Friday, March 24, 2006

DVD Review: The First Solemn Mass of the Reverend Michael W. Magiera, FSSP (2 discs)

As many of you know, I've reviewed various Mass videos. What I find interesting as I do so is that each and every video seems to have a particular quality which, while possibly even the same rite, is unique to it. Perhaps this is because, while there is a unity of spirit in the traditional sacred liturgy, there can be much variety in terms of the style of sacred music, the architecture, and so forth.

Fr. Michael Magiera's DVD of his first Mass is certainly no different. In fact, its probably one of the first modern DVD's out there of a certain kind of solemn celebration of the Mass which isn't so often seen these days. I say "modern DVD's" because when I first saw this DVD, I was brought to mind of an old Mass video that circulates out there in the Tridentine Mass communities. It was a black and white video, hosted in a grandiose church, possibly in Chicago. It was narrated by Fulton J. Sheen. That video was marked by the carefully choreographed liturgical movements of the priest, deacon and subdeacon as they performed the sacred rites. This DVD set is representative of that tradition, and is of significantly better production quality than the aforementioned video of a Mass in the 1950's.

There is something almost baroque about this Mass. Let me clarify. I don't mean that the setting is baroque in the sense of baroque vestments, music, or German style Baroque-Rococo architecture. Rather, what I mean is that there is certainly a sense of splendour and it is set from the get-go. The Mass is set inside the beautiful Italianate Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. As far as settings go, one can't get much better.

The grandiose architecture is matched by the impressive procession of priests, the processional banners and the beautiful golden vestments worn by the sacred ministers. The baroque quality I speak of is further carried in Fr. Magiera's deep and penetrating intonations. The choir itself is quite large and are able to fill this cathedral more than adequately. The setting used is polyphonic, including for some pieces which aren't typically set as such, such as the Asperges Me, and the choir is able to pull all this off with incredible quality and professionalism - I wouldn't be surprised if they were professionals.

From a production standpoint, the videography is excellent and includes a number of angles, many closeups of the cathedral itself as well as the art inside of it.

Fr. Magiera's first Mass DVD certainly gives one a sense of the splendour of the liturgy.

For more information, or to order the DVD, please visit: Fr. Michael Magiera's First Mass

Price: $24.99 (shipping included)

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