The king of musical instruments and The Spirit of the Liturgy: the pipe organ and its liturgical repertoire analyzed in light of Ratzinger's theology of liturgical music
Wargovich, Bridgette Elizabeth
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Joseph Ratzinger, who led the Catholic Church as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005 to 2013, is a well-respected and published theologian. Much of his writing centers on the liturgy, and he has addressed the topic of music several times. His theological understanding of liturgical music and its application to the pipe organ together with its repertoire is the focus of this dissertation. The first two chapters deal with Ratzinger’s theological writings on the liturgy and sacred music as well as their significance for the pipe organ. Several themes emerge in his writings. These reveal Ratzinger’s understanding of the liturgy and are identified as characteristics of true liturgical music. Though he rarely speaks directly about the organ, these characteristics, namely, cosmos, logos, mystery, and history can be connected with both the instrument and its repertoire. In chapters three through five, select pieces from the masterworks of the Catholic organ tradition, Frescobaldi’s Fiori Musicali, Tournemire’s L’Orgue Mystique, and Langlais’ Livre Oecumenique, are analyzed and interpreted in light of Ratzinger’s theology. The organ has also been used as an accompanimental instrument and for improvisation in the liturgy. This is considered in chapters six and seven. In chapter eight, attention is given to the pipe organ itself, and the instrument is found to be a symbol of the same theological concepts Ratzinger associates with the liturgy. The last chapter provides a summary and indicates the implications of Ratzinger’s theology for the liturgical role of the pipe organ today. This comprehensive examination of Ratzinger’s theology of liturgical music and the pipe organ with its liturgical repertoire, which includes written compositions, accompaniment, and improvisation, reveals the relationship between them. The organ itself embodies Ratzinger’s themes of cosmos, logos, mystery, and history and is therefore the ideal liturgical instrument, indeed, the king of musical instruments. Through analysis, certain musical characteristics are discovered that can be said to exemplify elements of liturgical theology. Ultimately, Ratzinger’s liturgical theology assigns value to the historic role of the organ in the liturgy and illuminates the worth and relevance of the Church’s treasury of sacred organ music.
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Class Voice Recital featuring the students of Stephen Bomgardner, Beverly Mosby and Martha Sullivan, December 10, 1991 School of Music, Boston University (School of Music, Boston University, 1991-12-10)