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Music & the Liturgy Paper
Pages 12 (3012 words)
Music and the Liturgy: An analysis and comparison of the liturgical setting and use of the chant in the Stabat Mater (Dolorosa) by Palestrina, Part and Penderecki’s St. Luke’s Passion. The history of sacred music is a long one, and there have been many transformations through the ages which have reflected the developing theological views and the changing musical tastes of each successive generation.
The Psalms feature strongly, prefiguring the life of Christ, and particular festivals bring into focus scenes such as the Nativity and the Passion of Christ which were then the subject matter of hymns and sequences. The major festivals of Christmas and Easter create the setting for the composing of new sacred music, and many of the great composers produced multiple settings of the same texts, giving the world a rich collection of variations which, when compared, give an insight into the subtle changes in Christian musical and religious sensibility through the ages. This paper considers in particular three settings of one of the world’s favourite Latin hymns known as Stabat Mater Dolorosa. The origins of the text itself are obscure, but scholars date it to the thirteenth century. The essence of its meaning is a reflection on the sorrowing figure of Mother of Christ, standing beneath the cross and weeping for the death of her son. The subject matter is emotive, and yet in its linkage of suffering with the path to salvation, it has a positive message for believers, encouraging them to bear their troubles bravely and look to a blessed future with Christ in Paradise. ...
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