Monday, September 29, 2014

Not be Quick to Judge

A university professor of law writes in a diocesan bulletin about his experience in hosting a FM  radio program on law and music. He uses the lawsuits that the composers had to deal with as background in talking about the music they wrote; analyzing the law as seen at the time of the composition of the operas to understand the music of the age.

There are many who praise what they hear on his radio program, but there are those who find him whitewashing the libertine life that composers like Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt lived.

When he hears the criticism of Liszt by his listeners, the Pharisees of the Gospel come to mind as they pointed their fingers at the  prostitutes and tax collectors. The Hungarian composer Franz Liszt at  certain times in his life did not live an exemplary life: a relationship with a countess who left her husband to be with Liszt, and with whom he had three children outside of marriage.There was also the long relationship with a Russian princess after he left the countess that took 14 years to regularize in the Church, and the day before the wedding was cancelled. He became a third order Franciscan and took his spiritual life seriously. The princess spent the rest of her life in a convent and he received the minor orders before the deaconate, but never became a priest. 

Liszt was one of the greatest piano virtuoso of the times and with his good looks became a star. We have heard of his music but we are not familiar with his sacred music: the music for the liturgy, the   Stations of the Cross, the Our Father, the Ave Maria and the like. In our age very rarely heard in church or society.  

There are many who have lived a virtuous life and overcome their natural inclination and they are a good example to our young people but also those who have fallen into the bottomless pit, fallen into despair and have turned to a life of prayer are also a good example to our young people. Liszt cried a lot  and feared the Lord.

He was generous in helping others and in donating his money for different causes.The professor says even today you see plaques with his name for monies that Liszt donated in Europe. He was a man considered a king of the volunteer givers of his time.

When he hears the story of the prostitutes and  tax collectors and how they were looked down upon; listening to the music of Liszt the professor hears in the background of the music the  plaintive sound of sadness.