Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Great Scot

This morning what with Ash Wednesday I got onto this priest's blog that I often check out, because I have Mass tonight and I like to study up on the prayers beforehand. And that is where I read this business about the Scottish composer James MacMillan. That is a picture of MacMillan up above, getting a blessing from a priest. I lifted it off a blog creatively called godzdogz.

Apparently MacMillan loves the Latin Mass the way I do and he is trying to advocate for it and some Catholic publication refused to print his letter.

You go, Mr. MacMillan!

We know James MacMillan here in Buffalo. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra has performed his music several times. I remember in particular his percussion concerto "Veni, veni Emmanuel."

I am not much for modern dissonant music and I more or less filed MacMillan's piece under the category of: Do I admire the craftsmanship and art that go into this music? Yes. Will I come home and pour a glass of wine and listen to it? No.

But I do remember being struck by the emotion when he references the ancient chant, which you can hear in the link above. And I remember the music gave me an idea of his sincerity, and his faith.

This morning I found myself revisiting the piece. I found this interview with MacMillan about it.

I found a performance of the concerto here and sure enough, there was the chant, as I remembered it. The whole piece is up on YouTube if you would like to explore it.

You can read MacMillan's letter, the one that the Catholic magazine won't publish, here.

This business about liturgy is a hot topic in the Catholic Church right now because the Pope is making moves to bring back the traditional Latin chants. As I understand it, he is even encouraging that in English language Masses, you do parts of it in Latin -- the Credo, say, or the Gloria.

Very interesting changes afoot, especially for Catholics who love music! But naturally we do not feel the effects much in Buffalo.

We are always the last to get with it.

1 comment:

  1. What kind of strange liturgical world is it in which you have to walk across town to the Episcopal Cathedral to hear a plainchant Latin Mass (Missa Orbis Factor, sung by the Gentlemen of St. Paul's) on Ash Wednesday?

    Time for Vatican III?