Sunday, November 22, 2015

Liturgy and Hymnody Review: 2011 GIA Hymnals



Worship-Fourth  Edition (Pew edition with readings)
. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Cloth. $16.50. (LHP)

Worship-Fourth  Edition (Keyboard landscape edition). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Cloth. Two Volumes. $120.00. (LHP)

Worship-Fourth  Edition (Bb instrument edition). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Spiral. $90.00. (LHP)

Gather-Third  Edition (Pew edition with readings). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Cloth. $16.50. (LHP)

Gather-Third  Edition (Guitar edition). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Spiral. Three Volumes. $90.00. (LHP)

When I was on vicarage, I intended to visit every Lutheran and liturgical congregation in the community. I accomplished that goal, gathering brochures and bulletins from a variety of ELCA, Roman Catholic and Episcopal congregations, plus many other congregations of various denominational names. I was able to witness a Roman Mass in Latin and a Roman cathedral using an early version of Worship from GIA.

With the revised Roman order of Mass (, there was a need for publishers to update their hymnals. Let's examine two from GIA.

The wide range of GIA editors, both full-time staff members and those working on specific projects, have been working overtime to develop new hymnals for the twenty-first century Church. Each of these projects will reflect the high standards the Church has come to expect from GIA hymnals. Each will have a unique focus designed to meet the needs of diverse American Catholic communities. All are truly comprehensive hymnals (featuring musical diversity), two are designed to serve multicultural communities; and one is the first-ever cover to cover bilingual, English-Spanish hymnal (Publisher's press release, posted on August 09, 2010).

Back in 2008 (Liturgy, Hymnody, & Pulpit Quarterly Book Review Volume 2, Issue 4, Angels' Tide, 2008), we reviewed the previous version of Worship.

LHP Review
Worship: A Hymnal and Service Book for Roman Catholics (Third Edition, Choir Edition). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2001. Cloth. $23.00. (LHP)

Intended for Roman Catholic parishes, Worship, Third Edition is a unique thing—a hardcover hymnal instead of a disposable newsprint quarterly missal. That switch alone would teach a congregation much about our Christian heritage in Church music as well as catechize them toward a better theology of worship.


There are Lutheran influences evident from a Lutheran Worship psalm tone for Psalm 6, liturgical music by Richard Hillert (271, 458), the LBW version of "From Heaven Above" (388), Martin Franzmann's "Thy Strong Word" (511), "All Glory Be to God on High" (527), and even "Weary of All Trumpeting" (635). Lutherans will also recognize the Vajda/Schalk collaboration, "Now the Silence" (668). Martin Luther's most famous hymn appears as the three stanza "God Is Our Fortress and Our Rock" (576), a 1982 Michael Perry translation copyrighted by Hope Publishing Company.


Particularly impressive is an index of Hymns for the Church Year (1205), building upon the Lutheran contribution of the "Hymn of the Day." There are many hymns on the list we have in common throughout the Three-Year Series.


After an initial section for the Liturgy of the Hours, the psalter is supplemented with numerous canticles and a first-hand view of the Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults (100). I do not believe the Bible's theology of Holy Baptism supports such a piecemeal initiation process, but Lutherans can learn how to better connect a catechumen (youth or adult) with the congregation throughout and following catechesis.


Petitions to anyone other than God (109, hymns 421, 443, 693, 711, 1202, et al) should be abandoned.


Reconciliation (125) is a good Gospel word for "Confession and Absolution," yet penitents should be taught that confession is made for the sake of absolution.


The Order of Mass, Divine Service, begins on 229. Much will be familiar to Lutherans. While I personally like seeing the Nicene Creed beginning "We believe…" because that is the original text, the Apostles' Creed (239) should remain "I" rather than "We" for the same reason. Additional musical settings (and parts of settings) follow.


Worship is ahead of its time by continuing to include Latin-language liturgical music (340ff). Pope Benedict would be pleased. Even in Bach's day, Lutherans still used Latin texts (at least occasionally) for the Daily Office and Divine Service. "O Come, All Ye Faithful" (392) is also presented as "Adeste Fideles," memorably sung by Bing Crosby. "Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates" (363) is a much better text to pair with the tune TRURO than with the weak Easter text, "Christ Is Alive" (466).


