Religious nostalgia
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28-06-2011, 04:36 AM
RE: Religious nostalgia
(28-06-2011 04:07 AM)The_observer Wrote:  I still like to listen to Bach while almost all his music is religiously inspired...

Then again: I also never thought of Star Wars being a bad movie because it's fiction...

thanks... point taken! That's why I continue to sing this stuff....
Bach was actually employed by the church. That was his day job. That's why so much of his music is religious.... Richard Dawkins makes a great point about that in the God Delusion. Centuries ago, the church was a major employer of musicians and artists; wouldn't it be nice if they had been able to use their talents for other things? We could have had the "Evolution Symphony" instead of the "Messiah".

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28-06-2011, 04:44 AM
RE: Religious nostalgia
Well...
there is symphony of science but that's no comparison to the classical masterpieces in music Wink (although the more I listen to "ode to the brain" the better I like it and I silently sing along Smile)

Oh, Fluffy...
maybe this article might interest you...

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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28-06-2011, 05:27 AM
RE: Religious nostalgia
(28-06-2011 04:44 AM)The_observer Wrote:  Oh, Fluffy...
maybe this article might interest you...

thanks, I bookmarked it. Will read it tonight (no time now, I'm working night shift and almost doneBig Grin)

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29-06-2011, 04:11 AM
RE: Religious nostalgia
(28-06-2011 05:27 AM)Fluffy Wrote:  
(28-06-2011 04:44 AM)The_observer Wrote:  Oh, Fluffy...
maybe this article might interest you...

thanks, I bookmarked it. Will read it tonight (no time now, I'm working night shift and almost doneBig Grin)

Great article. Main point:
"It was our 18th-century forebears who, wiser than us in this regard, early on in the period which led to “the death of God” began to consider what human beings would miss out on once religion faded away. They recognised that religion was not just a matter of belief, but that it sat upon a welter of concerns that touched on architecture, art, nature, marriage, death, ritual, time...". Very true!
Not sure I agree with all of it, though. While I appreciate art, landscape gardening and architecture (and of course, music), I have seen one too many cathedrals in my life already. Every guided tour of every old city we have ever traveled to includes cathedrals. I no longer experience awe - I just want out! Enough already!
And while I like the idea of feast days (holidays), and secularized rites of passage, like weddings and funerals, I don't see any need for revered figures (secularised saints) and atheistic churches and temples. For what purpose?
I can accept that participation in church is part of my history and move on. I think maybe singing religious music is prolonging closure. But it's hard to avoid christianity in classical music, and I guess that's just a choice I have to make. If it gets too onorous, I can always find a different choir next year. And probably sorting my mother's music collection recently has reopened old wounds and a lot of emotion. I appreciate this community as a place to vent. Most others just don't get it.Huh

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29-06-2011, 08:11 AM
RE: Religious nostalgia
(28-06-2011 03:09 AM)Fluffy Wrote:  I have yet to meet another musician who understands what it's like to sing Mozart's Requiem Mass as an atheist.... such glorious music with meaningless words. I have reconsidered several times recently whether I should continue with my present choir or whether I'm just torturing myself and prolonging my frustration by singing this stuff.... I could probably find another community choir that sings more fun stuff with less religious content. At our last concert we sang Poulenc's Stabat Mater.... if that's not familiar, google the title "Stabat Mater" for a translation. It's a 12th or 13th century poem supposedly of the lamentations of Mary watching Jesus on the cross, sung in Latin. Ugh!
But then is there a community choir anywhere that doesn't sing anything religious? Is it possible to escape religion anywhere in the musical community? It's pretty pervasive.

I understand this well. I never believed in god, that doesn't mean I wasn't raised around christianity. The only fun thing in church was the singing parts where I could at least do something besides sit. Later on, when joining actual non-church choirs it was always upsetting that the music centered around religion, but at the same time some of it is just so beautiful. You can check out a few ideas in your area. In my area we have a men's gay chorus and a women's one. I'm looking into joining that chorus where the goal is to spread equality for the LGBT community. Even if some of the songs might be religious there's an overall goal in mind.

I would suggest you look at choir as activism. Plenty of people do and you can find a choir with a real goal out there. That way if you start to be bogged down by some of the words in a few songs you can still take comfort in the fact that you're singing for a cause.

