THE musician's role in ironing out the difficulties arising from the introduction of "new" music into liturgical ceremonies, was indicated by the Pope in an address to the Saint Cecilia Association, Italy's association of musicians, in Rome last Friday.
In Italy, as in other countries, there was now more singing at sacred meetings, he said. New texts and new melodies had been grafted on the ancient and venerable trunk.
But new musical expressions did not always harmonise with the magnificent and venerable ecclesiastical tradition. Some compositions, while simple and accessible, at times lacked inspiration or grandeur of expression, and there were also "novel and daring experiments which are bound to leave us, to say the least, perplexed and doubtful."
Musicians had the task of
smoothing out these problems, but they should not lose sight of the function of sacred music and liturgical singing.
"Let it not be believed that it is intended to impose limitations restricting the creative capacity of the artist and composer or the no less inspired capacity of the performer, or that it is intended to exclude musical or vocal expression characteristic of the nature and of the customs of people educated to civilisations other than that of the West.
"While the primary purpose of sacred music is to evoke and honour the Divine Majesty, it is also a solemn affirmation of the most authentic praying greatness of man. Therefore, how splendid and how numerous are the many new musical compositions . . . which can spring from an illumined and faithful service to those lofty purposes."