Pierangelo Ruaro

Interpretare la fede di una comunità: le esperienze di un compositore

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Taking his cue from the experience of a priest who for years has been involved in pastoral work in different parishes, above all in contact with the young, and as a composer of songs for the liturgy (with particular reference to a collection of pieces recently issued on CD), the author tries to identify some basic principles that should underlie the work of a liturgical composer. First, as highlighted by the title of the paper, a delicate task that must always be kept present is that of interpreting the faith of a community (and this in turn presupposes a profound sense of belonging to the life of the community). Then, seeing that we are dealing with songs and music for the liturgy, the aim of all this work (composition, learning, performance) must remain that of favouring the encounter of the whole congregation with God (for this, above all, is what the liturgical experience tells us); consequently, the composer must stay 'in the wings', so to speak (neither his own skill nor that of the player-interpreter must emerge). It is a little like saying that when a song is entrusted to the community, in a certain sense it 'belongs' to the community and is no longer the composer's property. The third part considers also the style used (for both text and musical genre), which should favour the encounter between the different components of the community: after all, the Sunday Mass comprises both young children and the aged. Group idioms that are too accentuated (such as certain youth songs using rhythms that preclude the participation of certain age brackets) do not favour communion, but instead a 'parallel' existence in which the different dimensions of a community never come together. This explains why importance should be given, alongside the (legitimate) songs expressing the aspirations of a single group, also to songs adopting idioms that favour ideas of encounter and hence of community in diversity.

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