. good to be home and talking about lots of things. Dealt with emails, messages on phone, sorted out muddle in kitchen, filled washing-machine.