In the Tension between the Word and the Sign
Church Music and Theological Development
Professor Gerhards grounds his study on the finding that the music in the West never became a real theological issue, and with its incomprehensibility caused all the time certain unease, and was rather suspicious. Particularly instrumental music had traditionally only one function in the external staging of an ostentatious splendour, but not on the basis of internal affinity to the liturgical events. Thus emerges a significant deficit in theological evaluation of music. The study refers above all to the theological demarcation of church music during services and other liturgical celebrations. It comes up that church music – both vocal and instrumental – has been in our culture for centuries associated with the language of faith. In this way this speech of music creates multifarious areas of identification and meetings. It presents an inestimable value, not only within the Church but also in the cultural history of all mankind.
Joys and Pains of the Reform of Church Music
Fifty years of Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium
The author asks a question whether the post-conciliar enthusiasm about liturgical reform has produced the desired effect: did the liturgy become more attractive, isn’t there in fact beside the crisis of the Church also a crisis of the liturgy? Then he formulates his views about the weaknesses and imperfections of the present-day worship: the author speaks about insufficient culture of celebration, about the poor quality of the homilies in the liturgy, as well as the poor quality of music. As a central point of remedy he presents the question: What image of God actually have Christians participating in the liturgy? The second point is the cultivation of the liturgy as a symbolic event where even music plays an important role.
Music and Spirituality
Can Music be a Space of the Experience of God?
In the focus of the Benedictine Sister Emmanuela are the stories (literary, mystical, memorial, etc.) about the experiences associated with religious life on one side and music on the other, in which people use the same or similar terms to describe what they experienced. She reveals how close these worlds are. The ability of music to touch human person emotionally can become a medium for spiritual experience, may become in similar way an “ultimate experience”.
What Tasks Should Accomplish Music in the Cathedral?
The author states that in many church documents of the last decades was highlighted the exceptional position of cathedrals, which stay at the centre of the diocese, where theological, spiritual and liturgical life culminates, and therefore they serve as a model. What happens or has happened in the cathedral should have an exemplary character. Bretschneider in the epigraphic way lists a number of points that need to be taken into account to ensure that the liturgical and musical events in the cathedral would elevate to an appropriate level.
The Organ is like a Harp of King David
Interview with Josef Kšica, a Choirmaster and Organist of the Cathedral of Sts. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert
The interview with present long-standing organist at Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral deals with the new sound-design of the cathedral, the reconstruction of organ and construction of the new one, with the issue of concerts in sacred buildings, with the issue of schola cantorum, and with the importance of music in the liturgy in general.
Survey about Music and Liturgy
(D. Eben, S. Hořínka, R. Hugo, Br. Jan od Kříže, L. Petřvalský, Z. Pololáník,
M. Rataj, B. Sojková, J. Trojan, P. Vrábel, J. Zadina)
We addressed several prominent contemporary Czech composers and performers with three questions concerning the relationship of music and liturgy in our country:
- How do you see the situation of liturgical music in our country?
- What place, according to you, should or could have in the liturgy the contemporary music?
- Which events regarding music and liturgy during the last 25 years would you highlight as successful, what should improve? Is there anything new to try, some new paths to take?
Old New forms
Evensong and Advent Vigils in Cologne
Richard Mailänder, the expert on church music in the Cologne archdiocese, describes in his text the project of “Evensongs” – a form of Evening Liturgy of the Hours successfully conducted in Cologne. He describes the experience of finding liturgical form that combines Vespers and Compline and musically would allow both active involvement of participants and just quiet listening. One of the models there was a liturgy of Anglican Evensong. As another successful musical experiment can be mentioned the Advent Vigils, inspired by the English tradition of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
Music in the St. Vitus Cathedral in the 18th Century
Repertoire and its Interpreters
The study of the Czechmusicologistis comes out ofthe rich music library ofthe choir of the metropolitan Church of St.Vituswhich is oneof the largestin Bohemia. The author deals withthe everydayrunning ofachoir ofSt. Vitusandpersonalities of itschoirmasters, among others Mikuláš František Xaver Wentzely, Kryštof Karel Gayer, Johann Anton Thaddäus Görbig and especially Josef Antonín Sehling – to whom is paid the most eminent attention for the width of repertoire connected to him and to his time.
Gregorian Chant and Contemporary Music
Are there Favourable Comparisons?
The study of the French musicologist shows that the impulses of Gregorian chant can be seen even in modern music. The basic similarity is due to the very fact that both Gregorian chant and modern music solves the same problem – the development of musical language. The author examines Gregorian citations and style on particular samples, especially in the music of O. Messiaen and Arvo Pärt. The second part is devoted to the Gregorian syntax in the music of Pierre Boulez.