Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vespers of SS Peter & Paul at the London Oratory

Here are photographs taken this afternoon at Vespers of St Peter and St Paul at the London Oratory. The first two photographs are of statues of St Peter and St Paul by Mazzuoli. Mazzuoli's twelve Apostles formerly stood on the piers of the Nave of Siena Cathedral and were carved between 1679 and 1695. Mazzuoli was a pupil of Bernini and the set of the Twelve Apostles was the single most important commission of his busy career. They were removed from the Romanesque Cathedral in 1890 when the baroque style was at its nadir and purchased by the Oratory from a warehouse in Genoa in 1895, on the strength of photographs alone.

The Oratory's bronze statue of St Peter is a copy of the famous statue in St Peter's in Rome. The papal tiara is an exact copy (slightly larger than life size, just as the statue is) of the papal tiara that Pope Pius XII was crowned with at his coronation on the balcony of St Peter's on March 12th 1939. Today's Solemn Vespers and Benediction were followed by the procession to the statue of St Peter enthroned. (Photos: Charles Cole)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Perosi's Tu es Petrus

Here is the original copy of Perosi's 'Tu es Petrus' which he wrote in 1905. Underneath the title it is possible to make out his dedication to the Pope, who at that time was St Pius X:

This copy now hangs on the wall in the office of Fr Pierre Paul, 'Magister' of the Cappella Giulia, the Choir of St Peter's Basilica, who was kind enough to show it to me when I was in Rome last week for the Sacra Liturgia Conference. You can hear the piece being sung here by the Sistine Choir:

You can download a free performing edition from CPDL. Happy Feast! (Photos: Charles Cole)

60th Ordination Anniversary - Solemn Pontifical EF Mass - Melbourne

On June 23rd, the Catholic Community of Bl. John Henry Newman, who has been featured here before, had a solemn pontifical Mass for the occasion of The Most Rev Basil Meeking's 60th anniversary of priestly ordination. Some readers also may recognize the subdeacon, blogger Fr Timothy Finigan.

A hearty NLM congratulations to Bishop Meeking, and a thank you for his service to the church over these 60 years.

Update: Additional pictures can be found here.

Sacred Music is the About the Future: Interview on Vatican Radio

Here is an interview I did with Vatican Radio about the subject of the paper I presented at the Sacra Liturgia conference this week in Rome. 

Listen to the complete interview of Jeffrey Tucker with Christopher Wells: RealAudioMP3 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bonaventure on Beautiful Representations of Devils, Distortion and Ugliness

As mentioned in the last posting, here is St Bonaventure on how the representation of ugly things can be beautiful: 'The Beauty of the image of the painting refers to its model in a manner that is not worthy of veneration in itself, as when the image of the Blessed Nicholas is vernarated; but Beauty refers to the model in such a way that it is to be found in the image too, and not solely in the subject it represents. Thus two modes of Beauty may be found in the image, although it is obvious that there is only one subject of the image. For it is clear that the image is called beautiful when it is well painted, and it is also called beautiful when it is a good representation of the person whose image it is, and that this is another cause of Beauty emerges from the fact that one can be present in the absence of another; which is precisely why we may say that the image of the devil is beautiful when it well represents the turpitude of the devil and as a consequence of this aspect  it is also repugnant.'

Here is Matthias Grunewald's painting of temptation.

This is a detail from his Visit of St Anthony and St Jerome and the Temptation of St Anthony, some details of the latter follow.

More details follow

It always strikes me that every picture of Christ on the cross, which demonstrates the work of the devil, can fall into this category as well. Contributing to the our sense of its beauty is our knowledge of what such a picture is communicating - Christian hope that transcends all our own suffering. This is particularly striking for me in the famous Grunewald crucifixion. As many will know, this was painted for people in a hospital suffering from a fungal infection that people in this part of France incurred by eating rye bread (we now know). The Christ in the painting is bearing the wounds of the passion and the mutilations and sores of the fungal infection. The message is very clear. Take heart, Christ bears all your suffering too.

(Once, again, just to change the focus slightly, notice how the artist has not painted a portrait. The whole person of Christ is emphasises but the facial features are in shadow.)

The quotation from Bonaventure by the way, is from his Commentary on the Four Books of Sentences, I, 31, 2. I found it in Umberto Eco's History of Beauty, Rizzoli, New York. Umberto Eco is an interesting character in that the last I heard he is not a believer, and he does not hold to the view that beauty is an objective quality. Yet his works on aesthetics explain the medieval understanding of beauty and especially the idea of its objectivity as well as any that I know of. The book I refer to is jam packed with quotes from great figures of the Church, which makes it a great resource from lazy and vain bloggers, especially those who have pretensions to scholarship and want to give the impression they are well read without actually doing the me.

Missa Cantata in Queens, NY

On June 19, 2013 in The Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, A Sung Latin Mass "Missa Cantata" was said in Holy Child Jesus Catholic Church in Richmond Hill, Queens. The Mass was part of the event "Grilling With God", which includes Mass or Holy Hour, followed by a barbecue fellowship with a talk.

