Beethoven 9 in a cathedral
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,074
    Hmmm....Beethoven 9 being presented at the Christ (Crystal) Cathedral. The model of the Enlightenment composer's final symphonic work in a church...and Catholic at that. The modernists at work.

    While I appreciate Beethoven, the 9th seems to me to be out of character with Holy Mother Church.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I am afraid it is a common thing. Our own cathedral has had several secular concerts including an opera on the front steps. They had a spirituals concert (inside) as well. Some of these are sponsored by the local, "Handel Society," which performs everything but Handel. I think their first concert was Handel, but they haven't gone near him since. Needless to say, I didn't go to any of them and haven't even seen that building yet - that being more from a lack of time than disapproval.

    Maybe all those chubby singers will cause the foundations to shift toward the creek.

    They could have done the dreaded Coronation Mass which might have been an even worse choice.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 169
    There's a certain irony in secular choirs or musicians performing sacred music in an actual church, except not during an actual religious ritual. I went to one historic church that had a lovely organ concert on Saturday evening. But on Sunday morning they had the drums and electric guitars...

    At least in one church that frequently has concerts they always remove (there's another word...) the Blessed Sacrament before hand. But if you have to remove Our Lord for a concert, does that not perhaps suggest it would be better to hold the concert in the community center or theater?

    Thanks be to God I was born at a very confusing time...
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,096
    The practice of removing the Sacrament form the church for a concert is because there is a Vatican directive to do so. I've never quite understood the reason for this. Is music somehow profane?
    However, one of my bugbears is that the rich tradition of great Masses, Motets have been kicked to the curb and can only be presented in 'secular' concerts - for which they were never intended. I like the idea of Beethoven 9 in a Cathedral, it's been done many times, but better would have been the composer's Missa Solemnis!
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  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,096
    Charles, why is the Coronation Mass dreaded?
    I remain quite surprised at the animosity toward Mozart on this forum. He was the greatest of all Catholic composers!
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,543
    the animosity toward Mozart on this forum


    I love Mozart. His Coronation and Sparrow ("Tweety Bird") Masses are a lot of fun. So are a lot of his motets. I even enjoy his Ave Verum . . . once or twice a year, that is.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I am not a Mozart fan to begin with, although some of his "darker" works composed toward the end of his life I tend to like more than his court music. The music he wrote for his aristocratic employers is, to my ear, rather prissy and affected. Probably accurate to say that reflected the time period.

    The Coronation Mass was written for the coronation of Francis II as Holy Roman Emperor. I find it to be a concert rather than worship and it is completely over-done and extravagant. Perhaps Pius X raised objections to that kind of music better than I can.

    The "Ave Verum" is what I pull out when too many choristers are out of town or didn't come to practice. They can sing that one in their sleep.

    Mozart was a composer of stage music and, as I mentioned, court music. He did not write, for any practical purpose, anything for organ. I find most of his music not suitable for church and even more dreaded, is that horrid, "Exsultate Jubilate" with chirps, runs, leaps, yodels, and in my area, a few screeches that get thrown in whether by design or accident.
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  • stulte
    Posts: 240
    He was the greatest of all Catholic composers!
    Um...well, he was profoundly gifted of course, but his liturgical music...well, let's just say that it wasn't his music that was held up as an example for others to follow in the Church.

    And I have to agree that Beethoven's 9th symphony shouldn't be performed inside a Catholic Church.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,757
    Of course, neither Beethoven's ninth, nor his Missa Solemnis, nor Mozart's (nor Haydn's and a few others') masses should be heard inside a church - at least not for liturgy, though the 'concert masses' may well be performed as part of a sacred concert in a church. I would aver that Monteverdi was the last composer to leave us masses that were appropriate to be sung at mass, that had a truly ritualistic character or aesthetic. (That's not counting RVW's masterpiece.)

    As for the fully profane (but ingenious) ninth - well it doesn't belong in church, but I should rather hear it in a church than what is, on average, heard in our churches, whether for mass or not.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,177
    Mozart and Beethoven were the Supreme Modernists of the serious music world of their day. Their compositions are the epitome of popular music of their century. They dominate the concert hall, even today, and that is as far as their reach should extend... Beethoven BELONGS in the Crystal Cathedral... it represents everything the Crystal Cathedral represents... everything except Roman Catholicism.

