Quentin Faulkner's Gothic Pillars and Blue Notes
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    The discussion on this forum of organ methods reminded me of Quentin Faulkner, whose book with George Ritchie on organ was my vade mecum back to the organ several years ago. And in turn brought to mind the 3-part article that appeared in The American Organist in 1998. The subtitle of the article is "Art as a Reflection on the Conflict of Religions."

    All three parts are now available on the Digital Commons of the University of Nebraska for download. Here is the address to the first part: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/musicfacpub/10/

    Food for Thought.
  • First, an aside: being married to a William Faulkner scholar obsessed with the novel The Sound and The Fury, the name Quentin Faulkner always provokes interesting conversation in our household. Did Q. Faulkner’s parents have the novel in mind when they named their son Quentin? (Quentin Compson is a principal figure in the novel.) Since that character did himself in by jumping into the Charles River I doubt it, but its fun to speculate.

    Mary Jane, thanks for prodding me into rereading this three-part essay. Quentin Faulkner is a serious thinker as well as being solidly grounded in the sociology of religion. I suspect the reason there have been no comments is that the essay lends itself more to the seminar than casual repartee of comment boxes. However, I would recommend that readers download the essay (remember it’s in three parts). Part I focuses on a necessary connection between art and culture; part II argues that modern secular culture has assumed the role of a religion and that traditional religion is moribund (or at least acts as if it is); and part III seeks to identify features of art that characterize it as genuinely and uniquely Christian.

    Since the essay was written a decade ago, some things seem a bit dated. He champions the work of the Taizé and Iona communities, but one could argue their musical contributions are on the wane. Though he rightly contends that art truly indigenous to a culture must be ever created anew, his praise for “On Eagles’ Wings’ hardly meets his criterion that one should be able to identify music as religious even if its words are removed.

    I’ve left out a lot in this synopsis, but I hope you take Mary Jane’s advice and read the essay.