Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Two pieces by Messiaen that illustrate a point

There is so much confusion out there concerning the question of what is an is not appropriate for Mass. You can still love "Hey Jude" and believe it doesn't belong at Mass, and not just because the text isn't religious; the music itself isn't liturgical. You can love "Missa Brevis" by Palestrina and doubt its use at baseball game (although that would get me out to the ballpark).

Here are two amazing pieces by Olivier Messiaen, whose 100th birthday anniversary we celebrate tomorrow. Both are astounding and ingenious. Only the second one is for liturgical use. In find it interesting that the audience at the end of the first one is so much in awe that there is no clapping. In the second one, O Sacrum Convivium, the entire experience is utterly wrecked by clapping at the end. Reflect on what that means.

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