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Articles on this Page
- 06/07/17--06:22: _Announcing a Concer...
- 06/07/17--08:33: _Ember Wednesday of ...
- 06/07/17--11:39: _Phoenix Chasuble
- 06/08/17--02:36: _Sacra Liturgia Mila...
- 06/08/17--11:36: _Developing a Canon ...
- 06/08/17--15:12: _An Old Parisian Seq...
- 06/09/17--06:41: _Dominican Rite Corp...
- 06/09/17--08:20: _Dominican Rite Sole...
- 06/09/17--10:18: _Ember Friday of the...
- 06/09/17--13:42: _Pentecost Photopost...
- 06/10/17--04:32: _Sacra Liturgia: Mod...
- 06/10/17--10:09: _Ember Saturday of P...
- 06/11/17--04:52: _Solemn Pontifical M...
- 06/12/17--04:56: _The Feast of the Ho...
- 06/12/17--05:00: _Sacred Music from t...
- 06/12/17--16:05: _Double Lecture at S...
- 06/13/17--08:34: _Marian Apologetics ...
- 06/13/17--11:09: _EF Corpus Christi i...
- 06/13/17--12:00: _EF Corpus Christ in...
- 06/14/17--05:14: _The Miraculous Resp...
- 06/07/17--08:33: Ember Wednesday of Pentecost 2017
- 06/07/17--11:39: Phoenix Chasuble
- 06/08/17--15:12: An Old Parisian Sequence for Thursday in the Octave of Pentecost
- Pentecost Sunday: Fulgens præclara Paraclyti Sancti
a subdivision of an old French prose for Easter, prior to the year 1000.
- Pentecost Monday: Sancti Spiritus adsit nobis gratia
by Notker the Stammerer (c. 840 † 912).
- Pentecost Tuesday: Lux jucunda, Lux insignis
by Adam of St. Victor († 1146).
- Pentecost Wednesday: Simplex in essentia
by Adam of St. Victor.
- Pentecost Thursday: Qui procedis ab utroque
by Adam of St. Victor.
- Pentecost Friday: Alma chorus Domini
an anonymous French composition, prior to 1000.
- Pentecost Saturday Pentecost: Veni, Sancte Spiritus
by Stephen Langton (c. 1150 † 1228).
- 06/09/17--06:41: Dominican Rite Corpus Christi in New York City
- 06/09/17--08:20: Dominican Rite Solemn High Mass for Corpus Christi, Portland OR
- 06/09/17--10:18: Ember Friday of the Octave of Pentecost 2017
- 06/09/17--13:42: Pentecost Photopost 2017
- 06/10/17--10:09: Ember Saturday of Pentecost 2017
- 06/12/17--04:56: The Feast of the Holy Trinity and Octave of Pentecost 2017
- 06/12/17--05:00: Sacred Music from the Land of Fátima
- Gaudete cum laetitia and O Magnum Mysterium by Estevao Lopes Morago (1575-1630), a Spaniard by birth who chose Portugal as his home;
- Dulcissima Maria by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599), by far the best known composer on this recording;
- Audivi vocem de caelo and Magnificat (II toni) by Duarte Lobo (1565-1646), a priest-composer who was maestro at the Lisbon Cathedral;
- Turbae quae praecedabant and Accepit ergo Jesus panes by Mauel Cardoso (1566-1650), a Portuguese Carmelite friar and friend of Portugal’s composer-king John IV;
- Ave Maria by Juan Esquivel (1560-1625), a Spanish composer who greatly influenced the course of Portuguese composition;
- Salve Regina by Diogo Dias Melgás (1638-1700), who, while living well into the Baroque period, was very conservative in his musical style.
