Item description for The Music of Angels: A Listener's Guide to Sacred Music from Chant to Christian Rock by Patrick Kavanaugh & Dave Brubeck...
Overview This popular guide to Christian music is a must-have for any music lover. Tracing the development of Christian music in its cultural context, each chapter includes a recommended listening list and sidebars that highlight important musicians, influential works, and musical styles. Perfect for the beginner looking for a handbook to illuminate the roots of sacred music but also of interest to the advanced listener who can use this book as a reference guide.
Publishers Description This popular guide to Christian music is a must-have for any music lover. Tracing the development of Christian music in its cultural context, each chapter includes a recommended listening list and sidebars that highlight important musicians, influential works, and musical styles. Perfect for the beginner looking for a handbook to illuminate the roots of sacred music but also of interest to the advanced listener who can use this as a reference guide.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Music of Angels: A Listener's Guide to Sacred Music from Chant to Christian Rock by Patrick Kavanaugh & Dave Brubeck has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 08/16/1999 page 78
Booklist - 08/01/1999 page 2006
Library Journal - 09/01/1999 page 193
Booklist - 10/01/1999 page 322
Foreword - 10/01/1999 page 55
Booklist - 02/01/2000 page 1003
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Patrick Kavanaugh, executive director of the Christian Performing Artists' Fellowship, holds a doctorate in music composition. A conductor and performer, he is the author of Spiritual Moments with the Great Composers, Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, and Raising Musical Kids.
Patrick Kavanaugh currently resides in Fairfax, in the state of Virginia. Patrick Kavanaugh was born in 1950.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Music of Angels: A Listener's Guide to Sacred Music from Chant to Christian Rock?
So close and yet so far Jun 24, 2005
As the excellent review by Messick indicates, this volume is an introduction to the history of sacred music in Western Christianity. This history is painted in broad strokes using representative figures to represent the various eras of musical style. Kavanaugh provides recommendations for listening - recommendations that are accessible to the interested reader. One needs neither theological or musical background to appreciate the book or the recommended music.
Even recognizing the need to be selective, however, I have one objection to the book's selectivity. By failing to discuss the popular religious music of the medieval and renaissance periods - for example the pilgrimage songs - the book implies a shift in sacred music with the rise of Protestant hymnody and the gospel song without recognizing its antecedents. With this reservation, I recommend this volume as a solid introduction to sacred music.
A solid introduction and survey May 5, 2005
Patrick Kavanaugh's book 'The Music of Angels' is a good survey and overview of the music of the Christian tradition from the earliest days to the present. The book is organised according to three broad sections: Hebrew Psalms to the Renaissance (roughly the first 1500 years, coinciding with the beginning-to-Reformation pattern often followed in history); Baroque to Hymnology (Reformation to the nineteenth century); and Twentieth Century.
In the earliest category, development of music derived from the Hebrew synagogue influences of worship music to monophonic chant of different styles, and finally into medieval polyphony and the Renaissance. Much of the music of this period is simple but subtle and beautiful; this is not an era of congregational singing, although monastic communities might incorporate the entire community as singers. Medieval polyphony and the Renaissance periods are when we start knowing composers' names; styles began to differentiate according to national and denominational lines in the late period, with masters of vocal polyphony (Palestrina, Tallis, etc.) and composers who began to be known beyond sacred composition (Gabrieli).
The Baroque period is arguably the pinnacle of achievement in Christian sacred music thus far, but it is also the period during which composers began to experiment more widely and become better known for secular compositions. Names such as Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel and J.S. Bach come from this time, and new forms of music setting (the oratorio, cantata, passion, etc.) came of age. Following the Baroque period were Classical and Romantic periods - while the composers in these periods did sacred composition, most are known for their secular works primarily if not exclusively in the popular mind (Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, etc.).
Christian music in worship settings was beginning to take on a more participatory role, and the era of hymn singing and composition took hold, particularly in America. Standard settings of hymns according to familiar patterns (harmonisation according to SATB patterns, for example) and the ready availability of printed hymns made congregational singing the primary musical expression in most worship settings. There were still solos and choir pieces, but by and large, the congregation expected (and was expected) to sing. Hymn writers could sometimes be massively prolific, as in the case of the likes of Charles Wesley and Fanny Crosby, who each produced thousands of hymns.
The twentieth century saw music shifts influenced significantly by technological change. The availability of instruments as well as the on-demand availability of music of all styles thanks to recording technology made music explode in style and diversity. Christian music still had to battle the kinds of prejudices among the faithful that it often had to fight all along - these things are 'popular' and therefore not 'Christian' or 'spiritual'.
Kavanaugh explores all of these issues, with good detail even if it is rather sparse at times in discussion of the overall aesthetic values and aspects of the music itself. Kavanaugh introduces significant personalities in side-bar boxes with highlights, and lists selected representative music pieces for listening at the end of each chapter. The Further Readings section is a massive 25-page addition, and there is a useful index. Kavanaugh writes for the general audience; no specific musical or theological training is assumed. As a result, the text can sometimes be more elementary than those with music backgrounds might hope, but this is a good text for use in introductory classes, or for introducing congregations and groups to the breadth of music history in the Christian tradition in an accessible way.