Funny how things work out. I was just talking about this Mass the other day.
This is from a priest reader:
Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,
Here at Holy Redeemer [in El Dorado, AR] we will celebrate the first Sunday of Advent with Haydn’s Kleine orgelmesse. Every year we sponsor a concert by the Polish Orchestra Sinfonia around this time. This year I have arranged for them to assist at the main Sunday Mass. (All our Masses are novus ordo.) Since it’s Advent, we will omit the Gloria, and the rather extensive Benedictus will be sung during Holy Communion. A chant Benedictus will be sung after the first Ossana. As a musician and priest, I have tried to rescue our musical patrimony from the concert hall and bring it to its rightful home. It often seems to be a losing battle, but I’m stubborn. I enjoy your blog very much.
I applaud the desire to reclaim the wonderful patrimony of sacred music Holy Church has in her long neglected treasury.
My only hesitation with this is that instrumental music is by law and tradition not allowed during Advent:
Sonus organi aliroumque musicalium instrumentorum permittitur tantum ad cantum sustendandum.
While I suppose we can interpret this very broadly. After all, for an orchestral Mass of the Viennese school, the instruments do sustain singing by the choir. They don’t play by themselves without singing all that much. Still, it seems to me that an orchestral Mass goes a bit beyond the rubric above that:
The playing of the organ and other musical instruments is permitted only to sustain singing.
Nevertheless, it is good to see that priests are doing what they can to reclaim our great heritage for our Catholic people, to whom it justly belongs.