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{{vm.product.SpProduct.Article}} Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform
Treasures and Transformations

Anthony Ruff, osb

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Anthony Ruff, osb has written a brilliant, comprehensive, well-researched book about the treasures of the Church's musical tradition, and about the transformations brought about by liturgical reform.

The liturgy constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium stated many revolutionary principles of liturgical reform. Regarding liturgical music, the Council's decrees mandated, on the one hand, the preservation of the inherited treasury of sacred music, and on the other hand, advocated adaptation and expansion of this treasury to meet the changed requirements of the reformed liturgy. In clear, precise language, he retrieves the Council's neglected teachings on the preservation of the inherited music treasury. He clearly shows that this task is not at odds with good pastoral practice, but is rather an integral part of it. The book proposes an alternate hermeneutic for understanding the Second Vatican Council's teachings on worship music.

“Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB offers a solid theological and historical framework for considering the relationship between music and the reformed liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. Pastoral musicians and liturgical music scholars will find a wealth of information and carefully formulated principles to guide their work and study, especially in dealing with the ‘treasury of sacred music’ in the liturgy today.”

J. Michael McMahon, President

National Association of Pastoral Musicians

“In a time of great controversy over the repertoire and performance of Roman Rite Catholic church music, it is helpful to have a trustworthy guide through the thickets of official and scholarly thinking on the topic. Fr. Anthony Ruff provides just such a guide in this timely volume. Carefully establishing that the purpose of liturgical music is ‘to enable the Christian community to respond to and participate in the saving work of God in Christ,’ the author discusses both the functions and characteristics of the storehouse (treasury) and gift (treasure) that comprise the Church’s sacred music, the thesaurus musicae sacrae. I strongly recommend the work for clergy and seminarians, directors of liturgy and music in dioceses, schools and parishes, and church musicians who wish to deepen their understanding and hone their practice of liturgical music.”

Rev. Jan Michael Joncas, Associate Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

“Anthony Ruff investigates the tension between the liturgical reforms mandated by Vatican II and its endorsement of a treasury of sacred music from the past, then offers a well-nuanced pathway through the tension which is liturgical in its foundation, scholarly in its argument, and pastoral in its application. His study provides a balanced answer to the ongoing debate about the place of the music of the past in the liturgy of the present. This book is a must read for all involved in the debate, be they professors or practitioners of liturgical music.”

Kathleen Harmon, SNDdeN, PhD

Director of Music Programs, Institute for Liturgical Ministry

“At long last, an academic study that aims neither at musical iconoclasm nor the reversal of liturgical reform, but at faithfulness to fullness of tradition in pastoral practice. [i]Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform[/i] is destined to become the standard source of our time for academic study and ministry formation in Roman Catholic worship music. It should find a place on the shelves of every seminarian, student of liturgy and church music, pastor, pastoral musician, cathedral rector, cathedral, diocesan worship director, and bishop.”

Kevin Vogt, Executive Director

St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum, Omaha, NE, USA

“Neither restorationist nor reductionistic in its analysis, this most impressive work studies the place of the ‘treasury of sacred music’ in the reformed liturgy of the church. Without ever losing sight of its fundamental thesis, this encyclopedic volume ranges widely over a plethora of theological, historical, and musicological issues and breaks new ground in areas hitherto considered settled. This most substantial book establishes a new landmark in the study of Catholic liturgical music and will become an essential entry in any liturgical-musical syllabus or bibliography. Truly a magnum opus.”

Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

St. Vincent’s Church, Salt Lake City, UT

“If there is a true mark of brilliance in this book, it is less the immeasurable detail and scholarship so plainly put forth, less the synthesis of ideas, less the drama of the passions and politics at play, than the simple acknowledgement that in culture, in ritual, in language, in art, that to be Catholic means to be catholic.”

—[i]The American Organist[/i]

“[Father Anthony Ruff, OSB] takes the reader on a long, winding, fascinating journey through the debates on liturgical music from the Baroque period through the present with a special focus on the last hundred or so years.

“…Only someone very well-read in the subject would fail to learn something new on every page, and for this reason, the book is engaging at every step. The author writes not with anything like a stifling academic distance but rather like a good narrative historian.… He has an eye for the colorful anecdote, and his stories of prelates, composers, singers, publishers and controversies make the book a real page-turner.

“ There is no question of the status of this work as indispensible and required reading for anyone who takes seriously the subject of the history of modern Catholic music. And not only indispensible: it is likely to be regarded as definitive, for it is not a work easily displaced by another comparable work.

“…Moreover, there is a strong sense in which [i]Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform[/i] will have made a contribution to the progress precisely because this book connects us with our history and our responsibilities as musicians, and makes us realize just how serious the job of being a Catholic musician truly is. For that [Fr. Ruff] has earned the gratitude of everyone working to improve Catholic music.”

Sacred Music