Under another entry commenters went down the rabbit… but with a good topic for discussion.
Orchestral music for Holy Mass…. Mozart Masses, Schubert, Haydn, Gounod, Faure, Reinberger, etc.
Kosher for the Roman Rite? Not Kosher?
Under another entry commenters went down the rabbit… but with a good topic for discussion.
Orchestral music for Holy Mass…. Mozart Masses, Schubert, Haydn, Gounod, Faure, Reinberger, etc.
Kosher for the Roman Rite? Not Kosher?
Comments are closed.
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This is a subject over which I am torn. I do not dispute for a nanosecond that they are liturgically permissible. I love the sheer beauty and majesty of the orchestral style of music for the Ordinary. They evoke a sense of the divine which is different than chant. When I sit there listening to them I think of Cherubim and Seraphim and all the choirs of heaven. On the other hand chant seems to evoke a sense of religious pilgrimage. Since I sing chant, my preference is for chant. However, I would not want to see the orchestral Masses become a mere museum piece. Tom
Isn’t that covered by this:
The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.
Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 116
Fine in their countries of origin, or in ethnic parishes – inculturation, innit – but having Mozart in Edinburgh is like having Ghanaian/Ghanian folk music in a Mass in Paris – except that the chances of there being many Austrians at Mass in Edinburgh are very slim.
As Fr Johannes Schwarz says in this video – free beer and jolly music might get people into churches, but is it really the way forward?
[Interesting video. If I had the DVD I would talk about it. But I am hoping for some substantive discussion about the actual topic of the entry. I don’t this your comparison is apt.]
I remember reading a document that explained that music in the Mass wasn’t supposed to be like a performance. I think this was in connection with the old list of music that was not permissible. I would think that this would be more tending toward the performance area and if permissible at least not as desirable as chant. Unfortunately, chant no longer has “pride of place” so anyway…
Please note I am a convert and don’t know much though I do read a lot and love music which is how i came across the document I mentioned. Wish I could remember where I found it.
Berenike, I’m not sure that applies to the music of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, etc. Always felt that this music is universal, more so than, for example, “world music” (which I love, BTW). So having Vivaldi’s Gloria at Mass would, I think, be OK — as long as it’s well rehearsed. Our choir, alas, butchered it at the Easter Vigil Mass (but that’s another story)… My point (and I do have one) is that AFAIK, it would be appropriate to use the classical repertoire for the Mass. Berlioz or Verdi Requiem — not sure, IMO they’re more suitable for the concert hall. But ANYTHING is better than the tired old folkie stuff. Argh …
I think such music is pointless in the ordinary form of mass. When it is used you are forced to listen to smug musicians perform while the mass is put on hold for them.
In the E.F such music should be used sparingly, only in a very large mass. In the E.F of mass the priest just gets on with his job, and the mass doesnt have to stop for the performers.
Personaly, I am against all music in the mass unless its sung prayer, chant ect. I find it distracting.
From Fr. Ray Blake’s excellent Saint Mary Magdalene blog:
The Papal Mass of Pentecost Sunday will honour the 200th anniversary of the death of Franz Joseph Haydn that same day (Sunday, May 31st), by way of the use of a Haydn orchestral Mass setting for that Mass. The music will be performed by the Cologne Cathedral Choir and the Cologne Chamber Orchestra and the latter report that the Mass setting will be Haydn’s Missa Solemnis in B-flat major (Harmoniemesse).
This Mass will be televised tomorrow on EWTN:
SOLEMN MASS OF PENTECOST WITH POPE BENEDICT XVI LIVE ( 90 mins)
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Solemn Mass of Pentecost, live from St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
Sun 5/31/09 3:30 AM ET / 12:30 AM PT
Sun 5/31/09 12:00 PM ET / 9 AM PT (encore)
After hearing of Pope Benedict’s apparent fondness for orchestral Masses and Mozart in particular, our Knoxville Latin Mass Community began planning our first solemn high Mass with a diocesan wide orchestra and choir singing Mozart’s Coronation Mass. We also hoped to bring the EF Mass to the attention of the larger Catholic community.
Our weekly Sunday Mass attendance had been averaging about a hundred, but an overflow congregation of well over four hundred attended this special Mass:
Polyphony, yes, when the occasion calls for it; orchestral Masses, sparingly if not rarely. If the Holy Father is ok with orchestral music at Mass, I’m ok with it. However, I much prefer chant because it encourages participation in the singing and is much simpler and, quite frankly, does not unduly delay the Mass as an orchestral setting of the Mass tends to do. Orchestral music at Mass tends to be more performance than prayer. I also prefer the organ as the ONLY instrument at Mass, in keeping with the Church’s preference for it and its “pride of place.” Personally, I think the organ trumps all other instruments for versatility, sustaining voices, and sound as well as creating that “sacred feel” at Mass. Who needs other instruments at Mass when you have an organ?
Orchestral music is beautiful and has a place at liturgy. However, like all appropriate music – even Chant- it needs to be subordinate to the liturgy and not replace it. If you ever have the opportunity to attend orchestral Masses in Austria you\’ll notice three things: the beauty of the music, how-unfortunately-the music determines when people sit and stand and not the actions in the sanctuary, and that many come not for liturgy but as students of art.
I will say that being at the Mass at St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul, Minn. with the Minnesota Catholic Chorale accompanied by members of the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Agnes Schola performing Mozart’s Requiem on All Souls Day is a very religious experience.
I must tell you that I particularly enjoy your informative posts, which always offer substantive references.
I can’t quote anyone at this time but can only offer my humble testimony that it was an orchestra Mass at Assumption Grotto on Pentecost of 2005 which really grabbed my attention. I was lifted to the heights during the Mass in ways I never experienced. This came after decades of being a “lapsed Catholic in the pew”.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had this experience.
I’ll give a shout out for my favorite that’s often overlooked.. Bruckner!
I think I agree with Berenike on this one. We’ve actually forgotten how culturally specific orchestral music is in the west. I don’t mean that transcendetal beauty is relative; but aesthetic beauty is another question altogether. On a personal level, whenever I hear the scraping of a violin in the sanctuary, it makes me think of dinner jackets, not mantles of grace. [Interesting image.]
I think orchestral masses are beautiful, on occasion. They create a different atmosphere than other liturgical music, though, and so people should be aware of that when they select orchestral music, and should only choose it when this different atmosphere is desirable to the situation.
P.S. My anti-spam words are “maniples now.” *chuckles*
I enjoy certain orchestral settings, but I don’t know how they fit into the concept of Romanitas that is so much a part of the Latin Rite (especially the Requiem Mass–shouldn’t it be simple, solemn?).
This is situation where one needs to wear sensible Roman shoe rather than shoehorning a bright-line rule of praxis:
1. If your community has a long history of offering short orchestral masses (Missa Brevis was the usual term), then that is a longstanding custom. This is true of certain parishes and communities in Germanic countries, for example.
2. Otherwise, it’s something for occasional indulgence. (Like the Haydn anniversary Mass). Roman rules about incidentals remain rules even when there is occasional non-compliance (which does not raise occasional non-compliance into a standing exception to the rule). It’s very difficult for people who look at rules from the lens of Anglo-American legal culture to understand things from a Roman legal cultural lens.
If I recall correctly, both Haydn and Mozart wrote their Masses for use in the liturgy, not as concert pieces. Granted they require soloists and chorus, thus limiting the people\’s participation, but they deserve to be heard in the setting for which they were conceived, i.e., the liturgy. As Tom says, these settings of the Mass evoke a sense of the divine different from chant. I have a recording of Mozart\’s Coronation Mass at St. Peter\’s Basilica, oh, about 20 years ago, with the Holy Father celebrating. All the responses were chanted, while the Gloria, Credo, etc. were taken from Mozart. Very beautiful.
I’m back and forth on it. It is beautiful and it does inspire a sense of the divine, but there is the danger that it could give Mass a concert atmosphere.
“I agree with Pius X that orchestral music is too sensual for the Mass. Orchestral instruments are great at a concert, but in the context of the Mass? This is a serious abuse.”
I think “serious abuse” is perhaps a little harsh. Haas and Haugen? Now that’s a serious abuse.
Since the time of Pius X, authentically Sacred Music has always been identified by the three characteristic marks of sacrality, excellence of form, and universality. The great orchestral masses nearly always carry the latter two, but it seems a question can be raised as to whether or not such music is truly sacred.