    Nuff said.
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  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,757
    Oh, no, Francis!
    Singing or performing Beethoven in Christ Cathedral (nee 'The Crystal Cathedral') would be to profane and cheapen Beethoven.
    Beethoven deserves better - far better.
  • At least in one church that frequently has concerts they always remove (there's another word...) the Blessed Sacrament before hand.

    Translation is the word you’re looking for. It’s the translation of the Blessed Sacrament (like on Holy Thursday and Good Friday).
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,543
    should be heard inside a church - at least not for liturgy


    Don't tell ma bois at the Institute that! :)
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  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 396
    The great Msgr. Schuler is too busy, I hope, beholding the Vision, to roll in his grave about some of what is being said here.

    The Msgr., of course, was known to refuse to perform the great classical Masses in a concert setting. Using them as concert works burdens them with that association.

    But St Agnes speaks for itself: between vocations and devotional life, one can rest assured that, whatever they did, the Masses of the classical masters did not destroy the Catholic spirit.
  • doneill
    Posts: 168
    With all due respect, many of you are missing Kevin's initial point. The issue is not strictly secular vs. sacred in concert; my understanding is that concerts presented in churches may include secular music so long as the content is not in conflict with the sacred. That means, for instance, that a string quartet playing a concert of all absolute music would be fine. The issue here is that Beethoven's 9th is texted, and the text is basically the ultimate paean to secular humanism. They may get away with it, given that many people connect the tune with the hymn "Joyful Joyful," but that just means that they are saying it's OK for people not to pay attention to the words. The piece was also performed at an outdoor Mass in New York during a visit from Benedict, and I thought it was odd then, too.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 643
    Beethoven is my absolutely favorite composer, and the 9th is one of my favorite symphonies. But doneill / Kevin are both absolutely correct.

    I choose to use another hymn tune for Joyful, Joyful - not because the music is itself intrinsically wrong, but because of the connotation of the original use. I would gladly take part in singing the 9th, or attend a concert of the work at Music Hall... but agree it is out of context in a sacred space.
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  • Your tune is Alleluia and is often paired with 'Alleluia, Sing to Jesus', etc.
    It is a very good tune for those who are beginning to get tired of Hyfrydol.
    It occurs several times in the 1940.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 643
    Thanks, MJO! I've wondered what that tune was.
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  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,096
    WHY WHY do you all wish to relegate music INTENDED for the mass to the concert hall? the Masses that Mozart wrote were for the MASS. Are you all kowtowing to some post-conciliar scree about "appropriate" music for church? Frankly your views sadden me, and seen very small minded! I will NEVER give up on the mission to restore the glorious music written for the Mass to the Mass. Y'all can go any play your protestant hymns.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,096
    Charles, I respect your views, but in this, I am ashamed.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I find Haydn masses more useful, and I like them. Mozart is primarily a stage composer and it shows. He's a bit over-the-top for church, not that he wrote all that much for church to begin with.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    Have you guys actually looked at Beethoven's music, or are you just repeating the same tired cliches about it?

    "The pinnacle of secular humanism"? This is no Rossini opera about drivel. This is absolute music of the finest calibre by one of the singularly greatest composers of the Western canon. Though not liturgical, it is surely of finer quality, and its musical content more akin to the truly divine, than any of the Cecilians' mediocre output for sure.

    I'm tired of seeing people on this forum disparage composers like Mozart and Beethoven for not adhering to some impossible purity test about anti-Enlightenment values. Their purely musical art is equal to Palestrina's as the highest achievement of motivic economy, and the absolutism of their music is just as divine, if not always liturgical. Mozart's missae breves are absolutely usable in Mass.

    Feel free to not find them your cup of tea. Even feel free to not use them in your church. But if you rip Mozart a new one and then extol the praises of far, far lesser fare that has no audience outside of liturgical Gebrauchsmusik, I'm not sure what to say to you. Our task as music ministers is far more than providing some sort of menial service. There's a good reason that the work of these masters is held in such high regard centuries later by the secular music world. We would be doing them a dis-service if we were to avoid objectively appraising them on their merits as well.
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 396
    Their purely musical art is equal to Palestrina's as the highest achievement of motivic economy...


