Just a note to mention the two latest acquisitions for the Ann E. Beatty Hymnal Collection:
- An American Christmas Harp: A Choice Collection… (3rd ed.), a wonderful fasola shapenote book edited by Karen E. Willard. This new (Oct. 2009) edition contains almost 100 tunes, mostly from the early American shapenote traditions but some of English provenance or recent manufacture, with wonderful Christmas texts, largely from the same sources but in many cases newly tied to these tunes.
- Rejoice in the Lord, a hymnal (1985) of the Reformed Church in America, one of the last works of Erik Routley, who edited its music. It’s a great hymnal, and quite idiosyncratic. Some of the contents leave me scratching my head, but some (such as setting “A stable lamp is lighted” to ES IST EIN’ ROS’ ENTSPRUNGEN) have me wondering why I hadn’t thought of that. And Routley’s paragraph on inclusive language revision of hymns is a joy for me to read: “… we have not often embarked on the extremely hazardous and difficult task of adjusting all language so that it gives no offense to those who regard it as wrong to use the male pronoun for God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. What is appropriate to precise theological discourse is, we believe, not necessarily appropriate to religious lyric. Ours is an era of sensitivity to this issue but it is also a time which has not yet developed a genderless pronoun. In this context, the selection or adjustment of texts to accommodate this awareness would commit us either to omit a very large number of established classics, or so to alter their diction and style as to make them unrecognizable to singers (and probably to make them a travesty of what their authors intended). For better or for worse, we have gone as far in this matter as our times and good sense would allow….”
Let me also note that I have set up a wiki (at wikispaces) for those hymnal editing tasks which can probably be better done in a wiki than in a blog. It is empty now, but it is likely that I will start filling it soon.