Don't give up singing in choir just because it can be offensive. I did when my last director forced me into the star tenor role, and wouldn't treat me as a woman (no idea why cause it's pretty obvious). I've missed it so much since that happened.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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29-06-2011, 03:23 PM
RE: Religious nostalgia
(29-06-2011 08:11 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  Don't give up singing in choir just because it can be offensive. I did when my last director forced me into the star tenor role, and wouldn't treat me as a woman (no idea why cause it's pretty obvious). I've missed it so much since that happened.

thanks.... you seem to understand. I've thought about this.... we do have a Rainbow choir in the city, the director is really good (my daughter had him as a high school teacher) but it's not an auditioned choir. I have never been to a concert and I think I'm going to put that on my "to do" list for this year. I bet I would really enjoy it. The choir I sing in is auditioned and semi-professional, we do concerts with the symphony, so I would hate to give that up, I think I would miss it. The only other really good choirs in my city also do a lot of religious works, some even more.
The irony is that the music I sing is stuff that I would never pay to hear. I do it because for me the fun is in learning challenging music.
For this year, I think my best compromise is to stay with the choir I'm in, and then attend concerts of some of the other stuff that's more fun to listen to. If and when I come across something that appeals to me to more than what I'm doing now, then I will switch choirs.
Decided... I feel better already!

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02-07-2011, 05:44 PM
RE: Religious nostalgia
I miss the blissful ignorance of it all, it was like a dream.

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17-07-2011, 02:10 PM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2011 02:52 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Religious nostalgia
(27-06-2011 06:27 AM)Fluffy Wrote:  does anyone else out there ever feel nostalgic about the cultural elements of the religion they have left behind? and if so, I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you deal with this.
I was raised in the Anglican church (like Episcopal), but my family wasn't openly religious, it was more a cultural thing... I can trace my family tree back several hundred years in England. In my parents' house, a bible was a book you looked for if you needed a homework answer or a crossword clue, but my mother was a musician who played the organ and sang in the church choir. So for me, church was all about the glorious music - the sound of the organ, the 4 part harmony, the christmas carols....
I never really bought into the religion or believed that any of the bible was literally true, and left the church altogether in the early 1990's when my beliefs started to conflict more and more with dogma over issues like gay rights, ordination of women, abortion, etc. Then I started reading, and you know what happened next... I became full-out atheist. I haven't set foot in a church now in almost 20 years; I've been "out" to my family for about 15 or more, and "out" to my friends for at least 10 or 12 years. The more I learn about religion, the more I oppose everything it stands for.
BUT... I still love that old church music, the familiar hymns, the memories of my mother playing the piano and me standing beside her as a child singing along. I sing in a semiprofessional choir that performs masterworks by classical composers (Mozart's Requiem Mass, Vivaldi's Gloria, and the like). I have piles of CD's of christmas music and I sing along to all of them.
Recently I sorted out and disposed of all my mother's music collection.... she is in a nursing home now and I have no use for it. In addition to piano music of popular songs going back more and 100 years, there were piles of church music. I donated most of it to antique and used book stores, just wanting to find it a good home. I should have burnt the religious stuff, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. And it was painful dealing with all those memories of Mom and disposing of her belongings. But it was cathartic to finally deal with it all. Looking at a lot of that music, I realize how cheezy the lyrics are....
I don't miss the religion at all, but there is something very nostalgic about childhood memories and culture. I'm glad I got out of the church while my kids were still really young - they won't have this emotional baggage. Anyone have any comments or suggestions?


(17-07-2011 02:10 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(27-06-2011 06:27 AM)Fluffy Wrote:  does anyone else out there ever feel nostalgic about the cultural elements of the religion they have left behind? and if so, I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you deal with this.
I was raised in the Anglican church (like Episcopal), but my family wasn't openly religious, it was more a cultural thing... I can trace my family tree back several hundred years in England. In my parents' house, a bible was a book you looked for if you needed a homework answer or a crossword clue, but my mother was a musician who played the organ and sang in the church choir. So for me, church was all about the glorious music - the sound of the organ, the 4 part harmony, the christmas carols....
I never really bought into the religion or believed that any of the bible was literally true, and left the church altogether in the early 1990's when my beliefs started to conflict more and more with dogma over issues like gay rights, ordination of women, abortion, etc. Then I started reading, and you know what happened next... I became full-out atheist. I haven't set foot in a church now in almost 20 years; I've been "out" to my family for about 15 or more, and "out" to my friends for at least 10 or 12 years. The more I learn about religion, the more I oppose everything it stands for.
BUT... I still love that old church music, the familiar hymns, the memories of my mother playing the piano and me standing beside her as a child singing along. I sing in a semiprofessional choir that performs masterworks by classical composers (Mozart's Requiem Mass, Vivaldi's Gloria, and the like). I have piles of CD's of christmas music and I sing along to all of them.
Recently I sorted out and disposed of all my mother's music collection.... she is in a nursing home now and I have no use for it. In addition to piano music of popular songs going back more and 100 years, there were piles of church music. I donated most of it to antique and used book stores, just wanting to find it a good home. I should have burnt the religious stuff, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. And it was painful dealing with all those memories of Mom and disposing of her belongings. But it was cathartic to finally deal with it all. Looking at a lot of that music, I realize how cheezy the lyrics are....
I don't miss the religion at all, but there is something very nostalgic about childhood memories and culture. I'm glad I got out of the church while my kids were still really young - they won't have this emotional baggage. Anyone have any comments or suggestions?

