Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On Catholic Music

Doing some exploring around my follower list and found this blog and what is Catholic music and I thought I would reblog (RB), hmm, can't get all this silly textlike terminology straight.

Anyway, I am a devout Catholic who writes experimental electronic music. Does that make my music Catholic? It's certainly not sacred music and frankly, my music should never be used in a liturgical setting because I did not write it for that reason. Is it about spritual ideas? Yes. I wrote Gyorgie's Lament in admiration of Gyorgy Ligeti who while he may not have been a strong Catholic, was Catholic in the Eastern rite. His Lux Aeterna which I had in mind when I wrote this piece is from a requim Mass.

I have great respect for Olivier Messiaen who unknown to many, was part of the early electronic music scene and wrote peices for one of the earliest electronic instruments, the Ondes Martenot which lives on the the "French Connection" analogue keyboard. Messiaen was also a devout Catholic. My work "A Disturbance in the Clouds" is not based directly on his "Quartet to the End of Time" but certainly calls it to mind as well as Pendericki's "Threonody to the Victims of Hiroshima". I wrote this to reflect my Catholic beleifs about nuclear weapons and my deep hatred of them. Messiaen loved the birds and in fact, based a significant number of works on birdsond. I wanted to reflect this in my work but also the songs of the birds disturbed by a distant nuclear explosion and the disturbance in the electromagnetic field. For those who have wondered and listened to my work, that is what this is all about. it's not just a bunch of sound effects. It expresses my horror and aversion to nuclear weapons.

"RandomVoices" is based loosely on the Book of Revelation which I see not as a fearful book but one of hope. Of the power of the voice of the Gospel and of God who speaks in varied ways to his people. I firmly believe that the Catholic message is one of hope and transcendence of a world that can so often descend into darkness.

My work "Strange Bells" was an experiment with bells which remind be of bells used in the Mass and the power of the bell to call the faithful to worship.

So is my work Catholic. If you listened to it, you will not see Catholicism but if you understand why I wrote it, what was behind it, you can see my Catholic beliefs influencing it.

Why do I write this music? First, I am not a great musician. I write music that I can play and much of it is improvised. I study music, mosly classical but my early formal training is in jazz. I hope to follow along the lines of classical music (that of the 20th century) but take it into the world of electronics. Why? I don't know really. I just feel compeled to write it and hopefully somewhere, God has a plan for it. Some of it will become part of a CD ROM eventually. I will reveal nothing of this secret project right now.

So, if my Catholicism has offended, it is not intended to. I love music, including electronic music. I am Catholic. And somewhere, I hope these two lead to some good music even if its far of the beaten path. I know that Messian's was in his time so I guess I am in good company as far as that goes. Is it Catholic music? I don't know. You tell me.


Bob Metivier said...

I like what you are saying here, even with the grammatical errors. Yes, you are following C S Lewis in writing from your faith as yourself. In that sense, since you are Catholic it is Catholic. Though it may not be liturgical, it still has a value in the art space. I would love to hear some of it sometime. Check out the 11th song on media player on my blog. and you will find a commonality with you!

Lux_Seeker said...


I appeciate the comments and thanks. Please see my comments on the Catholic part of my blog where I have responded. I ran out of space in my comment and moved it there.