In this case the topic was "Faith and Tradition" and no other way to express tradition than the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The Celebrant and speaker was Rev. Fr. Daniel Champoli of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, whose has been advocating for the use of the Extraordinary Form. To my knowledge, this was the first Latin Mass ever in this Church since the reforms of the council.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mass in Sna Rita da Cascia alle Vergini, Rome

Below, you can find photos of an OF Mass celebrated in the church of the Archconfraternity of St Rita of Cascia, Via dell'Umilita, Rome, - a short distance from the Via del Corso and the Trevi Fountain-  taken approximately three weeks ago. It was a ferial vesperal mass. The Mass was celebrated ad orientem. Both Italian and Latin was used.

Archbishop Alexander Sample addresses the responsibility of Bishops

Posting from the event as it is taking place at Sacra Liturgia 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ordination at the FSSP Parish in Rome, June 22, 2013

This past Saturday, the Fraternity of St. Peter’s Roman Parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, hosted the ordination of one of their own, Fr. Massimo Botta, and of two Sons of the Divine Redeemer, Fathers Magdala Maria and Yousef Maria. The ordinations were conferred by Archbishop Guido Pozzo, the former Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei commission, now serving as the Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities. NLM is very happy to offer our heartiest congratulations to the newly ordained priests and to their orders: ad multos annos! (Photographs of the ordination itself courtesy of the Catholic News Agency and Mr. Alan Holdren.)

Abp Pozzo speaks with the ordinands before the ceremony.
The prostration of the ordinands during the Litany of the Saints.
Fr Magdala is dressed by the archbishop in priestly stole and chasuble.
Fr Yousef’s hands are blessed after being anointed.

Splendours of Venice sung by Westminster Cathedral Choir

A concert not to be missed: 'Splendours of Venice' is an opportunity to hear the Choir of Westminster Cathedral join forces with His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts in a celebration of choral and instrumental music by composers with strong Venetian associations. Monteverdi, Giovanni Gabrieli, Croce, Merulo, Hassler, Grillo, Frescobaldi and Guami are all represented, and Motets in 4, 8, 12 and 16 parts are interspersed with movements from Monteverdi's Mass (published in 1651), his five-part Beatus vir and eight-part Magnificat. Westminster Cathedral is the perfect setting, its Byzantine styling very much a visual echo of San Marco, and the siting of singers in the galleries and the use of the Cathedral's organs will provide dramatic effect.

The programme includes Croce's stunning eight-part motet In spiritu humilitatis. This setting of the Offertory Prayer opens very modestly with two four-part choirs singing a dialogue of answering phrases rendered in charming simplicity. Later the two choirs join to form an eight-part texture from which emerges a sequence of suspensions of absolutely breathtaking beauty. The concert, directed by the Master of Music, Martin Baker, takes place next Wednesday (3 July) at 7.30pm at Westminster Cathedral. You can buy tickets here.

Full programme:

Iubilate Deo, Giovanni Gabrieli
Gloria (1651 Mass), Monteverdi
Toccata quarta del secondo tuono (Primo libro), Merulo
Beatus vir, Monteverdi
Canzon Terza à 8, Grillo
In spiritu humilitatis, Croce
Hassler Canzon Duodecimitoni à 8, Hassler
Sanctus (1651 Mass), Monteverdi
Toccata Cromaticha per l'Elevatione (Messa della Domenica - Fiori Musicali), Frescobaldi
Agnus Dei (1651 Mass), Monteverdi
O sacrum convivium, Hassler
Canzon La Lucchesina à 8, Guami
Magnificat a 8, Monteverdi
Canzon Terza à 6, Giovanni Gabrieli
Plaudite omnis terra, Giovanni Gabrieli
Omnes gentes plaudite, Giovanni Gabrieli

Sacra Liturgia Meets, Prays, Sings

Last night at the NLM "blognic" meetup at the Open Baladin -- attended by some 40 people all crammed into a pretty small space -- Gregory DiPippo said to me: "I assume you will be making regular posting on the blog about the conference." I sort of gulp a bit.

For one thing, I've yet to figure out a stable solution to the internet issue. You know how it is when you travel. There are all sorts of issues with international roaming, 3-G, data connections from your hotspots, local tricks with the wireless, blank spots, time limits, posting issues over time zones, and so much else. It takes days to figure it all out. I'm right now typing from my hotel room, listening to the bird song outside my window and wondering why the birds in Rome never sleep, and just grateful that I have (for now) and connection that will allow me to post at all.

In sum, here is my brief report: this conference is more successful than the organizers expected. I saw 300 plus people at the Vespers last night and probably 50 people were standing in the back. This service was not even open to the public. So a success so far? I would say so. The mood is at once serious and exuberant.

Dom Alcuin Reid has accomplished something extraordinary here. The liturgy book itself is a feat: a large hardback volume with all the music and words plus translations in four languages. It is a marvel unto itself. The liturgy was beautifully sung as the schola that sings at a local extraordinary form Mass led us in some very tricky Mode III Psalm singing that certainly kept me on my toes.

The schedule of speakers is so spectacular that it tempts anyone who came here as an excuse to sightsee to skip the sights and stay closely connected to this conference. It all begins again at 9:00am today.

I'm truly not sure how much I can really blog this event but I will try to post a few more items as the week progresses.

Fr. Z has has excellent images from the Vespers, and here are some more scenes from last night's blognic.
William Mahrt, president CMAA

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