Thursday, 23 October 2014

New Archbishop of Sydney's coat of arms revealed

The design of Archbishop Fisher's beautiful coat of arms has been revealed at the website of an American priest, Fr Guy Selvester.

His Grace's motto is Veritatem facientes in caritate - doing the truth in charity.

From Fr Selvester's website:
"The archbishop retains the arms he first assumed when becoming auxiliary bishop of Sydney. Those arms combine the armorial bearings of the Order of Preachers (more commonly referred to as the Dominicans) of which he is a member impaled with arms that are based on the arms used by St. John Cardinal Fisher when bishop of Rochester, England with some minor alterations for difference (i.e. the inclusion of the Marian symbol). Over this on an inescutcheon (sometimes referred to as an escutcheon “in pretense” although that expression isn’t wholly appropriate in this case) is the arms of the See of Sydney."

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Stop press! Watson, could We have got it wrong?

With no official announcement as to all the essential details of the "liturgical reception and installation" of Archbishop Fisher, the anxious people of Sydney have had to infer these details from various sources.

But it seems that one inference has proved to be wrong.  The instruction that "the people are to be seated by 7 pm" is apparently an invitation that that they be seated half an hour before the service commences.

The source of this information is not cited.

"Archbishops delivered and installed at no extra cost"

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Westminster Cathedral Choir sings Victoria's Requiem with fervour and finesse

The occasion is the solemnity of All Souls, 2011. The setting is Westminster Cathedral. The music for the Mass is Victoria's Requiem (from Officium Defunctorum 1605), sung by the Cathedral Choir under Master of Music Martin Baker. The celebrant is Fr Alexander Master, the Cathedral's Precentor. BBC Radio 3 broadcast the service.

I was going to wait until All Souls to share this video, uploaded to YouTube only yesterday. But it demands immediate attention. First, because of the remarkable singing of the choir. The choir recorded the Victoria Requiem in 1987 (under David Hill), and that remains a benchmark recording. However, the singing in the above video is just that much more polished, refined, and exquisitely phrased.  Secondly, because the Mass is such a splendid example of sung liturgy that it serves as a model to all others. The singing of Fr Master is, well, masterful. It helps to have a fine signing voice, like the Reverend Father evidently has. But more important is to be completely at ease with your own Rite's tones - ditto for Fr Master in terms of the execution of a given tone, although not in terms of choice. (This is a wholly pedantic observation in the circumstances, but when you sing the simple tone for the Preface - which is quite correct for Masses for the Dead - why not consistently use this tone for the Mysterium Fidei, the Doxology, and the orations?)

Also, the BBC presenter got a little muddled when translating Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis, referring to "perceptual" light. But kudos to the BBC for still broadcasting such occasions. This really is a great service to the Christian population, but also more widely in the sense that it promotes Britain's choral tradition.

On a practical note, I would encourage priests around the world to use this as a training tool for singing the All Souls Mass on 2 November.

Last Wednesday's BBC 3 Choral Vespers was from Westminster Cathedral

Hear the service at this link.  Four weeks left to listen at time of writing.  

The music list:

Introit: Sicut cervus (Palestrina)
Hymn: Caeli Deus sanctissime (Plainsong)
Psalms: Ps 125, 126 (Plainsong)
Canticle: Colossians 1:12-20 (Plainsong)
Reading: Ephesians 3:20-21
Magnificat sexti toni (Victoria)
Homily: Fr Alexander Master
Motet: Sitivit anima mea (Palestrina)
Antiphon: Ave Virgo sanctissima (Guerrero)
Organ Voluntary: Prelude in B minor, BWV 544 (Bach)

The choir sang choral evensong with the Westminster Abbey Choir at the Abbey last Friday - see here and here. Below the choirs are pictured rehearsing.  

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Archbishop-designate of Sydney - Time of enthronement announced

According to an event co-ordinator interviewed by the Catholic Weekly, the newspaper of the Archdioceses of Sydney, the "congregation [are] to be seated by 7 pm" on 12 November 2014.  I take that to mean the enthronement will commence at this time.

We now have all the pieces of the puzzle, so here is a concise summary of the details:

Event: Votive Mass of the B.V.M. for the Enthronement (or "Liturgical Reception and Installation") of Archbishop-designate Anthony Fisher OP as ninth Archbishop of Sydney
Date: Wednesday, 12 November, 2014
Time: 19:00
Place: St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney

Update: official statement here, dated 3 October 2014.  

Happily, the unreserved seating is first in best dressed, unlike so many similar occasions that are "ticketed", which is a repugnant practice.

The headline of the Catholic Weekly is rather intriguing - "‘Main focus on people’ at installation Mass" - that can't be so, surely.  After all, it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Meanwhile, if you want a manual on how to conduct an enthronement, you could do worse than consult the order of service from Archbishop Nichols' enthronement in Westminster Cathedral in 2009, which may be viewed here along with a press pack for the occasion here which contains some interesting information about the music at the service:
Two antiphon texts traditionally sung at the Installation of Archbishops were composed for the occasion by James MacMillan. Two brass fanfares were composed by Colin Mawby, former Master of Music of Westminster Cathedral. The Mass was sung by 19 Choristers and 10 Lay Clerks of Westminster Cathedral Choir and the Organ played by Matthew Martin and Charles Cole under the direction of Martin Baker, Master of Music. The fanfares were performed by 4 Trumpeters, 3 Trombones and 1 Timpani of the Royal Academy of Music, conducted by James Watson.
And who can forget the remarkable setting of Tu es Petrus composed by MacMillan for Pope Benedict's visit to the UK in 2010?