Saturday, November 22, 2008
Vatican remembers the Beatles
Vatican remembers the Beatles
The Vatican on Friday praised the Beatles in a newspaper article that appeared to bury the hatchet on John Lennnon's infamous 'more famous than Jesus' remark.
Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said Lennon's comment, which sparked outrage in the mid-1960s, ''today just sounds like a quip from an English working-class lad struggling to cope with unexpected success after growing up with the Elvis myth''.
In the article, marking the 40th anniversary of the famous White Album, Vatican music critics said ''snobs'' might dismiss the Fab Four but ''the talent of Lennon and the other Beatles gave us some of the best pages in modern pop music''.
The critics said: ''38 years after the band split up, the Lennon-McCartney songs have shown an extraordinary resistance to the effects of time, providing inspiration for several generations of pop musicians''.
Osservatore Romano made its peace with Elvis in July.
It recalled the the once-outlawed pelvis-twister as a ''nice, sensitive young man'' who was doomed by fame.
Lennon made his comment on March 4, 1966, to London's Evening Standard.''Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink... We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me''. (I doubt either rock n roll or Christianity will go the way of the hula hoop, unless their current stagnation becomes permanent.)
The response was immediate. Christians, especially in the American South, made huge pyres of Beatles albums and Protestant pastors threatened fans with excommunications - though the Vatican did not comment. Elvis fans had been threatened with excommunication by Protestant churches a decade earlier. (The American South has a long history of losing culture wars, starting with slavery, but I have to give them this, they don't give up. They just lose, as the Republican party has just learned with the crash and burn of their 'southern strategy".)
I can remember being caught up in Beatlemania, and I vividly recall this remark from John Lennon. My mother was not pleased, although she did not insist I burn my Beatle's 45's. I had none of their albums as albums were too expensive for my limited allowance. My side of the bedroom was a shrine to George Harrison, while my sister's side was a shrine to Paul McCartney. John Lennon was a little too outspoken for his own shrine in a good Catholic household.
The second movie I ever saw in a theatre, was a Hard Day's Night. My mother took my sister and I as a special treat. Plus she wanted to get a better idea of what this insanity was all about. She laughed her ass off and later became a big fan of Monte Python and weird British humor in general. She was changed by Beatlemania.
My dad loved 'Hey Jude' and Paul McCartney's wistful voice when he sang "Mother Mary come to me, speaking words of wisdom. Let it be." For my dad, it was a prayer, not a song and he would frequently play "Let it be" on his state of the art souped up stereo. That is, when we weren't being endlessly subjected to Franky Yankovich and his polkas. Dad was not approving of Franky's son 'Wierd Al', appalled in fact, but he absolutely fell in love with the Moody Blues and Simon and Garfunkle. He too, was changed by Beatlemania.
I remember with fondness my daughter sitting on grandpa's lap as he rocked her to sleep while listening to 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters', on the no longer state of the art souped up stereo. The stereo may have been outdated, but the grandfatherly love wasn't. Generations bonding through music, that's not outdated either. So let the 'snobs' dismiss the fab four, the Vatican is right, the Fab four did give us some of the best pages in 'rock n roll', and it still sounds great, and it still bridges gaps.
Perhaps this is one time the right and left can agree on something. "Let it be."
I was just reading about music and here is a quote from Beethoven.
‘When I open my eyes I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion, and I must despise the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. ... Well I know that God is nearer to me than to other artists; I associate with Him without fear; I have always recognized and understood Him and have no fear for my music - it can meet no evil fate. Those who understand it must be freed by it from all the miseries which the others drag about with themselves. ... Music, verily, is the mediator between intellectual and sensuous life. ... Speak to Goethe about me; tell him to hear my symphonies and he will say that I am right in saying that music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. ... We do not know what knowledge brings us. ... Every real creation of art is independent, more powerful than the artist himself and returns to the divine through its manifestation. It is one with man only in this, that it bears testimony to the mediation of the divine in him.’ - L.V.Beethoven
Speaking of music, Franny, I listen to Space Odyssey all the time. I was actually thinking of you when I wrote this piece.ReplyDelete
I made my daughter listen to it yesterday and she loved it too. Like me, she can't get over how Windows Vista visually portrays your music. Talk about synchronistic.
I still can't believe LVB wrote Ode to Joy after he went deaf. He must have been in direct contact with God. Michael flat validates this point by the way:
"Speak to Goethe about me; tell him to hear my symphonies and he will say that I am right in saying that music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."
I think this is perfectly proven by the fact our brains can track multiple instruments in a symphonic orchestra, but can't track two conversations at the same time. (Unless you're autistic) It seems the right hemisphere functions in color, but the left in black and white. So to speak.
"I made my daughter listen to it yesterday and she loved it too. Like me, she can't get over how Windows Vista visually portrays your music. Talk about synchronistic." I don't have Windows Vista, so I can't see what you're seeing and I wish I could.ReplyDelete
I have to "make" my husband and son listen to my music too! My husband is awestruck when he does listen. So am I. It is a mystical process and it is not coming from the self, but as Beethoven says here "more powerful than the artist himself."
The Space Odyssey literally takes one somewhere else in the universe. How refreshing that God allows us to go with Him in our journey here of discovering Him. Yet, "music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend..."
I am thrilled that both you and your daughter "loved it! " It really makes me happy! I'm crying tears of joy. Did you forward to Bill or Carl so they know what we are talking about?
I wish I knew how to create a MP3 link here so others could hear too. Eventually I may have a website with samples and to maybe sell CD's of my music. For now I am just thrilled to be composing, a process that has been going on for years at the piano, but now with the computer really gives me more tools that were not available before. I am grateful for the technology that exists now. Even the score is written down in the computer. If Beethoven had this technology he probably would have composed more music.
I have always found it fascinating that Beethoven composed from the third symphony on when he was deaf. He has inspired me throughout my life, to not be a defeatist, never give up, never despair. His 9th symphony is that Joy of not being in despair and I believe that Joy returned to God in that piece of music. "I know that God is nearer to me than to other artists" reveals his close relationship with God even as he was deaf. The phrase "all things are possible with God" comes to mind and "it bears testimony to the mediation of the divine in him."