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Monday, 1 December 2008

"The Anniversary of a Treasure"

Because of lots and lots going on in my life, and lots and lots of sloth in my make-up, I did not make mention of the fact that I attended a recital of music last month.
It was organ music inspired by the thoughts of the afterlife appropriate to the month of All Saints, and All Souls. Et expecto resurrectionem
It was particularly meaningful, especially important to me, returning from a sad family gathering as I was. November was also the month of my Father's tragically early death, and I suspect it has occasioned introspection from all of my brothers and sisters as well, since our childhood.
Anyway, not only was the organ playing quite as marvelous as I expected it to be, but the recital also featured elegant renditions of the hymns or chants on which each organ piece was based, by Kimberly, the blogger at Catholic Musician of the NLM , the owner/operator of a lovely, crystalline soprano voice.
(I had wanted to meet her, but had to leave before the end of LoftH that followed the recital -- we are a single vehicle family, Himself and I, and between his work and my work, non-work activities are often curtailed, even those as wonderfully indulgent as that...)
An excellent article by the talented organist, Br. Jonathan Ryan of the Canons Regular of St John Cantius about the music of Messiaen, (now, now, just give it a moment, Mary Jane.)
Almost as wonderful and edifying as the music itself had been the program notes by the recitalist himself.
And as I told him, I had never "gotten" Messiaen, I mean, I knew it was good, excuse me, great, and spiritual and much admired by those wiser and more educated and with greater aesthetic discernment than myself.... but I didn't get it.
Br Jonathon suggests "a certain aural distance from the music" like stepping back from painting of certain styles, listening to Messiaen's music "peripherally."
Let it, (as Himself is wont to say when a Latin Mass is too confusing to him,) wash over you....

And you know what? It works. Or at least, it does in a visual feast, a sumptuous aesthetic smorgasbord like St John Cantius, (face it, they use incense so generously, it even smells gorgeous.
So now I get Messiaen.
Well, a little. I get him a little.
Give it a shot, MJ.

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