Masterpieces of Sacred Music.

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parla wrote:

However, the main thrust is to focus on the most rewarding and well respected/established masterpieces in this field (but not excluding any outsider, neglected, overlooked but significant works or..."revelation"). Bach's Mass in b minor is (one of) the greatest masterpieces of Sacred Music. However, the issue is, if one has to narrow the choice to one of the masterworks by Bach, which one he/she may choose. Likewise, with Mozart, Haydn or Stravinsky. 

In other words, in all these centuries of Sacred Music, can you name a couple of dozens of the most established masterpieces in this genre? Of course, along the way, one may mention any other work he/she considers as what could be in this prestigious list (e.g. like Martin's Golgotha).

Further issues

parla wrote:

Jetzt bin ich sicher, das mir nicht mehr der Mut fehlt, den Weg zu ende zu gehen; das Werk hat mich im Griff.

(The Art cannot be subjective.)

Lost in research.

Einsamer Forscher in feindlicher Welt.

(The Truth cannot be subjective).

Parla

One has to narrow to one, which, one

parla wrote:

However, the issue is, if one has to narrow the choice to one of the masterworks, which one he/she may choose.

 

If masterwork of Art cannot be subjective, which one may he/she choose?

Reply to #18.

What I mean, Jane, is, if one has to narrow his/her choice to the most acknowledged, well-established in public performances  or/and recordings masterpieces from the era of Machaut, when we encounter the first widely acknowledged masterpiece(s) of Sacred Music, up to the past century, which could be the few works that constitute the best (almost universal) examples of Sacred Music in terms of their religious, liturgical or even spiritual terms.

The interest for this thread came to me when, in a friendly discussion among musicians of various genres (none of the present ones was German) one put the question, which work would you select out of the hundreds J.S. Bach wrote as the most representative and as the epitome of Sacred Music. Surprisingly, most of them mentioned the St. Matthew Passion. The reason projected by those who chose St. Matthew Passion was that this work demonstrates the most religious and spiritual aspects of what Music may be able to express, while the Mass in b minor is a more thranscedental and musical work, going further than a strictly religious work. Likewise, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.

In the same vein, as for Mozart, his Requiem comes as the first choice, although his c minor Mass is a true masterwork as well. Likewise, Haendel's Messiah, while Bruckner's f minor Mass or M. Haydn's Requiem in c minor will need more time to be considered as those masterpieces of Sacred Music that can have a wide recognition despite their musical importance.

In any case, while it was rather easy among musicians at least to agree for the works of the great composers (Schubert's E-flat Mass, Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem, Faure's Requiem etc.), their choices for the era after Machaut up to Baroque presents a variety of choices, where different works of not such a wide reputation (performances or recordings) are mentioned and defended accordingly (Palestrina's Missa Pappae Marcelli, Victoria's Officium Defunctorum, Couperin's Lecons de Tenebres, De Lassus' or Tallis' Hieremiae prophetae lamentationes and so on.).

As for LIgeti's own Requiem, a musical masterpiece on its own terms, although it worked pretty well in Kubrick's iconic film 2001: A Space  Odyssey, it can hardly be considered as Sacred Music, since there is nothing religious or liturgical, while its spriritual aspects go far beyond to the...abyss.

Parla

In the same vein, may be in vain

If the religious depiction has no musical value, how can the St Matthew Passion be less musical than the b minor Mass?

Vanitas vanitatum. Veritas veritatum.

Bach's St Matthew Passion conveys more effectively the religious/spiritual meaning of the work, while it is a superb score at the same time. The Mass in b minor, another stunning score by Bach, goes far beyond the actual and common Latin text of the Mass. In the former, the great music inspiringly serves the narrative of the Passion, while in the latter the music transcends the liturgical text. So, in pure musical terms, both works are great scores.

Parla

Reply to #25.

Art is true. The truth cannot be subjective. The way we approach it is, since we can see only aspects of the truth. So, what we "choose" shows more who we are and how parts of the truth may live through us.

Parla

Art can’t save itself

If we have the limitation of always having some subjectivity in our approach to art, why attempt to define art as absolutely objective?

Art doesn't need any saviour. Either it exists or not.

The outcome of a definition cannot be but objective. Subjective definitions are mere opinions.

Parla

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