Monday, August 29, 2005

Obituary: Brother Roger

"Establishing a monastic order is always a struggle, not least in the 20th century, and in wartime [1940], and for a Protestant pastor's son whose knowledge of the subject had been gained from his theology studies in Lausanne. He meant, at first, to be a writer. But his father's mysticism infected him; he decided on the religious life, and burned his first published book in the fireplace of the broken-down house he bought in Taizé.

In its first years, the house was mostly a hostel where Jewish refugees were offered soup and a bed on their way through to safety. Brother Roger, a classically trained musician brought up in a household of singing and piano-playing, wanted music at its centre, but not yet. Out of respect for his guests, he would go away and sing Divine Office in the woods, restoring sacred music to the landscape again." ...

Obituary: Brother Roger The Economist August 25, 2005

Benedictine Abbey of Cluny
(1089 - 1131)
South transept vault

Photo credit: Chris Henige, Art Historian.


Blogger Pliable said...

Thanks for that post Garth.

I had been thinking about a post on an overgrown path about the music of the Taize community.

Initially the community began by using 16th century psalmody, and works by the 20th century composer Joseph Gelineau. Subsequently Jacques Berthier was commissioned to write original works for the community. Although Latin is used there is an emphasis on flexibility as the music must be sung in different languages and using different instruments.

Although they may not be great concert pieces the Taize musical literature has a considerable value. This is genuine 'utility music', akin in intent, if not content, to some of Hindemith's output.

There is a recording of Jacques Berthier's 1951 Requiem on the French Studio Sm label, but is very difficult to get hold of. There are also some recordings of works by Joseph Gelineau.

This is a path well worth exploring. Maybe I'll write that post.....

11:35 AM  

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