James MacMillan on Faith and Music

James MacMillan on Faith and Music November 10, 2019

There is a new book coming out that I am eager to read about composer James MacMillan.

 

He talks about his work composing music for use in his local congregation here:

Another interview on this topic, in which he discusses (among other things) the search for the sacred in modern music, and the capacity of music to explore the mysterious without and beyond words, setting music apart even from other arts in the sense to which it transcends and is separate from the “thingness” of everything else in our world:

In an era in which there tends to be an enormous gulf between “world-famous musician” and “church musician,” it is really striking and impressive to see this world-renowned composer, who wrote music for the visit of the Pope, also writing for weekly use in his own church.

Some of his famous works are sacred music, such as his St. Luke’s Passion and St. John’s Passion.

Also about religious music, the Progressive Christianity website shared a link to a blog called Forward Faith which is dedicated to progressive Christian music. That’s not Christian progressive rock, but music for churches that reflects a progressive theological and ethical stance.

For those interested in prog rock, there was an interesting recent piece about a classic Gentle Giant album:

They Got the Power, Got the Glory: Gentle Giant in 1974

Also of possible interested, a while back the University of Durham undertook to revive the work of two great composers associated with Anglican choral music as well as much else, namely Parry and Stanford.

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  • John MacDonald

    That’s an area I’m interested in too: The Phenomenology of the Aesthetic Experience!

    • John MacDonald

      Aesthetics: The term “definition” is ambiguous, and can refer to a generalized all-encompassing concept, like the Definition of Virtue in the dictionary. By contrast, it can mean encountering a general concept, like when we say Mother Theresa was the very Definition of Virtue, or Jesus defined Love (Agape). Aesthetics shows we vividly understand concepts when we encounter them, not just when we try to generalize a concept into words. So, the first time we stand before the majesty of Niagara Falls, we may experience “Now this is Nature,” it is Nature itself, as though the God Nature was showing through the Falls. Nature personified. Nature incarnate. The falls as an Avatar of Nature. Similarly, we say of a work by Leonardo or Mozart “Now this is Art!” Or, upon seeing the beauty of your first L G B T Q wedding, “Now This is Justice!” It is still very questionable, for instance, as to what the relationship between a dictionary “definition” of Justice is, and some thing or event being the definition of Justice!