Wide Range: Game and Church Music?

Easter-time is over. I hope you collected some eggs, or feasted, or, if that’s not your thing, at least enjoyed the four-day weekend.

For me, Easter (and Christmas) mean visits with the family, which include church. Now, I won’t go into my personal stance on that too much, because it’s one of the best ways to completely derail arguments and get zealots on all sides worked up. Let’s just say I grew up Catholic, and these days consider myself neither a devout one nor an atheist. I’m just somewhere in the wide area in between, walking around towards one or the other pole over time.

Why am I saying this? Because what you grow up with forms you, and as a Catholic, you may develop a very particular and keen sense for two things: ceremony and sacral music. The first isn’t all that important right now (I might talk about it another time in relation to games, if I find a good point to start from), but the second is surprisingly important, also in relation to games. But I don’t even want to talk about that now (note to self: do talk about church music in games or influencing games at some point). That I like music, you might have gathered from earlier posts…

So why am I saying this? Well, I am lucky enough to live in a city with a cathedral. Having a cathedral with a bishop around means it’s really easy for me to get my “fix” of both ceremony and sacral music when I feel like it. The cathedral has a large pool of choirs and instrumentalists to pull from, and there’s a solemn mass with choral and sometimes orchestral accompaniment every week. That naturally leads to music from a wide range of composers being performed, from Renaissance to modern, with sprinkles of Gregorian, of course. It’s an awesome way to broaden your cultural horizon for pretty much free of charge. They publish advance programmes, and if something interesting shows up, I make a note in my calendar.

This time, I found a mass by Kentaro Sato in the programme. My japanophilia made me look him up. Wow! His work list sounds interesting. Turns out he’s a composer of both game and church music. That’s pretty cool! I like that combination. I wonder how many other composers spread a spectrum that wide. I would imagine that the prejudices on both sides are not very conducive. “Killer games” vs. “religious nut jobs” and all…

I think I know where I’ll be next Sunday morning.

That’s all. Sorry if I bored you.

2 thoughts on “Wide Range: Game and Church Music?

  1. Man, another great post. I am catching up *from* my busy Easter season! Unfortunately my congregation does not have the resources for a broad range of music, but we are blessed with a talented and fun loving pianist/choir director who keeps me on my toes. Its not unusual to be in the middle of communion or offering and then have it dawn on you that he has woven the theme to Aladdin or Star Wars into whatever other song he started out with. (-:

    1. Crap, I had prepared a reply, but then messed up somehow. First time that’s happened on my own blog! Let’s see whether I can restore most of it from memory…

      Yeah, I can imagine how Easter (and Christmas, and some other holiday-ish seasons) are busy for you. Job drawbacks, so to speak… And about resources: I grew up with a small church with an amazingly talented organist. He wrote his own masses, and sorties, and all that — and he had the most pitiful choir I’ve ever seen. Honestly, if they hit the right now, it was by accident. He had to work around that to get anything done. I’m pretty spoiled these days.

      I’m always amazed by organists and their ability to improvise so well. I never checked, but I bet they learn that during their training (and wikipedia says they do, no surprise there). It’s something I could never figure out. I can improvise in singing (well, I can just sing random stuff, if you want to call that “improvising”), but not at all with an instrument.

      Oh, and the Sato mass? Not too bad. I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite music ever, but I can see how that style could work for certain game music. It felt very… ethereal, for the lack of a better word.

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