Изображения страниц

method the original form of presentation exerted. I felt that the freedom of treatment lectures allow, and the direct and personal style they demand, would give me a wider field of illustration and application than a more formal and academical treatment afforded, would be more in harmony with a practical discussion of the subject, and would be more likely to be convincing and effective.

If any one shall be impressed that there is an excessive repetition of ideas in some cases, or with the patent obviousness or utter commonplaceness in others, let me aggravate the offense by acknowledging that in both particulars it was deliberate! One man's commonplaces are the novelties and inspirations of another. I remember too well the short period in my own early intellectual development when I found Martin Tupper helpful and stimulating, to underrate the value of platitudes. The Christian workers, clerical and lay, whom I hope to help most, need both the obvious detail and the iteration.

If I shall be charged with excessive temerity in discussing mooted questions of taste and method, and with undue dogmatism in the expression of conclusions regarding them antagonistic to those generally prevalent, I shall not be careful to defend myself. If thirty years of active service in practically every relation to the music of the church service, and under the most varied conditions, give me no right to speak with authority, I have no other credentials to offer.

The rather earnest and reiterated opposition to the point of view and the conceptions of final purpose accepted as self-evident by musicians and clergymen of generous and thorough musical and literary culture and of fine discrimination and noble ideals, here and abroad, is not due to any inherent difference of personal taste,


but to a difference of conviction as to the right of that cultivated taste to exclusive consideration. I have too high an admiration for the genuinely cultivated and sincerely conscientious apostles of high literary and musical standards, have profited too much personally from their creative and critical work, and have too profound a realization of the value to the church of their emphasis upon the claims of the artistic, even when that emphasis is excessive and impracticable, that I should depreciate their work or question their sincerity. Their goal is mine as well; only I am rowing on the other side of the boat!

If there is an occasional gleam of indignation or glow of heat in what I have written, their objects have been the speakers and writers of shallow culture and limited knowledge who, without really understanding them, put on the views of the masters as they might don their mantles, because they think them authoritative and “ in good form," and mechanically repeat them with an affectation of superior taste they have neither the ability nor the opportunity to cultivate. One finds in private conversation, in public addresses, in periodicals and even in books a good deal of discussion on church music that is well characterized by Dr. Curwen as “the gush of amateurism." Its chief value usually is the opportunity it affords for cultivating the grace of patience. Perhaps the most exasperating characteristic of much of this discussion is its lack of genuineness. What Kobbe says of admirers of Bach may be applied to the partisans of artistic church music: “ It seems to me that the extreme Bach enthusiasts can be divided into two classes--musicians who are able to appreciate what he did for music on its technical side, and persons who want to create

[ocr errors]

the impression that they know more than they really do." Irritating as this musical cant is, I trust that my zeal for securing the highest spiritual results from the service of song in the churches has not hurried me beyond the limits of fraternal courtesy or Christian charity.

I am debtor to too many books on church music for historical illustration and practical suggestion to give the catalogue of them here. It is but just that I mention my obligation to my brother, the Rev. D. E. Lorenz, Ph.D., D. D., of the Church of the Good Shepherd, New York City, for helpful criticism. Kindly mention should also be made of Mr. Charles Stebbins of Dayton, Ohio, without whose suggestions the discussion of the pipe organ would have had much less practical value.

If this study will assist in crystallizing the musical ideals of church workers into practical forms, and lead to a more genuine, more varied, and more effective use of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," not to mention "stringed instruments and organs," I shall have been well repaid for the time and thought spent upon it.

EDMUND S. LORENZ. Dayton, Ohio.

February 1, 1909.


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »