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Renowned conductor backs Pope's effort to revive sacred-music tradition

Catholic World News - May 26, 2011

The music director of the Chicago Symphony has thrown his support behind the drive by Pope Benedict XVI to revive the tradition of sacred music.

''The Pope is right when he says it is necessary to bring our great musical heritage back into churches,'' said Ricardo Muti. The Italian conductor said that the revival in church music “cannot happen outside the great traditional path of the past, of Gregorian chants and sacred polyphonic choral music.”

Muti said that he has no objection to the composition of new sacred music, but resents the use of pop tunes. “When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult,” he said. Offering mediocre music, when the Church boasts a priceless treasury of compositions, shows “a lack of respect for people’s intelligence,” he said.

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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - May. 27, 2011 12:37 AM ET USA

    All well and good to have beautiful sacred music, but if that means returning to Latin, how many of us understand the words? No, English does not lend itself to chant...etc, but how does one worship in a language one doesn't think in?

  • Posted by: DrJazz - May. 26, 2011 6:28 PM ET USA

    As a musician, I have thought his thought many times . . . When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult . . . When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult . . . When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult . . . When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar . . .

  • Posted by: ebierer1724 - May. 26, 2011 5:35 PM ET USA

    The Church, in my opinion, should not only look to use older sacred music repertoire but insist that local diocese reach beyond (at least in the case of the US) what is readily available through publishing companies and start commissioning songs, sacred music, poetry, and art no matter what genre it is with free Non-Commercial Creative Commons Licensing. Let the music serve the Church, not the other way around! As far as a music genre, let that be dictated by the immediate community of believers

  • Posted by: Gil125 - May. 26, 2011 4:07 PM ET USA

    Equally Amen to his statement, “When I go to church and I hear four strums of a guitar or choruses of senseless, insipid words, I think it's an insult[.]”

  • Posted by: Cblanch3181205 - May. 26, 2011 1:58 PM ET USA

    " Offering mediocre music, when the Church boasts a priceless treasury of compositions, shows “a lack of respect for people’s intelligence,” he said" AMEN!

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