Mozart Orchestral TLM 1st Mass in St. Louis

A kind reader sent links to YouTube videos of a first Mass this past Sunday July 13, 2008 at the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis.  It is for the first Mass of Fr. Henrique Fragelli of the ICK.

Alas, none of the video’s show the Mass, but rather show only the band choir and schola.

The Oratory choir and supplemented with members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (trumpet, violin, cello, timpani).  This reminds me of the way Msgr. Richard Schuler set up the Twin Cities Catholic Choral.  I am reminded of Msgr. Hellriegel as well. 

The band does a reasonably good job of it and the schola is quite competent. Also, there are undesirable solos by an ankle-biter.

They broke the video into smaller chunks, each having a rather long text intro and exit, alas.  I wonder if that was necessary.

In any event, here is one of the six.  They seemed to be out of the regular order of Mass as they were sent to me, so I just picked one.


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  1. rick says:

    Our Lord Jesus Christ,in all His Rightful Glory here on earth!
    Blesssed be God, in His Angels and in His Saints!

  2. Cory says:

    Fr. Fragelli will be visiting the Shrine of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in August and will say Mass there for anyone that’s is interested.

  3. freddy says:

    Our family was blessed to be able to assist at low Mass celebrated by Fr. Fragelli in Dayton, OH at Our Lady of the Rosary Church this past Friday. It is an inspiration to all families when a new priest gives so generously of his time.

  4. Cathguy says:


    That “ankle biter” might be one of your brother priests one day Fr. Z. His pronunciation of “me” at the beginning is DEAD ON.

  5. Ankle says:

    What does “ankle biter” mean?

    Thank you

  6. Brian Kopp says:

    Fr. Fragelli celebrated a low mass on Wednesday morning, July 9, 2008 at the chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Monastery of St. Therese of Lisieux, Loretto PA. I posted several pictures here:

  7. MacBeth says:

    Not a “band,” Fr. “Chamber musicians” is more accurate. [Wow… unclench a little! – Fr. Z (former professional musician, inter alia] Thanks for posting about these videos.

  8. MacBeth says:

    Hehe…sorry, Fr. I _know_ you know…Just striving for slavish accuracy ;) .

  9. Ankle:

    Ankle-biters are little creatures, of varying size; some crawl, some walk on two legs; they make a variety of noises; in pleasant moments, a kind of cooing and even giggling, and at times they eerily mimic human language, but more often they simply shriek. They sleep a lot but often only for short periods at a time. At a certain point in their development, they enter a cocoon, and emerge as teenagers.

  10. ordinary catholic says:

    Unfortunately, the video picked at random was of the “Asperges Me” before the Mass began–no Mozart in that. Marcus Ablen, who shot the videos, has all of them on the YouTube website, using “Mozart Mass St. Francis de Sales” in the search engine. Each video captures one or two parts of the Ordinary. My favorite is the “Kyrie.” When I hear this Mass, I think “Marty Haugen, eat your heart out.”

  11. Locutus says:

    The organ was too loud during this “Asperges”, covering up the singers a bit… the ankle biter could have been objecting.

  12. Mark says:

    FYI – when I ‘clicked’ on the video – I was rudely told that the video is no longer availble which is unfortunate.

  13. Brendan says:

    I’ve never been much of a fan of orchestral Masses. It’s too much of a performance and I feel it doesn’t belong in the Sacred Liturgy.

  14. Scott W. says:

    Video no longer available.

    I’ve never been much of a fan of orchestral Masses. It’s too much of a performance and I feel it doesn’t belong in the Sacred Liturgy.

    I tend to agree and that is where the fans of trendy McMusic get it wrong. They think I want to replace electric keyboards, drums and gutairs with violin and brass sections playing Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Tain’t so for the same reason you mention: it starts resembling entertainment rather than worship.

  15. megotoaz says:

    I was there for Father H. Fragelli’s Mass in Saint Louis this last Sunday. It was the first time I’ve been to a Mass where a chamber ensemble performed, and that was easily the most complicated Mass — musically speaking — that I’ve heard in person. In short: I hated it! Was the point to offer the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary, or to hear a bunch of musicians gratify their egos in a magnificent Church? The Mozart Mass was an interesting idea, but hopefully something they never attempt again.

