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“Their music changed because they have something profound to express.”

This fascinating article by Robert Reilly traces the fall of atonal music and the minimalist movement that crawled from its wreckage. If you have ever marveled at the spirit that animates the music of John Adams, Henryk Górecki, John Tavener, and Arvo Pärt, you owe it to yourself to read this. Here is an excerpt:

Anyone who has tracked the self-destruction of music over the past half century has to be astonished at the outpouring of such explicitly religious music and at its enormously popular reception. Can the recovery of music be, at least partially, a product of faith, in fact of Christian faith? A short time ago, such a question would have produced snickers in the concert hall, howls in the academy, and guffaws among the critics. In fact, it still might. In a New York Times review, a critic condescended to call the works of the three composers nothing but ‘Feel-Good Mysticism.’ However, the possibility gains some plausibility when one looks back at the source of the problem in Schoenberg himself and to a mysterious episode that brought what he thought would be his greatest achievement to a creative halt.

Robert R. Reilly | Recovering the Sacred in Music

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About Christopher Ames

Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Boyceville, Wisconsin. Bicycle owner and operator. I used to play in a Campus Crusade band.

One Response to “Their music changed because they have something profound to express.”

  1. Thank you so much for pointing this out! Fantastic. “The attempted suicide of western music has failed.” A beautiful and apt turn of the phrase, giving expression to something I, a sojourner and foreigner in the musical realm, had wondered about and given up trying to fathom.

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