Thursday, October 22, 2009

Palestrina

There is a soul in Renaissance music, a moving spirit which captivates me. I recently bought a CD of the Choir of Westminister Abby, and as I was listening to it, emotion was just swelling up inside of me. Perhaps it is because of the innately spiritual nature of the Missa Papae, which commands the listener to participate in it's singular act of worship and adoration. Augustine was speaking the truth when he said that to sing was to pray twice. For in singing, your entire being is offered as a steady undivided focus of the will and the body. Robert Bolt in A Man for All Seasons said, through the mouth of Sir Thomas More, that there was a faculty in man which does not serve any of his appetites, but is the Man Himself. I believe that in music we are offering our selves, our very selves, in a very personal and willful act of love. This is Beauty we are creating with our minds and our bodies, literally becoming instruments for the glory of our Creator. I can not help but be carried off with the singers, for my soul rejoices in God my Savior, and if I do not cry out, the very rocks and stones will. Our activity in singing is a perfect example of how life should be lived at every moment of our day, in total self-giving. We must give this part of ourselves fervent exercise, so to make a final present, lived in a manner worthy of the life Christ bought for us, our blood-price.

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