How dare you suggest such a thing! Go join Vatican II, you heretic!!! >:O
No, just kidding. What exactly do you mean? What is the difference between your suggestion and simply doing the Liturgy in English?
What I would like to see happen in my parish (where the Liturgy is currently sung 20% Ukrainian, 80% English) is for the entire thing to be sung in English. Our current choir director (who has been directing for 6 years at our parish) has been introducing more and more Ukrainian hymns lately, and I see that as moving backwards, rather than forwards. (We have fewer and fewer people in our parish who even understand Ukrainian. Why continue to use it? Even the old folks are asking for more English.)
In regards to the second part of my post, the OCA and Antiochian successfully took Slavonic and Antiochian chant and just translated the lyrics from Church Slavonic and Arabic to English. This was an important and needed first step.
What I am asking is has any American composers written an Orthodox Liturgy implementing American-style music? (Acapella of course.)
I am not saying that we should replace all existing music with "American music." I'm just asking if any has been written.
I mean, would it be un-canonical to write the Thrice Holy Hymn in an acapella Gospel/Spiritual style? (I'm just tossing ideas around. Not suggesting a revolution.)
Why change it? It's not broken, don't fix it. I balk at any suggestion that because we are Americans we have to have "our own" style when it comes to anything. Besides, if you look historically at what happened in places such as Russia or Serbia or Bulgaria, their own liturgical style developed organically over centuries. What you are suggesting seems to boil down to a bunch of scholars, musicians and priests sitting in a room generating ideas for a new liturgy that best reflects American sympathies. That is not organic; it is artificial and will really rob us of our heritage. I, for one, have no problem whatsoever with being an American in an old-world church.
I am not trying to create a revolution. Yes, it happened organically in the Slavic countries, but in order for it to happen, someone at one point had to sit down and say "Ya know, I'm kind of tired of the Thrice Holy Hymn in this here Greek-Style. I think I'm going to write it in a style that reflects the Russian style of music a little more."
All I am asking is if any American Orthodox composers have taken the same initiative. Nobody is asking anyone to throw out the choir books.
Having said that, I have to agree with the choir director. Byzantine chant is for the Greek and Arabic languages; it doesn't really work well with English. The Kazan project has some good and accessible pieces but the English itself is of such archaic quality that chanting it really doesn't work. I favor chanting of MORE Greek and Arabic during the services. Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.
Um, I hate to break it to you, but Ukrainians are not Greek. (I'm used to being called Russian, but never been called Greek! lol)
Furthermore, we currently use a large percentage of English in our Liturgy, and the OCA has successfully translated all of the hymns into English. What frustrates me is that he is trying to ADD more Ukrainian hymns under the arguement that the hymns would have to be re-written to accomodate English lyrics. This is not true.
Ukrainians use polyphonic chant. We use Western notation in our music. It would not be difficult to take the Ukrainian words out and replace them with English words.
In Byzantine chant, the length of a note is determined by the length of the word. (Or that's how it was explained to me.) Ukrainian chant is not like that. The length of the note is as long as the composer wants it to be. It has nothing to do with how many syllables are in the word.
So while I see your arguement for English in Byzantine Chant, it really doesn't work the same way with us Slavs.