- 06/13/17--08:34: Marian Apologetics - An Interview with Fr Sebastian Carnazzo
- 06/13/17--11:09: EF Corpus Christi in New Jersey
- 06/13/17--12:00: EF Corpus Christ in Southampton, England
- 06/14/17--05:14: The Miraculous Responsory of St Anthony of Padua
i. After the Lord had risen from supper
ii. The Lord Jesus, after he had supped
iii. Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
iv. If I, your Lord and Master
v. By this shall all men know
vi. A new commandment give I unto you
vii. Let there abide in you
2. Tantum Ergo II, III, V (2013), dedicated to Sean Gordon Lewis
3. Reproaches for Good Friday, Setting II (2013), in English & Greek
4. Reproaches for Good Friday, Setting V (2016), in Latin & Greek
5. Venit Jesus, from Three Easter Motets (2010)
7. O Clarissima Mater (2013), text by St. Hildegard of Bingen
8. Christus Natus (2014)
9. The Coventry Carol (2010)
10. My Jesus, Mercy (2013)
11. O Passio Magna (2014)
12. Non vos relinquam (1994)
13. Two Settings of Psalm 116 (2013), dedicated to Benedict XVI
Tickets may be pre-ordered at Eventbrite. Tickets will also be available at the door. Please help spread the word among lovers of sacred music who live in the greater Chicago area. I will be there (of course...) and greatly look forward to meeting people before and afterwards!
(Videos of several of my compositions may be found at this link; the web page for my book of Sacred Choral Works is here. For an interview with Aleteia on how I got into sacred music, my work as a composer, and the Church's lofty vision for the art of music, visit this page. For a second interview with Aleteia about the irreplaceable role of choirs in the Church, visit this page.)
Photo in poster courtesy of Fr. Lawrence Lew. O.P.
The Preaching of St Peter at Pentecost, by Masolino da Panicale, 1426-27, in the Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence.
The chasuble was commissioned by a new religious community founded in 2016 by Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix: the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit. It was made for the First Mass of Thanksgiving of Fr Athanasius Fornwalt, FHS who is the first from among this new Franciscan community to be ordained to the Priesthood; Fr Athanasius was ordained on 3 June 2017. The "First Mass" he celebrated was of the Vigil of Pentecost, and the chasuble was commissioned for this occasion with the intention that it would also be used annually for the Friars' patronal feast of Pentecost.
I was privileged to have been involved in the conception of this vestment. In initial discussions with Br Athanasius, whose name means 'immortal' in Greek, he had hoped that the peacock (an early Christian symbol of immortality) might be seen on the chasuble. He also desired some visual reference to the diocese of Phoenix, and finally, he wondered if the quincunx flower, which is found on the garments of Our Lady of Guadalupe, might be included somehow. Uniting these three symbols is the concept of eternal life: the peacock was thought to have flesh that could not decay and thus it was taken as a symbol of immortality and eternal life; the phoenix is a symbol of the Resurrection and thus of eternal life; and the quincunx flower, we were told during our pilgrimage to Guadalupe, was an Aztec symbol of eternal life. Hence, these symbols allude to the meaning of the name 'Athanasius', as well as to the Holy Spirit being "the Lord, the Giver of Life."
Miss Gomi fulfilled most admirably the brief given to her. She recommended a fiery-red brocade that has peacocks woven into the pattern. She designed a golden phoenix to be embroidered on the back of the chasuble; it is encapsulated within a three-sided shield in reference to the Blessed Trinity. And she suggested the galloon into which the quincunx flower is woven; it is used to trim the vestment and to outline the Y-shaped Cross on the chasuble.
In addition, I asked that the Franciscan Tau-Cross logo of the Friars of the Holy Spirit be embroidered in the centre of the stole, and that the other crosses in the vestment set be reminiscent of the Dominican Cross Fleury. This signified the spiritual union between our two mendicant Orders through the love of St Francis and St Dominic for one another, and our common mission of preaching the Cross of Christ.
As an aside, some of you may recognize various elements from the Ambrosian rite that we have spoken of here on NLM before, such as the grammatae (the square apparel on the alb) and cappino (the rectangular ornament worn around the neck -- a remnant of the old apparelled amice); the uncapped thurible (a more ancient form of the thurible), the manner in which the chasuble is held during the incensations, and the position of the deacon and subdeacon at various points within the liturgy. While not shown here in these photos, the ferula (a crozier like staff, topped by an orb instead of a the crook) was also in evidence today. Were this video, you would also see many other variances from the Roman rite in liturgical texts and ceremonial. For more information on the Ambrosian rite, do look in the NLM archives.
