Diversity: from the European Tradition

From Takuan Seiyo, a musical interlude:

TS asks us to note the diversity in this occasion –

Venue: German Lutheran church Dresden
Composer: Belgian Catholic (Cesar Franck)
Lyrics: Italian Catholic (Thomas Aquinas)
Mezzo-soprano: Latvian Protestant
Orchestra: German, mostly ethnic, some naturalized Europeans, one or two Orientals, male and female

This is probably one of the most-recorded and performed of Thomas Aquinas’ many musical works. It is part of the Sacris Solemniis, written by Aquinas in the mid-13th century for the feast of Corpus Christi. Just as these hymns are still chanted in Rome Italy, they are sung with equal enthusiasm and familiarity in Rome, Georgia — if you can still find a Latin liturgy, that is.

They are often referred to as “those Benediction hymns”. If you learn them young enough, as I did, and sing them daily, as I did, they become part of your deep brain structure; one’s “automatic music”. I feel sympathy for anyone whose automatic music is themes from old sit-coms. On the other hand, anyone who imprinted Bach is fortunate indeed. He or she is destined to die in a benign mood.

This is the good ol’ music from the old country. Its millenia-old traditions came together in the High Middle Ages to produce enough material for future generations to “steal a cxhange and cop a rhyme” for another thousand years or so. In this case, five hundred years later Franck decided to do a riff off of this piece from Aquinas. He did it well, though one wonders what Saint Thomas would’ve thought of this angelic mezzo-soprano.

6 thoughts on “Diversity: from the European Tradition

  1. Thank You! This is Diversity that expresses joy and love.

    Who cares what religion, what race, what creed these musicians, the soloist follow. What matters is the beauty of the music.

  2. PBS, in one of its many fine displays of homogeneous cultural identification often broadcasts André Rieu’s monochromatic musikfests from Maastricht:
    Note the absolute, unashamed joy on the faces of those mostly blonde people and their children. I’m surprised that these outdoor musical celebrations of European greatness haven’t yet been banned.
    And Dymphna, one of the greatest collections of choral music I have is the London Symphony and choir singing 50 of the world’s best loved hymns. (Protestant, to be sure, but exhilarating, nevertheless)

  3. “Who cares what religion, what race, what creed these musicians, the soloist follow. What matters is the beauty of the music.”

    Actually, what matters is the people and civilization that created this sacred beauty (is not all beauty sacred?). The fact remains that only white Christian European civilization was capable of creating such majestic beauty.

    For another example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQhk-RUguQk start at 7:40 and listen for 1 minute.

    We are dismantling the greatest civilization, created in the image of God, ever conceived all in the name of a heretical overweening pride and slavish devotion to sins of the flesh.

  4. On my blog I highlight the fact that Islam forbids playing a musical instrument. I list a column of Western culture contributions to music and my right column is blank where I do not know of a single Islamic contribution that elevates mankind or mankind’s joy of music.

    Your article on music is a mate to mine because it displays the glory of music to bind us together; Islam simply does not take part.
    Islam Exposed

    In my own walk to document facts about Islam my goal was to simply create a place for family and friends to read. I rarely get any comments and that’s good.

Comments are closed.