Rekindling the Intellectual, Spiritual, Creative legacy of Christians in Culture

Our panel continues the discussion of irreligious Seattle, responding to audience questions: Is Seattle's renowned tolerance an excuse for avoiding dealing with reality? Is it more of go along to get along? Is it a barrier to real community? Would a pursuit of truths held passionately a better path? What about the three transcendentals: the good, the true, the beautiful? What about the role of Art and the passion for mystery? By the way the music as we come into the show in this segment is from "William and Alene" who will appear live in June!

4 Responses

  1. “Is truth more important than character or community? Or why are we so obsessed with “truth rather than how we live and how we care for others? Is art valuable because its truth is really a vision for a way of being rather than believing?” – Paul

    “How does one know that they need to uproot from their current community and search for a new community? What does it mean to be an individual in the midst of transition?” -Josh

    “In what ways do you see are revealing the spiritual desire of Seattleites and how are religious institutions doing with this?” – Scott

    “Art goes beyond intellect, concrete ideas, (it) speaks to intuition, universe heart emotions – bridges gaps” – Elizabeth

    “With the loss of artistic emphasis in the church and the deep expression art brings, have we lost deep religious expression also?” – Kyle

    Are you sure Seattle is “individualistic?” I think its more politically correct – you have to be with the go-along get-along guys.” -Suzie

  2. A lot of talk about art, especially religious art, loses it connection the main sources of depth and inspiration in art. Mozart’s masses are profound, not only because he was a musical genius, but because he worked in a tradition of excellence. Listen to Haydn, his immediate predecessor. The form in the music of both Mozart and Haydn are very similar because Mozart worked in a tradition. If there had been no J. S. Bach, there would have been no tempered system that provided the harmonic framework for Mozart’s art.
    Mozart also chose liturgical texts that had existed for centuries. His inspiration was partly in the nobility of these forms, not the innovations in his music. People already knew the mass. They had recited it for generations. If the music was traditional in form as well, where is the genius? In its depth!
    The best things come from the past and slow development on artistic form that proves itself through time. The renaissance looked all the way back to the Greeks. If the contemporary church has lost its way artistically, it is less the fault of Calvin who disbarred everything but plainsong chant from Geneva. Pop artists disbar everything that transcends the currently fashionable. This goes for contemporary serious art as well as rock music in church.

  3. Mike:

    With all due respect, your contentions simply don’t hold up to the facts. The notion that no “contemporary serious art” looks to the past or uses ancient liturgical texts or builds on traditional musical structures is untenable. Stravinsky, Britten, Paert, Tavener, Gorecki, and countless other “contemporary serious artists” fulfill every single one of your criteria. The notion that everything contemporary is divorced from the past is simply incorrect. And in many ways, the 20th century saw some of the best music for church for a couple hundred years — although I will admit that this assertion is a little more debatable. Personally, I find church music in the classical and romantic eras less powerful than medieval through Baroque. And of course many of the modern composers have gone back to the ancient sources of chant, polyphony, etc.

  4. You can find fragmentary references to tonal music and form in Stravinsky, Brittan, Paert, Tavener, Gorecki, but since Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, serious music has gone into its own arbitrary modes of invention. I sat through a concert of Baltic choral music yesterday, all contrived new settings of old music, all more alien than the languages in which it was sung. Finally, as an encore, the choir sang “Finlandia” by Sibelius. Nearly everybody wept! Yes, it was beautiful, but I wept because the new composers have thrown of the greatest values to assert their presumed originality.

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