Yes one finds transcendance in the most unlikely places or contexts. In '89 or '90 an aquaintance of mine booked a US tour for this jazz duo from Russia called the Leningrad Duo, contrabass and trumpet. They performed at a small bar cum art gallery and their set consisted of two pieces one based on Indian forms and the other a half hour long sixteen part suite on Yankee Doodle. You think oh how cheezy, pandering to us yanks, no American group would have dared, but then few would have thought to divide it into two parts, one placing the tune in different idioms (Japan, Mississippi Delta, Balkans, etc.) and the other a series of dance variations of the tune (minuet, cancan, tango, foxtrot, disco, etc.). Who would have thought such depths and variety could be wrung from such a meagre theme. A friend of mine recorded it and it's a tape I still cherish. A couple years back I happened on a cheap used cd in the Russian section of the local shop with cyrillic lettering and underneath it the words Yankee Doodle. I thought can it be, yes, no longer the Leningrad Duo, as the city name no longer existed and they'd gone their separate ways, but had come together under their real names Vyacheslav Gayvoronsky and Vladimir Volkov, to document some of their old music.
Tonight not having heard it for awhile I pulled out Harawi - Songs of love and Death, the first part of Messiaen's Tristan Trilogy, a song cycle based on a Peruvian folk tale, some of it sung in Quechuan and played in this case by his widow Yvonne Loriod with soprano, Rachel Yakar. It occurred to me he might be right up your alley, so much of his music being based in theology, that I wondered if you were familiar with it. It differs from 19th C lieder in both the complexity of the rhythm structures and his penchant for incorporating birdsong in his scores, but is still recognizable as part of the canon of art song. His ouevre includes symphonies, an opera, St Francis of Assisi, hours of organ music, etc most of it involving Catholic theology in one way or another. His famous Quartet for the End of Time, is based on revelations and was both written and first performed on broken instruments in the Stalag 8 POW camp in 1941. The nine minute solo clarinet section, The Abyss of Birds, is truly awe inspiring.