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Sacred Music in Secular Society

7 August, 2014 0 Comments

Reviewed by Peter J Leithart, First Things, 8 July 2014.

Image: Amazon. copyright.

Sacred music is popular: Witness the sales of chant albums, the popularity of the Tallis Scholars, the Sixteen, and other groups.The question is why music composed for liturgy or with liturgical interests, music once used in liturgical contexts is still popular. Is something more than aesthetic going on?

Arnold thinks so. Regardless of the faith of the listener, or the composer, “the attraction of beautiful and profound harmony echoes the message and ministry of Christ by appealing to much the same desires deep in human souls. Those desires . . . still clearly exist whether an age is considered to be secular or Christian; the popularity of sacred music today presents the opportunity to invite people back to faith who may have confused it with organized, institutional religion.”

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