Wednesday, September 13, 2006

About That Pipe Organ

Liturgeists just hate it when we post stuff like this:

...Solemn sacred music, with choir, organ, orchestra and the singing of the people, is not an addition of sorts that frames the liturgy and makes it more pleasing, but an important means of active participation in worship.

The organ has always been considered, and rightly so, the king of musical instruments, because it takes up all the sounds of creation and gives resonance to the fullness of human sentiments. By transcending the merely human sphere, as all music of quality does, it evokes the divine. The organ’s great range of timbre, from piano through to a thundering fortissimo, makes it an instrument superior to all others. It is capable of echoing and expressing all the experiences of human life. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.

Psalm 150 speaks of trumpets and flutes, of harps and zithers, cymbals and drums; all these musical instruments are called to contribute to the praise of the triune God. In an organ, the many pipes and voices must form a unity. If here or there something becomes blocked, if one pipe is out of tune, this may at first be perceptible only to a trained ear. But if more pipes are out of tune, dissonance ensues and the result is unbearable. Also, the pipes of this organ are exposed to variations of temperature and subject to wear.

Now, this is an image of our community. Just as in an organ an expert hand must constantly bring disharmony back to consonance, so we in the Church, in the variety of our gifts and charisms, always need to find anew, through our communion in faith, harmony in the praise of God and in fraternal love. The more we allow ourselves, through the liturgy, to be transformed in Christ, the more we will be capable of transforming the world, radiating Christ’s goodness, his mercy and his love for others.

The great composers, each in his own way, ultimately sought to glorify God by their music. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote above the title of many of his musical compositions the letters S.D.G., Soli Deo Gloria – to God alone be glory. Anton Bruckner also prefaced his compositions with the words: Dem lieben Gott gewidmet – dedicated to the good God. May all those who enter this splendid Basilica, experiencing the magnificence of its architecture and its liturgy, enriched by solemn song and the harmony of this new organ, be brought to the joy of faith.

"The glorification of God and the sanctification and edification of the people"--purpose of sacred music, defined by Pius X, re-iterated by Pius XII and now B-16. "Pars integralis" just like it says in SC. "Immensity and magnificence of God"--not exactly a new thought, but a clear phrase.

Gittars, anyone? Pianos? Finger-cymbals?

How's your Haugen-Haas? Your StLouis Bubbas?

3 comments:

M.Z. Forrest said...

I just wish people would learn that piano is unacceptable. In Two Rivers we are currently raising funds for a $100,000 organ. The Church was built without one, because they were going to transfer an organ from one of the closed churches. Unfortunately the buyer demanded the organ in the purchase agreement. So now, we have to listen to Haagen/Haas on piano. Ugh!!!

I should mention that in Whitelaw, one of the best churches in NE WI, they do have an organ. The guitar was used for the New Year's mass only in my time attending there. I'm assuming it was because an organist couldn't be found.

Anonymous said...

You have such an obsession with the organ it is comical - similar to a teenager obsessed with a different one. Your narrow view of "church" music needs to advance and grow - sorta like the Catholic church has grown from the 40's and 50 's. You should give it a try!

Dad29 said...

Well, looky here, Ma!

A Queer Anony!