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Thread: classical music that was banned by christians as heretic?

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    Senior Member deprofundis's Avatar
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    Default classical music that was banned by christians as heretic?

    I know this is a naive question but, were some symphonies dub ''satan music'' because of heavy usage of tritone(the devil note).

    Did the Church (protestant) vatican(catholic) and the christian orthodox , banned symphonies or opera
    on these bases.

    I Wonder if during medieval era some classical composer were burn at the stakes and partitions destroy(burn) has satan work?

    Did sutch event actually occured in the past, what the story here, were some classical composer excommuniate ect...

    Perhaps my question have been ask a 100 millions time allready but i wanna know.

    Last edited by deprofundis; Feb-05-2015 at 16:39.

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    In the sixteenth century the Council of Trent did address what appropriate church music was (as examined in the little heard Opera "Palestrina"), and there were strictures on what music could be used liturgically. But I am not aware of any individual pieces actually being "banned" (as in the Church's old prescribed literature list). Martin Luther opened up the hymnal a little ("Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?"). Southern Baptists take a dim view of dancing. A lot of conservative Christians have a thing against Rock music. But in general the Church has little control over what is listened to outside its doors.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    In certain states from the beginning of the art form operas/oratorios had to have their libretti routinely run past the state censorship for approval - many were toned down or altered for fear of offending the church whether on religious, political or moral grounds. I guess this eased off as the 19th century wore on as governments were operating on more or less exclusively secular basis, but some countries were presumably more strict about its implementation than others.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    In certain states from the beginning of the art form operas/oratorios had to have their libretti routinely run past the state censorship for approval - many were toned down or altered for fear of offending the church whether on religious, political or moral grounds. I guess this eased off as the 19th century wore on as governments were operating on more or less exclusively secular basis, but some countries were presumably more strict about its implementation than others.
    Circa 1906, Salome failed to get the approval of the state for the Vienna Court Opera, despite Mahler's best attempts. Austria was a notoriously conservative country at the time, though.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Circa 1906, Salome failed to get the approval of the state for the Vienna Court Opera, despite Mahler's best attempts. Austria was a notoriously conservative country at the time, though.
    London did the same, I think.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Circa 1906, Salome failed to get the approval of the state for the Vienna Court Opera, despite Mahler's best attempts. Austria was a notoriously conservative country at the time, though.
    Side note post: I think it's interesting that Mahler advocated for Salome, but apparently really did not like Elektra. Do you have any idea why this could have been?

    I think the account of him wanting to walk out on its performance comes from Alma though, so maybe it's entirely bogus...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Circa 1906, Salome failed to get the approval of the state for the Vienna Court Opera, despite Mahler's best attempts. Austria was a notoriously conservative country at the time, though.
    Only at the time?:P

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    Quote Originally Posted by violadude View Post
    Side note post: I think it's interesting that Mahler advocated for Salome, but apparently really did not like Elektra. Do you have any idea why this could have been?

    I think the account of him wanting to walk out on its performance comes from Alma though, so maybe it's entirely bogus...
    That's an interesting question (and incidentally I was listening to a bit of Elektra as you wrote it!).

    Mahler had produced Strauss's earlier opera Feuersnot, and as you say, he was bowled over by Salome (except for the Dance of the Seven Veils, according to Alma), and tried to produce it at the Vienna Court Opera. He occasionally conducted other Strauss works, and had followed the composer's career with interest for a long time, seeing in him a fellow "progressive" and peer.

    But there was an aesthetic disparity between the two men that was unbridgeable. Strauss never did take to most of Mahler's works, finding their struggles anathema, while Mahler once said that "my time will come, when [Strauss's] has gone," and he only ever liked some of the music.

    La Grange indicates that Mahler may have preferred Salome because it's a more dramatically effective and concise work. It's possible that he was uncomfortable with the prolonged tonal ambiguities of passages such as Clytamnestra's dream sequence, but that's pure speculation. He had been supporting Schoenberg's music for several years at this point, and later put his faith in it even when, as he confessed to the younger composer, he was having a difficult time understanding it.

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    I seem to remember there being some restriction on religious themes in operas that stifled a performance of Samson And Delila in London as well, but unfortunately I can't remember the exact details. It didn't have to do with the music, it was a restriction on biblical stage performances, I believe.

    Polyphony was initially controversial in church music, in part because it obscured the words as well its uncomfortable chords, but that was deep in the Medieval era when the church held a more centralized position in society, and even then I believe was solely aimed at music for use in churches.

    In general, most censorship in the 18th and 19th century was due to extramusical content - stagings, librettos, etc. that were controversial. Certainly that by no means means that all works were accepted by the musical establishment, just that few ( to none? I can't think of any ) were censored based on musical content.

    The 20th century was the "golden age" of censorship based on musical content, much of it in the Soviet block and for non-supernatural reasons.

    Pope Pius X placed a restriction on certain wind instruments including the saxophone, but it was more of a taste issue than assuming they were innately diabolic.

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    I would not say banned but they wanted music to have Christian stories or bible stories so that music can be played.Bach made plenty of Christian music.Now music that was non Christian was banned of course back in the day.But later people just made great music without Christian themes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deprofundis View Post
    I know this is a naive question but, were some symphonies dub ''satan music'' because of heavy usage of tritone(the devil note).

    Did the Church (protestant) vatican(catholic) and the christian orthodox , banned symphonies or opera
    on these bases.

    I Wonder if during medieval era some classical composer were burn at the stakes and partitions destroy(burn) has satan work?

    Did sutch event actually occured in the past, what the story here, were some classical composer excommuniate ect...

    Perhaps my question have been ask a 100 millions time allready but i wanna know.

    I haven't come across anything like that, where the church declared a piece heretical just because it had a tritone (it would just be considered bad composing), and I haven't heard of a composer being burned at the stake for his music. It's strange that it didn't happen, because during the Reformation, Catholic composers would learn from Protestants, and Protestants would learn from Catholics. It seems like the sacred composers were the first to be ecumenical.
    Last edited by Manxfeeder; Feb-06-2015 at 03:03.

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    Senior Member GreenMamba's Avatar
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    Cecilia Bartoli recording an album of arias banned by the Church in Rome. I think it was early 18th century where they declared all theatre music immoral.

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    I seem to recall hearing that at one point the Vatican considered the saxophone unsuitable for sacred music. Too sexy, presumably.
    I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahammel View Post
    I seem to recall hearing that at one point the Vatican considered the saxophone unsuitable for sacred music. Too sexy, presumably.
    Back in the 12th century a couple of popes also wanted to ban the use of the crossbow as it was considered 'unchivalrous' - it was still perfectly OK to smash someone's brains out with a mace, of course...
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Senior Member ahammel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Back in the 12th century a couple of popes also wanted to ban the use of the crossbow as it was considered 'unchivalrous' - it was still perfectly OK to smash someone's brains out with a mace, of course...
    "...and especially no saxophone crossbows!"
    I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that

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