Author Topic: Eleison Comments (446)  (Read 2223 times)

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Offline Wessex

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Eleison Comments (446)
« on: February 02, 2016, 07:01:51 AM »
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  • Number CDXLVI (446)

    Beethoven’s music, blasted for three days,
    Should shock, console, enlighten and amaze.

    Music is gravely misunderstood and its power seriously underestimated by liberals. They are still human enough to enjoy some music or other, logically some kind of trash – and to see how much music matters to people just try telling them that theirs is trash. But in any case liberals’ subjectivist ideology, whereby man is the master of reality (up to and including Almighty God), makes them deny that there is anything objective about music. So for liberals there is no such thing as a composer using certain means to attain certain ends, and there can be no saying that any one piece or kind of music is “better” than another. Music, they will say, is purely a matter of the listener’s mood or taste – “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and horribly discordant music is just as “good” as the most famous music from the past.

    Of course such liberals are completely wrong. A Chinese proverb says that “when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake,” a truth amply illustrated by the advent of Rock music in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Plato knew so well the moral influence of music for good or ill that in his ideal Republic certain kinds of music would have been banned. Woe to parents today who do not care what music their children listen to! “It’s only music,” they will say, and so saying they will deserve to lose their children to the Pied Pipers of Rock. Music is supremely important, and it is objective in nature – is it not common sense that all military music and no lullaby will emphasize rhythm? But what do liberals care for common sense? They are doing everything possible to wipe it out. It is too real for their dream.

    A major turning-point in modern times between men’s recognition and their refusal of the objective order of reality planted by God in all his works was the French Revolution (1789–1794). Because Beethoven’s life straddled that Revolution and gave to it its outstanding musical expression, some of his best-known works can be used to illustrate clearly certain objective truths concerning music. From Haydn and Mozart he inherited the objective order of the 18th century. To his successors it was mainly Beethoven who bequeathed the increasing musical disorder (not without its beauties) of the 19th century, to be followed by the musical chaos and disintegration (with exceptions) of supposedly “serious” music in the 20th and 21st centuries. Beethoven might then be called the grandfather or great-grandfather of Rock. That statement may so shock many a lover of Beethoven that it must immediately be qualified by saying that it took a great musician to launch the destruction of music.

    Fast approaching – February 19 to 21 – is the “Beethoven Blast” to be held here in Broadstairs from the Friday 18h00, to the Sunday mid-day. A young American pianist who can sight-read nearly all of the 32 piano sonatas and Liszt’s piano versions for two hands of the nine symphonies, has offered to play as many of the sonatas as can be made to fit into one weekend, together with extracts from the symphonies chosen to illustrate the nature of music and how Beethoven works. The idea of the “Blast” originated in sheer self-indulgence, but then there occurred the temptation to throw it open to whoever might like either just to listen to the music (which should be a feast in itself for lovers of Beethoven), or to find out why liberals are so wrong, in music as in everything else.

    So if anyone is interested besides readers who have already signed on, let them come between the times mentioned above. Bed and breakfast in the off-season of Broadstairs should be findable on the Internet, and if you let us know when you may plan to come, we may be able to manage in-house lunch and supper. In all things may God be served.

    Kyrie eleison.
     

    Offline Graham

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #1 on: February 02, 2016, 08:25:00 AM »
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  • Quote from: Wessex
    A Chinese proverb says that “when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake,” a truth amply illustrated by the advent of Rock music in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Plato knew so well the moral influence of music for good or ill that in his ideal Republic certain kinds of music would have been banned.


    His Excellency might not know how right he is. Plato's ideas on the moral influence of music found their way, through St. Severinus a.k.a. Boethius, not only into medieval musical speculations, but even into Church teaching, in the bull of Pope John XXII, Docta Sanctorum Patrem. It is not an exaggeration to say that some of Plato's ideas on music have become Catholic doctrine.

    All the same, I must disagree with those saying that Bp. Williamson is doing his duty perfectly. I have been disappointed and more and more I'm seeing a general slinking away to the rear. Please let it not be so - but who really needs Dickens and Beethoven weekends, other than Bp. Williamson and his set? I won't say they're useless. But who needs them?

    Since the conference is a lock, however, it would be good if someone could bring my finding Re: Docta Sanctorum Patrem to the attention of someone speaking at the event. I will post the proof when I find time.


    Offline Wessex

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #2 on: February 02, 2016, 12:15:45 PM »
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  • I would say there is something similar going on where people are not brought up to appreciate the music of the past and the religion of the past. I think the bishop is using music and literature to suggest that there is a connection and that moral objectivity is also found in other forms of expression. We do not pursue the religious journey if we also like, for example, The Sound of Music. He is also suggesting that there are aspects of Beethoven's compositions which point to the ordered past and the disordered future. When realised from the confines of church and court, artists then submit their works to the emotional scrutiny of the masses.

    Offline PG

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 01:00:43 PM »
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  • Graham - I agree with you.  There is certainly a place for a bishop recommending such an event.  But, I don't believe that place is EC.  EC is viewed worldwide, and for the vast majority of us, we have nothing to do with england, and are seeking something else(the faith).  This is a local level subject.  And, 18th century profane music is not going to save us(however lovely it is).  For all the good music we blast in our camp, the enemy will counter with awful music blasted in their camp.  They are more than capable of doing that.  What they are not capable of doing is moving mountains.  That is where we have the advantage.  Let us use it.
    "A secure mind is like a continual feast" - Proverbs xv: 15

    Offline wallflower

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 02:02:23 PM »
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  • Even if the event is local, I am sure their conferences will be available to us all.  


    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 02:05:45 PM »
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  • Quote

    Fast approaching – February 19 to 21 – is the “Beethoven Blast” to be held here in Broadstairs from the Friday 18h00, to the Sunday mid-day. A young American pianist who can sight-read nearly all of the 32 piano sonatas and Liszt’s piano versions for two hands of the nine symphonies, has offered to play as many of the sonatas as can be made to fit into one weekend, together with extracts from the symphonies chosen to illustrate the nature of music and how Beethoven works. The idea of the “Blast” originated in sheer self-indulgence, but then there occurred the temptation to throw it open to whoever might like either just to listen to the music (which should be a feast in itself for lovers of Beethoven), or to find out why liberals are so wrong, in music as in everything else.


    What is the young American pianist's name?

    BTW if he is offering to perform this, it isn't going to be "sight-read."  I can assure you, he is presently rehearsing everything.

    Do I detect an implication that liberals don't enjoy Beethoven?  Or, are liberals welcome to attend, perhaps providing that they don't mind having their liberalism impugned?

    Will this event be recorded?

    .
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    Offline Gerard from FE

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #6 on: February 02, 2016, 02:21:39 PM »
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  • Good music strengthens your brain, helps you understand and master the passions.    

    Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, J.C. Bach, C.P. E. Bach, Haydn, Handel, Von Weber, Beethoven, Schubert.  and others are simply like vitamins and exercise for your brains and your spirits.

    Kempff playing the "moonlight" Sonata


     

    Arrau playing the "Appassionata" Sonata




    Offline wallflower

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #7 on: February 02, 2016, 03:34:24 PM »
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  • Quote

    Will this event be recorded?



    I now realize they didn't say so specifically. I just assumed they would record conferences or talks to accompany the event even if the actual performance isn't recorded. I am second-guessing that now.




    Offline Graham

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #8 on: February 02, 2016, 06:20:16 PM »
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  • Pope John XXII, in the bull Docta Sanctorum Patrum (1324-1325) against the excesses of the ars nova:

    Quote
    These musicians run without pausing, they intoxicate the ear without satisfying it, they dramatize the text with gestures and, instead of promoting devotion, they prevent it by creating a sensuous and innocent atmosphere. Thus it was not without good reason that Boethius said: "A person who is intrinsically sensuous will delight in hearing these indecent melodies, and one who listens to them frequently will be weakened thereby and lose his virility of soul."


    I'm not sure but I suspect that his quotation of Boethius is not verbatim but paraphrased. It must have been drawn  from Boethius' The Principles of Music. It amply conveys his ideas, however, as can be seen here:

    Quote from: The Principles of Music
    Thus we can begin to understand that apt doctrine of Plato which holds that the soul of the universe is united by a musical concord. [...] From this same principle radical changes in one's character also occur. A lascivious mind takes pleasure in the more lascivious modes or is softened and moved upon hearing them. On the other hand, a more violent mind finds pleasure in the more exciting modes or will become excited when it hears them. [...] Thus Plato held that we should be extremely cautious in this matter, lest some change in music of good moral character should occur. He also said that there is no greater ruin for the morals of a community than the gradual perversion of a prudent and modest music. For the minds of those hearing the perverted music immediately submit to it, little by little depart from their character, and retain no vestige of justice or honesty. [...] For there is no greater path whereby instruction comes to the mind than through the ear. Therefore when rhythms and modes enter the mind by this path, there can be no doubt that they affect and remold the mind into their own character. [...] Thus Plato held that the state ought to see that only music of the highest moral character and prudency be composed, and that it should be modest, simple and masculine, rather than effeminate, violent or fickle.