From an atheist who sings the Mozart requiem :
I know EXACTLY where you are coming from. But I have TWO traditions I love. I was raised in an Episcopal Cathedral, with one of the best music programs in the country, AND my parent's best friend was a PhD musician Catholic priest who taught me the piano, organ and a love for Gregorian chant. When I heard the Anglican Chant at the recent royal wedding, and them singing the Ubi Charitas in Latin, I thought it was HIGH IRONY. I don't buy any of the literal religious stuff, but find the cultural stuff very fun and enriching. I say EMBRACE it. Don't give it up. You can learn to "filter" and "translate" the literal/religious stuff into mythological and cultural voices inside your head. We have SO much fun singing the Mozart Requiem, along with almost all the classical/English/Latin repitoire. (Ironic you are MORE likely to hear the Latin Durufle Requiem in an Episcopal church these days than in a RC one. Our favorite prank, (and half our practices is "fooling around", because so many of our Choral Society members are fantastic pro level singers), is when in the Dies Irae, it says : "Rex traemendae majestatis(sp?) etc", we belt out "Sex traemendae", and laugh for 10 minutes. There is nothing more beautiful than BOTH Gregorian chant, and Anglican chant. Who cares? Why give it up. (It's endorphin releasing however you view it). I get the idea you think of your cultural heritage as a "guilty pleasure". Don't. It's beauty. It's fine. I'm never going to "leave it behind". Take the best, and run with it. The Cathedral we are housed in is easy on me as the Dean says "the only thing we agree on here is that church is at 10:30", which he knows I NEVER attend any more. But I do help with the homeless meal they serve, so he accepts me as I am. Many of my choral society members are Jewish and from other traditions. All we care about is making great music. I suggest you keep one connection to the cultural past. That will probably suffice to keep you connected to the past, and trip out the nostalgia. You don't need to go back to grabbing the whole thing again, a little will go a long way.
(17-07-2011 02:10 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(27-06-2011 06:27 AM)Fluffy Wrote:  does anyone else out there ever feel nostalgic about the cultural elements of the religion they have left behind? and if so, I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you deal with this.
I was raised in the Anglican church (like Episcopal), but my family wasn't openly religious, it was more a cultural thing... I can trace my family tree back several hundred years in England. In my parents' house, a bible was a book you looked for if you needed a homework answer or a crossword clue, but my mother was a musician who played the organ and sang in the church choir. So for me, church was all about the glorious music - the sound of the organ, the 4 part harmony, the christmas carols....
I never really bought into the religion or believed that any of the bible was literally true, and left the church altogether in the early 1990's when my beliefs started to conflict more and more with dogma over issues like gay rights, ordination of women, abortion, etc. Then I started reading, and you know what happened next... I became full-out atheist. I haven't set foot in a church now in almost 20 years; I've been "out" to my family for about 15 or more, and "out" to my friends for at least 10 or 12 years. The more I learn about religion, the more I oppose everything it stands for.
BUT... I still love that old church music, the familiar hymns, the memories of my mother playing the piano and me standing beside her as a child singing along. I sing in a semiprofessional choir that performs masterworks by classical composers (Mozart's Requiem Mass, Vivaldi's Gloria, and the like). I have piles of CD's of christmas music and I sing along to all of them.
Recently I sorted out and disposed of all my mother's music collection.... she is in a nursing home now and I have no use for it. In addition to piano music of popular songs going back more and 100 years, there were piles of church music. I donated most of it to antique and used book stores, just wanting to find it a good home. I should have burnt the religious stuff, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. And it was painful dealing with all those memories of Mom and disposing of her belongings. But it was cathartic to finally deal with it all. Looking at a lot of that music, I realize how cheezy the lyrics are....
I don't miss the religion at all, but there is something very nostalgic about childhood memories and culture. I'm glad I got out of the church while my kids were still really young - they won't have this emotional baggage. Anyone have any comments or suggestions?