More often than not, these masses mimic the secular style of high opera…and that, it seems to me, is where the real issue lies. In many cases, the music is so well composed, so genuinely magnificent, and the operatic element so slight, that its presence can be overlooked — better still, it can be downplayed by good conducting. The inevitable soprano solo at the ‘et incarnatus est’ need not be performed with the vibratic gusto of a Puccini aria.
My verdict: such music can have a place in the Church’s liturgical life, but because its style departs more from Chant — the sacred music par excellence — than does the polyphony of the Renaissance masters, it is by nature subordinate to that style.
I think sacred polyphony should be used sparingly. Chant often. What I absolutely hate though, and sadly it also happens during the weekly EF I attend, is when we have to sing inane, musically uninteresting, lexically mawkish hymns INSTEAD of the Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. We only ever have the chants on big feast days, but on regular Sundays, even with incense and all, the aforementioned parts of the Ordinary are simply not said or sang by the congregation but instead are replace with awful hymns.
I once heard that Verdi’s Requiem was banned from liturgies by a papal bull. Has anyone else ever heard of this?
From the Motu Proprio Tra le Sollicitudini of St. Pius X:
“[Sacred music] must be holy, and must, therefore, exclude all profanity not only in itself, but in the manner in which it is presented by those who execute it.”
“Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down thefollowing rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.”
“Classic Polyphony agrees admirably with Gregorian Chant, the supreme model of all sacred music, and hence it has been found worthy of a place side by side with Gregorian Chant, in the more solemn functions of the Church, such as those of the Pontifical Chapel.”
“Still, since modern music has risen mainly to serve profane uses, greater care must be taken with regard to it, in order that the musical compositions of modern style which are admitted in the Church may contain nothing profane, be free from reminiscences of motifs adopted in the theaters, and be not fashioned even in their external forms after the manner of profane pieces.”
“Among the different kinds of modern music, that which appears less suitable for accompanying the functions of public worship is the theatrical style, which was in the greatest vogue, especially in Italy, during the last century. This of its very nature is diametrically opposed to Gregorian Chant and classic polyphony, and therefore to the most important law of all good sacred music. Besides the intrinsic structure, the rhythm and what is known as the conventionalism of this style adapt themselves but badly to the requirements of true liturgical music.”
This is not a matter of personal taste. St. Pius X has laid down once and for all that music must always be at the service of the liturgy. To this end, it must conform to the spirit of chant, and it may not be in the style of secular music.
I think very little ‘liturgical’ music written since 1650 meets these standards.
Many orchestral mass settings are a liturgical minefield – one can’t ever really sing a Schubert creed as written, since he never set “et in unam sanctam catholicam”, for example. Similarly, the Gloria from Haydn’s Little Organ Mass is precisely opposed to the spirit Pius X was getting at in ‘intra soll.’. There’s also the difficulty with many such mass settings is that they were written to conform to the custom of beginning the Sanctus straight after the concluding words of the preface, and then singing until it was finished, waiting, and beginning the Benedictus after the elevation, which is why such Benedictuses tend to go on for so long, since there’s a fair amount of Canon left to cover, especially if it’s being recited reverently and slowly…
Judicious employment of such music, perhaps including cuts to movements which now no longer “need” to be as long as they are, can really work, and one can get the feeling that opposition to it is a characteristic of a certain kind of Low Mass enthusiast who isn’t really all that keen on the intrinsic grandeur of a full High Mass. Even perhaps, going further, as Fr Ray Blake put it last week:
“One has the vision of Jansenist liturgy celebrate perfunctorily in a damp chapel, poorly furnished with no joy, with no expense, with no understanding, with a mistrust of any movement of the heart. One is left with a vision of liturgy neither touching, nor being touched, by the divine. In the Usus Antiquior low Mass in every sense and in the Usus Recentior functionary anthropocentricity.”
I agree with the “sparingly, if not rarely”.
Pius X’s decree said:
“Although the music proper to the Church is purely vocal music, music with the accompaniment of the organ is also permitted. In some special cases, within due limits and with proper safeguards, other instruments may be allowed, but never without the special permission of the Ordinary, according to prescriptions of the Caeremoniale Episcoporum.”
So, first off, special permission of the Ordinary should be required if an instrument other than pipe organ is to be used. And for a whole orchestra?! Certainly permission should always have to be sought, which should limit the number right there just by the erection of that obstacle.
“As the singing should always have the principal place, the organ or other instruments should merely sustain and never oppress it.”
“The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy or frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like.”
“It is strictly forbidden to have bands play in church, and only in special cases with the consent of the Ordinary will it be permissible to admit wind instruments, limited in number, judiciously used, and proportioned to the size of the place provided the composition and accompaniment be written in grave and suitable style, and conform in all respects to that proper to the organ.”
“It is not lawful to keep the priest at the altar waiting on account of the chant or the music for a length of time not allowed by the liturgy. According to the ecclesiastical prescriptions the Sanctus of the Mass should be over before the elevation, and therefore the priest must here have regard for the singers. The Gloria and the Credo ought, according to the Gregorian tradition, to be relatively short.”
“In general it must be considered a very grave abuse when the liturgy in ecclesiastical functions is made to appear secondary to and in a manner at the service of the music, for the music is merely a part of the liturgy and its humble handmaid.”
Too many Polyphony masses seem like choral concerts more than Mass, let alone Orchestral!
I have been very disappointed at a very famous parish near where I live that is praised for its sense of the sacred and its multiple “traditional” choirs. Yet, when I go there, I feel like I am at a concert. Something theatrical, something operatic. They “sing over” everything they can possibly justify (including the Epistle!) and there are long Glorias and Credos where the priest (and everyone else) just sits there waiting for the complicated music to finish that no one in the congregation could possibly sing along with. There is almost none of the alleged “built in silence” of the Old Rite because they fill every empty moment with motets and such. It’s terrible. It was the first place I was exposed to the Old Rite, and if I hadnt seen it again somewhere else, I would not have become a trad.
I say…stick to plainchant.
viennaguy: What I absolutely hate though, and sadly it also happens during the weekly EF I attend, is when we have to sing inane, musically uninteresting, lexically mawkish hymns INSTEAD of the Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei.
This is really hard to process, let alone comprehend. I have attended the TLM all over the eastern half of the U.S., from before Vatican II till now, and I have never, ever heard the Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei replaced by congregational hymns. Not a single time. Never. Ever.
There are several things to consider in this question.
1. The Church has contributed to forming the greatest intellectuals of the mondern western world, and many have given back to Church through their preferred mediums–think of Art, Architecture, Literature–music is no different. Many of these works, e.g. those of Haydn, a devout Catholic, are an application of Secular genius to the Sacred. In a way, this is real Inculturation come full cirle.
2. These works evoke pious sentiments, and seem, at least on the surface, eminently appropriate for Holy Mass. All you have to do is put the words “religious experience” and “music” in the same sentence, and the obvious answer is Bach. This is far different from taking the works of a virtuoso Rapper (if there were such a thing…) and inserting them into Holy Mass.
3. Still, it is an artificial insertion into Mass. Gregorian Chant was developed especially for Holy Mass, and as Mass Organically developed, it seemed to kind of “grow into” Gregorian Chant, like vines growing into an old lattice.
I leave conclusions up to professionals. Personally, I think that orchestral Masses are fine for special occasions, like a first Mass, but otherwise, Gregorian Chant is our normative liturgical music.
Perhaps Father you should put this up for a vote. It would be interesting to see the numbers.
Personally, I side with those who view orchestral music more on the performance side – entertaining us rather than guiding us to focus on the mystery of God.
Orchestral music for the Mass is certainly the highest form of orchestral music. When for a people who’s familiarity with such music as a form of entertainment is a barrier to their active participation in the celebration of the mysteries, one might well argue that a low Mass is the best option. However I would tend to believe that people can become cultured and so become aware of the rightful place of the arts in the life of mankind. That we use the arts primarily to entertain ourselves rather than putting them at the service of God in worship and evangelization is a sad fact that can be overcome.
