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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Of Synchronicity and the Sax

Okay, so Himself is in the throes of rehearsal so we are woefully behind on our... ahem, TV watching.
On last weeks Sunday Morning the host, (Charles Osgood? not sure...) repeated the oft-misquoted, (I believe... I can't find any reliable source that any pope ever mentioned officially the saxophone by name, pejoratively or otherwise, but of course one cannot prove a negative,) notion that Pope St Pius X decried the use of M. Sax's baby in liturgical settings, lest it lead to "disgust and scandal."

What the saintly musician did say, in Tra le Solicantspelltherest, is, generally, that:
Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God. ....[and among the specifics]
It is strictly forbidden to have bands play in church, and only in special cases with the consent of the Ordinary will it be permissible to admit wind instruments

So what greets us at Mass, (not a parish I customarily attend,) for the Gathering, do you suppose?

Yes, that's right, the most cacophonous ensemble, heavily saxed and tambourined, playing the worst piece of cheese I've heard in Church in many a day....

The scandal is that people could be misled that that music was acceptable; the disgust, although I may have felt it, might have been mitigated by better music competently played.

Or perhaps not.


Your bro in CenCA said...

There is always the exception to every rule.
During a four year stretch I had the most gifted, genius level musician that's ever contributed to our liturgies in two decades. Since then, he graduated from USC Thorton Conservatory, degree in composition under Lauridsen, made a brief pit stop here this last year before going back on the road where he routinely plays with jazz and pop stars in events like the Grammy's etc.
His weapon of choice, the soprano sax. And he wielded it with a beauty and precision that Kenny G or Paul Winter could never even dream of approaching; as if St. Cecilia were playing the oboe.
No fakery, no cheese, the real deal. Yeah, it could happen.
Insofar as asking our (then alive) bishop for permission, our beloved Ordinary didn't know the difference between an ordinary and a proper, which is common among most priests I know as well. So, it was obvious baby Jesus gave us the go-head.

Scelata said...

God love you, Charles, I agree, utterly -- I just thought the coincidence of it all was funny, (I'm also amused by the way the, as far as I know ficticious The-Pope-called-saxophones-disgusting trope has found it's way into the collective consciousness.)

My problem wasn't really with the sax in a liturgical setting, (any more than with piano, percussion, or even the sacred cow of the organ,) it was two-fold.

One is the problem of the de facto disparagement of competence, the let-everybody-take-his-turn mentality, (which is at least a bit more understandable with children, but NOT so with adults, adolescents, young adults, or, let's get real, the ordained in our midst. If you can't preach, read share something succinct from the Fathers.)

And my other quibble is with the constant thwarting of recollection.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)