A section for liturgical propers begins on 765. Users of LW and LBW will note similarities to the front of those hymnals. For Palm Sunday and the Triduum, Holy Week, resources are notably and appropriately expanded.


Prayers of the Individual and Household (1152) are extensive and are weakened only by invocations of saints and angels rather than Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


An index of Scripture Passages Related to Hymns (1204) will be a welcome feature for regular users of the hymnal as well as other Christians mining it for resource suggestions.


I also liked the off-white paper inside and ribbon to the visually and tactile-rich red cover.


QBR requested a review copy of this hymnal because it is a Choir Edition. It makes me more thankful for the hymnals I've used at worship over the years, The Lutheran Hymnal, Lutheran Worship, and Lutheran Service Book, all hymnals with the majority of the music presented in four-part (choir-like) harmony. LSB was supposed to have a "Choir Edition." It probably won't ever appear. I'm still curious, though. Given the similarities between this Worship: Choir Edition and the final form of LSB, what would a LSB: Choir Edition have looked like?


Yes, there is a greater expense to this choir version than the usual pew copies of Worship, Third Edition, but I encourage parishes that are considering a purchase of this hymnal to buy all choir editions, or to buy only choir editions from this point on. If you buy them, and teach the people, they will sing! Harmony is a beautiful thing.


In addition, I would encourage GIA to include harmony parts on as many hymns and psalms as possible in Worship, Fourth Edition.



With the arrival of Worship—Fourth Edition, let's consider how GIA got here:

The tradition of Worship hymnals began in 1971. Worship II and Worship—Third Edition followed in 1975 and 1986, respectively. Together, they account for the greatest number of GIA hymnals used in Catholic parishes over these years, with hundreds of thousands of the latest edition still in use. It is fitting, then, that our newest top-of-the-line hymnal should be its fourth edition. Lots will be new! Unlike its two most recent predecessors, the Fourth Edition will be comprehensive, much in the style of GIA's RitualSong. While it will include a substantial collection of the finest organ-based hymnody, it will also include the best-loved contemporary music, and shorter "world music" pieces; a significant amount of the core material will have Spanish translations. The single feature about which we are most enthusiastic, though, is its wide-range exploration of hymn texts by modern writersthose writing for today's church. For immediate accessibility, a majority of these hymns will be matched with well-known, well-loved tunes.


The five editors—Kelly Dobbs Mickus, senior editor, Robert Batastini, Fr. James Chepponis, Charles Gardner, and Fr. Ronald Krisman—have devoted a tremendous amount of energy and expertise to assembling an outstanding body of hymns matched to each Sunday of the three-year Lectionary. While these hymns will be distributed thorughout the book according to thematic category, the Hymn of the Day calendar will point directly to an exceptionally appropriate hymn for each Sunday and solemnity of the church year, with tunes that are likely to be familiar.
(Publisher's press release)

We had the opportunity to see different volumes of the Worship library than last time. While we appreciated a fuller music edition in the choir edition of W3, imagining what a Lutheran Service Book: Choir Edition could have been, the Three-Year Lectionary Readings printed in the back of our review pew copy of W4 remind us of the days when German Lutheran hymnals had room for the Historic Lectionary readings, the creeds, Small Catechism, and an account of the destruction of Jerusalem. Having God's Word in the ears and eyes of His people at liturgy is a great thing!

Lutherans will note a couple hymns by Lutheran other Lutherans including "This Is the Feast" and "A Mighty Fortress." Hymns for the Church Year (1231ff) profitably carry beyond Lutheranism the idea of the Hymn of the Day. I am curious/concerned about a Dakota hymn included in the collection (575). The text needs context and more Christian specificity to avoid any appearance of unionism or syncretism.

The durably-constructed organ edition has guitar chords on some hymns, songs, and liturgical pieces. It could be used by as a lead sheet edition by a keyboard player, guitarist, or even by an LCMS guitarist in conjunction with Lutheran Service Book. (Search for hymn tune titles to find music in common between the two hymnals.)

In the same way the available Bb edition for trumpet, clarinet, tenor sax could be used in conjunction with LSB for Lutheran worship. We appreciated reading the following in the introduction to the comprehensive spiral-bound single volume:

Two principal approaches have been used in developing this collection. For classical, organ-based hymns, the instrumental part is most often in the form of a trumpet descant. For piano/guitar-based songs, the instrumental part is most often conceived as woodwind material. All parts, of course, are theoretically playable on any melody instrument, subject to range and technical feasibility. In order to accommodate the range of various instruments, the parts have frequently been printed in octaves.

