Music and Architecture
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    NLM has a post about the architectural firm New World Byzantine, about which I cannot have enough good things to say. One of the firm's founders, Andrew Gould, has an article posted on the firm's website which makes me think about sacred music and its traditions of composition:

    An iconography student once said to a master, "I wish to paint a nativity icon, but all the ancient examples are different from one another. How do I know what to copy, and where do I have freedom to invent new variations?" The master answered, "Set all the ancient icons side by side. Some things will be the same in all of them. This is the canon, to which you must faithfully adhere. Other details will vary, and here you may paint something new, so long as your creativity is consistent with the spirit and intent of the old examples."

    He also has this to say about mixing:

    It is dangerous to mix styles and cultures without sensitive judgment as to what can go together and what cannot. As a general rule, we kept everything as simple as possible, because simplicity is compatible with every culture and style, and is always beautiful -- ornament is less forgiving.

    Yes, this is all very general, but the spirit is very honest and forthright. We in the West place such an emphasis on individual novelty and innovation. Perhaps this accounts for a lot of anxiety. Our eastern brothers are craftsmen in a long tradition, and they seem to feel little anxiety as a result. Is this true? Do they feel they have sufficient freedom within the limits of tradition? If so, beati loro. They don't have to work so hard to make something truly beautiful.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    The quotes above reminds me of 'styles' of Sacred music in various rites among catholics and EF, OF Masses. Different styles and customs, but the same spirit to be observed.(humility)