The occasional (for special occasions) use of Hayden and Mozart Masses, as well as select others, can be a beautiful way to honor God as long as the musicians are in the back and not up front where the temptation to “perform” is almost irresistable. Such applications can be prayer for all, including the musicians, where they offer the God-given talent for His greater honor and glory. The intention of the heart can be misjudged by the observer, so we need to be charitable and not assume the musicians are only there for a show.
That said, I would not want to have this going on every week at Sunday Mass. For me, Gregorian chant is the ideal use, and many congretations, sadly, do not understand the great treasure we have in correct chant practice. It is so important that pastors provide the opportunity for parishioners to learn correct chant practice from people who know what they are doing. Otherwise, people singing it can sound like a rhinocerous pounding through the underbrush.
Lastly, in response to viennaguy, I had to quit attending the local EF because of the continued music abuse by a self-appointed in-charge-of everything young man who refused to listen to reason and a priest who refused to take the authority he was given by the bishop. “Let there be peace on earth” and “Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace” plus other perfectly awful Novus Ordo staples (“Here I am Lord”), were dished out at the Low Masses and ridiculous innovations were forced on us at the one High Mass every month. The continual racket and lack of silence during the Canon of the Mass along with the self-aggrandizing solos drove me off the cliff. To make matters worse, my continued presence was viewed as agreement with the abuses by the abusers. After getting nowhere with the bishop, I abandoned the whole affair and am waiting for the SSPX to get regularized.
It seems to me that everyone involved with the EF and OF needs to learn as much as possible about our sacred traditions of the liturgy and strive, with great humility, to see that we achieve them as well as possible. If we love the sacred liturgy, we need to put some time into praying (and singing) it well.
My area of expertise is music, so I have a lot to say on this subject as Western music is rooted in the Western Liturgy. I will try VERY HARD to be brief and not open up a field of rabbit holes. :P
Historically, orchestral Masses were certainly allowed, but Pope St. Pius X felt that the Masses that had grown out of the orchestral tradition had grown bawdy and secular. Now, after 1903, orchestral Masses aren’t exactly forbidden, but they aren’t exactly encouraged either. Perhaps Pope St. Pius X’s dislike for orchestral Masses came from the excesses of Italians and did not extend to the Austrians, whose liturgical excesses had been somewhat curbed by Joseph II.
It has always been my guiding principle (not my idea originally though) that the music at Mass has to be “scaled” to the liturgy, by that meaning that one does not do an eight-minute long choral Kyrie at a Mass that will otherwise be finished in 45 minutes, etc…! For a large-scale Festive Mass (I’m thinking for example of this weekends Papal Mass at St. Peters using Haydn’s Harmoniemesse…it is this weekend I believe, isn’t it?). In such a setting, thousands of people, several hour long Mass…big orchestarl settings like this have their place. In a regular Sunday Parish Mass it would seem horribly out of place… out of scale to get back to that term.
This is one of my complaints with much contemporary liturgical music as well… the immense instrumentation and broad time-consuming settings of some parts of the Mass are less like “responses” and more like independent compositions during Mass. Too big for the normatively “scaled-down” American parish liturgies. What is ironic here is that the contemporary culture has led us to a point where chant settings are actually better scaled to the liturgies now than the contemporary music is. Perhaps this is why it’s catching on lately…
Didn’t mean to get too far off the topic…but the big splashy orchestral Mass, like any great liturgical music, has it’s place in the proper liturgical context.
Good Heavens! Has anybody though of cornering the in-charge-of everything young man in the choir area and beating him severely with his baton? Perhaps remind him that “low Mass” doesn’t mean that quality is lowered.
Problem is, which question is REALLY being asked.
Big ceremonial Masses with orchestra are fine for huge Cathedral churches or special occasions, BUT with the caveat that these shouldn’t even been thought of until the basic REQUIREMENTS of the liturgy are met. Too often, the real question being asked is not if orchestral Masses can be done, but if they can be done INSTEAD of Chant, Latin, etc.
There should never be a music program that mounts these, or (heaven forbid) opera or has trombone and flute and brass, which isn’t FIRST proficient in Chant and sacred polyphony, in that order.
1. In their day, were not Mozart, Haydn et al. the Haugen and Haas of their time? – from the point of view of their music being the ‘popular’ music of the day.
2. Some of the ‘Missa Brevis’ settings we hear are rarely brevis, especially some Gloria and Sanctus settings.
I heard a CD of an Orchestral Midnight Christmass Latin Mass in New Orleans that was quite beautiful. I believe that those interested in the ExtraOrdinary (Gregorian) Rite should use all these tools incuding Bible And Tradition Studies at their apostolates to let people learn and appreciate the beauty both liturgically and theological of this Rite.
I think that a few elements are missing form this discussion.
First of all, the element that an orchestral Mass can emphasize the festive element of the Mass. Especially for the high feasts of the church – Easter, Christmas, Ascenion and Pentecost for starters, the parish patron saint’s feast would be a good candidate as well – this conveys the joy and specialness of the occasion. Just as your dinner (and dinner table) will most likely contain better food and the family silver on such feasts to express the fact that it is a festive occasion, so can Mass be said (or sung!) with special forms and attention. Of course the ‘performance’ shouldn’t drown out Mass, but when done well the music and liturgy itself reinforce eachother.
I even daresay that many people (at least, if they appreciate classical music to begin with) will react differently to the same orchestral Mass when they hear it on CD at home, or in church when it is an actual Mass. The latter touches the soul more, as it is indeed the celebration the music was written for – it supports the celebration.
Now the flip side of the coin here is of course that it should not become ‘normal’. Then it dulls, the festive element will recede, and – unless you completely reject the notion of marking important events with special actions – you’ll need ‘heavier guns’ to make a distinction between the normal and the festive. That vicious circle is not what should happen. Yet this danger is only rarely encountered nowadays, as even a proper choir can be hard to maintain. The only place I’ve ever gotten the impression that orchestral masses are commonplace is Vienna – where it is more part of the local culture and they apparently have a limitless supply of musicians.
Secondly, and this is more of a reply towards those who feel an organ is already pushing it, detracting from the Mass, I’d ask “what’s the difference between decorating the church, putting nice stained glass windows in, superbly crafted statutes, etc. and decorating the church musically, that is using more instruments and better (or at least more imposing) music?”. In my book, there is little to no difference. Both the interior of the church (which vital function is of course to have Mass there) and the music of the Mass are means to glorify God and give thanks to the top of our abilities. Surely, a low Mass in a drafty, 9th century romanesque chapel with 3 small windows and no decoration is just as much Mass as an orchestrally supported Mass in a marvellous 15th century Chathedral (insert your favorite architectural stye here). But, given the chance, would one willingly stick to the first when the second is an option? And not just once, because one prefers more silence that day, but for everyone and forever? It is in the nature of man to spend time, effort and means on something that’s worthwhile, to emphasize its importance. Music can do that just the same, complementing the rightful efforts one also exerts on the building itself.
In all, one has to be sensible, but when right and on the proper occasion, an orchestral Mass is not only one of the most beautiful things this side of heaven, but also certainly deserves to be celebrated as Mass.
Other aspects besides *just* good performance is the suitability of the church building itself. Fine-tuning such as volume for the various parts/voices and the overall volume.
One can control whether the orchestral piece overwhelms the mass to an extent by controlling these aspects. Especially the overall volume.
From my own experience, I have been to a lot of Masses with orchestral settings, polyphony, and chant. When executed properly and with a true sense of prayer all three forms can be highly enriching to the Sacred Liturgy and to the faithful and I believe all three forms should be employed appropriately.
We must remember that just because it’s chant doesn’t automatically mean that it’s good liturgical music or conforms to the instruction of St. Pius X. I’ve come across a couple of choirs who sing almost exclusively chant, particularly for the EF Mass, where there are more soloists competing for sound space than in the largest orchestral Mass I can think of.
I think when dealing with orchestral Masses and some polyphonic Masses that great care must be taken to ensure that the music has been written specifically for the Sacred Liturgy; that the musicians are well trained, well rehersed, and have the proper understanding of the spiritual and liturgical nature of the music they are singing; and that the orchestral Mass setting has been employed in an appropriate setting, ie. Mozart’s Requiem for a Requiem, or Hyden’s Lord Nelson Mass in a real time of anguish or in celebration for the end of the anguish.
