Exsultet – The Church sings her faith


‘«The musical traditions of the Church represent a heritage of inestimable value which surpasses other artistic ex-pressions, especially considering that sacred music, together with words, is an essential and integral part of the Liturgy.» Following the declarations of the Vatican Council, it was felt that it would be appropriate to offer visitors to Meeting 1990 an unusual perspective on sacred music which was more subtle and indirect than actually listening to it. In fact, rather than playing music, we have decided to present it visually, using ancient parchments, hand-written manuscripts and printed music, the traditional means, both past and present, of recording and representing mus-ic. Alongside the beauty of sumptuously engraved medieval illuminated manuscripts and ornate books deco-rated with superb incisions, more fragile and often torn and ragged musical scripts are displayed. This juxtapo-sition is quite intentional, and is justified by our desire to clarify the progression of musical periods, styles, tastes and techniques, emphasizing the way in which the inspiration of the compilers and composers of this music, that of bearing witness to the Truth through the beauty of the art of sounds, has remained unique and unchanged over the centuries. The guidelines provided by the Vatican Council have made it possible to give the exhibition an organic and didactic structure. It is divided into three separate sec-tions. The first is dedicated to Gregorian chants, «the music which is characteristic of die Roman liturgy», and which the Council recommends should still occupy the leading role in religious services. The grates and pos-sibly most magnificent period of this form of plainsong is illustrated by manuscripts from the 6th to the 16th centuries (from Monza, Casorate Primo near Pavia, Ur-bania and Fano), together with faithful photographic reproductions of other rare documents which could not be put on display on this occasion. The second section presents an extraordinarily inte-resting repertoire of polyphonic music, and particular at-tention is given to Palestrina and De Victoria, with ex-tremely valuable printed editions from the 16th century. Modern polyphonic music has not, however, been excluded from the exhibition, and exhibits by several contemporary composers show that there are still musicians who are capable of continuing the great traditions of the past in a lively and effective fashion, even though modern musical forms are employed. The last section is devoted to music for the organ, «that musical instrument…… of which the sound can add a remarkable splendour to the ceremonies of the Church and can potently lift the soul towards God and the ce-lestial sphere». The organ music on display is mostly from the 18th century and comes mainly from the archives of the Veneranda Fabbrica at Milan Cathedral.’


25 Agosto 1990 - 09 Gennaio 1990


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions