Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tom Bennett's Tu Es PetruP

Here is Tom Bennett’s new Tu Es Petrus written especially for our 150th Anniversary.
I am afraid the background noise is the collection being taken.
I know that new music isn’t everyone’s preference but amongst those who love it, who were present on Monday night, it was very well received.
Tom is steeped in church music, he has sung in church choirs all his life and has been a choral scholar at Oxford University, where after graduation he still sings professionally, even so he would describe himself as an agnostic, who would want to believe.
He chose the text himself, because he knows it is of some significance to us Catholics. The music is a young man’s lectio divina on the word’s of Christ to Simon Peter. The composer seems to grasp the extraordinary significance of what these words imply, as Fr Tim Finigan said in his homily, there is a mistranslation in the English version of the Creed, we say [I believe] in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, he reminded us that in the Latin there is no “in”, we are actually called to believe the Church, not to believe “in” it. It strikes me that this is what Tom is meditating on in this music, is the terrifying implications of God’s words to Simon Peter. The dark chords, the dissonance, the rock hardness of the music, has was described by someone as “chilling”, it is, but then for so many people the struggle with belief is chilling.

This is a purely my subjective interpretation but it seems to me the words of Christ sung by the bass descend, literally come down on Peter, he, the soprano, take them up, the drill into his being, he and Christ sing together, the soprano resonates with Christ’s words, the words take root in the rock, and yet the voice of Christ hovers over the rock which seems to blossom and there uncertainty, human vulnerability.
There seem to be glancing references to Western and Eastern Christian musical traditions, as well perhaps Messiaen and even James MacMillan. There is discomfort here, unresolved questions.
What I don’t understand is the dove-like flight of the soprano and the end of the piece, it is obviously important, it ends but it doesn’t conclude the piece.

I don't think it would have worked in the Ordinary Form of Mass, in the Extraordinary Form, one can be a little more daring, even experimental and especially against the background of saccheriness of Schubert in G and the chant of the Propers, it was perfect.

thanks to our Choir Blog


Music Lover said...

I've listen several times, it is haunting.
When will it be sung again?
It is outstanding!

How fortunate you are to have him write for you. How wonderful that your celebrations should produce such fruit.

William Tighe said...

There is no "in" in the Latin version of the Creed, but there is one in the original Greek.

Physiocrat said...

Interesting how the EF mass gives more scope for originality.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...