Muzică / Music
Rubrica / Box: nr. 1 Articole - Studii / Articles - Studies
Autor / Author:
Autor / Author:
Prof.univ. Dr. hab.
Rzeszów University, Department of Music
music, liturgy, evengelization, inculturation, Ariel Ramirez, Osvaldo Golijov, Paco Peña
Throughout the history of Church the idea of inculturation was realized in such a way that Christianity gradually rooted itself in the cultures of evangelized communities, drawing at the same time on the wealth of these cultures and adopting those of their elements which were in keeping with the Gospel. The term “inculturation” was first employed by John Paul II in his encyclicals and it was later used by Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation for Devine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The notion was thoroughly discussed and explained in great detail. The key concept here was that of “liturgically appropriate music” which conformed to the liturgical law. At the same time, nowadays, inculturation is much broader in its scope and includes markedly different musical phenomena such as: simple songs composed for use during mass religious events and professional compositions complicated in terms of both texture and executive apparatus. The beginnings of inculturation in art music date back to the 1950s when Father Guido Haazen composed his Missa Luba by combining the texts of Latin ordo missae with melodies and rhythms of Congo where he worked as a missionary. Ariel Ramirez, Luis Enrique Bacalov and Osvaldo Golijov used the folklore of Argentina, Brazil and other countries of Latin America in their compositions. In his flamenco Mass Paco Peña drew from traditional music of Andalusia. Finally, Sofia Gubaidulina, Wolfgang Rihm, Tan Dun and Osvaldo Golijov were commissioned to write Passion pieces as part of “Passion 2000” project. Gubajdulina’s contribution was St John Passion which alludes to the Orthodox Church ceremony. It is worth noting, however, that the Orthodox Church does not have the tradition of using musical instruments during Mass or performing Passion as any theatrical elements which employ direct representations are considered secondary compared with the personal experience of sacrum. Wolfgang Rhim chose to include a text by Paul Celan in his contribution Deus Passus – St Luke Passion. Celan’s verses helped the composer raise human suffering to the level of God’s suffering. Hunan born and New York-based Tan Dun wrote Water Passion after St Matthew. In adopting water as a universal symbol of humanity, the composer fused the original Bach elements with traditional oriental music thus creating a complicated study of sound. Osvaldo Golijov placed his work in the specific context of Latin American Catholicism with its complicated political references. A visual representation of this piece evokes Brazilian Passion performances originating from folk traditions. These attempts of contemporary composers who draw from “ethnic” music can be interpreted as coinciding with local churches activity towards inculturation.
The idea of inculturation may be derived from the missionary imperative of Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (…), teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28, 19-20). Throughout the history of Church this idea was realized in such a way that Christianity gradually rooted itself in the cultures of evangelized communities, drawing at the same time on the wealth of these cultures and adopting those of their elements which were in keeping with the Gospel.
St. John Paul II was the first to use the term “inculturation” in his Slavorum Apostoli encyclical. According to him inculturation denotes “incarnation of the Gospel in native cultures and also the introduction of these cultures into the life of the Church”. In another of his encyclicals, Redemptoris mission, one may find a broader definition: “Inculturation means the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through their integration in Christianity and the insertion of Christianity in the various human cultures (…) Through inculturation the Church makes the Gospel incarnate in different cultures and at the same time introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into her own community”.
Thus inculturation includes two distinct fields of activity: incorporating the Gospel into various cultures and introducing peoples with their cultures to the community of Church. The issues addressed in the encyclicals were subsequently examined and explained by the Congregation for Devine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in its fourth Instruction The Roman Liturgy and Inculturation dated 25 January 1994. The document establishes “the norms for the adaptation of the liturgy to the temperament and conditions of different peoples”. Previously the missionary activity of the Church concentrated on incorporating the Gospel into various peoples. The Instruction, however, emphasizes the second dimension – the ways in which to introduce local cultural traditions to the liturgy.
The document indicates those elements of culture which may be subjected to inculturation: language (preaching the Gospel in the language of the people), music, especially singing (enriching the liturgy, facilitating its reception as compared to texts which are read), and nonverbal forms of expression (postures and gestures such as clapping or rhythmical movements of the body, which accompany singing and dancing).
Nonetheless, it is difficult to determine precisely the impact inculturation has on music for there exist markedly different musical phenomena such as: simple songs composed for use during mass religious events and professional compositions complicated in terms of both texture and executive apparatus. The former often draw from such music genres as pop, rock, techno or hip-hop. All of these belong to largely secular and highly commercialized mass culture. Frequently the aesthetic context of the genres together with their involvement in subcultures become the cause of considerable reservations and fear. On the other hand, despite their positive role in the shaping of religious conduct of the youth, religious or evangelizing songs lay themselves open to the charge that they are banal or even kitsch.
