In these days of ‘cultural diversity” anything can be lumped together, dressed up, packaged, propagandized and sold to the ignorant.
If this accomplished in real time where millions of TV viewers witness the display of differing styles in only the 5 hours or so that the contestants in “So You Think You Can Dance” have to learn Bollywood, Russian, African, “Vietnamese” waltz, etc., then who is to say that Arabic and Western music cannot have a fortuitious synthesis in the crux of the Holy Land where these cultures meet?
In the first instance highly trained professionals don’t always succeed except superficially. And no one would presumably pretend that one can master the intricacies of Kathak, Flamenco, Kabuki or even ballet for those not steeped for many years in such traditions.
It takes incredible egotism to discount the time and effort one needs to master a style and an even worse hutzpah to cut and paste one’s own conceits to the tradition, calling it “enrichment“.
Anyone who thinks that Oriental music (that has different notes and scales not even playable on a Western keyboard) should be arranged by egotistical amateurs in 4 part harmonies doesn’t know Western or Eastern music. “Bastardization” would be a more appropriate term.
A propaganda campaign has been underway to promote the latest CD’s (Advent & Nativity) by the Magnificat Institute, Jerusalem (several wide eyed praise reviews on youtube with comments blocked by them) in particular, the genius “arrangements” of Arabic music by Armando Pierucci.
All I can say that if the Church opens up its portals to promote itself in the outside world, then it will have to take on the same critiques incumbent on everyone else in the planet. In previous articles it was demonstrated how doctrine is mixed in with lack of transparency, prestidigitation with facts and figures, expecting the public to believe everything the clergy does and says because a priori, they are holy, therefore would not deliberately mislead others in order to make a buck for themselves and rack up some cheap glory. *
However, there is in Scripture the injunction against “bad shepherds”. This goes all the way up to the Popes, who were human, fallible and whose deeds should not be whitewashed in any way up to and including Pius XII. In these days of the world cyber village, “one can run but not hide“.
Promotion of products, either a peacemaking music school with hardly any non-Christian students, or CD’s of an extremely mediocre scribbler that in the real world without the money, clout and propaganda machine of the Church, would be squeezed out by the free market. As per review, the actual performances strain credibility as to absence of correct pitch and diction. It’s as though, “no one will know the difference anyway. If we sing flat or unclean, people will think it’s Oriental”.
So it may be better to sit it out and just ignore the hype and blatant self-promotion over nothing, as consumers will choose the best buy for their money as from the multitude of fantastic professional choirs on CD’s. However, when the Western Church used to have Perotin, Josquin des Prez, Palestrina, Vivaldi, JS Bach etc., and now is promoting ungrammatical (according to tonal harmony) ear-splitting arrangements of Eastern music, it’s a real comedown.
* Mining the dictionary for superlatives is an unending quest for attention and fooling the public. No claim is too high or too outlandish. Now teaching a few kids do-re-mi is supposed to be “therapeutic” and lifting the spirit while opening the minds and hearts (aprire le menti e i cuori ed ha una funzione anche terapeutica nell’elevare gli animi.)
Padre Armando Pierucci e la scuola Magnificat continuano nella loro attività a Gerusalemme: un lavoro silenzioso, qualificato e capace di offrire serenità e una formazione musicale a tanti bambini e ragazzi.
This statement is really disingenuous considering all the mountains of self-generated hyperbole lavished on the school–“silent work” in “serenity”. Yeah, right, EVERYTHING they do is magnified at least 100x not to mention the number of students. “So many children” is only a small clique who stand to benefit from multiple scholarships and trips abroad.
The cart and pony act would not be complete without tear jerking.
“It is also stupendous when they sing together…it is difficult to hold back the tears.”
“E’ anche stupendo quando tutti…cantano tutti insieme… ed è difficile trattenere le lacrime.”
But the best is “we never had clashes from religious motives”.
“Tra noi non avvengono mai screzi dovuti a motivi religiosi.”
Scrolling below the article is a link to the newspaper Corriere della Sera where the above peacemaker (winner of various “peace prizes and Knighthood of the Italian Republic) was actually taken to task for nasty racial comments:
“CONTRO ISRAELE La disinformazione In riferimento all’articolo “Gli ebrei spariranno” bufera sui francescani” (Corriere, 11 dicembre) ed evitando insulti, attacchi personali, ironie, ritengo le parole del Direttore francescano Padre Armando Pierucci della rivista “Terra Santa” stampata a Gerusalemme, molto cattive ed offensive nei riguardi di Israele e del popolo ebraico. L’impressione e’ quella che sia ricominciata piu’ duramente la campagna di disinformazione contro Israele, la quale non potendo piu’ aggrapparsi alla presunta “bellicosita” israeliana, sfrutta argomenti di facile presa sull’opinione pubblica, nella maggioranza di fede cristiana. Ricordo a Padre Pierucci cosa disse il Papa nell’aprile del 1993: i sacerdoti quando predicano e “tutti coloro che esercitano il ministero della parola, con scritti, le pubblicazioni, le trasmissioni radiofoniche e televisive” non devono esprimere il loro punto di vista personale, la loro esperienza psicologica, non devono fare sfoggio di “esibizionismo” o peggio instaurare dei “dubbi” nei fedeli. Ritengo le parole di Padre Armando Pierucci ingiuste e non opporsi all’ingiustizia non e’ mai servito per far prevalere il bene.”
“Gli ebrei spariranno” means the “Jews will disappear” in reference to a comment made by Pierucci in the Franciscan magazine Terra Santa that he edited in 1997. The statement had to do with “unhappy is the nation who stands before a woman with a machinegun. These people will disappear”.
Reaction-formation is not a new concept. Shakespeare himself wrote about “protesting too much”. In order to conceal deep racism a person might go overboard in calling attention to himself making peace to the extent of attracting glory and prizes.
At face value the abnormality of it all should be apparent to sensible people. First of all, NORMAL music schools if they report activities or concerts do NOT CONSTANTLY say how wonderful they are. They just state the facts and LET OTHERS JUDGE. Not only are these concerts fantastic but people fall down on their knees and start weeping.
Second, the small number of students, less than 100 over the past few years on the whole, is not enough to make a big deal over. There are good music schools in Jerusalem with a far greater student body and incidentally with Jews and Arabs together who don’t have any “religious conflicts”. With all due respect, when racism is a non issue, making it one can only come from those obsessed with the subject.
Considering the above, one can only ask, what is the point of inflating the number of students, making outrageous claims as to the quality (pretty low compared to most other kids on youtube) and to its alleged (untrue) social value? Fame and money, what else?
This is SO indecent on many counts. First, there are REAL needs in the world. Money doesn’t have to be diverted to rich religious organizations in the Holy Land, moreover on false premises. Haiti, Chile, the Christians in Nigeria, not to mentioned the persecuted Church in North Korea, etc.
Quite frankly, such spoiled brats are enough to make any right minded person throw up, except if they stand to benefit from sucking up to the Church so they can benefit by the attention and money. UGH!!!!