Exemplary Music at Sunday Papal Mass

Sunday 27 4:21 pm EDT

Tune in to EWTN or another outlet to hear an excellent example of what a largescale Mass can be.

Currently the deacon is chanting the Gospel.

16 Replies to “Exemplary Music at Sunday Papal Mass”

  1. As it hasn't been the best week for "cantors," that the finale should feature this wonderful soprano of magnificent qualities in equal measure who as far as we can tell doesn't monopolize the overall ambient. Incredible Offertory hymn and arrangement (KP, do you know what it was and by whom?) Orchestra and organ, massed choir all impeccable with their efforts. Nicely done, Philly.

  2. Very nice–until Communion. The first piece was incredibly beautiful. But I missed the chant at that moment.

    As for Gift of Finest Wheat, I would suggest that it is time for Philadelphia to move on. Nearly 40 years of a very forgettable hymn is more than a table of plenty. Why not start a new tradition?

    I understand the problems: multiple choirs who would like to contribute, for the best reasons, and a long time that needs musical "coverage," and committees. But hopefully there are better solutions.

    Overall, though: exemplary.

  3. All in all, this music was superior to anything used in Cuba or elsewhere on the Papal visit. My biggest fear with Pope Benedict's resignation was that all would be lost, but apparently that is not true. In the final analysis Pope Benedict did spark a renewed interest in the treasury of Catholic sacred music which is being championed by younger bishops, priests, and by committed Church musicians like those associated with The Chant Cafe. Deo Gratias, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

  4. TJM, that is a bona fide, inescapable conclusion I share. Even though I still quite proficiently still utilize a guitar at one of our Masses, it must be noted that save for the Zumaya piece, I did not hear a plectrum instrument particularly with six strings the whole six days. A statement was made. A stance was taken.
    If you think about it, a portion of the V2 reform documents and philosophy (even if MCW) stated that cathedral parishes had the mandated obligation to represent and foster the model of ideal practicum for parishes. I think the East Coast, by and large, did fulfill that. We can quibble and deconstruct aspects of this tour/time around, but even compared to Cuba and WTD in Rio, at least someone in the USCCB and the three archdioceses was paying attention. The liturgical barque is substantially righted, at least as far as these massive event demands have been met.
    I have to point out that there might be some blowback regarding a perceived sequestration of the African-American gospel tradition choirs participating, vis a vis the apportionment of time to their contributions, and the absolute lack of sensitivity in DC and Philly from EWTN for assigning those times for ecclesiastical chit chat by the Papal Posse. Just saying. And you might have heard it here first.

  5. As a member of the choir, thank you for your feedback. We were honored to be part of the mass. The choir and orchestra leadership put countless hours into making this happen.. They deserve our gratitude. The offertory was Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom by Andrew Ciferni and Norman Gouin. It was selected as the official hymn of the World Meeting of Families. http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/about-the-event/h

  6. The first communion piece was an original composition of the proper communion antiphon, which, I think set an example for composers to take on the task of setting the propers in a new way, just as the great composers of the past did, as an alternative to the chant setting at that moment. There was certainly a lot of chant during the mass.

  7. "from EWTN for assigning those times for ecclesiastical chit chat by the Papal Posse" – and not only EWTN, but also the Vatican Radio announcers during Masses at St. Peter's in Rome. It seems that the minute a piece of music begins, the announcers/anchors are "cued" to start talking. It is why I prefer to wait, and watch the "announcer-free" versions on the Vatican's Yahoo page afterwards. One does miss the English translation of the homily, but that can sometimes be read online at Rocco Palmo's blog.

  8. The Philadelphia Inquirer music critic, Peter Dobrin, positively raved about the Philadelphia Orchestra and the music at the papal Mass in Philadelphia. Under the headline, "Phila.Orchestra a Heavenly Presence: Musicians delivered a masterly, soul-searching soundtrack for Pope Francis' Mass."
    The key line, "[T]the melange of liturgy, orchestral music, choir with organ, and simple chant dressed up this Mass in the kind of aural robes and ribbons no one is likely to encounter anytime again soon."


  9. For my money the best musically was the Mass in Madison Square Gardens – all the more so in that it was outdoors – and the worst was the Vespers in the cathedral. The psalmody, sung straight through without proper Antiphons was excruciatingly badly done. Doesn't anyone know that cantors at Vespers (minimum two) are coped, in the sanctuary and facing the altar, not standing at a podium facing the congregation and painfully out of sync with everyone else, and that the psalm verses are sung alternatim?

    The whole fetish of the cantor/cantrix doing little more than drawing attention to himself/herself seems to be a north American peculiarity.

  10. In reference to the chit chat I emailed EWTN several times about using times of music to do their filler chat but apparently we've become such a sports culture that we've come to expect the rhythm of game commentary.

    As for the music overall it was much better than expected based on past huge outdoor or arena liturgies. We could conclude that we are at least making incremental progress toward a better celebration of the Roman Rite.

  11. seems to be a north American peculiarity.

    1. Not true, impossible to verify.
    2. Unnecessary coda to an otherwise insightful post.
    3. Condescending.

  12. It's condescending to assume that people can't sing Credo III without a soprano singing into a microphone. And the arm waving during the Gloria – quite unnecessary since the choir sang throughout (as did the assembled clergy) and there was a perfectly competent conductor. It smacks of 'look at me, everyone' and the cameraman obligingly did. Apart from alternating with the assembly in the Kyrie, the cantrix performed no useful function and for those of us watching online was simply a distraction.

  13. Add to your so-called criticism "petulant" and "niggardly." Your contributions are consistently better than reflected in this thread, JP. Your first sentence is patently ridiculous, even for British Catholics. Get off your horse, it's neither amusing nor beneficial.

  14. As a matter of fact there were complaints about the antics of this particular prima donna on your side of the pond, so I don't think I'm being too Eurocentric. The papal Masses in St Peter's and in the Square employ a cantor for the Responsorial Psalm (I'd rather they sang the Gradual, but that's another matter) but he doesn't raise and lower his arms in a quasi-liturgical gesture or sing over the assembly during the Ordinary. What's 'patently ridiculous' about observing that crooning the Credo into a microphone is unnecessary when you already have massed choirs and an organ? Had she sung alternate verses solo there might have been some point.

    In general the Masses were well done (Guido Marini models them on what obtains in Rome) and we were spared the bizarre extremes of 'inculturation' which characterized those of his predecessor in the post.

  15. JP, As a native "north American", let me point that the proper descriptive term on this side of the pond is Ubiquitous Abominable Cantor (UAC). Actually, I know no fellow pew-sitter who doesn't share the sentiment that is captured so well by this appellation.

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