    Preparing obsessively as I have been for our parish's Assumption Mass, for which the Ordinary will be K.317, I was struck by this exact point while humming the soprano solo melody from the Kyrie...

    Palestrina was a true master, but he never wrote a tune like that. New and beautiful ways to develop and deploy melody had arisen in the two centuries intervening him and Mozart, and we should be unafraid to employ them in the worship of God, for which they were crafted and written.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I am not anti-Beethoven. As a young person with a low-paying job, I pinched pennies to buy the Beethoven bicentennial collection - all 17 volumes - in the seventies. I still have them. So I like Beethoven very much.

    The trouble with these big works for church is that they quickly turn into just concerts. Some years ago my church did the Beethoven Mass in C. It was a beautiful performance with all the permed, anointed, perfumed and made up singers from Protestant churches and secular institutions all over town in attendance. It was a lovely concert but not an act of worship. No mass was celebrated at the same time it was performed. It was a concert.
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  • doneill
    Posts: 168
    For some reason, this thread has become a commentary on the musical style of Beethoven. He is one of the greatest composers to have ever lived. I've played plenty of Beethoven myself. I was once part of a concert in a Catholic cathedral that did his Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, which is not sacred but appropriate in a church. That doesn't change the fact that the TEXT of Beethoven's 9th is inappropriate in a sacred setting.

    Oh friends, not these tones!
    Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
    And more joyful sounds!
    Joy! (Joy!)
    Joy! (Joy!)

    Joy, beautiful spark of divinity
    Daughter of Elysium
    We enter, drunk with fire
    Into your sanctuary, heavenly (daughter)!
    Your magic reunites
    What custom strictly divided
    All men become brothers
    Where your gentle wing rests

    Whoever has had the great fortune
    To be a friend's friend
    Whoever has won a devoted wife
    Join in our jubilation!
    Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
    His own on this earth!
    And whoever was never able to, must creep
    Tearfully away from this band!

    Joy all creatures drink
    At the breasts of nature;
    All good, all bad
    Follow her trail of roses
    Kisses she gave us, and wine
    A friend, proved in death;
    Pleasure was given to the worm
    And the cherub stands before God
    Before God!

    Glad, as His suns fly
    Through the Heaven's glorious design
    Run, brothers, your path
    Joyful, as a hero to victory

    Be embraced, millions!
    This kiss for the whole world!
    Brothers, above the starry canopy
    Must a loving Father dwell
    Do you bow down, millions?
    Do you sense the Creator, world?
    Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
    Beyond the stars must He dwell

    Be embraced, you millions!
    This kiss for the whole world!
    Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
    Must a loving Father dwell
    Be embraced
    This kiss for the whole world!
    Joy, beautiful spark of divinity
    Daughter of Elysium
    Joy, beautiful spark of divinity
    Divinity!
  • Incardination
    Posts: 643
    I'm tired of seeing people on this forum disparage composers like Mozart and Beethoven for not adhering to some impossible purity test about anti-Enlightenment values.

    Hmmm... I think you are mixing apples and oranges on some level. Musically, I have a great deal of respect for a wide variety of composers - and even for "pop" musicians who clearly have a degree of talent. That has nothing to do with suggesting that certain music is not well-suited for a sacred space, ostensibly dedicated to the glory of God.

    I love all of Beethoven's symphonies, particularly the two in minor keys (5th and 9th). That they are more suited for the concert hall than the church is not to denigrate his musical genius. As doneill referred to above, the 9th uses the text of Schiller's poem which is the "ultimate paean to secular humanism".

    Maybe your "line in the sand" regarding music in a church is a Rossini opera. I would hardly equate that to a disparagement of his musical genius (although perhaps you meant it in that regard!). Even had I the orchestra, I can't conceive of a situation where I would use Missa Solemnis, (although I must confess that his Et Incarnatus Est is one of two things that always, without fail, causes me to shed tears).