Without further ado, the photos.
To read part 1 of this article, which was published on Tuesday, click here.
As I write this, I have just returned from a short visit to the Norbertine Canons Regular at St Michael’s Abbey in Orange County, California. I was talking about this topic with them, and one of their seminarians made the point that the Roman Canon ought to be a crucial. I realized that this is the text, perhaps more than any other, that will characterize the Roman liturgy and will contribute its distinctive imagery, differentiating it from other Rites. The Saints and the particular Old Testament archetypes referred to in it could be portrayed pictorially. For example, here is a 6th-century mosaic of the three sacrifices, those of Abel, Melchizedek and Abraham, in the church of Sant’Apollinare in Classe just outside Ravenna.
3. The Eastern Rite.
I suggest that the schema for iconostases should be studied in such a way that we can understand how they are formed by the liturgy. I would be looking at the images contained therein, and how their relative positions enable the worshipper to interact with Saints portrayed and be engaged with the mysteries represented.
To take just one example, something that was pointed out to me recently by Melkite priest Fr Sebastian Carnazzo of St Elias Melkite Catholic Church: at the centre of the iconostasis are the Royal Doors, which are opened periodically during the Divine Liturgy. These usually have icons of the Annunciation.
By this, Mary the Mother of God becomes the portal, so to speak, through which the Word is made flesh. The image above is a modern example from a church in St Petersburg, based on a 14th century Greek image, with the addition of peacocks which symbolize eternal life. When the doors are opened, we see the altar, and so the two are connected in our minds. I found the image below of Holy Resurrection Melkite Catholic Church in Columbus, Ohio, in which the large image of the Mother of God, here behind the altar, reinforces the point that her Son is between us and her. There is no image of the Resurrection itself, but the Risen Christ is visible nevertheless, is seen with the eyes of Faith on the altar.
In Chapter 8 of his book, The Orthodox Liturgy: The Development of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite,Anglican clergyman Andrew Wybrew discussed how the iconostasis developed in conjunction with the liturgy, and by the 14th century was set in an established pattern. There are a number of ordering principles at work, but generally, other things being equal, those images that are most prominent in the hierarchy will be more centrally positioned and placed physically highest in the church building. The architecture of the building and the layout develops so as to harmonize with this.
4. Study the Western tradition in the light of what we learn.
In parallel with this study, we should examine such schemata where they occur in the West, look for similarities and differences, and try to account for them. Consider, for example, the famous Ghent altarpiece from the 15th century; this is a reredos, and so, in contrast to the above, would have been situated behind the altar and not in front of it.
Nevertheless there are similarities. It also has doors, which look like this when closed:
Here too, the Annunciation is the dominant image. In addition to the prophets and patrons, there are St John the Baptist, who proclaimed the Lamb of God, and St John the Evangelist who described the moment in his Gospel.
When the doors of the reredos are opened, this scene is revealed:
As with the iconostasis, the doors open to reveal the altar with the lamb, but this is presented pictorially so as to highlight what is happening in front of it, on the altar in the church. We now see Our Lady as a Queen and John the Baptist flanking Christ in Glory, who is the “image of the Father.” (For a more detailed analysis of this, see my article on the Ghent altarpiece in the Adoremus Bulletin of March 2016. Incidentally, notice how, top left and top right we have the sacrifice by and the killing of Abel, in monochrome.)
Two of the Marian anthems sung after Compline, the Alma Redemptoris Mater and the Ave, Regina caelorum, speak directly of Mary as the doorway, the door of morning, and heaven’s gateway. These are sung in Advent and Lent, the seasons which anticipate the coming of the Lord and His Resurrection . I wonder if this connection was made with this painting by the congregations of 15th century Ghent?
