Thursday, 18 September 2014

Deo Gratias - New Archbishop of Sydney is announced - Most Rev Anthony Fisher

It was this evening announced that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Anthony Colin Fisher OP as the next Archbishop of Sydney. He succeeds George Cardinal Pell, now Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See. Click to see the official announcement from the Australian Nunciature, the Bishops' Conference statement here, new stories herehere and here, and the Archdiocesan website here and here (biography, media release from Parramatta Diocese, statement from Apostolic Administrator).  Bishop Fisher has been the Bishop of Parramatta since 2010, and was auxiliary bishop of Sydney before that. Before his priestly vocation, the Archbishop-designate read law at the University of Sydney (Australia's oldest law school) and worked at one of Australia's oldest law firms, Sydney-based Clayton Utz (see also here and here) - must be a good sort!

Listen to interviews with the Archbishop-designate here (ABC radio) and here (Vatican radio).  

The date of the Archbishop-designate's enthronement will be announced in due course.

Sydney still sede vacante

Friday, 29 August 2014

Photos from Pontifical Mass in Sydney offered by Cardinal Burke

Beautiful pictures have emerged of the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Throne offered on Wednesday night by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke.  The pictures were taken by Paul Brazier and the full set is available at this Facebook page.

The Mass, which was very well attended (the under 35s appeared to make up a large number of the congregation, possibly a majority), was followed by a delicious supper at which there was much conviviality.

The music was excellent, as always from the incomparable St Mary's Cathedral Choir.

As you will see from the pictures, the front altar installed in 2008, was used for the Mass.  It is no slight to Cardinal Pell or Pope Benedict XVI (who consecrated the front altar during WYD 2008) to say that it is a shame the original high altar can no longer practicably be used for Mass whether in the Extraordinary or Ordinary Form.  By contrast, the high altar was used in 2007 when George Cardinal Pell offered a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Here is the order of service from the 2007 Mass, which I retained for posterity. Credits for the beautiful order or service appear within the document.

Well done to all concerned.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Raymond Cardinal Burke is in Sydney

where he will offer a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St Mary's Cathedral tomorrow (27 August 2014) at 19:00.  See here and here.

Will the lovely high altar be used, or will they use the (also lovely) modern immovable front altar blessed by Pope Benedict in 2008?

The last time such a Mass was celebrated was in November 2007 - by Cardinal Pell the Archbishop of Sydney at the time.  I was in attendance.

The music list for the Mass tomorrow:
  • Introitus: Deus misereatur nostri
  • Kyrie: Missa brevis Palestrina
  • Graduale: Confiteantur tibi populi, Deus
  • Alleluia: Iubilate Deo omnis terra
  • Offertorium: Afferte Domino
  • Sanctus: Missa brevis Palestrina
  • Agnus Dei: Missa brevis Palestrina
  • Communio: Laudate Dominum
  • Motets:
    • Ecce sacerdos magnus Elgar
    • Iehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei Purcell
    • Salvator mundi (I) Tallis
  • Organ:
    • Marche Pontificale (Symphony No. 1) Widor 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Mozart's Requiem Tonight in Sydney

UPDATE: The concert was excellent.  

There is a first time for everything - this will be the first performance of the Mozart Requiem that I have attended.  It will be at St James, King Street in the heart of Sydney's legal precinct.

I have about 10 recordings of the work, my favourite being the one by the Cologne Chamber Choir and Collegium Cartusianum, conducted by Peter Neumann.

I gather the orchestra for tonight's concert is playing on period instruments PP

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Le chef d'orchestre Frans Brüggen est mort

declares Le Monde.  Requiescat in pace.  Brüggen was one of the best conductors of the period instrument movement, and was also an accomplished flautist.  I had hoped to see him conduct the Johannes Passion in Paris earlier this year but he was too ill (he had been incapacitated for some years but heroically kept returning to the stage time and again to conduct some riveting performances).  At this very moment I have his recording of Schubert's "Great" Symphony being shipped from Japan.  His recordings of the Bach Sacred works, the Beethoven Symphonies (he recorded two cycles), the Haydn Symphonies and the Schubert Symphonies are the leaders in their field.  The world has lost a great flautist and conductor.

Listen to his (first) recording of the Bach B minor Mass from 1993 with his own Orchestra of the 18th Century and the Netherlands Chamber Choir - excellence beyond compare.

Brüggen conducts Mozart's Requiem in a live performance from Japan

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Setting the standard for "parish" church choirs

I keep returning to videos of the excellent Cappella Nicolai - the resident liturgical choir of the Church of St Nicholas, Amsterdam.  Sint-Nicolaasbasiliek is hardly your average parish church - it was elevated to the status of minor basilica in 2012 and is the predominant church in Amsterdam (the cathedral for the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam is St Bavo's in Haarlem).  What a great model for other churches around the world (and let's face it, many cathedrals as well).