A posting over at Beggars All made me think a bit about music. I LOVE music. I have since I was a little child. I even used to love to listen my mom's album of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing hymns (I especially like his "Onward Christian Soliders"). But I realize that people who love music love all different kinds.
Me? I despise rock (sorry, Juhl!), I despise Jazz. I'd rather have silence than have to listen to either of those. I dislike country, but I do enjoy some real blue grass music. But my all time favorite music is Russian chant. Not the REAL stuff - the Znamenny chant. The stuff they produced in the Romantic era: Rachmaninov, Gretchaninoff. My first exposure to it was singing a series of Russian pieces at Concordia Bronxville with Gerry Coleman, and my favorite was the Ave Maria from the Rachmaninov All Night Vigil. That led me to purchase a recording of the whole vigil and to this day I still think it is the most sublime music ever composed.
But the music of Schuetz gives it a run for the money. Again, a huge thanks to Gerry Coleman for exposing us to some of Schuetz in college. It led me to exploring more of his music and I got to really love the peace of that music - so different from the "driven" music of today.
Bach I love too - but for the totally bad reason that he's a blast to sing. A Bach bassline is just fun. Think of "Break forth" and you've got the idea.
So, in sum: I love music that is primarily, if not exclusively, vocal. Music that is purely instrumental mostly makes me yawn. But the human voice and what it does in choir - well, that's MUSIC to my ear. Don't give me wild and crazy music (you can keep Stravinsky and his dove descending!); give me music that speaks the calm of heaven itself down deep to the soul. "Hail, O Virgin Mother, Bearer of God, Holy Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, Mother of God, for thou hast brought forth the Savior who redeemed our souls, who redeemed our souls." THAT is music to my ears and in more ways than one.