Monday, August 13, 2007

Getting a gift can be problematic, occasionally

My sister managed to get us some free tickets to a Mostly Mozart Festival concert in Lincoln Center. Next time, I'll have to check the program before I accept. The Ravel "Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavante for a deceased little girl)" was touching, and the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major K. 453 was wonderful. But what was I supposed to do about the Fauré, um, Requiem, Op. 48? Being unsure whether I was still prepared to sit through a concert version of a Roman Catholic mass, I pleaded illness (not entirely untrue, unfortunately), and left at the intermission.

Seriously, how does one handle this? Should I ignore the Jesus references and just enjoy the music, or should I not listen to the music in order to avoid the Jesus references?


Blogger Tzipporah said...

Although this was constructed as ritual music, its performance no longer has that context. I'd say, if the Jesus stuff bothers you, or makes you feel like you're being proselytized to, don't listen to it. If it's not going to tempt you into idol worship, then in and of itself it's not a bad thing, so what matters is your reaction to it.

Bad Cohen runs into this problem all the time, as a musician and composer. Want to take singing lessons? Fine - but you have to join the concert choir. Oh, and by the way, most of what they sing is Christian religious music, especially during their "holiday" concerts. (Gee, guess which holiday?)

Mon Aug 13, 05:09:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Not even the annual onslaught of Xmas carols makes me feel that I'm being proselytized or tempted into idol worship. But I just don't feel comfortable listening to Christian religious lyrics.

One of the guys on the Beyond Teshuva blog published a post, a few weeks back, about how the hardest thing for him to give up when he became an Orthodox Jew was classical vocal music. Part of the problem was that so much classical vocal music contained Christian content. The other part was that he could no long participate in, or listen to, most classical vocal music because of the "kol isha" rule that a man is not permitted to listen to a woman sing (a rule interpreted in various ways in different segments of the Orthodox community).

Tue Aug 14, 02:56:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Rivka said...

There's a line for me, on the one hand being able to ignore the religious references and enjoy the music or lights or performance, and on the other feeling very uncomfortable and out of my element. Which side I'm on determines whether I stay or go.

I heard Josh Groban's You Raise Me Up on the tv and I admit that the music is very pretty and I like the way he sings it especially with the African Children's Choir. But it is still a Christian hymn and I can't forget that. It will never be one of my songs.

On Shabbos a few other women and I were singing Esa Einai, which we did in a two part round. That one is pretty too. And it's mine. :)

Wed Aug 15, 12:33:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Rivka, you hit the nail right on the head: I've said for years that some Christmas carols are beautiful, but they're not *ours.*

Thu Aug 16, 12:39:00 AM 2007  

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