    As you say, that choice is our respective "cup of tea". But it has nothing to do with disparaging musical genius. Apples, oranges.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    I wasn't necessarily referring to you, Incardination. Unfortunately, there are some on this forum who do not have such a moderate opinion and continue to disparage the greats.

    I still fail to see the major issue with the text. It is obviously not liturgical, but I do not see anything blatantly profane.

    While Rossini was indeed a genius of tunes, his output was predominantly aimed at what we would now consider low-brow forms of entertainment that are not particularly transcendent. He could (and did) create much greater music at times with his gift. I was using it as an example of music that directly references ideas that would not be welcome in a church.

    I don't see any kind of overt issue like that in the Ninth.

    Furthermore:

    I think we need to separate devices that clearly have no place in a church (eg. loud unpitched percussion instruments) and devices that form part of a musical language that can be used for sacred or secular purposes (eg. occasional solos, instrumental support). We must not disparage Mozart for writing like Mozart, or Schubert like Schubert, as we would not disparage Monteverdi for writing like Monteverdi. And Monteverdi's sacred music shares many of the essential musical characteristics of his secular music - after all, it is his personal musical language which is in play.

    Mozart transferred with few modifications the (wholly successful and idiomatic) method of vocal writing he used for his operas into his church music, that much is true; but there is no sense in reinventing the wheel. Onto that foundation he layered fugal technique, imitative entry, and other traditionally "sacred" techniques resulting in a new musical language. It may be criticized (in the missae solemnes most of all) for being overly elaborate, perhaps, and inappropriate for an average Sunday Mass (that is where the missae breves come in), but it's not intrinsically operatic just because Mozart is writing like Mozart.

    Otherwise, Bach organ music should be banished from churches everywhere because he employs devices like the French overture with clearly operatic origins. But nobody would seriously consider such a proposal because it would mean the loss of much that is liturgically appropriate and musically excellent from the repertoire. I propose that we treat the other masters with the same regard.
  • Count me as not fond of either Beethoven or Mozart, regardless of venue. With that said, I have questions for those of you advocating that Beethoven and Mozart should (in some specific cases) not only be allowed but encouraged within the context of the Mass.

    1. With Verdi, the same musical style, and sometimes the nearly identical music is in his Mass as in his secular (nationalist) opera. Can the same be said of Mozart and Beethoven?

    2. Are there some Masses at which Beethoven and Mozart might be appropriate, but others at which they are wholly inappropriate? (For example, if we mix the music of the St. Louis Jesuits, Gregorian chant and (B/M) in the same Mass, is this disordered by nature?)

    3. Did B/M write for "popular" audiences the music they "intended" for Mass? John Rutter comes to mind as a comparison: when he writes for an ecumenical audience so his sales go up, does this music become, ipso facto, inappropriate for use at Mass?

    4. What difference does the
    not adhering to some impossible purity test about anti-Enlightenment values.
    make? Or, why doesn't it make any difference, if it doesn't?

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  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    1. Verdi's Requiem is clearly not designed for liturgical use, first and foremost; whereas all of Mozart's Masses were intended for some sort of liturgy, whether average or royal. It is also a work that clearly projects an inappropriately personal perspective, somewhat like Faure's Requiem (which is a masterwork in its own right, but not a liturgical one); Mozart's very ethos drove him to construct more "objective" renderings of the Ordinary.

    2. I would only draw the solemnis/brevis distinction rather than the distinction you made. The breves would be suitable for just about any Mass, with the solemnes reserved for more important solemnities or occasions.

    3. I think every decent composer outside of the Cecilians or other composers of liturgical Gebrauchsmusik wrote for an ecumenical audience; that is, their work succeeds both on the purely liturgical and the purely musical aspect. If John Rutter were some sort of terrible composer whose music slotted perfectly into liturgy but was hated by the public, that wouldn't make it more suited for Mass. If we take the court of public opinion as meaning anything, then Rutter's music is both well-liked and (theoretically) suitable for liturgy, and I see no issue with that. Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony, the most highly prized forms of art in the Church's treasury, are also immensely popular with modern listeners outside of a liturgical context. Obviously that merely makes them fine art, and not inappropriate.

