Sacred Music

Articles from Vol. 136, No. 4, Winter

A Collection of Wisdom and Delight
A Life in Music: Conversations with Sir David Willcocks and Friends. Ed. William Owen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. 304pp. ISBN# 978-0-19-336063-1. A Plain and Easy Introduction to Gregorian Chant. Susan Treacy, Ph.D. 97pp. Charles Town,...
A Gift to Priests
Blessed is the Ordinary: Stepping Stone Chant Project. Michael Olbash, conductor, BRAV-0822, braverecords.com, 2008. This beautifully-sung chant CD gives us the Mass in the ordinary form in Latin for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday of the Year. Here we...
Between Tradition and Innovation: Sacred Intersections and the Symphonic Impulse in Haydn's Late Masses
With respect to composition, Catholic Church music up until several years ago still had much of its own special character. But nowadays operatic music also forces its way into churches everywhere, and, what is worse, [it is] the insipid Italian opera...
Gregorian Chant: Invention or Restoration?
In a very stimulating article "Sacred Music, Sacred Time," David P. Goldman makes an astonishing claim: "Musicologists have proved that the "ancient chant" promulgated in the nineteenth century by the Benedictines of Solesmes was, in fact, their own...
Haydn's Nelson Mass in Recorded Performance: Text and Context
In his 1995 article on editions of Haydn's "Nelson" Mass (Missa in Angustiis, Hob. XXII:11, 1798), Denis McCaldin observes: "It may not be over-extravagant to suggest that the twentieth-century revival of interest in Haydn (the so-called Haydn Renaissance)...
Musical Instruments and the Mass
Since this issue of Sacred Music is devoted to orchestral masses, I thought that I would say a few words about the use of orchestral instruments (and, in general, instruments other than the organ) at Mass. I think there is an interesting analogy to...
"Requiem per Me": Antonio Salieri's Plans for His Funeral
Antonio Salieri composed a Requiem Mass in 1804 for his own obsequies twenty-one years before his death in 1825. Advance preparation of funeral music by a composer for himself is an unusual act. One other composer who did this was Guillaume Dufay,...
Seeking the Living: Why Composers Have a Responsibility to Be Accessible to the World
It is a sad fact that during nine years of primary school music education and almost ten years of higher education in composition, it never once occurred to me that I could function as a composer within the Catholic Church. Despite being a cradle Catholic,...
Singing in Unison? Selling Chant to the Reluctant Choir
"But we want to sing real music! Chant isn't real music." How many choir directors have heard that refrain when they introduce chant? What is "real music"? To many singers, that means music in parts, whether a choral octavo of a contemporary piece,...
Sunday Vespers in the Parish Church
Sunday Vespers in the parish church is still part of the living memory of Americans who came of age in the decades before and after World War II. Up through the middle of the twentieth century, "Vespers were a part of regular Sunday observance in virtually...
The Ageless Story
I recently acquired The Ageless Story: With Its Antiphons, pictured by Lauren Ford, a slim children's book on the boyhood of Christ, beginning with his grandmother, St. Anne. Printed in 1939 by Dodd, Mead, and Company, Inc., it was the 1940 Caldecott...
The Chant Pilgrimage: A Report
Anyone who doubts the vibrancy and growth of sacred music in our time should consider the Chant Pilgrimage of 2009, held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., September 25-26. It was organized to provide a two-day...
The Lost Collection of Chant Cylinders
The following article, adapted slightly from a talk presented to the thirtieth annual conference of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections held at Kansas City, Missouri in 1996, is reprinted with permission from the ARSC Journal, 29, no. 2...
The Masses of William Byrd
The Ordinary of the Mass was a principal genre in the Renaissance, and most Renaissance composers gave it considerable attention. The masses of William Byrd are among the most distinguished of the genre. The first polyphonic mass I ever sang was William...
The Role of Beauty in the Liturgy
[This sermon was delivered at the extraordinary form Mass following the Chant Pilgrimage, September 26, 2009, National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.] A thing of beauty is a joy forever Its loveliness increases; It will never pass into nothingness....
Viennese Classical Masses?
The present issue includes several articles touching upon the sacred music of Viennese classicism. This provides an opportunity to reflect upon questions that arise concerning that repertory. These have been persistent questions, asked in their own...
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