Saturday, 30 June 2012

Palestrina, Perosi and Plenty of Pallia at Papal Mass for Peter and Paul

Updated on 1 July 2012

Courtesy of Papal Music, here are videos of the pieces I refer to in my previous post, and a few more of interest.

Introit - very impressive, sung by a group of men from the Cappella Sistina

unc scio vere, quia misit Dóminus Angelum suum:
et erípuit me de manu Heródis,
et de omni exspectatióne plebis Iudæórum.
Ps. Dómine, probásti me, et cognovísti me:
tu cognovísti sessiónem meam, et resurrectiónem meam.

ow I know that the Lord really has sent his Angel,
and has delivered me out of the hands of Herod,
and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.
Ps. O Lord, you have searched me and known me;
you know when I sit down and when I rise up.

Gloria from Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli (directed by O'Donnell)

Credo from Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli (directed by Palombella) - refreshing to hear a polyphonic Credo every now and again

* Brisbanites may be interested to see their new Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, above at 2:00-2:10.

Offertory Motet - Byrd Hodie Simon Petrus (Abbey Choir alone)

Communion Motet - Byrd Ave Verum Corpus (Abbey Choir alone)

Prior to the Mass, during the imposition of the Pallia, the following music was sung:

Tallis Loquebantur variis linguis (Abbey Choir alone)

* Perthians may be interested to see their new Archbishop, Timothy Costelloe, having his Pallium imposed by the Holy Father, above at 0:23-0:55. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Abbey, Sistine Choir Combine for Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Recall that for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Choir of Westminster Abbey, whose Director is James O'Donnell, shall sing at Holy Mass jointly with the Cappella Sistina.  The booklet for the Papal Mass may be downloaded here.  Curiously, the said booklet makes no mention of the visting choir - perhaps a separate booklet is being produced for the occasion.

A press release from the Abbey illuminates the picture somewhat:
“The combined choirs will sing music from the Roman tradition including movements from Palestrina Missa Papae Marcelli and the motet Tu es Petrus, and the Abbey Choir will also sing music from the English choral tradition, including music by Byrd Ave verum corpus and Laudibus in sanctis, Tallis Loquebantur variis linguis, and Purcell I was glad.”
Read together with the said booklet, the parts of the Ordinary that will be sung from the Papae Marcelli Mass are the Gloria and the Credo, with the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Mass VIII (De Angelis) (not Mass IV, which the Vatican guidelines on chant stipulate for use on Feasts of the Apostles).  

Ave Verum Corpus is listed as a Communion Motet, though Byrd is not mentioned.  Tu es Petrus is listed as both an introductory and a recessional piece, though Palestrina is not mentioned in connexion with either. The booklet makes no reference to some of those other pieces mentioned in Abbey's statement. 

Some general thoughts.  The Abbey choir has made a recording of the Papae Marcelli Mass, so this is quite within their existing repertoire, and is regularly sung by the Cappella Sistina.  It seems that the Abbey Choir will sing the Byrd, Tallis and Purcell without the assistance of the Cappella Sistina, one reason being that those composers' works are not part the latter choir's usual repertoire.  I do so hope that it all goes well - any collaboration that furthers the cause of good quality sacred music in praise of the Almighty is to be welcomed.  Or as Colin Mawby recently put in in Oremus, the Westminster Cathedral periodical, liturgical music is in the first place an "act of prayer" - to see and hear these two choirs singing the Church's liturgy together will be a very magnificent thing. 

The Cappella Nicolai of Amsterdam sings Byrd's Ave Verum Corpus in a wonderful Anglo-Dutch style 

Read more about the Abbey's Roman visit here and here and here.  

The Abbey Choir has already given a concert this week in Rome, on Tuesday in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore: 

The Feast of Peter and Paul is, of course, also the occasion on which new Metropolitan Archbishops have their woollen pallium "imposed" upon them.  The two representatives from the Antipodes are the newly enthroned Archbishops of Perth, the Most Reverend Timothy Costelloe, and of Brisbane, the Most Reverend Mark Coleridge.  Brisbane's Pallium is made from ‘Bullamalita’ superfine ram’s wool, a gift from his Grace's previous (non-Metropolitan) See, Canberra-Goulburn. 

