On hearing Sir James Macmillan’s “A European Requiem”

Posted August 7, 2017 9:54 pm by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

On hearing Sir James Macmillan’s “A European Requiem”

Would that I were in London and able to attend the Proms.  I would have very much enjoyed hearing the premiere of Catholic composer Sir James Macmillan’s A European Requiem.  I’ve just finished watching the BBC archived broadcast.  Whew.
If you want more on Macmillan and this piece, may I direct you to Damien Thompson (a darn good music critic, if you ask me) who wrote about it at The Spectator?  I can quite easily believe that the nattering radio commentators didn’t have clue.  Damien called the new piece “gloriously subversive”.   Surely he is right.  This “Requiem” is for Europe, and Europe’s Western Civilization.
Damian found the right word: lament.  What it sings and sounds indeed brings on the pensivehead.  It seems to be too late for Europe.  Whatever else might be over there across the herring pond, in a few decades Europe, as described by, for example, Joseph Ratzinger, may be no more.
Damian points out the irony of the new composition’s juxtaposition with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (think unofficially canonized EU anthem).

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