1. Thanks for this interview, Hamilton. I was particularly interested in Benedict’s comment about the reason for doing this – to set a high bar for everyone else to aspire to. I’ve often thought about my own work that way – particularly some of the fine inlaid furniture and extravagantly ornate icons I’ve worked on. Such items are incredibly difficult to make and will always be rare. I do not expect them to have much impact on the church’s liturgical experience directly, but as a point of inspiration, I suspect they will have a meaningful indirect impact. I know my own work has been heavily influenced by some of the impossibly beautiful liturgical treasures of past times. These are things that I could never hope to seriously imitate, and yet something of their beauty does shine through my own work.

    The recording of Benedict’s Liturgy has moments of nearly impossible beauty. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard the opening ‘Amen’.

    1. Andrew, I love this connection. I’ve never thought in terms of rare and common objects, but I absolutely see the parallel. Thank you for this.

      I might also add that when I compose church music, I often visualize the kind of space I think the music belongs in. Often, those end up being similar to—or sometimes identical with—spaces you’ve designed. It’s no accident that we decided to use the apse fresco from Holy Ascension on the cover. In other words, I think this notion of being inspired by “impossible beauty” (I could never hope to design a church) works across artistic disciplines as well as within them.

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