The reredos will not have been the only set of images in the church. Most likely a rood screen was in front of the altar, and that will have had a crucifix. This highlights one difficulty of studying past schemata; paintings are moved or destroyed, and so we don’t know what was there originally. Mosaics might be the best indication we have of original arrangements. We know only too well today that churches are constantly re-ordered; many offer an assortment of art which reflects the favorite devotions and taste of the last pastor or patron, and are not an indication of tradition.
5. Liturgical action
One thing that has always struck me about the way that Eastern Rite Catholics worship is the more active engagement with the images during the liturgy itself. Attention sways to left and right as the Mother of God or Christ or the Patron Saint are addressed through their icons.
Many Roman Catholics do not have the facility of worshipping in conjunction with images in the way that one might see in an Eastern liturgy. I don’t know what is cause and what is effect here. It might be that the style of worship for a long time, the last couple of centuries perhaps, has been such that there is so little engagement with the art, and thus, little point in having many liturgical images. It might be that the emphasis on devotional imagery in churches has meant that the liturgy itself has become disengaged from its surroundings, because there was less and less opportunity to engage with art during worship.
Regardless of the reason, we have a situation today where even if great care is taken to choose beautiful, high quality art, and even if the liturgy is celebrated well, there is rarely a connection between art and worship. The art and architecture becomes at best a beautiful backdrop which creates an atmosphere appropriate to what is going on, rather than an integral part of a beautiful and gracefully liturgical “machine” in motion.
I suggest that thought needs to be given to how we can adapt the celebration of the Mass so that there is greater engagement. Clearly this needs to be done with care, and I would hesitate myself to make many suggestions as to exactly what could be done during the Mass itself. I would rather leave that to liturgical specialists.
I do offer a few thoughts for consideration, however. For example, the Eastern practice of putting out an icon of the day’s feast, or on related to the readings, could be adopted so that all see it as they come into the church. Then, perhaps, on processing in and out of the Church, it could be incensed and venerated. The homily could reinforce this by referring to the image - “this is why we venerated it when we came in,” etc, Furthermore, there could be processions round the church building itself before or after Mass at which the images appropriate to the liturgical calendar are venerated and incensed. Congregations would develop the habit of noting which images were appropriate to any particular day, and those thoughts would be with them during the Mass proper so that at the mention of, for example, the saint of the day during the Collect they would instinctively turn to look at the image.
I have pointed out in the past that I do not see how any artist can realistically expect to paint art that connects with prayer if he is not habitually praying with art himself. With this in mind, I have tried to develop the habit myself during Mass of turning to face the statue or painting of the saint at the moment he or she is named. Similarly, if we are addressing the Father in prayer, as in the Our Father, I try to remember look at the image of Christ, so that I address my prayer to the Father through the Son, the “image of the invisible God”, in the Spirit.
I have an icon corner at home, so that when I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, I do so in conjunction with imagery. The book The Little Oratory was written to help lay people develop this habit of engaging with imagery in the context of the liturgy, in the hope that they might subsequently bring this habit with them when they pray the Mass.
There is something else that I would ask from artists and patrons. Don’t make the symbolism of your art obscure. Liturgical art is supposed to clarify, not mystify. If someone ever wrote an article on the hidden meaning of my art, I would be flattered that it should merit such interest, but also dismayed. I don’t want meanings to be hidden, I want them to be apparent.
So, artists, I say to you: give as much information as you can on the painting to instruct people as to why it is there. This goes against the grain for many creative types. In my experience, they don't like giving explanations of the meaning of their works, preferring to keep them hidden behind a shroud of mystery and ambiguity, in order to maintain an aura of intellectual aloofness. In the context of a church, this is inappropriate; we want clarity and transparency. If necessary, add script to the image in the spoken language of those who will see it, and supply an explanation to the patron. For example, write Scriptural quotes, or references and titles not just of the image as a whole, but also of its constituent parts. To take just one small example, this is a wonderful painting of the Baptism of Christ which is appropriate for a baptistery.
