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Sacred Music and the Counter-Reformation in Mid-Seventeenth-Century Rome, Venice, and Vienna

Andrew H. Weaver

The seventeenth century was an extremely turbulent time in all aspects of European life: the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) ravaged central Europe and affected all of the major European powers; the emerging Baroque style shocked audiences and challenged long-standing artistic precepts; and absolute rulers struggled to maintain their political authority in the face of rapidly changing social structures. Nor could the Catholic Church escape the turbulence of the age. Still facing the threat of the strengthening Protestant faiths, the Church found herself embroiled in political and cultural intrigues as she struggled to maintain her supremacy as the spiritual (and temporal) leader of the western world.

This seminar shall examine the sacred vocal music of the 1630s, 40s, and 50s in this rich religious, political, and cultural context, focusing on three major political and religious centers: Rome, Venice, and Vienna. Sacred music was viewed by Church and Monarch alike as a valuable tool in overcoming the turbulence of the age, and each of these centers showcased a remarkable variety of approaches and solutions in the use of sacred music toward larger religious and political aims.
this is one of the classics of sacred polyphony. it was forbidden to transcribe this piece of music because it was so good. Mozart listened to it and provided the first transcription.

The Catholic Church met the defection of the Protestant reformers by starting its own program of internal reform known as the Catholic Reformation. This movement not only resulted in many liturgical reforms, it also reaffirmed the power of music to affect the hearts and minds of the faithful through an appropriate style of sacred polyphony. At the same time, a broader movement, known as the Counter-Reformation, attempted to win back those who had left the Catholic Church, appealing to their senses through the sheer beauty of its liturgy, religious art, and ceremonial music. Among all the Catholic composers of sacred music to succeed in this strategy, the Roman Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525/6–1594) was the most important. Not only did he capture the essence of the musical Counter-Reformation, but his style also became a model for church-music composition—one that has served teachers and students of counterpoint to this day.
but hey... it's just ENTERTAINMENT. lol @ liberal dupes.

music is one of the main battlegrounds of this spiritual war.
protestant worship music. LMFAO! not bad as a rock song.. but this is blasphemy

I could see this kind of stuff spooking the devil.

there is a reason why this stuff has lasted for 500+ years. it's good stuff.
Sacred Music as Public Image for Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III
Representing the Counter-Reformation Monarch at the End of the Thirty Years' War

Andrew H. Weaver, The Catholic University of America, USA
Series : Catholic Christendom, 1300–1700
Ferdinand III played a crucial role both in helping to end the Thirty Years' War and in re-establishing Habsburg sovereignty within his hereditary lands, and yet he remains one of the most neglected of all Habsburg emperors. The underlying premise of Sacred Music as Public Image for Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III is that Ferdinand's accomplishments came not through diplomacy or strong leadership but primarily through a skillful manipulation of the arts, through which he communicated important messages to his subjects and secured their allegiance to the Catholic Church. An important locus for cultural activity at court, especially as related to the Habsburgs' political power, was the Emperor's public image.

Ferdinand III offers a fascinating case study in monarchical representation, for the war necessitated that he revise the image he had cultivated at the beginning of his reign, that of a powerful, victorious warrior. Weaver argues that by focusing on the patronage of sacred music (rather than the more traditional visual and theatrical means of representation), Ferdinand III was able to uphold his reputation as a pious Catholic reformer and subtly revise his triumphant martial image without sacrificing his power, while also achieving his Counter-Reformation goal of unifying his hereditary lands under the Catholic church.

Drawing upon recent methodological approaches to the representation of other early modern monarchs, as well as upon the theory of confessionalization, this book places the sacred vocal music composed by imperial musicians into the rich cultural, political, and religious contexts of mid-seventeenth-century Central Europe. The book incorporates dramatic productions such as opera, oratorio, and Jesuit drama (as well as works in other media), but the primary focus is the more numerous and more frequently performed Latin-texted paraliturgical genre of the motet, which has generally not been considered by scholars as a vehicle for monarchical representation. By examining the representation of this little-studied emperor during a crucial time in European history, this book opens a window into the unique world view of the Habsburgs, allowing for a previously untold narrative of the end of the Thirty Years' War as seen through the eyes of this important ruling family.
Quote:The sacred mysteries should be performed with the greatest veneration, with both internal affection towards God, and with external worship that is both fitting and decorous, so that others may be filled with devotion and moved towards religion. Therefore, when priests perform the solemnities of the Masses, they should not say the words as one running a fast course, but they should endeavor to pronounce the words fittingly, distinctly, and gravely, so that simultaneously the words may be understood and the listeners aroused to piety. It should be avoided, therefore, that the words should be said in such a low voice that no one may understand them easily. At the same time, they should not be said in such a loud voice that the noise would destroy the devotion of the hearers.

from the council of trent.

i think sacred music elevates people into an orgasmic state without appealing to the base sexual/primitive drives.

it is a strong achievement. it's very easy to do some jungle drum shit and "move" people..
Quote:The sacred mysteries should be performed with the greatest veneration, with both internal affection towards God, and with external worship that is both fitting and decorous...

Sounds like alchemy.

You can follow the steps to the letter, but if you're not one with God, your transmutations will fail.
^ yes. the catholic church is working with a type of magic. but it is a magic that elevates. that is why when you hear it .. you feel good.

there is absolutely nothing evil in this music
The Baroque period is an exceptional period of music. I try to see two or three performances a year at Lincoln center, commonly Hayden, Handel, Vivaldi or Bach. Their music is played most often it seems, and one night of it is worth a dozen of the nights I spent seeing bands play in bars as a kid. The power and influence of such music is undeniable if you take the time to get even a very basic understanding of what you are hearing.

I don't listen to bands like Hillsong, but the rise in popularity of that music is interesting. The guitarists of that kind of music are all influenced by the Ambient / Drone / Post Rock style of guitar playing (which is often associated with Christian youth music) using delays, volume swells, reverb, loopers, drones and tremolo picking. It's fun to play as you can compose it all yourself with just one guitar and some pedals and intermediate to good ability. Sometimes I will wake up in the morning and try to make something not too dissimilar to a Byzantine chant. It is an enjoyable and healthy hobby and pastime.
with all due respect my friend Haydn was not of the Baroque era or style. He was the finest composer of the early classical period, teacher of Beethoven, and the father of the modern symphony.
(05-14-2013 07:59 AM)Coffee Guy Wrote: [ -> ]with all due respect my friend Haydn was not of the Baroque era or style. He was the finest composer of the early classical period, teacher of Beethoven, and the father of the modern symphony.

True. He lived in the time period at the end of the Baroque period but is of the early classical period musically.
yeah he's somwhere in between.

there is a purity and almost zen-like beauty with this renaissance polyphony stuff. a lot of classical stuff sounds cheesy in comparison.

people should give it a try.

william byrd, tallis, gregorius allegri are names to look out for.
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