(17-07-2011 02:10 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(27-06-2011 06:27 AM)Fluffy Wrote:  does anyone else out there ever feel nostalgic about the cultural elements of the religion they have left behind? and if so, I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you deal with this.
I was raised in the Anglican church (like Episcopal), but my family wasn't openly religious, it was more a cultural thing... I can trace my family tree back several hundred years in England. In my parents' house, a bible was a book you looked for if you needed a homework answer or a crossword clue, but my mother was a musician who played the organ and sang in the church choir. So for me, church was all about the glorious music - the sound of the organ, the 4 part harmony, the christmas carols....
I never really bought into the religion or believed that any of the bible was literally true, and left the church altogether in the early 1990's when my beliefs started to conflict more and more with dogma over issues like gay rights, ordination of women, abortion, etc. Then I started reading, and you know what happened next... I became full-out atheist. I haven't set foot in a church now in almost 20 years; I've been "out" to my family for about 15 or more, and "out" to my friends for at least 10 or 12 years. The more I learn about religion, the more I oppose everything it stands for.
BUT... I still love that old church music, the familiar hymns, the memories of my mother playing the piano and me standing beside her as a child singing along. I sing in a semiprofessional choir that performs masterworks by classical composers (Mozart's Requiem Mass, Vivaldi's Gloria, and the like). I have piles of CD's of christmas music and I sing along to all of them.
Recently I sorted out and disposed of all my mother's music collection.... she is in a nursing home now and I have no use for it. In addition to piano music of popular songs going back more and 100 years, there were piles of church music. I donated most of it to antique and used book stores, just wanting to find it a good home. I should have burnt the religious stuff, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. And it was painful dealing with all those memories of Mom and disposing of her belongings. But it was cathartic to finally deal with it all. Looking at a lot of that music, I realize how cheezy the lyrics are....
I don't miss the religion at all, but there is something very nostalgic about childhood memories and culture. I'm glad I got out of the church while my kids were still really young - they won't have this emotional baggage. Anyone have any comments or suggestions?

From an atheist who sings the Mozart requiem :
I know EXACTLY where you are coming from. But I have TWO traditions I love. I was raised in an Episcopal Cathedral, with one of the best music programs in the country, AND my parent's best friend was a PhD musician Catholic priest who taught me the piano, organ and a love for Gregorian chant. When I heard the Anglican Chant at the recent royal wedding, and them singing the Ubi Charitas in Latin, I thought it was HIGH IRONY. I don't buy any of the literal religious stuff, but find the cultural stuff very fun and enriching. I say EMBRACE it. Don't give it up. You can learn to "filter" and "translate" the literal/religious stuff into mythological and cultural voices inside your head. We have SO much fun singing the Mozart Requiem, along with almost all the classical/English/Latin repitoire. (Ironic you are MORE likely to hear the Latin Durufle Requiem in an Episcopal church these days than in a RC one. Our favorite prank, (and half our practices is "fooling around", because so many of our Choral Society members are fantastic pro level singers), is when in the Dies Irae, it says : "Rex traemendae majestatis(sp?) etc", we belt out "Sex traemendae", and laugh for 10 minutes. There is nothing more beautiful than BOTH Gregorian chant, and Anglican chant. Who cares? Why give it up. (It's endorphin releasing however you view it). I get the idea you think of your cultural heritage as a "guilty pleasure". Don't. It's beauty. It's fine. I'm never going to "leave it behind". Take the best, and run with it. The Cathedral we are housed in is easy on me as the Dean says "the only thing we agree on here is that church is at 10:30", which he knows I NEVER attend any more. But I do help with the homeless meal they serve, so he accepts me as I am. Many of my choral society members are Jewish and from other traditions. All we care about is making great music. I suggest you keep one connection to the cultural past. That will probably suffice to keep you connected to the past, and trip out the nostalgia. You don't need to go back to grabbing the whole thing again, a little will go a long way.

Addendum
Have you ever thought about why Mozart resonates in our brains ? It's VERY mathematical. That's what classical harmony is all about...the physics of sound and the math of harmony. It's all about mathematical intervals, (thirds, fifths etc etc). In poetic terms it's "The music of the spheres". There are many ways to look at/experience it besides the words, (beautiful as the Latin is). Classical Western music, which was developed for church use is NOT any less valid somehow just becasue you chose to move away from it's literal original use.

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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