Schroeder, Lucy and Tchaikovsky


In my brief summer travel to the great American Southwest in pursuit of “the future of religion” conference in Pasadena CA, I met the American Jesuit James Schall.

He tells an old story from Peanuts of Schroeder and Lucy. Schroeder has just got a new recording of Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy of St. John Chysostom (349-407) and is very excited.

Lucy wants to know what he intends to do with it. Schroeder tells her he is going to take it home and listen to it. She has difficulty comprehending this answer and wants to know if he intends to dance or march to it.

“No I’m going to sit and listen to it.”

In the final scene Lucy is alone gazing at the departed Schroeder. She concludes, “that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

Schall comments that Schroeder is right in that we are essentially hearers and listeners before we are speakers and doers.

(I’ve altered the story only a little for the purposes of this post and the link below.)

Here is the link to Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy of St. John Chysostom on YouTube. The first movement of four or five minutes of this orthodox masterpiece is itself worth the listen.

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