Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Michelangelo

Michelangelo is one of the great historical figures of all time - a temperamental artist, a genius who got into street fights, a man who fought with Popes, quarried his own marble, and created enduring works of such beauty that mere words can't do them justice. His Pieta (at right) is among his most famous sculptures. Amazingly carved from one piece of marble, it depicts Mary holding the crucified body of Christ.

As a lover of all things Latin and Renaissance, I get goosebumps thinking about the ancient, artistic connections that join the Gospels, the Roman virtue of pietas (duty or devotion), and the artistry of Michelangelo. It brings to my mind musical phrases from various settings of Pie Jesu and Agnus Dei. That common heritage of a musical language is one of the joys of church music. Learn just one version of the Magnificat and you will never be at a loss for something to hum in praise of a warm spring day. Then church music has not only opened the door to the arts in general, but has become truly integrated into daily life.

I suggested the Magnificat, but what hymn or text would you proudly sing to celebrate life?


  1. I always have loved the hymn Jesus Christ has Risen Today as a song celebrating life. Interesting posts - I love reading your blog.

  2. For so many cultures in the world, starting and ending the day with a religious song (hymn) is considered "normal." My favorite morning song: He Has Done Marvelous Things; evening: Now the Day Is Over