What with being distracted by medical matters, ol’ Robbo completely neglected the fact that yesterday was the Feast of St. Cecilia, patron of musick and one of my very favorite of all the saints.  Indeed, I appeal to her far more often than I do my own patrons, as I need all the help I can get when I’m butchering Bach or Handel, Mozart or Haydn at the keyboard.

I regret the oversight.

At any rate, a few apropos quotes:

“Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.”

– Johann Sebastian Bach

Music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.

– Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“Whenever I think of God I can only conceive of Him as a Being infinitely great and infinitely good. This last quality of the divine nature inspires me with such confidence and joy that I could have written even a miserere in tempo allegro.”

– Franz Joseph Haydn

From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began.
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high:
“Arise, ye more than dead!”
Then cold and hot and moist and dry
In order to their stations leap,
And Music’s power obey.
From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began;
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.

– John Dryden

Qui cantat, bis orat (He who sings, prays twice).

– St. Augustine

Ol’ Robbo was noodling on the concept of harmony a bit and on the nature of musick in general.  Isn’t it fascinating that among all the arts, musick is the only truly abstract one?  To be sure, there is some occasional programmatic musick; depictions of goldfinches, thunderstorms, cantering horsemen and the like, but by and large, musick is self-referential, its own language.   It doesn’t mirror anything.

Except that I think it does.   Somehow, in a way impossible for me to articulate, I think musick is a product of the divine spark in mankind.  And harmony – as reflected in my selection of quotes – is somehow bound up in this, an aural manifestation of the ordered patterns and relationships of Creation, an echo of the Musick of the Spheres, the choiring of the cherubim and seraphim.

So go the thoughts of Robbo on St. Cecilia’s Day.