Saturday, April 16, 2011

Keeping Calm

Holy Week is not the greatest time for keeping calm, at least for this writer. Is it, do you ask, the complexities of the ceremonial or the extra demands? Is it perhaps the emotional toll that the week can take as we walk the Via Crucis with Our Lord? No, I'm afraid all of these things I can cope with quite nicely. It is however a flash point for one of my favourite themes; Music getting the upper hand in a tail wagging the dog sort of way. To put it into context I've just come back from the chapel where I will be in the morning where I discovered that everything has been set up ready for a sung celebration later tomorrow without any concern for the fact that there are three other services all using the same space (but in very different ways) before then. It means a bit of taking down and setting up again that I wasn't expecting.

I maintain an academic interest in Church music. It's really not my field the Twentieth century atonalism being where I'm much more comfortable however I would loathe to deprive those who like having music in Church or even those who tolerate it out of obedience to the numerous documents on the subject, of what must be a major fix for the year. However I do question again if we overstretch the mark at this time of year in sort of a strange way of making up our neglect at other times. Music adorns the liturgy and is the carrier of the texts authorised by the Church. It can, for some, open the doors to the transcendent. It can, however, too frequently be the cause of grief when it gets out of hand and ceases to be the servant.

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