Brubeck and the Church

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So you thought I was joking--lookee what I found. Utterly fascinating.


from "Jazz Goes Back to Church"
Fr. Michael Sherwin O.P.

Brubeck reached a turning point in his religious development when he accepted a commission from Our Sunday Visitor to compose a Mass. Brubeck did not want to undertake the project. Not being a Catholic, he did not feel qualified. Yet, as Brubeck explains, the paper’s editor, Ed Murray, would not take no for an answer. "For two years he bugged me. . . . I’d kick him away like a dog you don’t want nipping at your heels, but he kept coming back." Finally, Brubeck agreed but only conditionally. "I told Ed, ’I’ll write three pieces and I want you to find the best Catholic expert to look at them and say whether they’re alright.’" Murray chose Sr. Theophane Hytrek. It was an inspired choice. "She got together a group of musicians in Milwaukee. The message came back, ’tell Dave to continue and don’t change a note.’" So Brubeck continued. The final result, To Hope ! A Celebration (1979), is stunningly beautiful.

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I just listened to clips of this on iTunes. Very interesting -- I found it hard to make an assessment of the music based on thirty-second snips, but I definitely wished that I could hear more.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 28, 2007 9:08 AM.

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