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Music We'll Take; but Hold the Jesus*

by George A. Pieler and Jens F. Laurson

Does the First Amendment need protection from itself? A case from Washington State, although just rejected by the Supreme Court, suggests it might: Franz Biebl, a perfectly pleasant Bavarian composer, has been banned there, in Snohomish County. Worse, it was Biebl's most popular work, his setting of "Ave Maria," that was expelled from Henry "Scoop" Jackson High School...

...If anything with a religious text is [too much for administrators of any sort], then Handel Oratorios, Bach Passions, all the requiems (Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz, Brahms, Fauré,
et al.) are disallowed, along with excerpts therefrom, even in instrumental transcriptions. Bernstein's Mass and "Kaddish" symphony are out. Haydn's "Creation" would be slashed. Spirituals couldn't be performed, and lots of Motown would be banned. If we combed through every instance of music that includes a reference to God or has a hint of Jesus in it, Western music would be slashed to a pitiful trickle. Might someone even suggest the Goldberg Variations could be "too Jewish"? They certainly sound suspicious...

Read the full article at Inside Catholic CatholiCity.

* Or any other instance of possibly religious mentions.

1 comment:

fredösphere said...

Calm down. Problematic titles can be fixed with a little judicious editing. For example, a setting of O Magnum Mysterium could be renamed WTF?

Just now I'm looking through a list of Messiaen's works. . .instead of a title like Le banquet céleste we could have Supersize Me. Toss out Couleurs de la cité céleste and call it Sexe et la cité céleste. Who could possibly object?

Really, it's almost too easy.