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Thread: Non-christian religious classical music?

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    Senior Member lupinix's Avatar
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    Default Non-christian religious classical music?

    As european classical music stems from a christian tradition, most spiritual classical pieces are christian. I know Cage's way of writing music is influenced on Zen buddhism (though I don't like his music or at least not yet), but I know but few other example of a classical composer (I believe Ton de Leeuw but not sure?) making religious music which isn't classical.

    I'd like to know if there's more religious classical music, or maybe even masslike/ritual, which is for other religions like islam or hinduism, or maybe paganism/shamanism things like that

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    Senior Member MJongo's Avatar
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    The closest thing I can think of is an album called Hosianna Mantra by Popol Vuh, though it probably isn't what you are looking for:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZUD1...64657ECC9D522F

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    Senior Member lupinix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJongo View Post
    The closest thing I can think of is an album called Hosianna Mantra by Popol Vuh, though it probably isn't what you are looking for:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZUD1...64657ECC9D522F
    not really but thanks anyway I'm gonna listen to it ^^

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    Gregory Brown's Missa Charles Darwin is written in the style/form of a Catholic mass using texts on evolution. There are excerpts on YouTube.

    I am not familiar with much non-Christian sacred music but that seems like an interesting area to explore; there certainly is a lot out there.

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    Senior Member ahammel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    Gregory Brown's Missa Charles Darwin is written in the style/form of a Catholic mass using texts on evolution. There are excerpts on YouTube.
    Charlie did not exactly write prose that begs to be set to music.

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    Senior Member ahammel's Avatar
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    Delius's Mass of Life is a setting of Neitzsche's writings.

    Wagner considered the life of the Buddah as the subject of an opera.

    Glass' Akhnaten is about ancient Egyptian religion.

    EDIT: oh yes, and there's Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, of course.
    Last edited by ahammel; Jan-17-2014 at 05:42.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahammel View Post
    Wagner considered the life of the Buddah as the subject of an opera.
    And Jonathan Harvey wrote an opera based on Wagner considering writing that opera....

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    Senior Member ahammel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    And Jonathan Harvey wrote an opera based on Wagner considering writing that opera....
    An opera about almost writing an opera? Sounds extremely dull.

    There are, of course, many composers who chose to express themselves using the forms and words of Christian worship without being orthodox believers themselves (Brahms, Fauré, Verdi, Vaughan Williams, Rachmaninoff(?)) You may or may not wish to count those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahammel View Post
    An opera about almost writing an opera? Sounds extremely dull.
    Well, it's not just that...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Dream

    Quote Originally Posted by ahammel
    There are, of course, many composers who chose to express themselves using the forms and words of Christian worship without being orthodox believers themselves (Brahms, Fauré, Verdi, Vaughan Williams, Rachmaninoff(?)) You may or may not wish to count those.
    Mahler too, in the 8th. Mahler believed in God, but his concept of God was not orthodox at all. He once said told someone who asked why he hadn't written a Mass that he couldn't, in good faith, set the Credo.

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    If we expand the subject a bit towards mythology or philosophy, there are more examples.

    Nørgård´s percussion piece "I Ching" is based on the ancient Chinese book of wisdom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching
    It also exists in a spectacular version as a percussion concerto, Gert Mortensen´s recording being recommended.

    The Gilgamesh Myth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh has been the subject of several pieces, including an opera by Nørgård and the vocal work by Martinu.

    Scelsi has a lot of esoteric titles, such as the Maya-myth inspired Uaxuctum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GZgbt9sTcY

    Villa-Lobos wrote the Uirapuru ballet inspired by Amazon folk tales http://www.ravenousbirds.com/eolson/...illalobos.html
    Last edited by joen_cph; Jan-17-2014 at 09:02.

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Jonathan Harvey, as noted above, references all sorts of religion in his works. There's lots of Buddhism, but there's also some Hinduism (and obviously there is some cross-pollination between Hindu and Buddhism) and a guitar piece called Sufi - alongside Christianity.

    You can probably DYOR on Judaism in western classical music ;-)

    I think it might be more "local colour" than religious music per se, but Silvestre Revueltas's Night of the Mayans is a thing that exists - maybe look into latin american music a bit?
    Last edited by dgee; Jan-17-2014 at 09:58.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Toshiro Mayuzumi ( 黛 敏郎 ) ~ Nirvana-Symphony
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYbkf2w3neY

    Darius Milhaud ~ Service Sacré op.279
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bros9j5yhgo

    Leonard Bernstein ~ Symphony No. 3 "Kaddish"

    Maurice Ravel ~ Deux Mélodies hébraïques (one is a Kaddish)

    If you consider them holy rather than cultural artifact (and there is that latter regard by westerners on much outside its own sphere), then works like Alberto Ginastera's Cantata para América Mágica for soprano and large percussion ensemble, using pre-colimbian texts then gets included. [[ADD the musical idiom is 'western' and contemporary, the composer's own vs. any attempt at recreating or imitating the 'ethnic' Ancient American musics.]]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2Hy0lK9lqE
    Last edited by PetrB; Jan-17-2014 at 11:48.

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    Well, for some reason we have totally forgotten the world of Nordic mythology, probably because of it being (in the main) extint;

    the most monumental efforts to revive its world were probably those of Jon Leifs ("Edda", http://www.musicweb-international.co...issacd1350.htm, "Baldr" etc.)

    Geirr Tveitt also worked with the Baldr myth, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geirr_Tveitt.

    The Kalevala myth https://www.google.dk/#q=kalevala is mostly known from the Sibelius pieces, but Uuno Klami has also made a spectacular orchestral suite from it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uuno_Klami ,

    and Veljo Tormis has worked with choral works http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veljo_Tormis, such as http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...n-of-kalevala/
    Last edited by joen_cph; Jan-17-2014 at 14:22.

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    Senior Member lupinix's Avatar
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    Thank you all! Many great and interesting suggestions already (:

    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    If we expand the subject a bit towards mythology or philosophy, there are more examples.
    Ah yes why not, anything related to religion/spirituality would be nice

    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    If you consider them holy rather than cultural artifact (and there is that latter regard by westerners on much outside its own sphere),
    not sure what "holy rather than cultural artifact" means, I don't care very much about the word art though, and I think evenly of non western culture as western culture (although "holy" sounds as if it is even more special?)

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    Senior Member lupinix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    Well, for some reason we have totally forgotten the theme of Nordic Mythology;

    the most monumental efforts were probably those of Jon Leifs ("Edda", http://www.musicweb-international.co...issacd1350.htm, "Baldr" etc.)

    Geirr Tveitt also worked with the Baldr myth, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geirr_Tveitt.

    The Kalevala myth https://www.google.dk/#q=kalevala is mostly known from the Sibelius pieces, but Uuno Klami has also made a spectacular orchestral suite from it etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uuno_Klami , and Veljo Tormis has worked with choral works from it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veljo_Tormis, such as http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...n-of-kalevala/
    funny, I just thought of thay myself while reading "If we expand the subject a bit towards mythology or philosophy", thank you!

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