Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The music of heaven

Pope Benedict XVI made some moving comments the other day about Mozart after hearing a performance of the Requiem. The priest at my church hipped me to them.

There is also an interesting essay on the Pope's thoughts on Mozart that touches on Benedict's feelings for how Catholic liturgical music has gone to pot in our current day and age. (That is my wording, not his. But it has gone to pot, I am sorry.)

In that essay here is one thing I love: seeing someone addressed as "Reverend Kapellmeister." It is like being back in the 18th century! That someone by the way is the Pope's brother.

Another thing I love: the name Hans Urs von Balthasar. That is a great name. It is like being back in the 16th century!

But seriously.

Anyone with deep feelings for Mozart has to deplore some of this modern stuff that I have seen described as folk-y or light Broadway. When you go to Mass you are challenged to believe what your brain is telling you is impossible. I will tell you this, I find it more difficult to do that when I am listening to crummy music. Maybe people smarter than I am can do it but I need that leg up I get from listening to something wonderful.

I loved Pope John Paul II but music has always mattered to me and in that respect, Pope Benedict is the answer to my prayers. The Catholic Church definitely needs a clean-up in the music department.

Tell 'em, Your Holiness!


  1. The demon in me says let's not forget that the Archbishop of Salzburg disliked the music of Mozart because it was too good -attracts too much attention to itself I think were his words. And the Archbishop's opinion was and is the majority viewpoint of clergy. Churches and worship are their domain. Maybe the churches in Germany and Austria embrace the masses of Mozart and Haydn now, but those composers are both safely dead and the secular world hailed both their secular and sacred works masterpieces long before the church did. The real first class musical mind to devote himself to religious music was Bach...and he was Lutheran. I remove Messiaen from this argument because most of his music was not designed for a service of worship in church.

  2. I don't care what they play as long as they don't play much of it. We don't really need all eight verses of a Portugese fishing song, people!