    4. When we have people writing posts like

    Mozart and Beethoven were the Supreme Modernists of the serious music world of their day. Their compositions are the epitome of popular music of their century. They dominate the concert hall, even today, and that is as far as their reach should extend... Beethoven BELONGS in the Crystal Cathedral... it represents everything the Crystal Cathedral represents... everything except Roman Catholicism.

    I think it illustrates my point quite well. We're on the lookout for some sort of universal boogeyman to tar a whole group of compositions, and the Enlightenment comes under attack. While there may be much of the Enlightenment in the ways which Mozart and (especially) Beethoven approached the act of music-making or the role of the artist in society, I don't think it necessarily translates into the score itself. The Waldstein sonata was as avant-garde as Stockhausen was last century, but that in and of itself does not affect our appraisal of the score today.

    Case in point: The St. Louis Jesuits grew out of the same post-modernist, anti-establishment culture as French composer Pierre Villette (who studied at the same time as Boulez). Yet obviously one is perfectly acceptable in Mass and one is blatantly inappropriate. And you can't claim that Villette didn't use 20th-century musical elements in his music.
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  • I intend to have more to say toward the jist of this thread. But, for now, I will have to disagree with our esteemed Schonbergian about Schiller's text. Even a casual perusal of Schiller's poem can reveal more an agnostic and/or Unitarian concept of God than the loving and immediate God of Christian faith. A Catholic (and some Protestants as well) theologian would have a field day critiqueing Schiller's distant God beyond the stars. Not only that, but the concept of the brotherhood of man, which is a chapter right out of secular humanism's credo. There is nothing that remotely speaks to Christian faith or any spiritual life. It is a humanistic and Englightenment creed. It does not, nor was it intended, to provide any food for thought for a genuinely Catholic or orthodox Protestant mind.

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  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    I'll accept that, Jackson. But I still don't see anything that is directly anathema to the Church any more than your average secular part-song.

    For the record, I am generally against all secular music being performed in Church; but I see no reason to allow Bernstein or Weill but not Beethoven.
  • Nicely put, Schonbergian. But, in relation to your very potent point, we should not be lamenting as unfair that Beethoven's music is not allowed in church, but we should be vociferously disallowing, as well, Bernstein and company.

    I love Beethoven. By the time I was thirteen I could hum, whistle, and sing the entirety of all his and Mozart's symphonies and piano concertos - and knew the parts of every instrument. Listening to their chamber music was and is a deeply spiritual experience, even, I will insist, a species of worship. But, church is a fundamentally different avenue or nexus, a fundamentally different and unique vortex, which requires and has fundamentally different art, architecture, and music (not to mention spiritual disposition) - and! a fundamentally different state of mind and receptivity.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    Yes, absolutely - which is why I remain saddened that Beethoven never properly adapted his idiom to church as did many other composers. The Missa Solemnis is a personal statement of faith more than anything truly universal as a proper Ordinary (no pun intended) should be.

    With his knowledge of counterpoint, I'm sure he could have come up with a masterpiece. Regretfully, the ornery master had other plans.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,820
    Verdi's Requiem is clearly not designed for liturgical use
    I quite agree with Schönbergian on Mozart Haydn & Schubert, and I of course understand "designed" here means "suited", but lest anyone else start getting confused about the facts:
    1. Verdi's Requiem premiered at San Marco church in Milan on 22 May 1874, 3 days before subsequent performances at La Scala.
    2. Fauré's Op. 48, composed at his parent's deaths, was first performed on 16 January 1888 for the funeral of Joseph Lesoufaché at La Madeleine. (It also has pride of place here at St. David's.)
    3. Both Beethoven masses were occasional and not 'concert' pieces, the C major premiered in church, the Solemnis' liturgical debut only cancelled because of rehearsal difficulties. (Is liturgical fitness measured by getting everyone in and out in 60'?)
    but [in] the concept of the brotherhood of man, …there is nothing that remotely speaks to Christian faith or any spiritual life.
    An eccentric interpretation of the Gospel in any context!
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  • ...eccentric interpretation....gospel context!
    Do you really mean this?
    In the 'context' in which I spoke above the brotherhood of man in Enlightenment thought and Schiller's poem has nothing to do with the Gospel.
    It is thoroughly humanistic and Pelagian.
    To repeat: it seems to me that 'there is nothing that remotely speaks to Christian faith or any spiritual life' in the context and intent of Schiller's poem.
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  • Incardination
    Posts: 643
    Shifting the focus for a moment, I'd like to draw a parallel between those who might speak disparagingly of great composers and those who speak disparagingly of popes and saints who have given instruction on music. To my mind, the second situation is far more concerning of an issue than the first... and not at all uncommon either in personal discussion with other Catholic musicians or, indeed, on this forum.

