James Altena on Church Music as Facilitating Worship
A few months ago, as associate editor for the classical music magazine Fanfare, I reviewed a CD of music for the services of Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayer at an Anglican cathedral in England. While it includes a few traditional hymns and works by Thomas Tallis and Henry Purcell, most of the contents are given over to premiere recordings of compositions by several contemporary British church composers, including the cathedral's current choirmaster. The performances are exemplary; the recorded sound likewise. Yet, the compositions themselves bother me. While all of them are cast ostensibly in tonal or neo-tonal idioms, and are well crafted in purely technical terms, their thematic and . . .
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James A. Altena is the associate editor of Fanfare magazine, a comprehensive bimonthly periodical for reviews of classical music recordings. He is a member of St. Mark's Reformed Episcopal Church in Rydal, Pennsylvania, and is working toward a Ph.D. in church history at Westminster Theological Seminary.
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