Thus, the present article focuses on high culture music phenomena. The aforementioned Instruction of 25 January 1994 enumerates the three qualities of inculturation properly understood: conformity to the true and authentic spirit of liturgy, the dignity of church, the spiritual good of the congregation. Liturgical prayer should constitute an oasis of liturgically appropriate music. As Cardinal Ratzinger himself put it, the Church’s musical expression ought to be of artistic value and at the same time it needs to conform to liturgical law. According to Ratzinger, “The program of inculturation only then makes sense if no injustice is done to a culture when, due to the universal human disposition toward the truth, it is opened up and further developed by a new cultural power. It would follow too that whatever in culture excludes such opening and exchange marks what is deficient in the culture, for exclusion of the other goes against man’s nature”.
Ratzinger is right to insist that we need “the courage of asceticism” and “the courage to contradict” when faced with attempts to import musical forms unsuitable for divine worship into liturgy. Both types of courage are necessary to oppose the tendencies to make the liturgy “attractive” at any cost. It is especially relevant to Holy Masses for youth and children during which the norms governing liturgical music are trivialized in the name of short-term pastoral benefits. Such activity diverges considerably from the Church’s teaching.
In 1954 father Guido Haazen began his missionary work in what was then the Belgian Congo. After five years of observing local music customs, he composed a piece entitled Missa Luba. It was based on vocal and instrumental improvisations on traditional song forms which the composer came across while offering Mass. The piece is a fusion of Congolese melodies and rhythms with Latin ordinarium (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei). This five-part composition was intended for a solo voice (tenor in the original version later substituted for the contralto), a mixed choir, three African drums – djembe, ngoma and congas as well as the sakasaka (a kind of hollowed, grooved instrument made of a carapace or shell played by scraping across the grooves). The percussion instruments create an intense, rhythmic ostinato which accompanies melodies intoned by the solo voice as well as the choir voices. Father Guido Haazen applied both responsorial (in Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) and solo (in Gloria and Credo) textures. Instrumental parts are often improvised especially where they accompany the culmination of words.
In the process of Europeanization of native South American cultures and under the dominant influence of Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch conquerors on the language and traditional religious beliefs rhythms and melodies characteristic of Native Americans were pushed into the background. A long lasting practice of omitting local customs and traditions in conducting liturgy was stopped by the Second Vatican Council which in the year of 1963 allowed for the use of vernacular language in Holy Mass. Almost immediately, in 1964, Ariel Ramirez composed the very first non-Latin Mass in his mother tongue. By combining traditional liturgical elements with South American folklore, he created a stylistically consistent whole. However, each of the five parts of the Mass comprises different dance rhythms typical of Argentinian, Peruvian and Bolivian traditions. Ramirez’s more famous piece Missa criolla was composed in 1963 for two soprano voices, a mixed choir and an orchestra consisting of a grand piano, percussion instruments, flute, guitar, and bass guitar. The solo vocal parts are often transposed to male voices (tenor, baritone). The music of this Mass is based on Latin American folklore which was already adopted by art music. 1964 also heralded the première of Navidad Nuestra – a series of Christmas songs to texts by Felix Luna which present and explain the mystery of the Incarnation in an accessible way. Each of the six episodes was interspersed with the characteristic rhythm of Argentinian folk music. Both joy and peace lighten up this musical vision of the Lord’s Birth by means of tone colour.
Paco Peña, one of the most immediately recognizable flamenco musicians, composed his Mass in 1988 to order of Wratislavia Cantans festival. His Missa Flamenca was repeatedly performed in numerous countries the whole world over. The artist brought his Flamenco Company also to Wroclaw Cathedral where he began the concert with guitar improvisation and was subsequently joined by other members of the ensemble. A certain austerity could be heard in their guitar playing in both nostalgic and dynamic dance fragments. This introductory section of the piece invoked the atmosphere of Andalusia, the crib of flamenco, conveying at the same time the character of sacred musical composition. While he was working on his flamenco Mass, Paco Peña repeatedly conferred with the clergymen of Cordoba about a suitable musical equivalent for the text of liturgy. A nine-part composition draws from traditional flamenco forms which combine Muslim and Christian music influences.