    In gist, there are some who feel that "Pius X didn't know what he was talking about" or that we (somehow) know more than those with such a close connection to God that they've been canonized.

    Perhaps we, as a collective, ought to be careful of disparaging others - whether they be saints, popes, composers - (or even segments of Catholics with whom we may have had a bad experience or two.) :) That doesn't have to take away from our own convictions.

    There's no dichotomy in recognizing "Ego sum vermo, et non homo" and still being able to make decisions to according to our best understanding of Church law and standards of music - without finding it necessary to run-down the musical talents of composers on the one hand, or the intelligence of saints and popes on the other - in order to support our decisions.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,074
    To be blunt...my comment was not about Beethoven en generale or even a commentary on Beethoven's music. To be sure, I love Beethoven and regularly listen and play some of the piano sonatas and also listen to the string quartets. A statue of him sits on my home desk.

    My comment was the nexus of the Beethoven 9 in a church. The text is Schiller, who represents the height of Enlightenment thinking and philosophy. The Church and the Enlightenment don't necessarily mix very well. Who cares what Schiller thought about the Church or Christ or anything remotely connected to Christianity? I do.

    Of course, who thinks about that stuff anymore? After all, it's got a great tune and everybody knows it. So it's perfect in a church. Who cares about theology or philosophy anymore. Its too hard and we have to think. We don't want to do that. Give us that song associated with the EU and a paean to ourselves.
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  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 254
    But what makes the Ninth less appropriate than, say, Fair Phyllis I Saw Sitting All Alone? Or a Corelli chamber sonata, say? Not to mention the swathes of secular material that is ostensibly signed off on by pastors across North America.

    If the issue is any secular music in a church, then we are in agreement that it should not be performed. But I think the Ninth is not some uniquely anti-Catholic boogeyman as a few seem to make it out to be. If one were to allow secular music to be performed in a church, there would be no issue with it in my eyes.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,074
    To put it rather blithely...it's the text. That's the problem.

    and for the record, I do neither Fair Phyllis or Corelli in my place.
  • ChoirpartsChoirparts
    Posts: 143

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5bxJarVVk0

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Laudate Dominum
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,096
    "I'm tired of seeing people on this forum disparage composers like Mozart and Beethoven for not adhering to some impossible purity test about anti-Enlightenment values. Their purely musical art is equal to Palestrina's as the highest achievement of motivic economy, and the absolutism of their music is just as divine, if not always liturgical. Mozart's missae breves are absolutely usable in Mass."

    Thank you Schoenbergian!

    As for the TEXT of the 9th - excuse me, but is not the Divine Creator mentioned many times in the poem? Is the theology worse than 90% of what is sung today?
    How is this less worthy than say "On Eagles Wings" or "How Great Thou Art"?
    I see absolutely nothing in this text that forbids - and MUCH that would be fitting in a concert in a Catholic church.

    I do not understand why it has become fashionable in this forum to denigrate the greatest composers of the faith that we have - Mozart for example. Shame on You! Just remember; those of you who denigrate are merely worms in comparison, myself included.

    IMHO it was this horrible 'liturgical music' title which allowed us to separate the fine music (Mozart Hadyn Palestrina et al) from the "liturgically appropriate" music S#$%# that we hear today. We have allowed this, we have created this separation - we have allowed music into the liturgy that is crap yet is "appropriate". EVERY other value becomes more important that the quality of the music, which has been downgraded to the state of moldy gruel. When we do not appreciate the incredible tradition that we have been handed down to us (..."greater than any other art"....) something is wrong!
    Not that I have an opinion of course....

