On the Mystery of Music
Élisabeth-Paule Labat; Translated and introduced by Erik Varden
ISBN: 9780879070601, MW040P
Details: 160 pgs, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Publication Date: 04/02/2014
The Song That I Am: On the Mystery of Music is a short but full-to-the-brim essay on the decisive role that great music (whether Bach, Tavener, or Gregorian chant) ought to play in the spiritual life. With admirable restraint Éllisabeth-Paule Labat shares her interior experience of music and thus continually opens up fresh vistas through worlds of sound and spirit. With her uncanny gift of language, Labat precisely describes soundings and yearnings of the soul that many of us glimpse fleetingly. Because "only the lover sings" (St. Augustine), her final illumination is that the experience of profound music ought to transform us into the beauty that we hear.
Élisabeth-Paule Labat, OSB (1897-1975) was born in Tarbes, France. After the Great War, she moved to Paris and studied at the Schola Cantorum. A brilliant pianist and composer, Labat also studied Gregorian chant. In 1922 she entered the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Michel de Kergonan in Brittany and took Élisabeth as her religious name. Labat is also author of Presence of God (Paulist Press).