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Monday, 18 January 2010

"One of the Good Guys"

This is so dumbfounding, I hardly know what to think:
Peter Planyavsky, formerly of St. Stephen’s cathedral in Vienna [is] liturgically speaking... one of the good guys.
He pushed hard for congregational singing and the presence of a cantor, even and especially at Latin High Mass.
He composed “orchestral responsorial psalms” for congregation and choir so that the Liturgy of the Word would not be dwarfed by a Mozart Sanctus and Agnus.
He labored mightily for the development of vernacular repertoire for the reformed liturgy.
He once told me that the first time he heard a Eucharistic prayer in German, tears rolled down his face at the fulfillment of a long-held wish.
Now, after his departure from the cathedral under less than pleasant conditions, his memoirs appear. ...The shock is that the author considers himself an agnostic, in the sense of not affirming the Christian faith.
[emphasis supplied]

(Incidentally, a very promising new blog, impressive list of potential contributors.)

Now, what exactly is dumbfounding? by what am I shocked?
Not by that which shocked Fr Ruff, certainly- I don't know the musician in question, after all.
I think what I find so surprising is that he is shocked, that he doesn't see that such a liturgical agenda might very well betoken a lower than normal level of interest in worshiping the Triune God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as such.

Oh, an after admitting that I don't know, the musician, I will nevertheless go on to say he seems a bit... sour? I mean yes, we all burn out, and this is in translation and may not catch the tone the author intended, but
I have developed a manner of Sunday-antipathy and feastday-antipathy, an all-encompassing “solemn-mood-neurosis,” which only now, after the end of my work for the cathedral, I am able slowly to break down. This sort of thing is clearest at Christmas, for which I have long since lost any joy. This is connected not only with the heavy workload between December 24th and 26th, but especially with the four-week bombardment in all greetings, homilies, and conclusions of liturgies with, oh! what bell ringing and angel-singing ecstasy which was to materialize “soon” or “shortly” or “in a few hours.” Furthermore, you wouldn’t believe how many thoughtless fellow humans, who knew exactly what occupation I had, have wished me “happy vacation” on December 24th.

Oh, no!
How very thoughtless of them, not to know that a cathedral music director and Catholic liturgist was merely play-acting at being a Christian, and therefore the season of joy was nothing but overtime so far as he was concerned.!

So, no love for Christ, but apparently not a super-abundance of love for the music, either?

Very sad.

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