Two quick observations:
1. I think that it is part of human nature to find a sudden change to be a jarring experience for some people, depending upon their personality traits, especially people who tend to the negative or are only comfortable having everything to their liking at all times and in all places. A first ‘concerted’ Mass might be one such occasion for a mental distraction away from their regular pattern of prayer at Mass; however, with multiple experiences many find it very prayerful. I certainly do.
2. The attraction of the longer Glorias and Credos, for me, is more time to contemplate the mysteries mentioned. With the chant, the mysteries fly by with only a single mention, like a laundry list, which is fine on many occasions, but it is nice to really dwell with a mystery sometimes too. For example, in the last six masses of Haydn, many find the pathos of the Crucifixus profoundly moving. (One can the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief.) The, the Et Resurrexit comes in a blaze of glory, proclaiming to all who will hear, “He is risen as he said; this man, is truly the Son of God.) I always leave such Masses, walking with more confidence, the foundation of the Faith under and sustaining me, with a confidence in ‘pushing on.’
Somewhere a document says “Music in Mass is not supposed to be like a performance”? Is that true? If so it must be filed with the document on “How not to make liturgical dance like a performance” While Chant may be my personal favorite for what it invokes in me in regards to the mystery of Mass, I like classical pieces as well which also invoke grandeur or something bigger and higher than myself. Hopefully something new will be decreed freshly, on the appropriate music for Mass even if it only reiterates what has been said in the past. The faithful are probably twice as more likely to read and pay attention to a newer document that being told to read what is already out there. It provides a fresh perspective from our current Holy Father on what is happening with the Church music of today. People do not connect today’s Pope Benedict XVI and what he decrees to Pope Paul VI and what he decreed back in the late 60’s or early 70’s. In the pew it does not happen. We can see that in the example of Benedict’s Moto Proprio SP. People are listening to the words of today in even though it reflects what was said essentially by Pope John Paul II in 84, and 88 (of course, with no restrictions any longer, but the principal point the same). Perhaps this is a way forward to awaken a correct interpretation of the Liturgy and Mass. Decree anew, what has been decreed. It obviously catches people attention.
I read a very interesting comment from an interview with Gisbert Brandt, a renowned teacher of the Ward method. Music from around the time of the baroque style was primarily based on dances due to their use of regular rhythm (suites are a good example of this) and evoke a physical response that can be distracting. Chant on the other hand, is irregular and more akin to speech, rendering it as an exalted form of praying. I find this to be a strong argument in favor of chant. As the many intelligent and reasonable people before me have said, though, this does not necessarily mean chant should be used to the exclusion of other music, as long as its character is suited to the liturgy. Given this interview, I would say an obfuscation of regular rhythm would be to the benefit of such a piece.
For those interested in reading the rest of the interview: http://www.ceciliaschola.org/pdf/gisbrandt.pdf
Geoffrey, it was forbidden to use Verdi’s Requiem for the liturgy, although I don’t know if by papal bull. The Verdi Requiem is indeed too operatic for use in the liturgy. I have heard from someone who was present, that when the tenor Beniamino Gigli died, Pope Pius XII personally authorized a performance of the Verdi Requiem at Santa Maria Maggiore in memoriam. But not as part of the liturgy, as a concert.
The argument, oft heard, that Haydn and Mozart (or Beethoven, Schubert, Verdi, etc…) were the “David Haas and Marty Haugen” of their time is absolute nonsense. During the time of Mozart (or whoever the composer pre-1920’s may be)there was no corresponding popular music industry producing what we now call “popular music”. That Mozart could occasionally whip up a work for the peasant theatre is well documented, but his great Sacred Works were not composed for such an audience. That is, while some works of these composers may have been popular, the Sacred Works they created were not “popular music” either in form or by intention. Even Josquin wrote chanson and secular songs…he would never have DREAMED of suggesting they were worthy of being sung in Church. Mr. Haas and Mr. Haugen apparently have no such reservations about the worthiness of their works.
As a reformed Anglican, I like the simplicity of a well done low mass (EF) and I like the grander high mass (EF) with good music. I suppose I find myself sometimes annoyed by the schola dragging out chants slowly and too long.
On the other hand, special festival occasions may deserve special festival music.
My trip across the Tiber occurred in a Christmas Eve Mass with superb chant following lovely carols. Some instruments were used that night, but few aside from the organ and fine voices.
To everything its time and place.
All very interesting. Choir members know how difficult it is to stay focused on the reality of the Mass when we are juggling music, etc. This would go double for orchestral musicians. How could a cellist, for instance, genuflect at the Incarnatus? Isn’t it better to have the great Masses performed as concert pieces? We can’t just say musicians are playing their part, even if they rarely think about what is going on at the altar. It’s a serious disconnect. Tough question. Ken
Yes. It’s perfectly fine in the context of the Extraordinary Form if its intent is to raise the mind and heart to God.
Some orchestral Mass settings are better suited to liturgy than others- just like more recent ones. Some have more solos and operatic stuff than others.
I love orchestral Masses, and go to them about once a month, but I couldn’t do it every weekend!
Orchestral Music? Ala-Mozart, Haydn, Vivaldi etc?
Inter Sollicitudines is pretty clear about it. Read the document well, and you can summarise as follows:
1. Chant is the perfect model for all sacred music
2. Clasical Polyphony (and it specifies what that means – the music of Palestrina and his contemporaries) is excellent also because it conforms so closely to the perfect model.
3. Anything coming after classical polyphony is “modern”, and must be treated with great caution because it is so often fashioned after theatrical styles.
I was just listening to a Haydn Orchestral Mass the other day… Actually, to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t bear to listen to it for very long at all: Kyries repeated over and over and over (completely ignoring the threefold nature of the Kyrie) and a Gloria in which – contary to the rubrics of the day and Inter Sollicitudines – the choir repeats over and over “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”, which is the priest’s intonation.
If people really must have their orchestral Masses, they ought to look to good composers who were truly capable of merging a Romantic esthetic with the Catholic liturgical style. Don Lorenzo Perosi may be useful in this regard – I don’t know if he wrote any orchestral Masses, but wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
So much of what people consider to be good Catholic liturgical music is simply not: Faure’s Requiem (having played this piece earlier this year at an Anglican service, I had the chance to familiarise myself with it, and I can see that it doesn’t even follow the rubrics for the text!), Franck’s Panis Angelicus (frankly, this reminds me of an operatic aria), Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus etc.
To be honest, the fact that this music is being sung in Rome doesn’t make me believe that it is any more liturgical or appropriate. The fact that some priests have supported large music programs to preserve these types of Masses doesn’t convince me either. Inter Sollicitudines is pretty clear. So is my research into a priest who studied in Rome when the Motu Proprio was being implemented: it is pretty clear from the correspondence I have studied as to which way the wind was blowing in Rome at the time, and it certainly was not in the favour of the orchestral/Mozartean/Romantic ideal.
Ken, I’m really not getting your point. What’s the difference between your cellist and me, an organist? I can’t genuflect or stand or kneel all the places that the congregation does, but I can offer my talents to God. My intention is to worship and to offer my talents to the God who is physically present on the altar. Are you saying that, since I can’t go through all the motions, I need to attend Mass again to fulfill my Sunday obligation? For some of us, music is a great part of the way we worship.
Asking this question always strikes me as something like asking,
“Are rococo churches Catholic?”
“Is Counter Reformation painting a fit style for sacred art?”
“Are Gothic stained glass windows quite the thing?”
It seems to me that to ask the questions is to answer them.
On the one hand, tastes will vary. On the other hand, this things are all part of our small ‘t’ tradition. They are part of our heritage.
Some may be more perfect in abstract world than others.
But a Catholic who listens to Haydn in a Bavarian rococo church and can only think to ask if it’s all Kwite Korrekto seems to me to be approaching Catholicism in a very odd way. A way which is spiritually and aesthetically impoverishing.
Big ‘C’ Catholic and small ‘c’ catholic are not the same. But they’re not exactly entirely different either.
“We only ever have the chants on big feast days, but on regular Sundays, even with incense and all, the aforementioned parts of the Ordinary are simply not said or sang by the congregation but instead are replace with awful hymns.”
That is an abuse. Incense is used only for High Masses, not Low Masses, so either 1) you haveLow Masses where incense is used or 2) you have High Masses where the Ordinary is recited
only, while the rest sing vernacular hymns to cover the Ordinary.
