Friday, 30 January 2015

Westminster Cathedral Choir's slick new website

This modest little blog has recently had a makeover, and now I see that Westminster Cathedral Choir has a dedicated website, and it's rather nice looking too:

Here's a screenshot of the home page:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

J.S. Bach and P.G. Wodehouse

Upon watching the fabulous performance of the Bach Christmas Oratorio from December last year under Maestro Jacobs, I couldn't help but be distracted by the tenor - lovely voice but such an odd choice of shirt to don.

Couldn't help but be reminded of:

Solemn Pontifical Mass with Dedication of the Altar celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, Sydney, 19 July 2008

Splendid - at long last the full video found on YouTube. Sound quality is disgraceful, but it will have to do. There is commentary in French, including right over the top of a beautiful account of the Palestrina Tu es Petrus (see from around the 40 second mark).

Monday, 19 January 2015

A bastardised Weihnachtsoratorium - and some great ones

Oh dear, why must everything good be ruined by dance?

This is a favourite under maestro Harnoncourt:

And here's a recent performance conducted by Rene Jacobs (recorded 13 December 2014). Must be a record opening chorus - all over in just 6:30 (7:00 to 8:00 is the usual)! As always Jacobs questions the received wisdom and pushes his instruments and singers to their limits - sometimes at the expense of musicality. But there's no question that the maestro elicits some very fine music making. Chamber orchestra and choir are of the first class. Enjoy the thrill of it, or click here to watch the also exciting but musically safer Gardiner performance from his Bach pilgrimage in 2000.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Pope in the Philippines - Holy Mass in Manila

The Mass book is available by clicking here. The Holy Father preached in English.

Pope in the Philippines - Holy Mass at Tacloban

Could the weather have been worse?! Well done to all for pressing ahead in such trying conditions. In some ways, it's nice to hear the Holy Father saying a few of the prayers in English.

The Mass book is available by clicking here.

Beautifully Sung Christmas Proclamation, St Peter's Basilica, 2014

Flashback to Papal visit to UK in 2010 - Full videos now available

Blessed be whoever uploaded to YouTube the full videos of the Papal Mass at Westminster Cathedral on 18 September 2010, and the Evensong at Westminster Abbey the day before. I wonder if anyone has the footage from the 2008 Papal Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney (it was definitely filmed). Would they care to upload it to YouTube?

The order of service for the Mass is available here.


I have found the closing Mass of World Youth Day 2008 (German TV production), but the (musically far superior) Mass at St Mary's Cathedral eludes me. Mass book available by clicking here.

Update 2

Got it (although the sound quality is terrible)!

Part the First

Part the Second

Part the Third

Part the Fourth

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Ave Maria - A sublime recording of the glorious 8 part setting by Victoria

Beautiful Celebration of Midnight Mass in Phoenix, AZ

Be warned, the commentary does rather interfere.

Compare and contrast (bearing in mind, however, that Rockhampton, Qld, Aus is a much smaller city than Phoenix, AZ, USA):

Which do you think best demonstrates the joy occasioned by the God Incarnate? Which diocese do you think embraces the time honoured traditions of the Roman Rite, which seems to shun them?

This is better - also Northern Qld:

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Episcopal ordinations in Melbourne

took place on 17 December 2014. Watch the video of the beautiful Mass here (I cannot embed it here unfortunately). Musical repertoire was excellent. Congratulations to the Most Rev Terence Curtin and Most Rev Mark S. Edwards, OMI.

Hmmm ... not sure either crosier really hits the mark.  

Coat of Arms of the Most Rev Mark S. Edwards, OMI

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Bach Mass in B minor at Westminster Cathedral

"J.S. Bach's B minor Mass, arguably the ultimate choral work ever written, will be performed at Westminster Cathedral on Thursday 26 March 2015 at 7.30 pm. In their first ever joint collaboration, Westminster Cathedral Choir will be joined by the Choristers of the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. The performance will be directed by Westminster Cathedral's Master of Music, Martin Baker."

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Confutatis maledictis: Musical marsupial (and aspiring treble?)

A tour that went entirely unnoticed by me last October was that of Australia by the Herning Boys' Choir of Denmark. They gave concerts in Sydney in October 2014, and in their spare time, gave singing lessons to some very special individuals:

After years of claiming that Catholics were incapable of learning to sing in Latin, the normative language of the Roman Rite especially in relation to the Holy Mass, the Holy See was left red-faced when it learned of this enterprising koala's feats. Some commentators have downplayed the significance of the video, suggesting that the koala in question represents a dying movement (the reform of the reform) that reached its peak in the pontificate of Benedict XVI, but had its genesis in Pope Saint John Paul II's reign:

"I taught him the Pater Noster!"

"That was a fine rendition of Bruckner's Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, well done! (If only I could promote you to bishop ...)"