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10.22.2005

Art and music and letters and common grace...



i'm starting to believe that ct's anti-catholicism is a sham--look at her/his bio here:
http://www.blogger.com/profile/9443614
she/he lists some of the greatest catholic liturgists of all time in her/his 'favorite music' category: bach, mozart, bruckner, palestrina, handel, beethoven.... then she/he cites as 'favorite books' authors that were deeply affected by roman catholicism and potential catholics themselves, such as shakespeare and von clausewitz (who lifted his 'just war' concept right out of the writings of aquinas).... and of course, the concept of a 'triune God' (listed as one of her/his interests) is thru-and-thru a catholic one.... she/he can't see the contradiction in sitting around reading shakespeare while listening to palestrina's liturgical masterpieces, all the while hating christ's bride, the one true church? how bizarre....
jon | Homepage | 10.22.05 - 10:38 pm | #


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oh, and i missed/forgot ARVO PART (who was heavily influenced by gregorian chant) author of the "berlin mass," one of this century's greatest liturgical pieces as well, along with "magnificat" and "de profundis".... you are very, very bizarre, ct....
jon | Homepage | 10.22.05 - 10:55 pm | #


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jon, I'm glad that my blogger 'about me' page was able to introduce you to some good music and literature.

Shakespeare's religious affiliation is not known, yet his history plays show Protestant sympathies, his daughter married a Puritan, and his Elizabethan England was a rather dynamic Protestant, Calvinist cultural milieu and force.

Arvo Part was mainly influenced by Bach (a Lutheran) and became Russian Orthodox when he became a Christian.

Palestrina had to deal with the Roman Catholic authorities in a similar way that Shostakovich had to deal with the KGB. (I'm going to assume you're still with me...)

Beethoven derived more inspiration from Plutarch than from the Bible. He wrote for RC patrons, as did most musicians of his time, but his music is hardly 'Roman Catholic' (any more than Bach's is 'Lutheran').

Music and art fall within the domain of inspiration provided by common grace. Self-professed atheists can compose inspired music.

The same goes for great literature that is not obviously religious in nature...


6 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Well, I'm glad at least that jon was trying to find out something about you, rather than making it all up out of whole cloth. That's a start anyway.

October 23, 2005 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

It's not about me. I don't care what anybody thinks about me. What Jon needs to do is get some kind of education and understanding of music. I have that feeling you get when you talk to common dopes about subjects that are important to you but are merely a vehicle for attack or debate for them ("Shakespeare was Catholic! I heer'd it on the tee vee!" . . . "And that theer Palestrina, I done looked it up! He wrote Mass Music! On the wikipeedia theer! You can look it up!!"), that feeling that I need to take a shower...

October 23, 2005 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I don't know. Call it human fraility if you like, but words and concepts come to us filtered through the way we understand our interlocutors.

Put it this way: We listen more deeply to people we respect or love than to people who we can only see, as you say, as "vehicle[s] for attack or debate." It seems to me it furthers understanding and true debate if there's a certain level of trust that we won't be tricked, manipulated, or led astray somehow.

So, if someone is thinking how unattractive (to them) some of the ideas they find when they read you are, they may just open up a bit when they discover that Caroline can think what she does and still like Bruckner or Palestrina. So, while you--in your appealingly uncompromising way--may not want to point these things out to people, I can't help but notice that mere "trolls" (as they would have it; I don't, of course agree) don't like Sibelius.

October 23, 2005 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I said trolls don't like Sibelius? Well, maybe Grieg...

October 23, 2005 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

This issue (that I've been through before elsewhere) is actually similar to the cases where modern pop or rock performers state publically that they don't want certain people listening to their music. Like, for instance, the famous case of Chrissy Hines (sp?) of the Pretenders objecting to Rush Limbaugh using part of one of her songs as theme music for his radio show (because he's a political conservative and she's a flaming liberal). She's since stated, apparently, that it was a big misconception, but that aside, it's still a good example. Liberal musicians thinking their music 'belongs' to only liberals when in fact music transcends political boundaries (some of it anyway). It's because the inspiration for the music comes from God (if it's good music, that is). Common grace.

Some might argue that Palestrina is a different case since he wrote music for the Roman Catholic church, yet, Bach wrote masses for the Lutheran church, and when I listen to them I am hearing them as absolute music (which is really what they are).

Music just goes back too far - to pre-Christian sources. You can take the modal harmonies of Renaissance mass or Gregorian chant back to Jewish music and Temple worship and further back to Greek sources (there's a reason they have Greek names, it's because each different modal scale derived from its own Greek city).

If we want to play this game Protesants can claim (off the top of my head) Handel and Bach and Beethoven (Beethoven was born into a Catholic family but he attended different churches and he was taught doctrine by a Protestant teacher, and his very personal relationship with God that he described is very Protestant. Handel and Bach alone, though, represent the main influences on Beethoven, so... It's a silly game though. It's the same thing that makes dumb, mainstream Christains reject Greek mythology as 'dangerous' or Plato (or any classical influences for that matter) as 'pagan' or whatever.

You just have to see music and art and philosophy and imaginative literature and history and science and sacred writings of non-Christian inspiration (that may have, usually do have, some truth and insight and understanding in them, albeit not of a pure nature like Holy Writ) as being inspired by and the product of God's common grace.

And as I said, my valuation for the Iliad and the Odyssey don't make me want to worship statues of Athena any more than my appreciation of Palestrina's music makes me want to abandon God's Word and adopt the Catholic Confession of Faith...and any more than my appreciation of Bach's music makes me want to become Lutheran...

October 23, 2005 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger c.t. said...

I will give up Palestrina before I give up Bach though...

October 24, 2005 at 12:47 AM  

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