What may be done (although this is not ideal) is a Low Mass (no incense naturally)
where the congregation sings vernacular hymns while the priest recites the Ordinary.
“so either 1) you have Low Masses where incense is used or 2) you have High Masses where the Ordinary is recited only, while the rest sing vernacular hymns to cover the
Of course, either practice is incorrect.
Jayna, you singled out Haugen as a “serious abuse.” I think it says something about some of the problems in the modern Church that one of our most prominent composers of Liturgical music is a member of the UCC, but with the music selections being thrust into Mass these days, I’m relieved when they stick to the simple Mass of Creation. Maybe that’s because I’ve grown up in the post VII days where Mass of Creation seems perfectly traditional. :\
Most of the late Classical Masses borrowed heavily from the late Classical symphony and the forms of the sonata and the sonatina that were popular parlor music in their day. My choral lit professor\’s favorite example was the end of the Haydn Nelson Mass, with its loud, symphonic ending, which just happens to be setting the text \”Dona nobis pacem\”. That said, it could just as easily be argued that the orchestral Mass is an example of inculturation as it could that these Masses are examples of the secularization of the liturgy.
Josquin most certainly wrote Masses based on secular tunes, such as \”L\’homme arme\” (The Armed Man) and \”Fortuna desperata\” (Desperate Fate). Yes, they were meant for (and used in) the liturgy. The Council of Trent ruled against these abuses, although there were a few who ignored the new rules.
I have to disagree, on principle, with the idea that if orchestral Masses are to be used, they should be saved for “big special occasions”.
To me that makes no sense. Pius X makes it clear that chant is the HIGHEST and MOST EXCELLENT form of music for the Roman Rite. Anything else is lesser. Why would we use something defined as lesser for a big special festive occasion?
Wouldnt we most especially then want to use the most excellent?
If orchestral are going to be done, it would seem they should be done on the less special occasions. And yet, who is going to organize something like that for a minor occasion? It would likely be rare, probably should only be for special interest groups occasionally. As it should be. Exceedingly rare.
Yes, if we can have Bernini sculpture, we can have Haydn Masses. Trying to wipe out Mozart and Haydn is the musical version of iconoclasm.
It seems that some here have whitewashing, puritanical visions of church music.
Note: The Puritans were protestant.
“Yes, if we can have Bernini sculpture, we can have Haydn Masses. Trying to wipe out Mozart and Haydn is the musical version of iconoclasm.”
The last time I checked, Pius X (or any of his successors) didn’t legislate against the style of Bernini. Pius X did, however, legislate against the operatic styles of many post-Renaissance composers.
Iconoclasm? I think not. Removing much of this music might actually help us to uncover the real gems of sacred music that are so rarely sung… Works by Palestrina, Victoria, Lassus, Josquin, Byrd, Tallis, Allegri, Lotti, Guerrero, Gesualdo… And MANY more! Sadly, I rarely hear so many of these composers’ extremely fine works sung liturgical because the orchestral Masses are a comparatively easy option, particularly with less skilled choirs (singing polyphony well requires great discipline, while the orchestral Masses with their multitude of homophonic patterns and an orchestra to underpin the entire texture are somewhat less demanding).
Palestrina: Have you ever heard of imitative counterpoint or fugue? Please look at the final sections of Haydn’s Glorias and Credos.
(Just so you know: you’re addressing a man who has been conducting Palestrina, Victoria, Byrd, Haydn, and Mozart, amongst others, for thirty years; I’m aware of the challenges intrinsic to each. I wouldn’t agree with your characterization.)
Yes, fine, Franzjosf. I’m not denying that Haydn and his contemporaries use these compositional techniques. They are not, however, as prevalent as in the Classical Polyphonic School. That aside, there are still the rubrical problems that these works present (repeat text over and over, ignore the Celebrant’s intonations and suchlike) which make them more theatrical than liturgical.
Am I denying that these works have artistic merit? No. That’s kind of where Pius XII comes in and saves the day: he recognises in his document on sacred music that there are many beautiful works that DO raise the mind and heart to God, but are, because of their outward forms, unsuitable for the liturgy. For these, Pius XII recommends non-liturgical performances. I agree with him entirely.
I cannot see how these orchestral Masses really are suitable in liturgical contexts. I honestly can’t. Stylistically, what makes them unique from the composers’ other output? What makes them inherently liturgical? This is where Chant and Classical Polyphony are so valuable: they demonstrate a compositional style that is developed with the liturgy in mind, rather than borrowing the secular styles and trying to adapt them.
“I cannot see how these orchestral Masses really are suitable in liturgical contexts.”
Yes, it is very apparent that you cannot see.
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
On a more serious note: you raise many interesting questions, for which I have other vistas for you than the directions you’ve been looking, but it is getting late. I’ll look in tomorrow and propose a few.
Franzjosf, if you wish to convince me of anything you would do well to refrain from accusing me and others who do not share you point of view of ignorance, iconoclasm and the like. Instead, if you believe that the orchestral Masses are both permissible and appropriate, do at least one of the following:
1. Quote the Papal Legislation on Sacred Music that specifically recommends these styles.
2. Demonstrate, using a good musicological analysis, how the works are intrinstically sacred AND liturgical. I’m afraid that when I sit down with either recordings or scores, I see or hear a secular approach that often shows disregard for the text and the rubrics.
I have my copy of Hayburn’s “Papal Legislation on Sacred Music” close at hand, as well as my own copies of Pius X and XII’s legislation (with my own notes and annotations), so I’ll be happy to look up any point in the legislation that you recommend.
“The age of the Baroque, albeit in different forms in the Catholic and Protestant worlds, achieved an astounding unity of secular music-making with the music of the liturgy. It succeeded in dedicating the whole luminous power of music, which reached such a high point in this period of cultural history, to the glorifying of God. Whether it is Bach or Mozart that we hear in church, we have a sense in either case of what gloria Dei, the glory of God, means. The mystery of infinite beauty is there and enables us to experience the presence of God more truly and vividly than in many sermons.” Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 146.
Ratzinger goes on, however, to warn against the dangers of the virtuoso mentality and vanity of technique that can enter into liturgical music when these forms are used. It seems to me that the music itself is entirely appropriate for the Mass, for the reasons that Ratzinger points out in the above pericope, but that the musicians themselves must always be kept in check so that it does not, in fact, become about a performance. If the musical director and liturgical musicians are not able to avoid such a virtuoso mentality, then the music should not be used. But if they are sufficiently humble, then the music, it seems to me, is not only appropriate, but a tremendous asset to liturgical worship.
Noel, the only similarity between Mozart and Haugen is that they create music that we hear in church. But that’s as far as it goes. What liturgical music must always understand is that the beauty and the good are inseparable. Mozart obviously knew this, and his music is objectively beautiful. Haugen’s is not. Furthermore, Haugen’s music often has absolutely nothing to do with liturgical worship. It simply does not meet the requirements of what makes music liturgically appropriate. The book I referenced here from Ratzinger is excellent. If you get a chance, check it out, and pay attention to Section III, Ch. 2, “Music and Liturgy.” In that chapter he gives guidelines for what makes music appropriate for liturgical worship, and it is clear that Mozart’s is, Haugen’s is not.
In short, they should used rarely, Major feast days, and Patron Saint days…That’s it.
To anyone who says that Orchestral music ought to be used sparingly, rarely or is an abuse then they are to use sparingly, rarely or never: the Organ! Afterall, the Organ simply reproduces the Orchestra. Don’t believe me? Check out the name of the stops! To say that the Orchestra is improper for liturgical use is simply ignorant. Does not the psalms speak of the intsrumentalists & musicians as part of the procession.
psalm 68: 25-27 Your procession comes into view, O God, your procession into the holy place, my God and king. The singers go first, the harpists follow; in their midst girls sound the timbrels. In your choirs, bless God; bless the LORD, you from Israel’s assemblies.
also cf. I Chron. 25 & Judges 5: 11.
Many years ago I was part of a choir that regularly sang Victoria,Byrd,Lassus and Palestrina at regular Sunday OF Latin Masses. After a great deal of rehearsal we did a Mozart Mass, and reception was very mixed. There were many complaints about the length. I have to admit – doing a full three minute chorus on one or two words does not strike me as very fair on the congregation. The 16th Century music flows swiftly, while retaining emphasis on particularly important phrases. It is fully within the spirit of Trent. Unless it is a special occasion Mass, where the congregation is prepared for the concert element, I would, as others have said, be sparing. The eaarlier music fits better with the “silent canon”, as it was designed to.
