Thursday, September 19, 2013

Music Truly Transforms Time

Musing on my recent post about the Messe de Tournai:  It is still reverberating in my memory.  Alongside it is awareness of how the liturgy involves habits directly related to the repetition of the same texts, again and again except when, on special occasions, they are sung in unfamiliar modes or, as in this case, given some almost miraculously inventive festive treatment.

If the point were the text it would always only be spoken, never sung.

I was brought up in the Presbyterian Church where nothing was sung except hymns and anthems: there was certainly nothing resembling a sung prayer or psalm.

So, if the point of singing is, as St. Augustine so beautifully put it, to intensify the spirituality of the text, then it must be sung because only in singing is the soul uplifted.

What I am experiencing in relation to that splendid singing comes as close as I can imagine to Goethe's expression of Faust's deepest longing in relation to moments of great beauty: "Verweile doch! du bist so schoen!"