    To anyone else who was there: am I the only one who was put off by the organist? And what the heck was that quasi-new-age variation on the theme of the Veni Creator Spiritus that was played during the processional? And why did the organist feel the need to be playing something at every moment of the liturgy — except for the consecration, thankfully! — when neither the choir nor priest had an audible part? Seriously: do we need an interlude for the few moments between the end of the Gospel and the beginning of the sermon? Or during the Last Gospel? Tone back the adoration of Wagner and try some subtlety… or a capella, which is always superior to chamber music or organ accompaniment, in my opinion.

  16. Novus Ordo-Catholic says:

    I was there too, and found it to be the most beautiful Mass I had ever seen.

    I was born after the “change” in the Mass, and I have never seen it quite so sacred, Catholic, and holy. The Institue of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is wonderful!

    I don’t understand the “personal” comments from megotoaz, I guess people have different tastes, but you shouldn’t sound so hateful in making your remarks.

    The Mass was beautiful!

  17. John says:

    In response to megotoaz, I was at the Mass and was spiritually moved by the music. If you didn’t enjoy it remember to et up earlier and go to the 8am low Mass.

  18. Locutus says:

    I am an organist and agree totally with megatoaz. There has to be moments of silence during the mass. Too much “traveling music” on the organ reduces the efficacy and beauty of the mass music settings, chant , and any motets sung.

  19. ordinary catholic says:

    I,too, love Gregorian chant and a capella voices. I complained mightily when chant was exiled after Vatican II–it is part of our heritage as Roman Catholics. However, I would not like to see all music other than chant swept away in another iconoclastic movement. Those who are purists need to be tolerant of some diversity, here. The Pope himself is fond of polyphony, and as a lover of Mozart he would probably enjoy a Mass by Mozart. Mozart wrote this Mass to be sung at Mass, not primarily in concert halls.

  20. Mark S of New Haven says:

    As a member of the Oratory Parish, I cannot find sufficient words to express the beauty of last Sunday’s (and EVERY Sunday for that matter) Mass.

    We all develop varying tastes during the course of our lives, and ‘megotoaz’ has made it clear in his or her comments that the music at this Mass was not to their liking. However, I wonder if they aren’t trying to convey an even deeper expression of “hate” with their destructive comments.

    Their comments do not reflect a genuine ignorance of various traditional Mass music types, rather they reflect an agenda driven expression of envy or pure hatred.

    Surely ‘megotoaz’ would agree that it’s possible that he/she could cook their favorite meal for guests only to learn that they did not care for it by expressing it politely. Imagine the cook’s reaction however if the dinner guests expressed themselves as ‘megotoaz’ did in his/her post.

    Perhaps if nothing else ‘megotoaz’ could apply the motto of the Institute to future posts; Veritatum Facientes In Caritate!

    Mark S
    New Haven, MO

  21. megotoaz says:

    @Novus Ordo-Catholic: I, too, was born after the changes, I’m a cradle-Catholic, and have only ever attended one novus ordo Mass (my grandmother’s funeral), so I have to take you word for it that a half-baked attempt at a Mozart Mass is better than what is at the novus ordo. I believe you, I just have no personal frame of reference on the question. As for not getting what I meant: I’m getting at the purpose of sacred music and contrasting the ideal to last Sunday’s choir performance. The music should never have such volume or dynamism as to interfere with a worshiper’s ability to engage in mental prayer. When you’ve got a chamber ensemble tuning up before Mass, how exactly am I supposed to make my mental preparation and prepare myself for partaking in the Holy Sacrifice? Music is to support the liturgy, not compete with it!

    @John: Good for you that you were moved by the music… but moved how? When I want to be emotionally moved by a musical performance I go see a Puccini opera. When I want to intellectually moved I put on some Mozart. When I want to be spiritually moved a little I opt for Palestrina and when I want to be moved more I grab a CD by the Solesmes monks. In the context of a Missa Solemnis the only appropriate role for the music is to be spiritually uplifting, to reinforce the reality that at Mass I’m at the threshhold of Heaven itself. An overbearing performance is quite counter-productive to that goal.

    @Mark S: First, megotoaz is a “he.” Second, what I “hated” was how the music competed with the Mass for prominence (while not even maintaining proper time between the singers and accompaniment or staying on key). Perhaps the problem was the smallness of the Church: maybe if the Mass had been at the Cathedral the volume of the building and acoustic characteristics would have had a beneficial effect in reducing the ambient audible level.