For modern Roman Catholic congregations, there could be even more script. The ax and the tree are there to reflect the John the Baptist’s words, “Now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 3, 10). Perhaps the biblical reference could be placed next to the symbol. The personifications of the River Jordan and the Red Sea are there to connect this moment to their partings before Moses and Joshua. These events are the bookends of the Israelites’ departure from Egypt, and so are connected to each other and to this event, the fulfillment of that journey. The names Red Sea and River Jordan could be written next to them, as well as a reference to Psalm 113:1-7:
When Israel came out of Egypt, and the sons of Jacob heard no more a strange language, the Lord took Juda for his sanctuary, Israel for his own dominion. The seas fled at the sight they witnessed, backward flowed the stream of Jordan; up leapt, like rams, the startled mountains, up leapt the hills, like yearling sheep. What ailed you, seas, that you fled in terror, Jordan’s stream, what drove thee back? Why did you leap up like rams, you mountains, leap up, you hills, like yearling sheep? Let earth thrill at its Master’s presence; it is he that comes, the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into pools of water, the flint-stone into a springing well.
If you look at details of the Ghent altarpiece above, you will find many painted excerpts from scripture. Today’s Catholic needs more help with this than his 15th century counterpart (I know I do!), so today we should see more writing on our pictures, not less.
As a result, every member of a parish church would become a catechist and an evangelist, one who could give the neophyte or visitor a tour of the church through which he would explain the essential elements of the Faith through the images.
Recently I was given a explanation of the design of the Gothic cathedral at Salisbury in England, in which it was pointed out that it was unusual for a non-monastic church to have a covered cloister. It was there, I was told, because of the special nature of the Sarum liturgy, which originated there. Sarum is the old name for Salisbury). It had many processions, which took place in the cloister - a covered walkway built with the English rain in mind! It occurred to me that as liturgical action develops to engage art, this will not only effect the style of art, the content of the images, and the combination thereof which we see in churches; it will also affect the architecture of new churches, just as the Sarum liturgy affected the design of this cathedral. Perhaps if processions are the way, we might see a re-emergence of the cloister or covered walkway. Then we could have a planted garden of Eden in the quadrangle, which would be seen by those who process into the church, where they will be greeted with a pictorial, architectural and musical rendition of the New Jerusalem and paradise restored. Alternatively, we might see new but liturgically authentic architectural developments that characterize our age that are previously unimagined.
Appendix: existing guidelines on art.
318. In the earthly Liturgy, the Church participates, by a foretaste, in that heavenly Liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem, toward which she journeys as a pilgrim, and where Christ is seated at the right hand of God; and by venerating the memory of the Saints, she hopes one day to have some share and fellowship with them. Thus, in sacred buildings images of the Lord, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saints, in accordance with most ancient tradition of the Church, should be displayed for veneration by the faithful and should be so arranged so as to lead the faithful toward the mysteries of faith celebrated there. Care should, therefore, be taken that their number not be increased indiscriminately, and moreover that they be arranged in proper order so as not to draw the attention of the faithful to themselves and away from the celebration itself. There should usually be only one image of any given Saint. Generally speaking, in the ornamentation and arrangement of a church, as far as images are concerned, provision should be made for the devotion of the entire community as well as for the beauty and dignity of the images.
Canon Law re Sacred Images, 1186-1190, here.
In the US: Built in the Living Stone., Chapter Three
This article by Henri de Villiers was originally posted in 2014.
Here is how Paris used to arrange the sequences during the octave of Pentecost:
Many other proses were subsequently built on the rhythms and songs of Adam; especially well know is the Lauda Sion for Corpus Christi, modeled by St. Thomas Aquinas on the Laudes Crucis by Adam of St. Victor.
Today I would like to present the text and the chant of the Parisian sequence for Thursday in the Octave of Pentecost: Qui procedis ab utroque, by Adam of St. Victor.
