Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hip to be square

We spend a lot of time in church reading square notes! That music up above is the Gloria we are currently attempting at Mass. It is from the 11th century which is one big reason I love it.

On the other hand it is kind of a challenge and I have reason to believe that we have room for improvement. The last few lines are in particular a minefield. I always think of skiing. Especially the concluding "Amen," it reminds me of an Olympic slalom, all the twists and turns. And in the medieval notation with those square notes it is not immediately clear. Wait till you get to that part in the video. You will see!

I have loved getting into the Tridentine mass over the last four years. For one thing the musical aspect fascinates me. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine myself in the 12th century. I love the ancient-ness of the rite.

Also I wonder about its influence over the great masters. One of these days (yeah, when?) I would love to re-read the letters of the Mozart family and look for references to what Mass was like for them. Did they sing Gregorian chant or were they singing only what was for them contemporary arrangements?

I do remember from reading the letters years ago that there was some discussion even back then about what music was pushing the envelope at Mass. Mozart liked to push the envelope.

Haha, say envelope and Mass in the same sentence and all I can picture is the collection basket!

Anyway, I wonder if Mozart ever sang this Gloria that we are struggling with.

I also wonder what Beethoven's Mass-going experiences were like. There is that similarity between the "Ode to Joy" opening and the Asperges chant that precedes the mass.

You have to figure whatever church music these great masters grew up with, it had to be a gigantic influence on them. Good thing they didn't grow up in the 1970s ... ha ha ha ha ha ha.

La la la la la la la.

Sunday musings....

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