Balthasar and the Religion of Music

Sander van Maas

in The Reinvention of Religious Music

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230570
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236695 | DOI:
Balthasar and the Religion of Music

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This chapter examines the connection and convergence between the religious music composition of Olivier Messiaen and the works and philosophy of Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. Messiaen considers von Balthasar a major influence. However, the music of Messiaen appears to fall beyond the theological schemes that it alleges to adhere to, and these theological schemes have the greatest difficulty in maintaining what they actually assert. An analysis of von Balthasar's philosophy indicates that he bases his musical theology on the notations of Gestalt and on the information of the total Idea in the arts, in the form of a flowing rhythm, evolving melody, and theatrical plot of development.

Keywords: Olivier Messiaen; Hans Urs von Balthasar; religious music; theological schemes; musical theology

Chapter.  12310 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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