Season after Pentecost, 2023
So the work as we now have it and as it is now known and loved around the world is far from being the Miserere that Allegri would have recognised. The tragedy is not only is Allegri's original version long lost, but the manner of ornamented and embellished performance is also long lost.
—Graham Abbott, https://www.grahamsmusic.net/post/miserere
[…] the medieval craftsman, who takes enormous pains to fashion in stone some angel right up in the triforium of a cathedral — where it will never be seen, but he did it just for the love of it. Sometimes I feel that Herbert Howells lavishes his love in his music by having some felicitous little counterpoint in some inner part which may never be heard — but he knows it’s there.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbXUz8FREas&t=1854s, h/t Some Definite Service: The Unbelief, yet Half-Religion, of Herbert Howells (I)
It is, all of it, food for thought. So much sacred music is profoundly "structural." In a divine creative sense, God's blessing bestows order (conversely, cursing bestows disorder), so the very forms of music can convey God's blessing to us. The various spaces in which we worship convey their own sense of God's grace and presence.
And in all of it, there is joy in the detail. One of my favorite features of Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, are two tiny bronze frogs near the baptismal font–creatures so small that it would be possible not to notice them even if you attended the cathedral your whole life. Like Howells's own tiny joyous details, there is, amidst the waters of Baptism–the waters of chaos and then creation–a divine herpetological rejoicing included in the architecture just for the love of it.
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