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Sing a new song : the forging of a new monastic musical voice in post-Vatican II Australia

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posted on 2023-05-28, 10:14 authored by Lynch, PJ
The Second Vatican Council heralded a period of immense and often unprecedented change for all Roman Catholics, nowhere more so than in matters liturgical. Against the backdrop of Sacrosanctum Concilium, promulgated by Paul VI on December 4, 1963, and subsequent Vatican legislation, this dissertation investigates, through an ethnographic methodology, the responses to the challenges and opportunities that arose through the process of liturgical reform within the Australian monastic context. The research focuses on four monastic communities, each of which welcomed the opportunity to participate: the Discalced Carmelite Nuns at the Carmelite Monastery in Kew, Victoria; the Trappist Monks at Tarrawarra Abbey in the Yarra Valley, Victoria; the Benedictine Nuns at Jamberoo Abbey, New South Wales; and the Benedictine Monks at New Norcia, Western Australia. It considers the liturgical music of each of these communities as it evolved over the period from 1960, two years prior to the commencement of the Council, to 2015, marking 50 years since its conclusion. Particular emphasis is placed on the dichotomy of the vernacularisation of their liturgies, and the concomitant necessity to develop sympathetic musical constructs, and the requirement, as mandated by the Council, to preserve the treasury of sacred music, especially Gregorian chant. It demonstrates that through their collective commitment and the expertise of individual musicians from within their ranks as well as further afield they have resolved, to a large extent, the inherent tension between the implementation of liturgical reform and the safeguarding of longstanding traditions in the Roman Church. It provides compelling evidence that, in so doing, they have not only succeeded but indeed excelled in forging a new monastic musical voice in post-Vatican II Australia.

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