The liturgical texts dedicated to the Holy Spirit have become relatively rare in the Latin Church. It may be interesting to renew our acquaintance with this medieval hymnographic corpus of such high quality, as this magnificent repertoire is so rich, both spiritually and musically. Here is how dom Gueranger introduces this prose in his Liturgical Year:
Here is the chant of this prose, Qui procedis ab utroque, from the excellent Proper of Paris published in 1923-1925:This great liturgical poet of the western Church has surpassed himself in what he has written on the Holy Ghost; and more than once, during the octave, we will select from his rich store. But the hymn we give to-day is not merely a composition of poetic worth; it is a sublime and fervent prayer to the Paraclete, whom Jesus has promised to send us, and whom we are now expecting. Let us make these sentiments of the devout poet of the twelfth century our own; let us imitate him in his longings for the holy Spirit, who is coming that He may renew the face of the earth, and dwell within us.
Here is a metrical translation by Digby S. Wrangham:
From the Son and from the Father,
Who proceedest equally!
Eloquent our utterance render;
With Thy splendour
In our hearts true warmth for Thee.
Love of Father, Son, together;
Equal of them both; with either
One: the same in every part!
All Thou fillest, all Thou lovest,
Stars Thou rulest, heaven Thou movest,
Though immovable Thou art.
Light the dearest!
Light the clearest!
Off Thou scarest,
As Thou nearest,
From the heart its gloomy night:
All the pure Thou purifiest,
Thou it is that sin destroyest,
And its mildew's baleful blight.
Knowledge of the truth Thou spreadest;
On the way of peace Thou leadest,
And the path of righteousness.
From Thee thrusting
Thou all trusting
Hearts and holy
Dost with gifts of wisdom bless.
When Thou teachest,
Nought obscure is!
Where Thou reachest,
Nought impure is;
And, if present Thou wilt be,
Hearts in Thee then blithely glory,
And the conscience joys before Thee,
Gladdened, purified by Thee.
Elements their mystic dower,
Sacraments their saving power,
But through Thee alone possess:
What can harm us Thou repellest,
Thou exposest and Thou quellest,
Where Thou lightest,
Hearts are brightest;
Clouds that brooded
There, before Thee disappear;
Hearts Thou truly
But thence yearnest,
When Thou comest, cares to clear.
Thou the heart, experience needing,
Dost instruct and rouse to right;
Speeches framing, tongues endowing,
Hearts Thou mak'st in good delight.
Only refuge of the poor!
Give us scorn for things terrestrial,
And to care for things celestial
Lead our longings more and more!
Of those hearts that bow to Thee!
Concord, where is discord, raising,
Ills thence chasing,
Bring us true security!
Thou, Who once by visitation
Didst inform, and consolation
To Thy scared disciples give!
Deign Thou now to come unto us:
If it please Thee, comfort show us,
And all nations that believe!
One as well in
But one God three Persons are.
Coming forth from two together,
Thou co-equal art with either,
No disparity is there.
Such as is the Father Thou art;
Since so great and such Thou now art,
By Thy servants unto Thee,
With the Sire, and Son, in heaven
Our Redeemer, praise be given,
As is due, most reverently! Amen.
|Solemn Dominican Mass at Holy Rosary|
The music will be provided by Cantores in Ecclesiaunder the direction of Blake Applegate. They will sing proper chants from the Dominican Gradual. Cantores will also be singing at the usual 11 a.m. Dominican Rite Missa Cantata this Sunday. Holy Rosary is located at 375 NE Clackamas St, Portland, OR 97232, and there is ample parking.
The next scheduled Solemn High Mass at Holy Rosary will be on June 29, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, at 7:00. The music for that Mass will be Palestrina’s Missa “Tu Es Petrus.”
|The Healing of the Paralytic, from the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, 6th century.|
Our next photopost will be for Corpus Christi; a reminder will be posted early next week. Evangelize through beauty.
Some may also be interested in the photos of a Missa Cantata that was celebrated according to the ancient Roman rite in the chapel of S. Francesco, as well as the visit to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and Duomo.
