Between liturgy and theatre : the Jesuit Lenten meditations from the Baroque Silesia

Author: Jeż, Tomasz
Source document: Musicologica Brunensia. 2014, vol. 49, iss. 1, pp. [261]-273
Extent
[261]-273
  • ISSN
    1212-0391 (print)
    2336-436X (online)
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
The pastoral practice of Jesuits in early modern Silesia involved a variety of cultural experiences. Its objective was to influence and transform the religious life of diverse social circles. In order to fulfill their purposes, they used different strategies both adopted from the tradition and newly invented ones. One of the fields of their experiments was music, which served both to enrich various forms of the liturgy and to strengthen the persuasiveness of various genres of Jesuit school drama. Both trends interfered in the hybrid form of the Lenten meditations, organized by Marian Sodalities and served to those communities. The meditationes quadragesimales paradoxically combined elements of the liturgical worship with theatre performance. Its keystone was the concepts of compositio loci and applicatio sensuum borrowed from Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Both methods served for the sensual representation of the spiritual themes and their meditation, presented for the community but carried on by its individuals. Its social impact was extremely large, because of its synesthethic poetics, which combined language, visual, movement, design and music elements. The perception of such multimedia repraesentatio should develop in the audience the ability of describing and controlling their own emotions. Of equal importance was the rhetorical form of presentation itself, which encouraged the addressees to identify with the presented contents. Music performed in this context revealed features of as well liturgical like the theatre actions. The combining of the rhythms of liturgical life with the community-building scenic activities associated with the different periodic forms of music architectonics. Librettos of Silesian meditationes preserved in Wrocław University Library juxtaposed to some compositions connected to this practice confirms the key role of music there. For the participants of meditationes the music was a medium of rhetorically amplified affect, coded (as affectus musicus) and received on the level of the receiver's psyche. Its purpose was to interiorize the message and to retain it in the man's volitive sphere.
Document
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