One thing I really dislike is the use of dissonance as a harmonic device in Orthodox liturgical music settings (hey, I love dissonance, just not in this particular context). It’s one of the reasons I don’t much like either Karam or Kedrov, both of whom use harmonies that are inappropriate for Orthodox liturgies. There’s something very out of place about such comparatively modern harmonics in something as ancient as an Orthodox liturgy. And I don’t mean what most these days would call dissonance; I mean the use of passing seconds and sevenths, which harmonically speaking are quite conservative these days, and have been for a good two hundred years, at least.
One example is something I’ve sung hundreds, if not thousands, of times, Karam’s setting of Receive Me Today, an adaptation of the Communion Prayer as a Communion Hymn, which itself is a fine idea. It’s Karam’s setting that sets my teeth on edge (the music is here).
Karam, Receive Me Today, at 0:41 “As partaker” where you get that passing seventh. I really, really, really despise this setting. Oh, and it’s recorded by the Antiochian New England Choir, so if you can, try not to snicker too much at the deacon’s nasal New England accent, particularly on “draw ye near.” It isn’t nice.
Considering the mess the Catholics have with inappropriate music — because there’s certainly nothing inappropriate about the text, just the setting — I’m tempted to send the URLs to pages with harmonized liturgical music to some Catholic choir directors and beg them to take these things off our hands.
Not all of them. Just the excessively modern — and over-harmonized — settings.
By the way, I do like Kedrov’s setting of the Lord’s Prayer. I posted a video of it (in Slavonic) by the Bulgarian National Choir, here.