The Catholic Culture Podcast: Ep. 68

Feb 28, 2020

Thomas recently had the privilege of playing piano on the latest
album by Catholic composer Mark Christopher Brandt. The
consists of a suite for string quartet and piano,
plus two solo piano pieces. The suite, which uses the butterfly’s
transformation as an allegory of conversion, was described by the
Catholic poet Dana Gioia as “fresh, inventive and alive”.

In this episode you will hear the beautiful Butterfly suite in
full, followed by a no less beautiful conversation in which Thomas
shares what he learned from Mark during this project, and Mark (as
always) shares much wisdom about music and the Christian life,
peppered with examples from his journey in both.

Central to the conversation about music is the continuum of
artists throughout history, and the deeper continuum for Christian
artists: that our work transcends history because our first
audience is the heavenly court, regardless of what welcome our art
finds in this world.


[2:51] Accompanying text to The Butterfly

[4:38] The Butterfly suite

[21:09] Why Mark wanted another pianist (Thomas) to play on this

[23:22] Granting the string players more room for individual
creativity than is usual in the classical world

[28:06] What Mark taught Thomas in the studio: making a mistake
is not a sin

[36:54] Benefits of documenting the results of one’s practice in
order to move forward

[41:59] The timeline of the album, spanning decades of Mark’s
journey as a composer

[47:09] The historical ‘continuum’ of music and being a part of
its progress

[52:38] Mark’s counsel for those beginning to study

[1:02:41] Contemporary pop has lost its connection to what came
before it

[1:07:17] Christians who are joyful are misunderstood as being

[1:12:52] When Mark first became aware of how following Jesus
was transforming him


Purchase The Butterfly:

Physical copies—store.html



Purchase the score and/or parts


Previous interviews with Mark:

Episode 33: Structure and Freedom in Music and in

The Nightingale 

Other Resources

Mark’s website

Manassas String Quartet


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