Modelling Good Ensembles


One of my favorite concerts of 2005, indeed of my life, was seeing Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers performed last Fall.Two musicians to be emulated by anyone attempting to piece together a church ensemble. Or any kind of band, really: Claudio and Miles.

When I hear conservatory-trained organists lament guitars, I have to smile if such complaints are superimposed over listening to early Baroque or late Renaissance music. My wife, in fact, commented on the suitability of the modest organ in the Vespers concert. She often finds classical organists to be harsh and too flamboyant in their playing style.

The great Miles Davis provides more food for thought, especially in his cultivated use of silence and ensemble improvisation. Case in point: Kind of Blue. Church musicians could do well to study jazz and consider its implications for sacred music.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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