Thursday, October 27, 2005
Sound , vision and song!
Hello there everyone I am pondering whilst listening to Zadok the Priest, a most wonderful piece of music. It is wonderful because of the way it exemplifies the wonders of religious music (tm). This idea of religious music could of course be an absolute lie or it could be a reality. For most people their experience of religious music will be the 85-year-old lady playing the harmonium or wheezy organ whilst they trundle through a weighty tome of hymns clutched in the hand. Some of the hymns and songs will bring joy and others will bring rapture and some may even bring a spiritual meaning - but we wouldn't want that to happen now would we! Yet when one hears a piece of music in a truly wonderful church it is amazing. For this I have to take you back to last September when I heard some good friends of mine performing in the wonderful St John's, Edinburgh. This building is one of the churches built with an acoustic that is as good for speech as it is for unamplified (dare I say real....) music. As I heard my friends perform my mind drifted to pieces such as Zadok and the real feel they invoke. For the way the sounds and deviances within the tune, whilst also the words and sounds created by the singers not only echoes but positively blends into the building ensuring that every crevice is reached. Indeed the level to which the music reaches the areas leads you to feel that indeed they are expressing the glory of god, as viewed by the composed, but through the music we all share in the wonder of such glory. For if we cannot all share in the ideas and emotions then we can never fully explore all the feelings. Beautiful, you may cry, but what is the relevance? Well I wouldn't be shocked if most of you attend a space for worship that often has music playing as you exit (at Wesley’s chapel we have Elvis*) and yet most of that is lost in hubbub as ones mind switches to the journey home or the fact dinner is burning etc. Yet in reality you are missing an expression of faith from the musicians. I challenge you all to sit and enjoy the sounds as they explore the building that the community had just created a worship space. Be it a beat boxer at the mic to a full stopped organ in full blast they are all expressing emotion through the only way they truly can and I am ever frustrated by the few people who appreciate and enjoy the music. That said, not all of you will get such feeling but please do try. If all else fails sit and listen to Simon and Garfunkle, for their spiritual writings are something that could and should impress and amaze us at whilst providing some stinking tunes... After all "Everywhere I go, I get slandered...libelled.... I hear words I never heard in the bible!" *Elvis is the name of the organist. If one wishes "the king" then I seem to remember Hillsong in London always blast it out.