Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Albert Jay Nock on why Catholic Church music usually stinks

"It takes more than the man to make the artist; it takes the combination of the man and the moment, the man and the milieu. An artist must have models, and for him to have them, the civilization around him must produce them."[1]

The man and the milieu. To be truthful, the Church has not done much to support music, but many within the Church have done much to repress it as much as possible. Then we wonder why some of our best talents run screaming for the exits and never come back.

An artist must have models. Is it irrelevant at this point for me to mention that almost all my models came from musicians who work for a Protestant denomination? All of my organ teachers were Protestant. I did not grow up within driving distance of a competent Catholic liturgical musician.

"This is why we must restore tradition!" many will admonish. But this is a mere distraction, really. Not even tradition can eradicate bad taste and mismanaged priorities. Then there is the distrust of expertise even by those who largely consider themselves traditional--for they too, as modern men, are affected by popular egalitarianism.

So how do we get out of this conundrum?

[1] Nock, Albert Jay: _On Doing the Right Thing_, p. 64.

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