The Mass, which was written for the Wroclaw Music Festival by Paco Peña, is not the only well-known example of a hybrid of ordinarium texts and flamenco music. Misa Flamenca composed by José Torregrosa from Alicante clearly derives from the Catalonian liturgy. This piece is based on cante grande traditional flamenco singing and refers to Gregorian chant.
Luis Enriquez Bacalov, an Argentinian composer living in Rome, also used a five-part ordinary of Mass in his Misa tango. However, unlike Father Haazen, Ramirez or Peña, who, apart from improvisation skills, did not confront soloists with any technical problems, Bacalov composed solo sections for two professionally trained voices – Ana María Martínez as mezzo-soprano and Plácido Domingo as tenor. Misa tango debuted in 2000. The soloists were accompanied by a bandoneón virtuoso Héctor Ulisses Passarella as well as the Roman St Cecilia National Academy Orchestra. In his Mass Bacalov follows the footsteps of other eminent composers: the choir entrance in Kyrie makes one think of Verdi, Gloria is considerably influenced by Bernstein, whereas Credo marked “tempo di milonga” and “candombe” which have roots in Argentina and Uruguay respectively, may be associated with Astora Piazzolli and his tango nuevo.
The year 2000 also marked the first performance of St Mark Passion written by Osvaldo Golijov who was commissioned to compose the piece as part of “Passion 2000” project by Helmuth Rilling. The founder of the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart invited four contemporary composers to write Passion pieces. Among the composers were Sofia Gubajdulina, Tan Dun, Wolfgang Rihm and Golijov. Gubajdulina’s contribution was St John Passion which alludes to the Orthodox Church ceremony. It is worth noting, however, that the Orthodox Church does not have the tradition of using musical instruments during Mass or performing Passion as any theatrical elements which employ direct representations are considered secondary compared with the personal experience of sacrum. Wolfgang Rhim chose to include a text by Paul Celan in his contribution Deus Passus – St Luke Passion. Celan’s verses helped the composer raise human suffering to the level of God’s suffering. Hunan born and New York-based Tan Dun also accepted Relling’s commission and wrote Water Passion after St Matthew. In adopting water as a universal symbol of humanity, the composer fused the original Bach elements with traditional oriental music thus creating a complicated study of sound. A descendant of emigrants from Eastern Europe Osvaldo Golijov was born in Argentinian La Plata. He placed his work in the specific context of Latin American Catholicism with its complicated political references. A visual representation of this piece (available on DVD) evokes Brazilian Passion performances originating from folk traditions. In a purely musical sense Golijov drew from Brazilian and Afro-Cuban folk as well as art music of the whole South America.
The aforementioned examples of musical inculturation require a brief comment. It should be noted that they belong to the sphere of “concert” music which can be performed independently of liturgy and not necessarily inside a church. Thus their affiliation with the sphere of sacrum remains symbolic. Similarly, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis or Penderecki’s St Luke Passion do not constitute the focal point for the contemporary observance. It is hard to imagine liturgy conducted with parts of the Holy Mass set by 18th century composers. The only two examples that spring to mind are Mozart’s Coronation Mass with liturgy conducted by St John Paul II in St Peter’s Basilica and Requiem combined with mourning liturgy conducted by the Archbishop of Vienna on December 5th 1991 to commemorate Mozart’s 200th death anniversary. Even though the pieces enumerated in this article were never combined with liturgy, they were performed inside as well as outside churches. These attempts of contemporary composers who draw from “ethnic” music can be interpreted as coinciding with local churches activity towards inculturation.
In his address to musicians on the occasion of the International Day of Music in 1985 John Paul II pointed out that “in liturgy, which is the highest moment in the life of Church, music constitutes the element of dignified worship, it is an expression of and aid to prayer, the sign of solemnity understood by everyone. Taking all this into account, without any discrimination against different techniques or styles, the music of liturgy is required to be authentic art always directed at the divinity of worship”.
 Cf. ks. Andrzej Zając, Inkulturacja w obszarze muzyki liturgicznej wobec wyzwań współczesnej pop-kultury. „Sanktuarium św. Andrzeja Boboli. Pismo poświęcone życiu chrześcijańskiemu”. Warszawa 2005.
 Liturgical dance is not solely typical of African or Native American communities. As a paraliturgical element it is also rooted in the tradition of the city of Seville where on the feast of Corpus Christi the congregation dances in front of the Holy Sacrament in the cathedral as established by the bull of Pope Eugene IV.
 Cf. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Christ, Faith, and the Challenge of Cultures. A speech delivered in Hong Kong to the presidents of the Asian bishops’ conferences and the chairmen of their doctrinal commissions during March 2-5 1993.
 Ratzinger, ibid.