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Tavener's "the Beautiful Names"


Peter Clark
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Opinion seems divided over the suitability of a Christian Cathedral as the venue for a new musical work celebrating the 99 Names of Allah, especially, as some have pointed out, the concept of Trinity is utterly alien to the Islamic traditon. Yet as the administrator of the Cathedral, Mgr Mark Langham, pointed out, the Christian Church has used the psalms - decidedly non-Trinitarian - in its daily worship from the very beginning. The second Vatican Council exhorts us to recognise and applaud all that is holy in those religious traditions not part of the Christian fold.

 

My opinion is that anything which seeks to promote harmony and understanding between faiths is to be encouraged, and that the brave move of having this concert (not, as Mgr Langham pointed out, an act of worship) in the Cathedral is to be greeted enthusiatically. Music, after all, has been called the universal language. It can often succeed where words do not.

 

My only fear is the fundamentalists - from both sides - will kick up a fuss (as at least one Catholic spokesperson did when interviewed by the BBC the week).

 

Peter

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Opinion seems divided over the suitability of a Christian Cathedral as the venue for a new musical work celebrating the 99 Names of Allah, especially, as some have pointed out, the concept of Trinity is uterlly alien to the Islamic traditon. Yet as the administrator of the Cathedral, Mgr Mark Langham, pointed out, the Christian Church has used the psalms - decidedly non-Trinitarian - in its daily worship from the very beginning. The second Vatican Council exhorts us to recognise and applaud all that is holy in those religious traditions not part of the Christian fold.

 

My opinion is that anything which seeks to promote harmony and understanding between faiths is to be encouraged, and that the brave move of having this concert (not, as Mgr Langham pointed out, an act of worship) in the Cathedral is to be greeted enthusiatically. Music, after all, has been called the universal language. It can often succeed where words do not.

 

My only fear is the fundamentalists - from both sides - will kick up a fuss (as at least one Catholic spokesperson did when interviewed by the BBC the week).

 

Peter

 

I tend to agree - even though I am not a great fan of Tavener's music.

 

AJJ

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Opinion seems divided over the suitability of a Christian Cathedral as the venue for a new musical work celebrating the 99 Names of Allah, especially, as some have pointed out, the concept of Trinity is utterly alien to the Islamic traditon. Yet as the administrator of the Cathedral, Mgr Mark Langham, pointed out, the Christian Church has used the psalms - decidedly non-Trinitarian - in its daily worship from the very beginning. The second Vatican Council exhorts us to recognise and applaud all that is holy in those religious traditions not part of the Christian fold.

 

My opinion is that anything which seeks to promote harmony and understanding between faiths is to be encouraged, and that the brave move of having this concert (not, as Mgr Langham pointed out, an act of worship) in the Cathedral is to be greeted enthusiatically. Music, after all, has been called the universal language. It can often succeed where words do not.

 

My only fear is the fundamentalists - from both sides - will kick up a fuss (as at least one Catholic spokesperson did when interviewed by the BBC the week).

 

Peter

 

Hi

 

I suspect that it will be cause for discussion among the fundamentalists,as you say. I wold want to know what the words actually say (and the meanings of the names) before judging - Allah could simply be the Arabic (and Urdu) name for God, just as in French it's "Dieu" (Sp?), or it could be an allusion to the Islamic understanding of that name (for the same God). Asian Christians here in Bradford refer to God as Allah.

 

If what the piece says is compatible with Biblical teaching, then why not use it in a Cathedral - if it's not, then perhaps it shouldn't be used in Christian buildings.

 

I can see this becoming a hot potato!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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A Maltese friend has just shown me her RC Missal in that language where God is addressed as Allah!

Yes, well the Maltese are a peculiar lot. Their traditional "sport" makes our fox hunting lobby look like cuddly bunnies. On a matter of principal, there's no way I would voluntarily visit the place.

 

Apologies for the off-topic post, but Malta is a red rag to this particular bull.

