Noble spiritual music

Spiritual music of Christians of Western
and Central Europe

Christianity , whose central legend described in the New Testament is the work and teachings of Jesus Christ , his crucifixion and resurrection , originated in the Far East - Palestine. Earlier legends about the religious history of the nation of Israel, forming the content of the Old Testament , also come from the same area .
Let us briefly recall some basic historical facts about the development of Christianity .
  Under the influence of the apostles Peter and Paul, the Christian religion from the Far East reached Greece and Rome.. In the Roman Empire, Christianity was initially persecuted - it was the consolation of the oppressed and humiliated. During the first three centuries, however, Christianity spread unstoppably. It was attractive both in its message of overcoming death by resurrection, in its humanistic and progressive ideas, and in its moral code. The idea of equality for all people was truly revolutionary at the time! Christianity has ceased to be persecuted since 311, when Emperor Constantine issued an edict of tolerance. The head of the Christian church became the bishop of Rome (the original word episcop = overseer ), later called the pope ( papa = father ), the saint his father - he considered himself the "infallible" successor of St. Peter ....
  Emperor Constantine, who embraced the Christian faith, had a new capital, Constantinople , built in the eastern Greek part of the Roman Empire - in the Byzantine Empire .(Constantinople, today it is Istanbul, Turkey), which at that time became the largest and most cultural city in the world (apart from the then unknown cities in Europe in China). Over the next decades and centuries, the divisions between the two centers - Rome and Constantinople - deepened. As a result, the Roman Empire and the Christian Church gradually split both linguistically and geographically - into Latin-speaking Rome in the west and Greek-speaking Constantinople in the east. The real causes of the controversy were undoubtedly powerful, but the pretext was some belief disputes about the nature of the Holy Trinity ("filioque" - the Holy Spirit comes not only from God the Father but also from the Son), or the worship of holy images (iconoclasm - iconoclasm, versus iconography - painting and worship of holy images).
  A serious rift occurred in 1054, when the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated each other. This rift was definitively sealed by the barbaric invasion of Constantinople by crusader troops in 1204, during which papal "Christians" treated Orthodox Christians much worse than Muslim enemies. Since then, the Roman Catholic Church in the west and the Orthodox Church in the East have separated and developed independently. Name Orthodox or Orthodox ( Orthodoxia : Gr. Ortho = correct, true, doxa = learning, opinion, belief) stems from the fact that the Eastern Church sought to keep the traditional beliefs based on the Gospels and did not accept some of the additions and changes promoted by the Church of Rome, including the institution of the Pope. The violent penetration of Islam, which culminated in the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, led to the collapse of the Byzantine Empire; the focus of Orthodox Christianity has shifted to the Slavic countries of Eastern Europe .....

When the rulers realized that the Christian religion could be used as a means of controlling the masses for "voluntary" devotional service to the ruling class, Christianity became the state religion for almost 1,000 years throughout Europe, and the Catholic Church gradually took over the ideological patronage of feudal domination . This was accompanied by the riots and distortions of the Christian faith, the decline of the morals of the high Catholic clergy, greed, dogmatism , intolerance and cruel crimes against free-thinking people.
  Criticism of the situation in the church by reformers such as J. Viklef, J. Hus, J. Kalvín, M. Luther, resulted in the emergence of Protestant( evangelical ) churches, which separated from the Catholic.
  However, the real rectification of the situation in the Catholic Church could begin only after the fall of feudalism , when the Church gradually lost its privileged position. This helped to inspire the Church and return to some of the original values - "My kingdom is not of this world," Jesus said. The Second Vatican Council in 1962-65, convened by the enlightened Pope John 23, advanced the furthest in this direction. At this council, progressive tendencies to overcome dogmatism, "opening to the world" (" aggiornamento ") and ecumenism were enforced .
Note:  The development of the Catholic Church in the South was somewhat different( Latin ) America . After the first barbaric wave of conquest , coupled with the looting and brutal extermination of the Native American population ("evangelization by fire and sword"), progressively more enlightened missionaries came, adhering more to the true (humanistic) Christian message and seeking to uplift the poor and impoverished indigenous peoples and cultures. materially , they fought against huge social inequality and injustice, they founded mission stations ... Later, the theology of liberation was created , people's priests worked herein the spirit of the true message of Jesus Christ. The considerable distance from Rome meant that in earlier times these movements were not liquidated at the outset (as was the case in Europe) and could gain considerable influence and expansion; Finally, the official Catholic Church (despite the intrigues of wealthy South American circles) was forced to acknowledge the movement's merits and canonize, for example,
Oscar Arnulf Romero , the progressive archbishop of San Salvador , who was assassinated by right-wing circles in 1980 during Mass.