    I will freely admit that I had very, very high expectations based on what I heard about the original performance of the Mozart Mass (back in May?) as well as how absolutely perfect the liturgy and music were the day after ordinations last year (if you want to see a grand liturgy done right, your choices are the Vatican or any ICRSS chapel!). Given those expectations I was underwhelmed and disappointed, especially by the organist.

    I’ll say it again: grand music is nice, but if you can’t do it right just stick to a capella and plain chant. The purpose of sacred music is to support the liturgical motif, not to compete with it.

  22. Mark P. says:

    “hear a bunch of musicians gratify their egos”

    Why not accept the performance as an act of glory to Almighty God rather than judging the motivation of the singers and orchestra?

  23. Saved by Grace says:


    We get your point! You are full of hate, pride, and you come off very judgemental. By the continued discent you spill out here I would almost bet you have no friends. [Wow. You are so banned from this blog. – Fr. Z]

    Your more than one “shot” at the organist makes me believe you hold a speical grudge against him personally. Is that true? Do you know him? Or is it that your mad at something else?

    Would you really like to be honest with the people whom you have engaged?

    If you did not like the music at the High Mass, why not offer something helpful instead of venom?

    People like you make me sick and you should be ashamed of your comments. You are no more full of Christ the satan. You cause disent, your self righteous attitude makes you very ugly.

    Go to Confession my friend.

  24. megotoaz says:

    Your more than one “shot” at the organist makes me believe you hold a speical grudge against him personally. Is that true? Do you know him? Or is it that your mad at something else?

    Wouldn’t know him (or her?) from Adam (or Eva).

    I’m rather surprised that (some of) y’all are taking my criticism of Sunday’s performance from the choir loft as a personal attack. Yes, in my first post on this thread I used the “h-word” but that was not at the musicians and singers. Too aggressive of a word? Maybe, but my expectations for the Mass were clearly set too high based on the sublimely beautiful First Mass the day after the ordinations last year. Everything about that ceremony was perfect, including the choir: subtle, sonorous, angelic. Don’t mistake my criticism of the organist as some kind of personal vendetta: I treat tenors and sopranos the same way when they botch an operatic performance (it’s not personal, it’s about the music). The organist sounds like he’s very talented, just reaching a bit much and trying too hard to impress.

  25. Mark S. New Haven, MO says:

    “I treat tenors and sopranos the same way when they botch an operatic performance (it’s not personal, it’s about the music)”

    You don’t get it megotoaz. These are young highly motivated, extremely dedicated people who GIVE their time to the Church. They work hard and learn so much from the Choir Director. You come to the Mass and publicly post a ‘review’ that is vicious and hurtful. You offer no information or qualifications for where your ‘insights’ are based, and you don’t even have the decency to identify yourself.

    How powerful you must feel when you can deride and criticize individuals who are working very hard to accomplish one single goal; to give greater Glory to God through the talents he has given to them.

    The measure of power that you feel from your words is unfortunatley equaled by the small-ness of your character, in posting this way.

  26. megotoaz says:

    To Mark S. and anyone else who wants to: contact me at megotoaz at gmail dot com and we can chat about this without making a mess of Father’s blog. I’m still confused why anyone thinks I’m personally criticizing anybody else, but such is life, apparently. If you want to take it up with me you’ve got the address.

  27. I made the videos. I apologize for the poor audio, and even worse video quality, and the whole blame goes the man behind the camera (me). I made them private after I uploaded them, because I wanted to see if I could improve them a bit before giving them out to the wider world. But by all means, keep this one running! I should have all of them up and running by tomorrow.

    Unfortunately, YouTube has a limit of 10 minutes per video. The purpose of the long titles is to give credit where credit is due, and I wanted each section to stand alone. Sorry if they are annoying! I added music over some of the titles to hopefully make them a bit more interesting.

    I enjoyed the music to the Mass, but I can see how someone not used to hearing an orchestral Mass could have problems with it. However, is very good for the Church to reclaim her cultural patrimony from the concert halls and radio stations.

  28. Michael says:

    Fr. Fragelli celebrated Mass this evening in Oakland,CA. He preached a beautiful homily on prayer and what it means for us. It was a wonderful occasion – my first “live” experience of the Extraordinary Form. It certainly won’t be my last!

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