Thursday, October 2, 2008

Listening with the ear of my heart. A Benedictine oblate blog

I listened to a music program, “Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers of the Blessed Virgin” on EWTN. I listened as part of my preparation for an oblate retreat — the retreat where beauty is the theme of my preparation (not the theme of the retreat). I have not watched many EWTN music programs, but when I heard “Vespers,” I thought I would listen in — and it was beautiful.

My leaning toward beauty has caused me to wonder where such an inclination came from. And that question once again brought to my mind a frequent question I have: what is it about Benedictine spirituality that causes a deepening of my life?

The answer I like so far is:

1. Everything about Benedictine spirituality is part of what makes it “work.” It is all regular and well-known elements, put together in an ancient form which has stood the test of time.

2. Benedictine practices increase the spiritual porosity of my life. There is less and less distinction between the spiritual parts of my life and those activities I used to consider secular or related to worldly matters.

Maybe Benedictine spirituality helps me hear all of the music.


Additional Information

1. Summary of this music. "Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers are rightly considered to be one of the greatest monuments of Baroque church music." Source.

2. General Description of the work:

"In 1610 Monteverdi published one of his finest works, the Vespers, comprising a Mass, 2 Magnificats, 11 "motets," and an orchestral sonata. In it he combines solos, ensembles, choral writing for one and two choirs of up to five voices each, orchestral ritornelli (some in six real parts), in addition to a sonata, and obbligati for various instruments. The style ranges from the old to the new, from richly imitative seven-part polyphony to highly affective monody, from rhythmically clear-cut, ear-catching melodies to complex highly virtuosic melismas. As Denis Arnold (1963) said, "Passion and magnificence - these two are inseparable words when describing this volume."" Source

3. A CD of the music at Amazon

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