Archbishop Coleridge listed in the Order of Service for the Papal Mass at which he will receive his Pallium
Post Script

I notice that the Cappella Sistina's website has a link to my blog regarding the concert given by the Sistine Choir at Westminster Cathedral earlier this year!  Greetings and all the best for your collaboration with the Abbey Choir this Friday!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Moving through the Missal

With each passing Sunday we are hearing more of the prayers of the modern Roman Rite according to the translation of the third edition of the Missal.  Let us once more remind ourselves what it was all in aid of.

ancti nóminis tui, Dómine,
timórem páriter et amórem fac nos habére perpétuum,
quia numquam tua gubernatióne destítuis,
quos in soliditáte tuae dilectiónis instítuis.

For almost 40 years that Collect was translated for liturgical use as:

guide and protector of your people,
grant us an unfailing respect for your name,
and keep us always in your love.

Henceforth we shall hear:  

rant, O Lord,
that we may always revere and love your holy name,
for you never deprive of your guidance
those you set firm on the foundation of your love.

Unfortunately, it will be another year before we hear that beautiful Collect of the 12th Sunday in Ordinary time, for the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist falls on a Sunday this year.  

eus qui beátum Ioánnem Baptístam suscitásti,
ut perféctam plebem Christo Domino præparáret,
da pópulis tuis spiritálium grátiam gaudiórum,
et ómnium fidélium mentes dírige in viam salútis et pacis.

God our Father, you raised up John the Baptist
to prepare a perfect people for Christ the Lord.
Give your Church joy in spirit
and guide those who believe in you
into the way of salvation and peace.

is now

 God, who raised up Saint John the Baptist
to make ready a nation fit for Christ the Lord,
give your people, we pray,
the grace of spiritual joys
and direct the hearts of all the faithful
into the way of salvation and peace.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Gregorian Chant on the Evening News

It is not every day that the Church's age old music is broadcast to a multitude of viewers on nightly news bulletins.  But last Sunday that is precisely what happened after the media thronged to St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, to film the celebrant preach on a certain topic.  Most news services played extracts of the Mass too, as in the following excerpt, fleeting though it may be: 

Video source: Seven News. 

In the video the Cathedral Choir is singing the Introit for the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Exaudi Domine.  They also sang the proper Alleluia, Domine, in virtute tua laetabitur rex, and the Communio, Unam petii a Domino. There was a responsorial Psalm in English, and the Offertorio was polyphonic. There was only one hymn, sung post-Communion.  See the music list here

I was reminded of what two Austrian priests visting the cathedral in Sydney in 2010 commented to me.  They had just concelebrated a Mass during Ordinary Time (like the one in the video), and had marvelled at the solemn beauty of the Mass.  They lamented that the Austrian Cathedrals were good on High Feasts, usually with choirs and even orchestras being brought in for the occasion, but in between the music was altogether lacklustre.  I cannot comment on particular churches in Austria, but I can certainly imagine what the priests meant.  Relatively speaking, there are not many Catholic cathedrals in the world today that have a trained choir dedicated to singing the Church's liturgy (and year-round), despite all the exhortations concerning sacred music throughout the first half of 20th century and emphasised in the documents of and following the Second Vatican Council. In Australia, the Cathedrals in Melbourne, Parramatta and Sydney stand out. There are others with choirs, but I am not aware of any that draw upon the Church's rich muscial patrimony as earnestly as the aforementioned.

Oh, and if you are going to have an orchestral Mass, you may as well do it the Köln Cathedral way! Here is that Cathedral's resident liturgical choir singing the Kyrie and Gloria from Haydn's sumptuous Harmoniemesse for Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag) 2012, an holy day of obligation in Germany. Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Glorious music of Tudor England

Christopher Tye, erstwhile Master of the Choristers at Ely (Ee-lee) Cathedral  (a stone's throw away from Cambridge), wrote some magnificent sacred music in the Catholic and in the Protestant traditions, composing as he did under the patronage of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and finally Elizabeth I.

Here is a recording of the Agnus Dei from Missa Euge Bone, unusually in 4 parts:  

This excellent choir is the Cappella Nicolai, a liturgical mixed choir resident at the Church of St Nicholas in Amsterdam since 2000.