“Remembering a musical and spiritual pilgrim: Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971),” an article written by Dr. Brian Bennett, professor of religious studies, was published on May 5, 2021, in Aleteia.org, an online publication that offers a Christian vision of the world by providing general and religious content that is free from ideological influences.
“I've been fascinated by Stravinsky since I was a child,” said Bennett of the composer, who was raised in the Russian Orthodox tradition, but came to have an appreciation for the spiritual riches of the Catholic Church. “I don't pretend to analyze his music -- I'm just a simple fan. But Stravinsky's religious and linguistic proclivities connect very well with my research on sacred languages, in Russia and beyond.”
The article discusses how Stravinsky grew up in the Russian Orthodox tradition but came to admire aspects of Catholicism. Bennett notes that this spiritual bilingualism is beautifully illustrated by the composer's twofold setting of the Our Father: his first version was in Church Slavonic, the liturgical idiom of Russian Orthodoxy, the second in Latin, the language of the Catholic Church.
In the article, Bennett also notes how Pope John Paul II used to say that the Church needs to breathe with her “two lungs” -- West and East, Catholicism and Orthodoxy. “Stravinsky was no saint,” said Bennett, “but he was the rare individual who did that in his own life.”
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