Enlightened brothers were brought to our lands by the enlightened brothers, the prophets Cyril ( Constantine ) and Methodius of Thessaloniki, Byzantine-Greece, during their famous mission in 863 to the Great Moravian Empire. These Eastern heralds did not come with a "fire and sword," spreading violence, misery, and suffering (as missionaries from the West often did), but with an education and culture humbly passed on to their disciples and the people of the Slavic lands.
  Even before that, priests from the west , especially from Bavaria, sporadically penetrated us . However, most of them were not so much about spreading the true Christian faith as it was about subjugating powerour countries under the influence of the German emperors (evangelization with "fire and sword"). Prince Rastislav was acutely aware of this danger and asked the Byzantine Empire (with a message sent to the Byzantine Emperor Michael III) to send Christian preachers and bishops to evangelize the people of the Great Moravian Empire in their Slavic language and in the spirit of true Christian faith, without lateral power-political intentions. The Byzantine emperor complied and entrusted this task to the educated and enlightened brothers Cyril and Methodius, who, in addition to their other excellent abilities, knew the Slavic language well. Cyril, who was a very erudite philologist, created (based on the Greek alphabet) a new alphabet for the needs of Slavic languages ??( Glagolitic , Cyrillic ), which very well reflected the pronunciation used in Slavic languages.
  The mission of Cyril and Methodius was very successful . After the death of Methodius in 885 (Cyril no longer lived at that time) , when his successor became an educated and enlightened Gorazd, power forces from Germany and Rome decided to use the situation to destroy the results of the Cyril and Methodius mission and establish their dominion . They used the infamous treacherous bishop of Wiching in Nitra, whose ambition was to obtain the archbishop's throne. He used intrigues to overthrow Gorazd and, with the help of German soldiers , imprison all the disciples and followers of Cyril and Methodius , cruelly torture them, and finally expel them from the country.. Some of them then worked in the countries of South-Eastern Europe (eg St. Clement in Bulgaria), where they were highly valued due to their education and decisively contributed to the evangelization of these countries. Thanks to these violence, our countries eventually came under the influence of the Western Catholic Church .
  The Slavic (Old Slavic) language was then used only sporadically in the liturgy. It was, for example, in the Sázava Monastery founded by the enlightened abbot St. Procopius in the 1930s. and then during the time of Charles IV in the Emmaus Monastery in Slovany. However, it never lasted long - in the end, the intolerance of the Catholic Church prevailed and the Slavic monks were expelled. However, the admirable work of Cyril and Methodius was not forgotten, lived in Slavic hearts (in our country it was again vividly remembered during the National Revival). This led in 1880 to their recognition and canonization by the Catholic Church; in 1981 they were (together with St. Benedict) declared "co-patrons of Europe".

Despite the mischief and darkness of the Middle Ages, there were many truly believing priests, monks, and artists in the Church who encouraged and realized outstanding works of art in architecture, sculpture, painting, and later in music. Christianity has thus become the most significant source of inspiration for artistic creation over almost the past 1,000 years.

Main directions of West Christian music :

Gregorian chant -
is the basic and oldest initial vocal musical style of West Christian spirituality, emerging in the first centuries of Christianity. It is the monophonic liturgical and spiritual singing of the Latin Church. It evolved from the monophonic religious songs of monks in early Christian monasteries. Its origins go back to Hellenic traditions and old songs in synagogues. He brought these songs from the Eastern Churches at the end of the 4th century. to the Western Church by Bishop Ambrož of Milan ("Ambrozian Chant"). Later, due to Rome's contacts with the Frankish Empire, some elements of Galician religious singing practiced in France were incorporated into this liturgical chant. The reform of the liturgy, including the chorale, was carried out around 600 under Pope Gregory the Great, after whom the chorale is named to this day.
  The basis of the Gregorian chant is sung recitation of the liturgical text - recitative , alternating chorus refrémem, called antiphon ; the sung of the psalms is called psalmonia . The Gregorian chant was performed especially in monastic communities, often under the leadership of a group of specially trained Gregorian chant singers, called schola .
  During the 17th-19th century. the original form of the Gregorian chant fell partially into oblivion. The renaissance of the original Gregorian chant occurred again at the end of the 19th century. in French Benedictine monasteries and thanks to musicologists and many avid fans and singers continues to this day.
In our country, the Gregorian chant is cultivated in an excellent way, especially by the ensemble
Schola Gregoriana Pragensis with artistic director David Eben.

