<< -- 3 -- Gordon Rumson CELESTIAL MUSIC
Because of his open mind (and ears) Mellers saves music from the sectarian
which would either possess exclusively or deny outright. Gregorian Chant is
not then the sole prerogative of a few remaining Latin service churches,
but is now the possession and heritage of all the world (including non
Western cultures). Hildegaard's music is important not only for its vast
creative power, but as a symbol of women's creativity in a patriarchal world
and above all as a sign of the right of half the population to equality and
freedom. Beethoven's great Mass is for everyone, even churches that prevent
its performance. Berlioz' music is not only for those who have some faith,
but those who have lost theirs, or never had it, yet still seek something.
In fact, Mellers demonstrates that this music is important not only for the
religion, not only for the history of culture, but is important for us. All
of us. Now.
Sadly, it is becoming harder and harder to demonstrate the efficacy of music
in and of itself, apart from liturgy, apart from a subordinate role to film,
drama or advertising. Music has become background sound and by having been
turned this way, we have lost a tool for human development.
Music, rightly heard, can harmonize the mind. The emotional flurry that is
often the extent of people's understanding of music, is but the surface
feature of a more significant function. Certain kinds of music quiet the
mind and open it to divine influences (other kinds of music have different
functions: dance music can invigorate tired bodies).
What are those divine influences? Well, they're not found in superstition,
mumbo-jumbo, dogma or other similar trivia. There is an inner peacefulness
that puts aside greed, egotistical striving, vain ambition and nonsensical
violence. That's all. And that's enough.
Emeritus Professor Wilfrid Mellers
Wilfrid Mellers is an excellent proponent of the significance of music
from all times and for all people.
Copyright © 27 April 2003
Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Canada
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'SINGING IN THE WILDERNESS'
SECOND SIGHT - MUSIC WITH WILFRID MELLERS
Some Masterpieces of
European Religious Music
Boydell & Brewer, 2002
ISBN 0 85115 844 7, hardback, 336 pages