Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tell 'em, Maestro

Riccardo Muti is like me!

I was dazzled to read that Muti has spoken up on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI and his drive to clean up Catholic church music.

"When I go to church and hear four strums of a guitar, or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult," says Muti, who is the music director of the Chicago Symphony.


"I can't work out how come once upon a time there were Mozart and Bach and now we have little sing-songs. This is a lack of respect for people's intelligence."

I love this guy!!

It is time someone spoke up about this music mess. It is great that we have a recognizable musical figure chiming in.

You know what, I am not denying that John Paul II was a holy man. But his powers apparently did not extend to fixing the Catholic Church's music. The whole time he was pope this whole situation just got worse and worse and worse. And I am sorry, music matters. Perhaps it should not but it does. The human spirit responds to music on levels we do not understand.

As well as on levels we do understand. A lot depends on your particular Mass -- more than should depend on it. If you are stuck with a Mass that grates on you, it makes it awfully hard to go back the next Sunday, I will tell you that right now, because I have been there.

I am so personally grateful to Pope Benedict XVI for pushing to fix the music and the liturgy situation and take out the trash even if it makes him the heavy and even if it makes him unpopular. Someone has to show leadership here. I pray every day that the pope stays healthy and lives long, because God knows we need him. I need him, that is for sure.

Wow, this Riccardo Muti, I should pray for him, too. Google Riccardo Muti and it is not pretty. The Google system prompts you with other people's searches and so you get:

riccardo muti health
riccardo muti fall
riccardo muti pacemaker
riccardo muti accident
riccardo muti injury
riccardo muti illness

The poor maestro! Well, it seems that after blacking out earlier this year he has gotten a pacemaker and is recovering. So, though I am but the casual observer here, things appear to be looking up. I wish him renewed health.

And, at long last, decent music at Mass!

1 comment:

  1. Mary - how interesting! No doubt, Muti is having a bit of culture shock going to Mass in Chicago. In his new role as music director at CSO he is really trying to be a cultural leader in the community, like music directors 'of old' used to be. Glad to see his efforts are not limited to the secular. I've been following Muti since I first encountered his recordings in the last 1970's. His Schumann and Tchaikovsky symphony recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra had such enormous clarity to each musical line - it made me reconsider all those works after I had heard them many times and thought I knew them. Not so. Muti may be the greatest conductor alive. His spate of health problems is very recent, and got outsized coverage because he had just started his tenure in CSO and had to leave town on short notice - all around the same time as a couple other noted maestro types were going through their own highly publicized health challenges. Thanks for highlighting Muti's dissatisfaction with church music. After being music director at the orchestras of Philadelphia & Chicago, and also La Scala, there is only one higher calling - the Vatican! From our mouths to the Pope's ear! - Steven