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Rome Reports

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Miserachs: Watering The Roots Of Western Music

Josep Sole Polyphnoy student ; There’s a need for reliving the spirit of the past, that’s why we bring back Gregorian chants, polyphony, play the organ and sing in Latin.

Maria Luisa Venezieano Polyphony studentThis is wonderful because it would be a sin if this music were lost.

Not only is sacred music making a come back in Church liturgy, but it’s also topping charts and selling records all over the world.

Maria Luisa Venezieano Polyphony studentLike many other things, I believe that sacred music is a good way to approach eternity as close as possible.

Students from all over the world flock to the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music in Rome to sing under the direction of the Institutes president, Monsignor Valentin Miserachs who also teaches this polyphony class.

Mons. Valentin Miserachs GrauPresident, Pontifical Institute for Sacred MusicThe first thing I do is put them in direct contact with the scriptures so that they can understand the meaning and the feeling that comes from each text.

Today the class is learning a piece called Magnificat, composed by Mons. Miserach himself for a liturgy on the Virgin Mary.

And with a bit of discipline.

The large class bursts into perfect harmony.

Hector Manuel Salcedo Becerra Polyphony studentOh yes, Monsignor Miserachs is very disciplined, in fact, well you just saw him right? One little mistake and he explodes, he doesn’t tolerate it, it’s impossible....If you want top be a musician you need discipline above all else.

Mons. Valentin Miserachs GrauPresident, Pontifical Institute for Sacred MusicThey know that I don’t say things to bother them or because I cannot control my anger. But sometimes I act up a situation, with a bit of humor even, that takes into action the effect I want.

Mons. Miserachs has been president of the institute for over 13 years and a musician since he became an organist at eight years old for his parish in Spain. He says that sacred music would not survive unless the music was actually good. Having composed over a thousand pieces, he understands that good sacred music requires an important factor.

Mons. Valentin Miserachs GrauPresident, Pontifical Institute for Sacred MusicIt has to move people… this is my number one rule. I compose to move, to make somebody cry, but for faith and sentiment. But before that, I have to cry. When I compose something and I feel emotional, I get a rush and I cry then it’s a good sign my rule has come to effect. And it works, it works.

It’s not easy to keep the roots of western music alive. But it’s importance in the Church’s liturgy, the beauty of its melodies and the passion of its musicians, keeps sacred music as vigorous today as it has been for centuries.