    Boethius' reliance on Plato is so complete that John XXII might as well have quoted Plato in his bull.


    Offline Wessex

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 05:10:19 AM »
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  • I can understand so much of this is lost on American-born audiences who are exposed to so much junk as their musical foundation. I have a hard job explaining over here what is worth listening to and what is commercial dross. Weird jungle noises and drum beats originating from West Africa are not part of our tradition although there seems to be a tendency among the young to express themselves in this way.

    We all know that the French went overboard with their religious music during the nineteenth century and composers excelled in producing the kind of sentimental music that accompanied those passions aroused at Mass. I wonder what the bishop would say about that.  
















     

    Offline Gerard from FE

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #10 on: February 04, 2016, 09:21:19 AM »
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  • Quote from: Wessex
    I can understand so much of this is lost on American-born audiences who are exposed to so much junk as their musical foundation. I have a hard job explaining over here what is worth listening to and what is commercial dross. Weird jungle noises and drum beats originating from West Africa are not part of our tradition although there seems to be a tendency among the young to express themselves in this way.

    We all know that the French went overboard with their religious music during the nineteenth century and composers excelled in producing the kind of sentimental music that accompanied those passions aroused at Mass. I wonder what the bishop would say about that.  

     



    If I get your meaning, I think the bishop once said not too long ago, that the steps that lead one downwards can be used to lead one back up.  

    I take the meaning to be that one can be at the bottom of the barrel listening to rap and hip hop and rock music and move upwards step by step into higher quality music.  A person could move up to folk music older pop music (a person might like Perry Como's Till the End of Time and that might lead them to listen to Chopin's "Heroic" Poloanaise which is where the Perry Como song gets its melody) and from there to the Romantic, Classical and Baroque forms of music.  And if you understand and benefit from those, you can be open to using music for prayer.


    Offline Wessex

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 10:21:33 AM »
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  • Quote from: Gerard from FE
    Quote from: Wessex
    I can understand so much of this is lost on American-born audiences who are exposed to so much junk as their musical foundation. I have a hard job explaining over here what is worth listening to and what is commercial dross. Weird jungle noises and drum beats originating from West Africa are not part of our tradition although there seems to be a tendency among the young to express themselves in this way.

    We all know that the French went overboard with their religious music during the nineteenth century and composers excelled in producing the kind of sentimental music that accompanied those passions aroused at Mass. I wonder what the bishop would say about that.  

     



    If I get your meaning, I think the bishop once said not too long ago, that the steps that lead one downwards can be used to lead one back up.  

    I take the meaning to be that one can be at the bottom of the barrel listening to rap and hip hop and rock music and move upwards step by step into higher quality music.  A person could move up to folk music older pop music (a person might like Perry Como's Till the End of Time and that might lead them to listen to Chopin's "Heroic" Poloanaise which is where the Perry Como song gets its melody) and from there to the Romantic, Classical and Baroque forms of music.  And if you understand and benefit from those, you can be open to using music for prayer.



    Which is at variance with his assertion (about training) that the youth of today are too far gone to be effective priests. Possibly, you may get some people developing an appreciation where none existed before but I do not know any. My experience is unless one is exposed at an early age, there is little foundation to build on other than receiving it at a superficial level. Listening to 1812 in Hyde Park does not cut the mustard. Invoking Loyola again. Of course, dumbing down from quality to junk is de rigueur today. Our masters do not want an educated population beyond the ability to produce, consume and play. Gosh, there is a long journey from the material jungle to the supernatural plane ..... without the aid of drugs!      

    Offline Gerard from FE

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #12 on: February 04, 2016, 12:54:20 PM »
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  • I don't think he was especially pointing to a method for forming priests as much as improving the overall health of the culture.  

    Youth may be too far gone to be effective priests, but they might make decent Fathers and foster a vocation.  

    And a youth that discovers higher qualities may not be an effective priest but he may make an effective priest in a later life ordination.  



    Offline Wessex

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    Eleison Comments (446)
    « Reply #13 on: February 05, 2016, 05:44:36 AM »
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  • Quote from: Gerard from FE
    I don't think he was especially pointing to a method for forming priests as much as improving the overall health of the culture.  

    Youth may be too far gone to be effective priests, but they might make decent Fathers and foster a vocation.  

    And a youth that discovers higher qualities may not be an effective priest but he may make an effective priest in a later life ordination.  





    Yes, I get the cultural references. Ordaining priests later in life may be a solution after such candidates have acquired the foundation necessary for today. But the pool of priests is going to be very small given the number of dropouts and defections.

     

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