I belong to St. Agnes parish in St. Paul, one of the few parishes that actually still has orchestral Masses (both OF and EF, depending on the weekend). It is a great privilege for me to hear these Masses. The propers are always chanted by the schola, so the chant is not lost at all. The orchestra is up in the choir loft- I’ve never even seen them- so it doesn’t have the “feel” of a concert, to me anyway. At first I did find the music “distracting” (having grown up with Haugen/Haas! :D), but then I remembered that what they are singing/playing IS a prayer (the ordinary of the Mass), and you can’t be distracted from prayer by prayer.
It is a most beautiful way to experience the Latin rite Mass, in my humble opinion.
My seminary liturgics professor told of staying once, back in the day, at a Benedictine monastery in Austria where a number of the brothers were musically gifted. For the three Masses of Christmas they offered three different Mozart orchestral Masses. Talk about an embarrassment of riches!
“Yes, if we can have Bernini sculpture, we can have Haydn Masses. Trying to wipe out Mozart and Haydn is the musical version of iconoclasm.”
No. Iconoclasm was the destruction of ICONS. Not all art is iconographic, however, and there are good arguments that the naturalistic, pagan-inspired art of the Renaissance and later really isnt actually Sacred just because its theme happens to be religious.
Many find the sculpture of Bernini to be gaudy, even vulgar.
Chant is the musical equivalent of the Iconographic (which, in the West, does exist in both sculpted and painted forms).
Other styles are very often the equivalent of the naturalistic visual arts of their day, which not all would agree are ideal for Church, even if no Pope has yet had the courage of Pius X to legislate against them (partially because, unlike music, visual arts are permanent and it might ruffle too many feathers and present too many practical problems to say “De-Baroque-fy your churches!”)
Setting aside any personal preferences — whether or not they represent the mind of the Church at some particular time — today is a blessed one when several of the musical flowers in the liturgical garden are available.
The EWTN Sunday Mass included the Ordinary in plain chant as usual (I assume, not having actually watched it all). The papal Mass televised from St. Peter’s Basilica included the Ordinary in an orchestral setting of Haydn, and at the EF Mass I’m just leaving for I’ll hear it in Palestrina polyphony. The Holy Spirit descending in them all, let us pray.
So it becomes a question of what is the difference between the sacred and the profane (or \’operatic\’) in music (and art, for that matter). It can\’t merely be a matter of compositional procedures or techniques, because many of the same are used in both.
For instance, at the beginning of the chant \’Hosanna filio David\’ for Palm Sunday we find a strong, arresting rising perfect fifth, which helps give the chant a triumphant and rejoicing feel for that liturgical moment. But the same rising fifth has been put to many a secular purpose, especially in militaristic fanfares for brass instruments.
Or what about florid, even extravagant passages in music which require a good deal of skill to execute? Does that make them operatic? No. Look at the chant propers for feastdays, some with 20 notes for a given syllable rising ever higher and achieving a dramatic effect for the purpose of musically illuminating the text or for the general feel of celebration for the feast. Some of the Benedictus quartets of Haydn Masses are conservative by comparison.
And what of complaints about repetition of text? Is that profane? No. Sometimes length and repetition give the proper ‘weight’ to a given moment. In the pre-1955 Holy Week, referring again to Palm Sunday, there were many collects (seven I think but am unsure of the exact number) for the Blessing of Palms. Abp. Bugnini and Co. reduced it to one. An impoverishment, in my opinion. Chant generally uses lengthening of time the music remains on one syllable to add weight, but Palestrina uses textual repetition as a means of exploring the text. It is interesting that he set the Magnificat various ways. Some of the settings have chant on odd verses, polyphony on the even, others are the opposite. In Mozart’s C minor Mass, the soprano soloist has a long, beautiful, gentle solo in the Laudamus Te section of the Gloria. Is this needless repetition and operatic display? No. It is simply dwelling in confident praise. Every note has a purpose in expressing the text.
I think that the line between sacred and profane can be drawn where given musical techniques and devices are used to overwhelm, even possess, the listener, rather than uplift and inspire him or when the composer uses florid extravagance for pyrotechnical display so a soloist can indulge in a kind of musical narcicism. Even Romantic composers can stay in the sacred realm. It is my opinion that Pius X didn’t intend to suppress the Dvorak Mass in D, for instance, but rather those second-rate composers who were trying to imitate Puccini in church.
I must add that at present I\’m watching the Holy Father\’s Pentecost Mass, which includes Haydn\’s last Mass for choir, soloists, and orchestra. The Kyrie was quite long. What is wrong with 5,000 people, in heart or with voice, imploring mercy for five minutes instead of l minute or less?
In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a 5 minute kyrie. Or a 10 minute Gloria, Credo or a 5 minute sanctus. If it’s done well, ‘too long’ is hardly possible.
One of my pet complaints though is when parts are unbalanced, say going very fast to the first lines of the Gloria and then dwelling for minutes on the ‘miserere lines’. It usually doesn’t befit the festive occasion to shove the glorification under teh carpet, as it were. But that’s a small detail.
The Holy Father on Haydn\’s \’Harmoniemesse\’:
\”A sublime symphony to the glory of God.\”
(Rome has spoken.)
I was unaware that Palestrina was still alive and capable of blogging. It’s a miracle.
Palestrina, please make an appointment with Pope Benedict so you can explain to His Holiness how mistaken he is and how correct you are. I’m sure he would be greatful so that he can immediately begin the task of reforming his views on sacred music.
(Oops! In the post above I meant the Et incarnatus est in the Mozart Mass, not the Laudamus Te.)
I think that orchestral Masses are fine for high feast days, for icing on the cake as it were. It seems to me, however, that often parishes that focus excessively on polyphony or classical music for the liturgy do not do so with a firm foundation in Gregorian Chant, or at least this is my experience from being in a travelling schola. Moreover, it seems to me that the people should regularly be exposed to the Mass completely in Gregorian Chant for catechetical purposes. If Gregorian Chant is clearly shown to be the norm, the occasional use of classical music might be more appreciated as an ‘elevation’ in celebration and solemnity.
Franzjosf, once again you fail to convince me – as do any of the other posters. You don’t refer to any legislation to back up your views. It all seems to boil down to “you’re an extremist, your opinion is at odds with that of Pope Benedict XVI, you’re not seeing that chant does a lot of the same things that the Haydn Masses do.” I disagree with all these assertions, by the way. Repetition in Palestrina? Minimal, surely? Certainly not a feature of his MASSES, last time I checked. The florid passages in chant? Surely you’re not going to compare those to the coloratura in operatic works? The style is completely different, and with different ends in mind! Chant’s beautiful ornamentation is not to be compared with a style that has evolved from a completely different source: opera!
The orchestral Mass supporters have yet to demonstrate how it is appropriate to use a work in which there is compeltely unrubrical repetition. Franzjosf, the pre-1955 Collects for Palm Sunday hardly qualify as an example of a repetitive musical structure to support your case. Apart from all that, Pius X is pretty clear: The Celebrant intones “Gloria in exclesis Deo” and the choir continues from (ie. does not repeat the intonation at the composer’s pleasure!) “Et in terra pax.”
Faure’s Requiem is another prime example of inappropriate liturgical writing: First, look at the Introit, then have a look at the jumble that is made of the text during the Sanctus. Where is the Benedictus, by the way?!
The interpretation of the perfect fifth as a type of triumphal brass motif is facile and misleading: consider when the chant was composed and when brass instruments began to use these motifs in this manner. The assumption seems to be that the sacred has borrowed from the secular. Could not the inverse be true?
Tom, your patronising comment is insulting. [Oh how my banning finger itches when I read this sort of phrase. Pleeeeeeezzzzzz…. people… let’s not pogo-stick around like this.] You really have no knowledge of who I am or of my experience in sacred music. You should also know that all statements of the Pope are not of equal (particularly LEGISLATIVE) value: A sermon or remark by the Pope is of significantly less value than a motu proprio!