Cáritas Dei diffúsa est in córdibus nostris, allelúia: per inhabitantem Spíritum eius in nobis, allelúia, allelúia Ps 102 Bénedic, ánima mea, Dómino: et omnia, quæ intra me sunt, nómini sancto eius. Glória Patri. Sicut erat. Cáritas Dei...
Something of a principle I've established for myself in my blogging retirement (which suddenly seems more and more like a semi-retirement) is that it is likely going to take significant events, like the recent Chartres Pilgrimage or Sacra Liturgia Conference in Milan, to drag me temporarily out of my blogging slumber. I think what I am about to show you qualifies, both as an event and also for the sheer beauty of all the liturgical arts and ceremonies you are about to see.
The event in question was a Solemn Pontifical Mass held, in what I understand in the first time in a very long time, this past June 7th in the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by His Excellency, Bishop Andrew Cozzens. In point of fact he was there to both celebrate a Pontifical Mass from the Faldstool and to perform confirmations.
Before I proceed with the photos I should note that the musical setting of this Mass was Palestrina's masterwork of renaissance polyphony, the Missae Papae Marcelli -- the polyphonic composition that is said to have preserved the possibility of polyphony as a form of Catholic liturgical music.
One could hardly ask for a better musical setting and, what's more, one could hardly ask for a better architectural setting for a historic Mass such as this than the Basilica of St. Mary -- a neo-classical building that is as stunning on the outside as it is on the inside. Inside, we still have the high altar, splendidly proportioned and covered by a ciborium magnum. Beyond the architectural magnificence of the building, it was edifying to also see a very pleasing set of baroque vestments in the French tradition used for this liturgy.
But enough of the preamble. Here are the photos which come by way of Tracy Dunne Photography. (See the full photo set here.)
R. The two Seraphim cried one to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, the God of hosts: * All the earth is full of his glory. V. There are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. Holy. Glory be to the Father. All the earth.
This responsory was traditionally very prominent in the Divine Office in the Use of Rome, being sung after the eighth lesson of Matins on all the Sundays between the Octave of Epiphany and Septuagesima, and again on the Sundays between the Octave of Corpus Christi and Advent. This custom was introduced by its author, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), under whom the ordo of the Divine Office was written out which would ultimately form the basis of the Breviary of St Pius V. Odd as this may seem, given its Trinitarian theme, it was not originally written for, or used in, the Office of the Holy Trinity, which in Pope Innocent’s time had not yet been received into the Office used at the Papal court; it was only added to the feast in the Tridentine Breviary reform. Several composers have set it to polyphony for use as a motet; among the best of these is the version of Tomás Luis de Victoria.
Smooth Stone Foundation has recently released a new album entitled I heard a voice from heaven... Sacred Music from the Land of Fatima. It commemorates the Marian Apparitions by a selection of (mostly) Marian music from the Spanish and Portuguese Renaissance. This CD is very exciting as it explores very little known composers and their works: of the nine tracks on this disk, five are first professional recordings. The works and composers featured are:
Morago’s calm and homophonic O Magnum Mysterium is a little gem of quiet, and I hope to sing it with my choir this coming Christmas.
The incredible setting of the Salve Regina by Melgás is very unique; it employs an almost madrigalist word-painting and audacious chromaticism. Starting with the plainchant incipit, it moves slowly and homophonically through the first part of the text, arriving at "clamamus" with a series of surprising and descending chords. "Ad te suspiramus" is heavily accented by the breaking up of the word with a rest between each syllable. The dissonatant "flentes," the haunting "lacrymarum vale" are agin accentuated by a series of arresting chords.
Duarte Lobo’s Audivi vocem de caelo is, in a way, the album’s title track, taken from Lobo’s Requiem Mass, setting the text: “I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” With brilliant lines of polyphony that slide past each other in a dance of dissonance and consonance, I find this one of the most powerful pieces on the recording. On the word "mortui" Lobo uses long wailing melismas, ultimately leaving the piece eerily unresolved: the last chord of it will fall into place when we ourselves die, blessed, in the Lord. That is the sort of impression one gets from the music.
