I’ve always loved the Carmina Burana by Orff, though, upon thinking about it, have recently had some questions on whether it is appropriate for me to be listening to it, given the history/context of it, most of which I have (up to writing this) learned from reading other posts here on it.
I guess the broader question we may apply to this issue is: If the creation of a work (whether of music, art, literature, etc.) may have been done with questionable or even outright negative intent, should we still listen to it, even if we don’t agree with that intent but if we listen to it for some other reason such as the beauty of the poetry/music itself and their ability to move us? Even if we don’t agree with the lyrics, mightn’t it be of some benefit to listen just to get a better sense of where the lyrics’ narrator is coming from (and to evoke a kind of empathy if such is appropriate)?
Other perhaps less controversial instances of this come to mind such as our admiration of Greek temples, not for what they were made for, but for the beauty of their architecture. The poems of Catullus (particularly the ones to Lesbia/Clodia) also come to mind for me as a classicist. While it is thought by many that the Roman poet was having an affair with said Clodia, we yet feel his suffering at her own infidelity to him. (It is also interesting to note that Orff also composed a “Catulli Carmina” as another portion to a larger work also containing the “Burana” based on some of C.'s poems.) Also stories from mythology come to mind; though we do not approve of pagan worship, they still hold some meaning for us either as mere stories or even containing even within them some universals.
Getting back to the “Burana”, could listening to such music cause someone else to stumble, either within or outside of the Church, since it contains some lyrics apparently rather in opposition to the Church/her teachings? Might some hearing/happening to know I’m listening to it think that I am endorsing everything I hear in it? If so, is this enough reason to give up listening to it altogether, or only in certain circumstances where listening to it could cause someone to stumble? (As I’ve said in other posts, I am seriously looking into becoming RC, so, honestly, I’m trying to go ahead and work out some of these issues.)
Would be interested to hear your take on the above questions.
Gratias vobis multas.