I am a little tired of it all coming down to people assuming that I’m somehow arrogant in my views, because I am not. My opinions are the product of much research. And I mean MUCH. How many others could honestly say that they have done the same? I have sifted through the Papal Legislation, musical analysis AND some historical research.
Rome of the immediate years after the Motu Proprio was not at all supportive of Mozart or Haydn Masses. Are we to assume that the authorities of Pius X’s own diocese were acting against his wishes?
As I consider the stylistic develpment of sacred music, one thing strikes me as particularly significant: Those styles that are considered liturgically appropriate have a certain affinity with chant. Classical Polyphony, for instance, developed out of cantus firmus techniques which employed plainchant melodies. Bruckner’s 19th century motets are careful in their use of modality and seem to quote chant melodies. Durufle does an amazing job of quoting plainchant in his motets and exquisite Requiem. Where is the connection in orchestral Masses? Beyond the text? Where is the close connection to plainchant? Modality? Something of the ancient styles?
Philip-Michael, your comments demonstrate an ignorance of the development of the organ. Any professional organist or organ builder of note will immediately tell you that a pipe organ is not some giant orchestron. The name “flute” on a stop, for instance, denotes a particular timbre which is produced by a particular design of pipe. The “orchestral” perspective of the organ did not develop until the late 19th century, and was at odds with the instrument’s history. Unlike the orchestra, the organ has “grown up” in the Church, carefully cultivated and developed towards its special end as a liturgical instrument. One of the greatest authorities on the French 18th century organ is Dom Bedos de Celles, a cleric. I didn’t see any Vatican II document say that the “orchestra should be held in the highest esteem.” It DID, however, say that about the organ!
Hear hear, Clayton. Would all of you that profess your love for Mozart and Haydn please also profess your equally strong love for the normative music of the Roman Rite: Gregorian chant? How many of you have ever sung a complete Mass–Ordinaries and Propers—straight out of the Graduale? I have never done so, myself, and am itching for the opportunity. I find Mozart distasteful, Haydn less so, Palestrina perfect, and Gregorian chant—the only music the Church Herself has published for use in her liturgy—absolutely divine. If you like Mozart, Haydn, and Co. for Mass, fine; it’s not at all wrong, but don’t call us iconoclasts simply because we prefer the normative music for the Roman Rite.
Sure, rogue63. Both hubby and I love Gregorian chant. (He has tried to found a volunteer chant schola wherever he has lived. Two are still going strong.) We even had all the Gregorian Propers sung at our wedding. I wanted the Gregorian Ordinary as well, but we would have had to settle for the Lenten Weekday ones. Not Kosher! We also love Haydn and Mozart and Bruckner and friends.
Palestrina: I certainly didn’t intend to insult you. I have indulged in no ad hominem, but I do disagree with some of your ascertions. The “Rome has spoken” was meant sort of tongue-in-cheek. I should have put a smiley after it. It is probably good to keep a sense of humor in these kinds of disagreements.
I’ve read most of the legislation, but not as closely as you, and it has been some time since I read the Motu Proprio, but I know that Haydn and Mozart are not mentioned by name. Pius X refers to certain musical practices that were in vogue at the time he issued the document. Most of the composers composing those kinds of operatic masses have long been forgotten. In applying the document to actual music, careful distinctions must be made. You and I will disagree about those distinctions and their applications.
On the Perfect Fifth. The affect it can have is simply part of the created world. The glories of creation are legion, not least the laws of physics which govern sound. (God is great!) Remember the passage in Corinthians, I think it is: “If the trumpet be uncertain, who shall come to battle?” Their trumpets had no valves, so they were certainly using the fifth before Hosanna filio David was written. The point is that it can be put to sacred or secular use, and that it can have a certain kind of arresting affect put there by the all-knowing God.)
Yes, I am comparing some melismatic chants to coloratura. Florid passages can be put to sacred or secular use. Expressions or representations of spiritual ecstacy have their place, especially as responses to some great miracle. (See Palestrina’s 5-part motet, “Exsultate Deo,” with its many textual repetitions and musical roulades, or the Gregorian propers for Ephiphany.)
You’re correct about Palestrina masses insofar as you refer to the Gloria and Credo: not much textual repetition and mostly homophonic, but the other parts are replete with imitative counterpoint and textual repetition. Since music is an art, matters of musical structure dictate the number of repetitions needed in a given section of a composition, depending on the shape and length of a given musical motif and the direction the composer follows after its initial statement. (Given that every phrase of Palestrina belongs to one of three hexachords, his expressive ability is nothing short of genius.)
As to the intonation of the Gloria, Vivaldi and Haydn, for example, hadn’t the benefit of Pius’s instruction, since they were already dead, but immemorial custom should protect them.
Now, the Devil seeks to pervert and misuse God’s creation. So some composers have given themselves over to music which is steeped in the enticements of the world, using musical devices in a sensuous way as, say, when coloratura can be used as a siren song instead of a thanksgiving to God. It is my opinion that Mozart and Haydn, amongst others, were able to avoid that temptation. I do not find Haydn’s masses an occasion for sin.
I’m against most “orchestral settings”of the Mass b/c they sound very much like those same composers’ secular pieces, only with Mass texts taped onto them as lyrics. I find Mozart, Beethoven, verdi and the rest to be excellent composers, but their sacred music is quite secular in style. It only sounds “sacred” to the uneducated ear that mistakes classical style for sacred style. On a practical level, if there are ensembles willing to play this stuff at Mass, then it should be permitted occasionally throughout the year.
There are many orchestral and modern settings that have an original voice and style which aims to the heavens, but I think it is safe to say that most pieces are secular ditties that have been dressed up nicely to go to church.
rogue63: I absolutely love Gregorian Chant of course, and have had many opporutnities to sing or assist at a completely Gregorian Mass. Sublime.
I am not arguing against anyone who prefers it above all others, or who doesn’t particularly care for Haydn masses; I’m only arguing against those who say that Haydn should never be sung at Mass.
That Renaissance polyphony grew organically out of chant is beyond dispute. But there were other influences as well. Many a Palestrina rejoicing section, in triple meter, dances for joy, as in the final portion of his Christmas motet, “Dies Sanctificatus.” But it must be remembered that sometimes strophic Gregorian hymns were sung to triple meter by lengthening every other note, giving a long-short pattern. Is that a profane influence? Maybe, but I don’t think so. It is merely part of a human feeling of joy used by those of us here below. A dance rhythm can be used to express holy joy or used, in another way, at a bacchanal.
While watching the Holy Father’s Mass for Pentecost this morning, I noticed that the Holy Father began distributing Holy Communion while the Agnus Dei was still being sung by the orchestra and singers. The “Ecce Agnus Dei…” and “Domine non sum dignus” were not said. While I realize the Pope is the Pope and can certainly do as he wishes, I was nonetheless a little surprised. I wonder if this common practice at Masses where orchestral Mass arrangements are used, or was this done in the interests of time?
just one layman’s 2 cents…
Chant with no organ even is by far the best in my humble opinion. Orchestral Masses would seem to put too much emphasis on the performance of the music and less on the Holy Sacrifice. Not only that, but in my experience (limited), the singer (not cantor, because the singer is usually a woman) is trained in operetic singing.
Keep it simple. Use the music Holy Mother Church says is suited. If you sing it, they will come….
I love this topic! As the music critic at The Buffalo News, as well as a trad Catholic who attends the TLM, I have thought a lot about it.
When I began attending the TLM a year and a half ago it made me think about the Mass for the first time in my life and how mind-bending it is. You are asked to believe the impossible, often before you have even had your first cup of coffee. Anything that helps you with this is good. That is one reason we have beautiful cathedrals and churches, artwork, etc. — even the beautiful words of the Latin Mass. Great art and music is a mystery in itself and it helps bring us closer to understanding what cannot be understood.
I have thought for a long time what a shame it is that most Massgoers are stuck with these modern uninspiring songs I once saw the Wall Street Journal describe as “light Broadway” — when the Catholic Church can claim many of the most glorious musicians who ever lived. The great sacred works of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn, Vivaldi, Bruckner and many others are deeply personal expressions of these composers’ Catholic faith. And I find it tremendously moving to think of the great Catholic composers in Elizabethan England, including Thomas Tallis, John Dowland and William Byrd, who risked their lives to create the music they did.