    “My youth was defined by music. My piano teacher was an old lady who had been a pupil of Clara Schumann. She introduced me to Romanticism. As a student in Vienna I delighted in the last of the Romantics — Wagner, Strauss, and especially Mahler. That all came to an end once I had Mozart in my ears. To this day he has never left those ears. In later life Bach and Schubert remained precious to me, but it was Mozart who was the immovable Pole Star, round which the other two circled (the Great and Little Bears).
    Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,960
    I am afraid some of my aging singers are closer to Florence Foster than to the operatic greats. I have had to simplify a bit over time.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,177
    Wow

    Pardon me for expressing an opinion

    I never bash yours… Why do you continually bash mine?
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,820
    Sorry MJO if I seem to be erecting straw men or rather letting stray things jump off the screen and startle me. Leaving aside Ps. 133 and such dangerous notions as brotherhood for the narrow context, I don't really believe you're deaf to Schiller, let alone Beethoven, knowing you to be not immune to the fleshpots of De Gringy. If the former are not part of "any spiritual life", does that leave … corporeal life?
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  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,449
    In gist, there are some who feel that "Pius X didn't know what he was talking about" or that we (somehow) know more than those with such a close connection to God that they've been canonized.

    Perhaps we, as a collective, ought to be careful of disparaging others - whether they be saints, popes, composers - (or even segments of Catholics with whom we may have had a bad experience or two.) :) That doesn't have to take away from our own convictions.

    @Incardination I broadly agree with your second point. Now taking St Pius X, he was a successor of St Peter, the same Peter that denied Christ, the same Peter that ran away, the same Peter, that was formally and publicly corrected by St. Paul, oh and the same Peter who in his old age that was caught running away from the persecution in Rome and had to be sent back by Christ himself.
    Just because someone is a Saint, does not also canonise all their works and deeds in life. With the view of hindsight we can respectfully criticise, some of what St Pius X wrote.

    Over on the resources page of the CMAA we can find the 'white list' or recommended music and the 'black list' of not recommended music these list are of course inspired by St. Pius X... But this is an opinion, and not a rule.

    It is easy to start a list of music that should be banned in church, but rather more difficult to complete. Do we ban all secular melodies? Do we ban formerly sacred melodies that are now more commonly associated with the secular? Do we ban composers that were not Catholic? Do we ban freemasons? Do we ban composers that were sinners? These questions become more problematic.

    The other problem we have is some music written for the Liturgy is more than appropriate at a grand State occasion such as a coronation, but less so in a chapel on a Friday of Lent. We have Mozart during our Christmas Midnight Mass it is more than appropriate. But I would not programme Mozart on less solemn days of the year.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 643
    @Tomjaw, I think there is a decided difference between (respectfully) suggesting that not everything that Pius X promulgated regarding music applies to us currently on the one hand, and belligerently advocating that Pius X had it all wrong and didn't know anything about sacred music on the other (an opinion I've seen expressed). Saints have certainly made mistakes from time to time. I think it is fair to say that we probably make many more in our own capacity. Pius X deserves our utmost respect based on his position and his sanctity - even when we might say that circumstances are different today than they were in 1900 for certain aspects of his regulations.

    What I find ironic is that there have been posts that have been far more critical of Pius X than this particular post has been critical of Beethoven or Mozart - and yet this one has prompted the impassioned discussion. I believe we have to be careful of casually dismissing instructions and writings of someone like Pius X, and certainly avoid disrespect when discussing anyone of his stature. THAT is my point.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,177
    What I find ironic is that there have been posts that have been far more critical of Pius X than this particular post has been critical of Beethoven or Mozart - and yet this one has prompted the impassioned discussion. I believe we have to be careful of casually dismissing instructions and writings of someone like Pius X, and certainly avoid disrespect when discussing anyone of his stature. THAT is my point.
    ...and well presented
    Thanked by 2Incardination tomjaw
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,177
    ..
  • Antonio
    Posts: 41
    Just to comment on the fourth movement, Schiller's poem is an explicit and unambiguous ode to the masonic ideology, so quite inadequate to be executed in the Church that has always condemned such doctrine.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,177
    I consider Mozart and Beethoven to be advocates of modernism... and for that reason alone, their works should not be performed in a Catholic Church... concert or not.