Ordinary Time 2017
I've often found myself making the case that the "Hallelujah" Chorus is overused.
Tonight, I heard the piece in question used in a Charmin ad. Charmin, in case you have forgotten, sells toilet paper. The add campaign features red and blue bears, as does the website. As far as I can tell, colored bears have no bearing (!) on the use of this piece of music, but there it is nonetheless.
The use of Handel's music here is an aberration, but it proves my point that society has commandeered this piece of music in its ongoing worship of consumerism. If it's being used to sell things (let alone being used to sell toilet tissue) it should only be used very carefully in our liturgies.
we worship a God who is both strong and soft
Marva Dawn would probably point out the device/commodity relationship in the advertising here. The chorus here functions as a "device" that produces the "commodity" of good feelings about toilet paper.
Here, the ad sets up the choice of strength versus softness. Perhaps the chorus summons up a feeling of victory over the other bath tissue brands who have failed to provide for our society's desperate need for this distinction. "At last!" we say. "Strong and soft paper! Charmin saves the Jew and the Gentile alike! Halleluja!"
Naturally advertising is about us, but Handel's music is not. How ironic is it that we worship a God who is both strong and soft? A dialectical tension that cannot exist in material things does exist in our God. Music describing this multifaceted God is stripped from its subject/object and given to the service of material things.
It's not our fault, but the "Hallelujah" chorus has been tainted. Because of its cultural connotations, however, church musicians must employ it judiciously. After all, we aren't in the business of "selling" the resurrection, are we?
This Charmin ad in particular is a hard sell for me. Didn't King George II stand up when he heard this music? It seems to me that the product in question has more to do with sitting down.
The page you're reading is part of Sinden.org
©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet
Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?
Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption
Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida
The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.
Questions? Problems? email the sexton.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Zachary Wadsworth | composer
Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the Green (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.