As a trumpet player, I will make use of the Bb Instrument volume of Worship: Fourth Edition!

As I am a Lutheran reviewing a worship resource intended for Roman Catholic parishes, my previous criticisms and commendations (noted above in our 2008 review) are hereby repeated.

Gather—Third Edition


Though having a somewhat shifted emphasis from Worship, our Gather hymnals, especially the green Gather Comprehensive, have enjoyed unprecedented adoption by parishes across America for a single hymnal edition.  Our plans to produce a revised version of Gather Comprehensive—Second Edition have prompted some feedback, and we are now planning instead a new edition called Gather—Third Edition.

Gather—Third Edition will contain many new and revised Mass settings to coordinate with the revised Order of Mass. In addition, GIA wishes to take advantage of the many new titles which have been published since 2004 (when Gather Comprehensive—Second Edition was released) by including 75 new titles in the section of hymns and songs. This third edition of Gather will retain the balance of the two previous editions of Gather Comprehensive: approximately 70% piano/guitar based titles and 30% organ-based.
(Publisher's press release)

The above gives a good summary of what makes Gather distinct from Worship.

Our pew edition also had the Three-Year Lectionary readings. Core hymns were similar to W4. The different composition of Gather meant that we were given a guitar chord edition, a resource that would also function well as a lead sheet edition for a pianist. And, as I mentioned above with Worship's organist edition, could be used in conjunction with LSB in my tradition and congregation.

A few other observations are in order. the Gather guitar edition makes up three spiral-bound volumes! Thinking creatively, this could be purchased and used as a Large Print edition of Gather! For hymns and songs in difficult (for guitar) keys, capo chords are suggested. Perhaps, for Gather: Fourth Edition, the melody could be provided in the capo chord keys for convenience on select songs and hymns.

Gather does provide some hymns and songs in better keys for singing and accompaniment than my LSB. I'll take them to my music shelf at church for future use there on Sundays, Wednesdays, and festivals!

Last year, we reviewed ( an additional GIA hymnal:

Lead Me, Guide Me—Second Edition

This revision has been a long time coming, and we guarantee it will be worth the wait. The project began some years ago with a discernment meeting chaired by Archbishop Wilton Gregory and attended by a distinguished group of African-American clergy, liturgists, musicians, and GIA staff.  It gave focus to the revision and spwned a core committee consisting of Msgr. Raymond East, chariman; Robert Batastini, project coordinator; Dr. James Abbington; Marcia Berry; Richard Cheri; Dr. Norah Duncan IV; Sr. Joan Angela Edwards, SSM; Kenneth Louis; and Fr. J-Glenn Murray, SJ. While the original Lead Me, Guide Me was subtitled "The African-American Catholic Hymnal," the new edition recognizes that many communities, while being predominantly African-American, are in fact significantly multicultural. Lead, Me Guide Me II will be significantly expanded from the original in that it will include the full breadth of African American church music that is suitable for Catholic worship, a representative selection of music from Africa and the Caribbean, and a large cross-section of the common Catholic repertoire of our day. The latest music editing advances have enabled significant strides toward printing the music to reflect performance practices in the African American church more than in the first edition of this hymnal.

The new LMGM will have a complete three-year set of Lectionary psalms composed by some of today's finest African American composers.

(Publisher's press release)

One of the great blessings of all three hymnals is a common musical setting for Mass. We have now seen it in Lead Me, Guide Me II (98ff), Worship IV (202ff), and Gather III (166ff). We would love to see how this is presented in GIA's bilingual hymnal.

This is good, right, and salutary! Generations of Lutherans in America have benefited from the Common Service and a few common ways of singing the texts of the liturgy.

I could imagine an edited version of this GIA common setting for the Order of Mass. being made available for Lutheran, Anglican, and Episcopal congregations by GIA in the near future.


Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, District Education Chairman and Editor of Lutheran Book Review. A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Cain is a contributor to Lutheran Service Book, Lutheranism 101, the forthcoming LSB Hymnal Companion, and is the author of 5 Things You Can Do to Make Our Congregation a Caring Church. He has previously served Emmanuel, Green River, WY and Trinity, Morrill, NE. He is married to Ann and loves reading and listening to, composing, and making music.

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