Reply To: Religious Pieces
I think it important to know why a piece of music was composed and what its purpose is. O Magnum Mysterium is a Latin Christmas responsory. I don’t think you need to delve deeply into it, but maybe hit on the fact that the piece is about the mystery and wonderment of Christmas (“Oh great mystery and wonderful sacrament that animals should see the new born Lord lying in a manger!”), and even if students don’t choose to believe in Jesus or the circumstances surrounding his birth, they can still try to express the feelings that it was written to convey. If you were playing Angels We Have Heard on High, you probably wouldn’t need to discuss the meaning behind it, but I think in this case, since the title is in Latin, I think it important that students are informed about its intent.