Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dave Brubeck and the Mass

More know for his quartet and Take 5 fame than for sacred music, Jazz great Dave Brubeck took time out of his busy career to compose music for the Liturgy. It is uncertain as to why a non-Catholic (which Dave was at the time of his composing the work) would try his hand at composing a mass, but the rumors I have heard is that a Catholic friend asked him to do it. Dave was intrigued by the idea. However, when he realized he didn't know anything about the Catholic Liturgy, he set out to study it so that the music he composed would fit the celebration. The out come was a mass composition known as To Hope! A Celebration. It was through his work and time composing the music for the Mass and studying the Liturgy that Dave eventually entered the Catholic Church.

Here is an excerpt from PBS about Dave and his Mass composition:
One of Dave's major religious compositions is the mass To Hope! A Celebration. When Brubeck finished the piece, he was proud to play it for various religious officials. But a priest told him he had left the Our Father out of the mass, after the premiere.

'He was very disappointed,' Dave explained. 'He said 'I loved your mass, but you left out the Our Father.' I said, 'What's the Our Father?' because that doesn't mean anything to me. I'm not a Catholic. And he said, 'Our Father, who art in Heaven.' And I said, 'that's The Lord's Prayer.' And the priest said 'Well, in Catholicism, we call it the Our Father. So I said, 'Well, nobody told me to write it, so I didn't write it. I'm finished with The Mass, I'm going to the Bahamas with my family, and I'm going to take a vacation. I've been working very hard.' So I get down there, and what happens? I dream the Our Father because a priest tells me I left it out. So I jump up in the middle of the night, and write it all down. And now it's in The Mass. '

The event didn't just revolutionize the piece; it changed Brubeck's life. ' I joined the Catholic Church, because I felt, somebody's trying to tell me something,' he realized. 'Now, people say I converted. I didn't convert to Catholicism, because I wasn't anything to convert from. I just joined the Catholic Church.'

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