From Heavenly Harmony
A Recovered Beauty
by Ken Myers
Gratitude and wonder are necessary and appropriate responses to the choral music of the sixteenth century: gratitude for the treasury of beauty that can still enliven our lives and liturgies, wonder at the fact that so many brilliant and dedicated composers arose almost simultaneously across Christendom, artists whose works continue to serve as aural epiphanies of mystery and glory.
Music is about harmony, love made audible. As love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, an era noted for such an abundant musical harvest must have been especially visited by Spiritual presence; it wasn't mechanical craftsmanship that accounts for the achievements of those decades. So it is baffling and sorrowful that, despite the prevalence of wisdom and passion about the blending of voices (a mode of life we share with the angels), the sixteenth century was also an era of divisive dissonance within the Church.
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Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.
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