This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Church Preaches The Music Of Beethoven

Church Preaches The Music Of Beethoven - Comments

DarwinsChihuahua's Avatar Comment 1 by DarwinsChihuahua

I'll see your Church of Beethoven and raise you:


Sat, 15 Nov 2008 10:52:00 UTC | #270748

Zachary Sloss's Avatar Comment 2 by Zachary Sloss

I might start a Church of Wagner.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 11:21:00 UTC | #270761

pulsar1z's Avatar Comment 3 by pulsar1z

What a great idea. I'd go as long as they don't thank God for the church

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 11:28:00 UTC | #270766

Anwyl's Avatar Comment 4 by Anwyl

Glorious Ludwig Van!

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 11:31:00 UTC | #270768

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 5 by Dr Doctor

Beethoven, now there is a composer worth worshipping.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 11:54:00 UTC | #270777

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 6 by Stafford Gordon

What about a church of the Duke of Ellington.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 12:12:00 UTC | #270784

j.mills's Avatar Comment 7 by j.mills

Well, that all sounds very nice. But I am allergic to the word "spirituality". If they'd just call it an Arts Morning...

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 12:13:00 UTC | #270785

D'Arcy's Avatar Comment 8 by D'Arcy

I believe it was Toscanini who said of Beethoven's last works the string quartets:

"written by a deaf man, to be listened to by a deaf man".

Toscanini was well wrong. Now they are "spiritual". Amen.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 12:14:00 UTC | #270786

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 9 by Border Collie

I'm in 'church' every minute I'm on the Internet listening to either Classic FM in London or WRR in Dallas ...

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 12:23:00 UTC | #270794

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 10 by KRKBAB

Put me down for "The Church of Instrumental Frank Zappa" please.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 13:03:00 UTC | #270825

beeline's Avatar Comment 11 by beeline

Very nice idea - what we've always needed is a regular meeting where we can marvel at 'stuff' and not have to be poked around by religious folk. Once you have that, then you have a community, and then the need for religious services will wane.

Mind you,

Wurman adds that, unlike Bach, Beethoven didn't write that much church music. In fact, he rarely, if ever, went to church.

I'm not convinced this is a reason for passing Bach over as a selection. He knew which side his bread was buttered, and certainly wrote spectacularly beautiful music. The church was set up to provide his instrument - the venue, the singers and the instrumentalists - so he would have been stupid to turn down their considerable patronage, even if he wasn't religious (which he certainly appears to have been, although you never can tell).

The church was a bit like his synthesizer manufacturer: they provided the 'technology' to make his notes sound out, and he fed that giant machine his MIDI signals, in the form of sheet music and arm-waving. It doesn't matter who provides the instrument, really.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 13:35:00 UTC | #270845

ggab7768's Avatar Comment 12 by ggab7768

That is a "movement' I could get behind.
Big fan of the B-guy.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 13:44:00 UTC | #270855

MelM's Avatar Comment 13 by MelM

Sorry, my post here was intended for the "SC priest: No communion for Obama supporters" article. I've moved it there.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 14:40:00 UTC | #270889

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 14 by Cartomancer

Some sort of Gospel of Beethoven? Roll over and tell Tchaikovsky the Good News?

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:30:00 UTC | #270905

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Zara

If Vangelis isn't elevated to Sainthood within my lifetime, I will really start to doubt the judgement of the Catholic Church.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:31:00 UTC | #270906

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 16 by Laurie Fraser

Comment #284582 by KRKBAB

I live in that church, KRKBAB! Try these for size (one size fits all):

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:37:00 UTC | #270909

Chris Davis's Avatar Comment 17 by Chris Davis

How interesting that this should come up now. I've been thinking a lot about Beethoven's Ninth recently.

Schiller's 'Ode to Joy' is actually as ridiculous a piece of God-bothering as you'll ever hear from a street bible-thumper drunk on his own hyperventilation. It starts off well enough with some rather redundant stuff about nice things being nice, but then drops - a propos nothing at all - into a load of guff about a lieber Vater wohning beyond the Sternenzelt. Well, no he doesn't, actually!

But put all this balls into the mouths of a really good choir, backed up by a really good orchestra, and the result is an emotional nuke.

I'm about as rabid an atheist as I know - about eight on the scale. But when I hear the 4th Movement of the Ninth done well, water comes out my eyes, nose and ears, and I lose the ability to breathe.

What chance has reality and rationality against such stuff?


Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:43:00 UTC | #270912

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 18 by Laurie Fraser

Chris - I'm exactly the same. You've only got to bring Brahms' German Requiem within cooee of me and I'm a blubbering baby. But, big deal - I'm not crying for "Gawd" - as any rational human understands, music is just about the most powerful emotional stimulus there is (especially as you get older).

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:48:00 UTC | #270915

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 19 by NewEnglandBob

I await the Church of Mozart. His music is more devine.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:52:00 UTC | #270918

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 20 by Laurie Fraser

Comment #284678 by NewEnglandBob

You might have added, NEB, "...than just about everything but Bach."

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:53:00 UTC | #270920

D'Arcy's Avatar Comment 21 by D'Arcy

Steve Zara says:

If Vangelis isn't elevated to Sainthood within my lifetime, I will really start to doubt the judgement of the Catholic Church.

John McEnroe said:
You cannot be serious!

Frank Zappa and Vangelis? And I thought of you lot as highbrows. Get serious, try Mike Bloomfield, or Mississippi John Hurt. They will bring you down to Earth. As for Beethoven, he will take you to the top of Mount Olympus to marvel at the view before bad weather intervenes and he takes you down again and up again 2 minutes later when the clouds have cleared, and then Zeus gets angry.......

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:56:00 UTC | #270921

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 22 by Laurie Fraser

D'Arcy - I'm shattered! Zappa is as close to the divine as you'd like to get. (Just between you and me, though - I agree about Vangelis;) )

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 15:59:00 UTC | #270922

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 23 by phil rimmer

Beethoven does it for me. From my childhood infatuation with Leonora No.3 to the Razumovsky Quartets of later years. I must, however, say I learned more of religion from Zappa (well about Catholic girls at least). In truth the list of Gods is huge and growing.

I've always despised the religion versus science divide. It is crass and simple minded in the extreme. No, the true divide is religion versus art, fellowship, literature, music, politics, science, theatre, culture etc. Without religion our spiritual nourishment lacks nothing.

EDIT I think it was my turn for the Zappa gag....

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 16:07:00 UTC | #270926

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 24 by Laurie Fraser

I've always despised the religion versus science divide. It is crass and simple minded in the extreme. No, the true divide is religion versus art, fellowship, literature, music, politics, science, theatre, culture etc.

Beautifully put, Phil.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 16:17:00 UTC | #270931

Baron Scarpia's Avatar Comment 25 by Baron Scarpia

Beethoven - my favourite composer. Not very original, I know, but hey.

Oddly enough my favourite Beethoven piece is the Agnus Dei from the Missa Solemnis, which might sound a bit odd coming from an atheist.

A Church of Beethoven sounds like something worth sacrificing my Sunday morning for. Plus, we have rather more evidence that Beethoven existed, so it's on a surer theological footing.

Oh, and a Church of Wagner is a terrible idea. The services would last for days.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 16:37:00 UTC | #270938

wndrwll84's Avatar Comment 26 by wndrwll84

What about a Church of Oasis? (St. Noel?)

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 17:00:00 UTC | #270945

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 27 by Steve Zara

Comment #284686 by phil rimmer

Sorry, but I just can't stand Beethoven.

For me, perfection is Sibelius.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 17:02:00 UTC | #270946

Sirion's Avatar Comment 28 by Sirion

I belong to the church of Haydn. This church of Beethoven is an affront to the TRUE god of music, and can sadly only end in bloodshed.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 17:12:00 UTC | #270948

j.mills's Avatar Comment 29 by j.mills

Steve, I'll be first in the door at your Church of Vangelis (and where would Sagan's Cosmos be without the hairy Greek?) - but if D'Arcy wants to warm us up with a bit of Mississippi John Hurt first, I won't object. If we're going to have some classical, I'll take Glass and Bruckner's 8th.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 17:14:00 UTC | #270950

GordonWillis's Avatar Comment 30 by GordonWillis

My choir is performing Beethoven's Mass in C at the end of the month. We've been living with it for over a year now, and it gets better every rehearsal. It's an extraordinary experience. It makes the text irrelevant (probably - it's my guess - why Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy, who commissioned it, didn't like it). Just something really human and generous. Someone who knows pain but doesn't wallow in it. I'm not imagining it, everyone says the same. I get the same with some of his sonatas and string quartets. Not even Bach gets there.

Sat, 15 Nov 2008 17:17:00 UTC | #270951