GIA Publications

What are your opinions of GIA Publications? Are they are good source of quality Catholic Sacred Music?

To define, I consider Gregorian Chant and hymns such as Holy, Holy, Holy to be quality Catholic Sacred Music. I consider Amazing Grace, Lord of the Dance, and just about everything Glory & Praise to not be quality Catholic Sacred Music.

I have only limited experience of GIA Publications. It seems to me that they offer quite an extensive mix of liturgical music, from chant to traditional hymns to modern worship music. I bought a chant accompaniment book from them some time ago and it has come in handy several times - to digress slightly, the accompaniment is according to the Solesmes method which in my opinion is inferior to that of the Belgian school of Flor Peeters, Monsignor Jules Van Nuffel et al…

Although generally not a fan of the use of his music in the Sacred Liturgy, Fr Liam Lawton’s music is published by GIA - I have had to purchase some pieces and collections for weddings & funerals, etc. and whether or not you like the music, the quality of print and layout is excellent - very clear and easy to read.

They appear to sell a wide range of hymnals - I don’t know much about most of them, but they do publish the St Gregory Hymnal which I think is regarded as quite a traditional Catholic hymnal; it contains hymns in both Latin and English. If you’re planning on buying a hymnal, I would suggest contacting GIA for a list of hymns that a certain hymnal contains so as you know exactly what you are getting and you can compare and contrast with other hymnals. Here in Ireland, the GIA hymnals aren’t used much - generally in Irish churches you’ll find the old reliable “Veritas Hymnal” (published by Veritas) or one of the “Hymns Old & New” series (published by Kevin Mayhew)-which are generally quite good. I think, like all large publishing houses, GIA has many fine publications on offer while at the same time offering pieces which have little or no place in the liturgy - shop around!!

Good source and quality

<<To define, I consider Gregorian Chant and hymns such as Holy, Holy, Holy to be quality Catholic Sacred Music.>>

If you mean the hymn beginning, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty/Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee,” this was actually written by a Protestant, I believe.

And…? Is there anything in particular in this hymn that’s incompatible with Catholic teaching? I don’t know this hymn, but having taken a quick look at the words, I did not see anything offensive or contrary to the Church’s teaching. To me as an organist, generally, the composer is not the most important factor in choosing hymns - the important aspects of a hymn are words and a melody which have the power to turn our thoughts to God. That said, I do choose hymns very carefully - I am especially wary of Eucharistic hymns which speak of mere symbols of bread and wine for example, as such sentiments are outrightly contrary to Church teaching. If we automatically dismiss a composer because they are Protestant we lose many great musical treasures - J.S. Bach, Henry Purcell & Georg F. Handel are examples which spring to mind.

Of course most hymnals today - in trying to be ecumenical - have mixed the good with the bad, the eminently suitable and the plainly unsuitable, and it is down to musical directors and the clergy to select hymns carefully. However, I do believe that we should base our decisions on the merits of the hymn itself and its ability to inspire worship during the Sacred Liturgy.

So? There are many fine hymns from Protestant origin that are perfectly suited to Catholic Liturgy. And, what NPC said.

I have used GIA a for years as a source of music. As a previous poster pointed out they sell all styles of music . They have a series (and the name slips my mind right now) in which they score many of the older hymns in 4 parts/descants and add to the accompaniement not only organ but brass. They are really nice for major liturgical events. They provide psalm settings in both a more traditional setting as well as contemporary setting. The have a large selection of mass settings, although with the mass changes coming within the next year or so I would not bother to puchase any since they will be obsoleted. Check out ther website or give them a call. They are also quite helpful if you are looking for a specific piece. If they don’t publish they can usually tell you where you can get it from.

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Originally Posted by Cluny View Post
<<To define, I consider Gregorian Chant and hymns such as Holy, Holy, Holy to be quality Catholic Sacred Music.>>

If you mean the hymn beginning, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty/Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee,” this was actually written by a Protestant, I believe.
And…? Is there anything in particular in this hymn that’s incompatible with Catholic teaching? I don’t know this hymn, but having taken a quick look at the words, I did not see anything offensive or contrary to the Church’s teaching. To me as an organist, generally, the composer is not the most important factor in choosing hymns - the important aspects of a hymn are words and a melody which have the power to turn our thoughts to God.>>

My point is that the words of this hymn–which are the hymn itself–were written by a Protestant.

And I’m an organist, too.

And you think that automatically disqualifies it, for that sole purpose?

To be fair, Cluny was not giving a personal opinion on whether “Holy, holy, holy” should or should not be used, but merely stated the fact that it was written by a Protestant - an Anglican bishop no less, Reginald Heber. Thus it is a hymn in the Anglican tradition, whether it is compatible with Catholic teaching or not. However I do recall on a thread some time ago, some people suggesting that Catholics should not sing hymns which have been penned by Protestants, which as I said earlier, seems utterly ridiculous to my mind.

“The Celebration Series”, I think it’s called… I have, on occasion played a few of the pieces from this series - some are indeed quite good settings & can be learned easily be an average parish choir. I have found, however, with quite a few GIA publications that the organ parts are not always the best quality - I referred to Fr Liam Lawton’s music earlier, and the accompaniment is generally more suited to the piano so to play it effecively on the organ one is often better off merely reading the chord symbols… I’ve never heard any of the pieces from the series played with brass, but I expect they’re good - brass is so often the “icing on the cake” when it comes to music at major liturgical functions!

Well, being until recently the closest Protestant group to Catholicism and being from England itself, is it any wonder why so much is borrowed by the English Catholic Liturgy today? :wink:

As a few others have mentioned, GIA does publish a wide variety of different kinds of music. So, like with almost all kinds of publishers, you’ll get junk, middle-of-the-road and then higher quality. I have found, though, that they have a better selection of sacred music than other publishers. I like most of what is in the Worship hymnal.

I like CanticaNova publications and they also publish new works and based on what you have, I think you may like what they have as well.

canticanova.com/#

At the Cathedral, we used to use the Red Worship III books before the new, horrible translations, came out, where GIA pretty much butchered beautiful hymns with inclusive language. On the whole, with some glaring exceptions, the original Worship III had a solid collection of fine music. I own copies of RitualSong and Gather Comprehensive. Neither of them are as good as the old Worship III. I recently acquired Worship II and compared some of the hymns in that volume to my copy of Worship III. I noted that the lyrics to Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether had changed somewhat in Worship III.

At least, to their credit, they did not chop up Alleluia, Sing to Jesus and kept all references to the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist. The Mass settings by Proulx are still intact. I hope that he can re-work the Community Mass settings to fit the new translations.

Incidentally, for my cousin’s wedding, I am planning to use A Community Mass. She is amenable to that. We are also going to use Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, also found, intact, in Worship III (at least the older version that I have).

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