Timothy McDonnell conducts the Vera Voce choir for this recording. Overall they sing the repertoire extremely well. The ensemble has a good sense for the music. The sound quality or timbre of the voices is a little cool; perhaps the acoustic in which they were singing was not exceptionally reverberant. However, they have good intonation throughout, with a supple feel for dynamics and cadences. The singers are well-balanced in their straight-tone style (none of the "death by soprano overdose" problem that so many Renaissance recordings have).
All in all, this recording is both intriguing for the obscurity and beauty of its repertoire, while also being eminently listenable. I highly recommend it as an addition to your Iberian and/or Marian polyphony collection. It is availible from the Smooth Stone website for $25. From visiting the site, one can see the variety of projects this and other items for sale are supporting.
on Tuesday, June 27, starting a 5:30 pm, namely, traditional Vespers, a lecture by me, a lecture by Dr. John Lamont, a Q&A period, and a reception with refreshments.
In addition, representatives of Angelico Press will be on hand for the launch of my new book: Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages. Copies will be available for purchase at a special 20% discount.
It is an interview given recently by Fr Sebastian Carnazzo on Arab-American TV. Fr Carnazzo, pastor of St Elias Melkite Church in Los Gatos, California, is on the faculty of Pontifex University, and taught for several years prior to that at the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter’s seminary in Nebraska.
To draw one detail from this: in the light (if you’ll forgive the pun) of Fr Sebastian’s description, we can understand the emphasis on the strong shadow behind Mary which Fra Angelico puts in this painting of the Annunciation. Note how the Archangel Gabriel is not overshadowed in the same way, even though Mary is holier than the angels, and will be shining with the uncreated light. This arises from the gospel of Luke’s statement that Holy Spirit “overshadows“ ” Mary; this echoes the language of the Old Testament, which uses the same word to describe the place where God’s glory rests on the Ark of the Covenant. (References to the Ark of the Covenant then connect to those in the Book of Revelation).
If you want to see the role of Mary in the wider culture after watching this, you might want to read The Marian Option - God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis, by another Pontifex University faculty member, Dr Carrie Gress.
R. Si quaeris miracula, R. If you ask for miracles
Mors, error calamitas, Death, error, all calamaties
Daemon, lepra fugiunt, Leprosy and demons fly,
Aegri surgunt sani. And health succeeds informities.
* Cedunt mare, vincula: * The sea obeys, and fetters break,
Membra resque, perditas And lifeless limbs thou dost restore
Petunt et accipiunt Whilst treasure lost are found again,
Iuvenes et cani. When young and old thine aid implore.
V. Pereunt pericula, V. All dangers vanish at thy prayer,
Cessat et necessitas: And direst need doth quickly flee
Narrent hi, qui sentiunt, Let those who know thy power proclaim,
Dicant Paduani. Let Paduans say, “These are of thee.”
rep. Cedunt... Gloria Patri. Cedunt. repeat The sea obeys... Glory be. The sea obeys.
V. Ora pro nobis, beate Antoni. R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
V. Pray for us, blessed Anthony. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Oremus. Ecclesiam tuam, Deus, beati Antonii Confessoris tui atque Doctoris solemnitas votiva laetificet, ut spiritualibus semper muniatur auxiliis, et gaudiis perfrui mereatur aeternis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
Let us pray. May Thy Church, O God, be gladdened by the solemnity of blessed Anthony Thy Confessor and Doctor: that she may be evermore defended by Thy spiritual assistance and merit to possess everlasting joy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Greeks, Italians, French, Germans, Slavs and English, and other languages… as if he had spoken in their own languages … and it seemed that that ancient miracle of the Apostles at the time of Pentecost was renewed, when they spoke by the power of the Holy Spirit in every tongue. And they said to each other with admiration, “Is this man who preaches not a Spaniard? And how do we all hear our own language as he speaks?”
Solve, jubente Deo, terrarum, Petre, catenas,
Qui facis ut pateant caelestia regna beatis.
Release at God’s order, o Peter, the earthly chains
Who make the kingdom of heaven open to the blessed.