Petruţa Măniuţ-Coroiu – A Philocalic History of Music Review


  • LUMINIȚA DUȚICĂ “George Enescu” National University of the Arts Iași


philocaly, music, orthodox religion, Ioan Scărarul


The volume titled O istorie filocalică a muzicii [A Philocalic History of Music] by the musicologist Petruța Măniuț-Coroiu offers an unusual approach to the relationship between music and religion. At the core of its demonstration lie the possible relations between the texts in the Ladder of the Divine Ascent from the Philokalia of Saint John Climacus and the masterpieces of Romanian and universal art music. In this volume, the author presents, step by step, the 30 “words of wisdom” without straying from the original text, using direct quotes from Saint John Climacus’ work, putting forward topics such as the renunciation of the world, repentance, obedience, humility, etc. The steps, representing the ladder of spiritual fulfilment, should be climbed so as to leave a mark on the souls of those who ascend. It is worth remembering than once a step is reached the others should not be forgotten, but furthered for the rest of one’s life. Each of the 30 chapters is preceded by quotes from the Old and the New Testament, or from the writings of great representatives of the Orthodox faith (Saint John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, Dumitru Stăniloae). Besides the semantic dimension specific to this kind of approach, the book may also be linked to the field of art therapy. It is worth noting the author’s easiness in identifying the most representative religious texts and their matching musical pieces, as this fusion produces numerous opportunities to acquire apophatic knowledge and intense spiritual experiences.



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