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Yes, well the Maltese are a peculiar lot. Their traditional "sport" makes our fox hunting lobby look like cuddly bunnies. On a matter of principal, there's no way I would voluntarily visit the place.

 

Apologies for the off-topic post, but Malta is a red rag to this particular bull.

 

Vox, I wasn't defending or even recommending Malta, the Maltese or the Maltese treeatrment of birds, merely pointing out something which I thought of etymological interest in view of Tavener's new setting. Howeever, the Maltese family in this parish seem decent enough people, with little or no friction between them and our avain friends as far as I can tell.

 

Peter

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Indeed, Peter. I should perhaps make it clear that my post was not directed at your friends, whose views I do not know, and most certainly not at the many Maltese who find hunting as abhorrent as any of us further north who are concerned about this problem (there have been one or two excellent pieces in The Times of Malta in recent months). However, with 16,000 hunters on this small island (4% of the population), it is a big problem, not least because it's not just their birds they are slaughtering, but ours and the rest of Europe's. Nor are the Maltese the only culprits - though they do seem to be the worst. I merely wished to highlight a situation of which some people might like to be aware.

 

Apologies for another off-topic post.

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Back on topic!

 

It reminded me that a few years ago, the Vicar of Pershore Abbey (without discussion with the PCC) banned the local choral society from performing Karl Jenkins Armed Man Mass because of the 'Call to Prayer' in it, unless they took that movement out. This, despite it being perfomed in Coventry cathedral if my memory serves me right, a building that promotes peace. I'm not aware that any other church has banned it for that reason, but I may be mistaken. Any thoughts?

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  • 3 weeks later...
Back on topic!

 

It reminded me that a few years ago, the Vicar of Pershore Abbey (without discussion with the PCC) banned the local choral society from performing Karl Jenkins Armed Man Mass because of the 'Call to Prayer' in it, unless they took that movement out. This, despite it being perfomed in Coventry cathedral if my memory serves me right, a building that promotes peace. I'm not aware that any other church has banned it for that reason, but I may be mistaken. Any thoughts?

 

 

A few years ago I directed the music for "Godspell" which we put on for a week in the parish hall and then on Pentecost Sunday we used the church - some of the more "conservative" members of the audience walked out, aparently objecting to the womens' costumes!

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Guest Lee Blick

The African Sanctus by David Fanshawe has a Muslim call to prayer, I think. I wonder how many times has that work has been banned in churches. I am no longer a Christian or religious, so it does not bother me if religious works of other faiths get performed in Cathedrals. It would bother me if the intention was to further a relligious political agenda.

 

Has Carmina Burana ever been performed in churches or cathedrals? I know it has rather secular/erotic themes but they were written by monks, so I don't see why it should not be performed in them.

 

some of the more "conservative" members of the audience walked out, aparently objecting to the womens' costumes!

 

Were they outrageously tiedye, psychedelic, huge flarey, flipflop 70's? :rolleyes:

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The African Sanctus by David Fanshawe has a Muslim call to prayer, I think.

It does indeed. DF befriended this Imam in Cairo who not only allowed himself to be recorded, but also allowed DF to perform the Azan himself. I've heard him do it - it's a very good imitation! I really cannot understand why any Christian should object to African Sanctus. The underlying theme is Fanshawe's love of the world and everyone in it. He describes it as a universal work whose "driving force is one of Praise and a firm belief in One Music - One God".

 

David Fanshawe is, incidentally, one of the world's real eccentrics (I mean that in the kindest way) and one of the greatest, most genuine guys you could possibly wish to meet. I shall be ever thankful to him because he offered me one of my first paid engagements when he buttonholed me in a corridor at the RCM and asked me to play for his sister's wedding. For some reason she particularly wanted Alain's Litanies; I didn't have the heart to point out that the piece actually represents the cry of a soul in distress!

 

Has Carmina Burana ever been performed in churches or cathedrals? I know it has rather secular/erotic themes but they were written by monks, so I don't see why it should not be performed in them.

This is completely different. It is the equivalent of allowing lay clerks to sing rugby songs in divine service.

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