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).



Friday, 8 August 2014

Edward Bede Cardinal Clancy: Requiescat in pace

Oremus.
Quæsumus, omnipotens et misericors Deus, ut famulos tuos cardinales et episcopos, quos in terris pro Christo legatione fungi tribuisti, his emundatos sacrificiis, consedere facias in cælestibus cum ipso.
Qui vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.
Amen
Let us pray.
We pray, almighty and merciful God, that, as you made your servant Cardinals and Bishops ambassadors for Christ on earth, so you may raise them, purified by this sacrifice, to be seated with Christ in heaven.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen. 
 



I do not remember too much about the late Cardinal, however I do recall that when aged about 11, I was the boat bearer for Midnight Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.  I also remember the placing of the spires on said Cathedral in or about 2000, thus essentially completing William Wardell's magnificent design. This would be one of the Cardinal's last acts in office, as he retired in 2001.

There are many news stories about the late Cardinal, but I particularly like this one written by Stephanie Wood of the Sydney Morning Herald.

A vigil Mass will be held tonight, at 7.30 pm (Friday 8 August) and the Funeral Mass will be on Saturday 9 August at 10 am.  The Cardinal will be laid to rest in the crypt of his cathedral.  

Thursday, 24 July 2014

KCCC's tour of the Antipodes

King's College Choir, Cambridge, are in the Antipodes.  They sang Monteverdi's Cantate Domino on breakfast TV this morning:

video

Their concerts have been reviewed here, here, here and here.  Download the program here.

You can hear their Melbourne concert here (program 2).  The choir sounds in good form, and the reviews (except for one of the two Sydney Morning Herald reviews) have been glowing.  The Sydney Morning Herald article by Clive O'Connell was concerned about a certain blandness to the program, or the performance of the various pieces thereof.  I am not convinced that those observations are borne out, but in any event I think there is a more problematic aspect to the programs - they are a bit sparse, for the price of the tickets anyway (up to about $130).  The first program at least contains a major work, the Faure Requiem.  However, even then the accompaniment is organ only.  King's could muster the orchestral forces for their latest recording of this work (and their innumerable previous recordings of the work).  In fact, I am not aware of any recordings that opt for the 'liturgical' approach of organ only.  Why, then, is this a satisfactory state of affairs for an audience charged handsomely for their tickets?  On the choir's tour of Asia last year, local orchestras were engaged.  It seems like this time an opportunity was missed to collaborate with the ACO, the ABO, or some other very fine local ensemble.  In contrast, in Cambridge earlier this year, I attended a performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion (an immense work) with full orchestra and soloists.  Top price tickets were significantly less than top price tickets for the Choir-only concerts in the Antipodes.  The choir and/or orchestra then backed up for various Easter services, and a performance of Handel's oratorio Israel in Egypt, a few days later.

Perhaps a comparison of two videos will best demonstrate my point.  I wish to stress that I am not saying that the performance with organ accompaniment will not be exceedingly beautiful.  Perhaps it could even be as beautiful as the orchestrated version.  What I am saying is that for absolutely premium tickets, to see a top choir, at a major venue such as the Sydney Opera House, the expectation is that a work like the Faure Requiem would be in one of its orchestrated versions.

Organ only:


With orchestration:


A shame, because the Antipodean concerts have been, and will continue to be, excellent in every other respect.