Peter Clark Posted January 25, 2008 Share Posted January 25, 2008 Many years ago, and having discussed it with the officiating priest, I played the Entree from Messe de la Pentecote during ther Offertoty on Pentecost Sunday. I provided the priest with an explanatory note saying that the descent of the tongues of fire was illustrated by a descending pedal motif and that anyway Messiaen waa a devout Cahlioc who always attempted to express his faith through his music, hoping thus to arouse some interest in Messiaen. The result? An anonymous leter denouncing the use of this modern (1951?!) music in church. The parish priest told me, rightly, that we don't take any notice of anonymous letters. A few years later we sang Leighton's Solus ad Victimam on Good Friday. The resulting reaction was that it was felt to be a bit "morbid". Oh, and this reaction was not from a member of the congregation but the choir! One member of the cong said she never wanted to hea it again (though she did, about three years later, but this time said nothing probably because her husband was in the choir!). This got me thinking about appreciation of art or indeed entertainment in general. I love as much as many Colombo and Morse but the basic premise is that two hours of entertainment are provided by the fact that possibly the most ghastly thing one person can do to another - kill them - has been done. Yes I know it is fiction but the concept (or idea if you want to go all Platonic) of murder is the same. Yet we lap it up. Murder mysteries, horror stories and so on arwe nearly always on the best seller list. And I can remember thiose horrendously bloodthirsty bubble gum cards of the American Civil War I used to collect as a child. Look at visual art - probably one of the most painted secenes is that of the Crucifixion. A man dying in agony, taunted by the onlookers, blood everywhere - oh yes, what a beautiful, painting,we say. (Or some of us do.) Disparate examples, I realise. So is it just uncomfortable music (rather than art or literature) that attracts so much oprobrium? I think it boils down to the fact that for many people pleasant music = good music and unpleasant (or uncomfortable) music = bad music. Am I alone in thinking this? Anyway, they're getting Messiaen again this year on Pentecost! Peter Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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