Liturgies - Masses -
are a set to music form of the Catholic Mass Ordinary . These are more extensive vocal-instrumental compositions that originally capture and accompany the course of the Christian liturgy . Later, however, a number of masses intended for concert performances were composed, without a direct link to the church and liturgy. It usually consists of the following typical parts :
Kyrie Eleison - God have mercy
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Glory to God on high)
Credo in unum Deum (I believe in one God - a creed)
Sanctus ...., Benedictus .... Ofertorium
Agnus Dei ... dona nobis pacem (The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, give us peace.)
  The musical accompaniment sometimes consists of an organ, but more often a symphony orchestra (or at least some instruments from this orchestra). The text is sung mostly in Latin or Italian, but sometimes in other languages as well - in Czech.

Motet -
are shorter spiritual vocal-instrumental compositions singing God, Jesus Christ, Mary, apostles or other saints of the Christian faith. As with masses, most of the motets are Latin, but composers (sometimes folk) for the local churches also composed motets in the national languages, in our country on Czech texts.

Oratorios -
extensive vocal-instrumental compositions for soloists, choir and orchestra, or organ, mostly on religious topics
(originally oratorio = prayer room ) , but not directly liturgical in nature. Musically, oratorios resemble operas. The only difference between an opera and an oratorio is whether the text is secular or ancient or biblical. However, the way of interpreting music and singing is similar - concertant , emphasizing the musical side.

Musical instruments

An important specific musical instrument in Western Christian spiritual music is the organ (Latin organum , English organ ), providing a powerful and majestic sound, amplifying the spiritual message and evoking images of the supernatural and grandeur of God. The organ is the most complex and perfect musical instrument ever.
The first smaller and simpler organs began to appear in churches and monasteries as early as the 6th-7th centuries, and gradually developed and improved, especially during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. ..................
The organ consists of three basic parts :
1. Source of compressed air. It used to be leather bellows that were compressed by hand via a gear lever, now motor-driven compressors are now used.
2. Resonant whistles in which the air flow causes a standing sound wave with a frequency dependent on the length of the whistle. ..........
3. A keyboard by means of which valves compressed air is released into individual pipes.
  In addition to the whistle system itself, the acoustic environment is an integral part of the resulting sound expression of the organ , in which the organ is installed. Most often it is more or less large areas of the temple, or. larger concert hall. The characteristic sound of the organ is completed by reverberation, the length of which *) depends on the size of the church or concert hall and on the structure of the walls and its decoration and equipment. The duration of the reverberation ranges from approx. 8 sec. (in the temple ... in Toledo), until very short times of less than one second.

*) The reverberation length is the time during which the intensity of sound (acoustic pressure) decreases by -60dB of the original value after the interruption of its source (the intensity of sound decreases approximately according to the exponential dependence). If the length of the room is greater than about 17 meters, then the sound reflection time (whose speed in the air is about 340m / s.) Will be greater than 0.1sec.
[(17m ´ 2) / (340m / s.) = 0,1sec.], So human hearing already distinguishes this reflection from the primary sound - we hear an echo.   
Symphonic musical instruments 
In addition to the organ, instruments commonly used in symphonic music (secular) also find application in Christian sacred music. On the one hand, they are wind instruments - .............
- add
............ string instruments .......... keyboard instruments - harpsichord, piano, ......., percussion ...........

Sound library :

Liturgy and motet:
Jan Dismas Zelenka: Missa in D
(+ responsoria for Passion Week)
Jan Dismas Zelenka: Missa sanctissimae trinitatis
Jakub Jan Fish: Czech Christmas Mass ("Hey Master ...")
Antonín Dvořák: Missa in D Major
Antonín Dvořák : Te Deum
František Ignác Tůma: Missa C dur
Leoš Janáček: Glagolská mše
Ludwig van Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major
Miloš Bok: Missa solemnis
Givanni Pirluigi da Palestrina: Missa Hodie Christus natus ast Stabat Mater
Cherubini: Messa Solenne in Sol maggiore per l CoInronization of Louis XVIII.
Starring: The London Philharmonic Chorus, Dir .: Ricardo Muti
Musica Antiqua Citolibensis
(Jan Blažej Kopřiva, .....
Gregorian Chant:
De Angelis
- Gregorian Vespers and Mass of St. Guardian Angels Sings: Schola Gregorianska vys. seminar of Fr. Pauline Krakow, Dir .: MarianMachura
- Gregorian Mass, oficium and matutinum for the dead Sings: Schola of the Doninicans Krakow
Passions - Gregorian chant with Easter motifs Singing: Schola Gregoriana Pragensis, Dir .: David Eben
St. Gallen
- liturgical songs from the medieval monastery of St.Gallen Sings: Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Dir .: Dominique Vellard ................. ............ ......-to be completed

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