It is such a treasure we have, this wealth of music. And I find it helps my faith. The music is in many cases supernaturally beautiful. It speaks to our subconscious and brings us — me, at least — closer to the sacred mysteries we are challenged to get our minds around. I also think that by presenting this music as prayer, we are doing honor to God by offering Him the best of ourselves, the best that the human mind has been able to create.
I am passionate about Gregorian chant, too. Since I have gotten to know it better because of the TLM, I sometimes notice how classical composers, who I would imagine grew up with this chant, were inspired by it. I do not think we should have to choose between the two genres.
What we do have to choose between are good music and bad music. And in this P.C. era, that’s where things can get dicey. Bravo to Pope Benedict for confronting what has become a very problematic situation. I am so grateful!
It only sounds “sacred” to the uneducated ear that mistakes classical style for sacred style.
Does that mean the Holy Father is an uneducated ear when it comes to liturgical music?
It’s worthy of note that there is some precedent for a change in attitude towards what is and is not suitable music for liturgy. Pope John XXII banned the use of polyphony in language reminiscent of Quo Primum’s preface, saying that the proscription was effective in perpetuity. Shortly after his death, polyphony became common enough to be mentioned approvingly by the Council of Trent.
By the way, those commenting on the length of many classical Masses might consider the young Mozart’s Salzburg Masses, composed for an Archbishop notably unsympathetic to musical trends– they are quite short, even abrupt.
The reason a lot of orchestral Masses sound weird or unreligious on CD, is that their center and reason for being is not present. No Eucharist, no point – or not much of one.
Religious musicians playing and singing orchestral music for Mass, during Mass, are worshipping. They are both praying the Mass and providing a temporary decoration to the worship space, as if a complicated painting suddenly appeared on the walls that only lasted as long as the Mass did.
Re: pride of place
The fact that white has pride of place as a vestment color at certain times of the year does not preclude the use of gold or silver vestments in place of white. Nor does it mean that gold and silver vestments are less solemn than white ones, or are some sort of loophole that ought to be closed.
I have no problem with an orquestrated missa brevis being performed durin the liturgy for feast days. Care must be taken, though, since ocassionly liberties are taken with the text. For example, the Credo of the Hayden masses always omit the words “qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.” I believe that it was Prince Eszterházy and not Haydn who objected to the words. Nevertheless, without those words, these Credos must never be performed during the Roman liturgy.
Interestingly, the only part of Haydn’s Mass they didn’t sing at the Holy Father’s Pentecost Mass was the Credo; they used Credo III instead.
Chant with no organ even is by far the best in my humble opinion. Orchestral Masses would seem to put too much emphasis on the performance of the music and less on the Holy Sacrifice.
My thoughts agree with Jason’s here.
At Ascension and Pentecost this year the choir at my parish sang a Missa Brevis (Haydn?) in which the Gloria lasts all of about a minute and a half. Apparently the different voices all sing different lines of the text simultaneously until the Cum Sancto Spiritu. The first time I heard it at Ascension I thought I’d fallen asleep on my knees, it was so short.
To top that all off, today the Benedictus (presumable from the same Mass) was omitted…because it was too long. It’s a Missa Brevis.
Before this I had a personal preference for Gregorian chant. Now it’s just confirmed. I don’t know what Haydn’s motives were for arranging the holy texts like this, nor that of the choir master here for picking something so…bizarre…but at least with Gregorian chant I know the melodies were composed out of real prayer, worship and reflection.
No, if it were down to me I wouldn’t even have an orchestral (or whatever) Mass on the big feasts. Why would that kind of music be so superior to the Graduale that it trumps Gregorian chant on the most important days of the year?
Besides which, I know many people who play in professional orchestras and sing in professional choirs. The sound they make may be wonderful, but their lifestyles betray them. Four years of a chapel choir in an effectively Anglican/secular college scandalised me!
Let’s put the orchestral pretensions away and start working on teaching our congregations some more Mass settings than de Angelis.
Franzjosf, the use of triple meter in sacred music is something that dates back to the Medieval era and is related to the doctrine of the perfection, in which it was felt that three – representing the Holy Trinity – was the perfect number.
I don’t think that one could use the law of custom to justify rubrical contraventions in Mozart and Haydn. This would be a custom contra legem, and for one of those to establish itself, the legislator has to basically let it slide for long enough without commenting on it. Inter Sollicitudines has the force of law and therefore trumps the custom. The wording of the text indicates that it is to be treated in this way:
“Our present Instruction to which, as to a juridical code of sacred music (quasi a codice giuridice della musica sacra), We will with the fullness of Our Apostolic Authority that the force of law be given, and We do by Our present handwriting impose its scrupulous observance on all.\”
Haydn and Mozart, stylistically, owe nothing to the earlier styles of sacred music. As I sat down to study this matter again, it occurred to me that in the Papal Legislation one finds a massive gap in approved styles: Firstly Chant is approved, then Classical (ie. Palestrina-style) Polyphony, then after that, everything is deemed modern and therefore subject to much scrutiny because of theatrical importations. It is as to say that stylistic development in the tradition of the Church’s choral music seems to have largely halted in the 18th century, only to be resumed again in the 19th century with attempts by the Caecilian movement to write in a style that draws inspiration from earlier composers.
I would love to have a copy of the Diocese of Rome’s approved music list from immediately after the Motu Proprio. I don’t suppose anybody here has one handy? It’s not in Hayburn, unfortunately. If the list of my diocese is anything to go on – and I believe it is, because the priest responsible for compiling it studied in Rome with some of the great figures in early 20th century Catholic Church music and liturgical music reform (at a time when these reforms were being dutifully enacted) – Mozart, Haydn, Gounod, Franck and Faure are completely out.
Tom, so far you’ve managed to attack me personally twice and haven’t actually offered any solid arguments either for or against orchestral Masses.
puella and jason,
Regarding chant with no instruments, preferring an elimination of instruments altogether betrays a lack of understanding of our liturgical history, going back even to our Jewish heritage. Instruments indeed play an integral part of our liturgical worship music, and while they should be kept to an appropriate minimum, they most certainly must be included in the Mass. Again, cf. Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy. On this point he is clear.
The telescoping of the text of the Gloria comes from the days when the Enlightened Joseph II and his Enlightened episcopal friends decided that Mass should not last longer than (I believe) 45 minutes.
Folks… there is some good material here. Let’s keep this going. Therefore, be very careful with each other.
Surely it is better when the people can join in singing the ordinary parts of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, etc.? This is easily achieved when these parts are sung in Gregorian chant.
The Gregorian revival suppressed polyphonic settings of the proper parts of the Mass: Introit, Gradual, etc., but these are the parts where it makes most sense (as far as popular participation goes) to use polyphony or other non-Gregorian settings. Nevertheless, it would be unwise to forbid entirely the employment of polyphonic and other non-Gregorian ordinaries.
I have taken part in a solemn pontifical Mass at St Anne’s Basilica in Altötting, Bavaria, at which one of Haydn’s settings was used. The musicians were religious (priests and seminarians) and their students. The Mass was very prayerful. On Pentecost Sunday the church at which I participated used a Mass setting by an Eastern European Baroque composer (and priest) for voices and organ. Once agin, the Mass was reverent and devout.
“The telescoping of the text of the Gloria comes from the days when the Enlightened Joseph II and his Enlightened episcopal friends…”
…and was condemned by a decree from the vicar-general of Rome in 1856:
“In a harmonised composition it is forbidden to confuse words by singing of them by certain voices and others at the same time by other voices. This holds good as regards the first time they are sung through a performance.”
…and again in the Motu Proprio..
“The liturgical text must be sung just as it stands in the authentic books, without changing or transposing the words, without needless repetition, without dividing the syllables, and always so that it can be understood by the people who hear it” (III. The Liturgical Text. 9)
Like many commentators, I agree that this should be a liturgical possibility but not the norm. I can certainly see, after watching the video, how this was designed for the EF. The long Kyrie would have allowed the priest to complete his prayers at the foot of the altar, while today there’s not alot to do. Grafting an orchestral Mass onto the OF seems a bit artificial.
Palestrina said: “Stylistically, what makes them unique from the composers’ other output?”
Palestrina, perhaps you could tell me stylistically what makes Giovanni Palestrina’s liturgical music so different to his secular music? If given a few lines of music (without text and from a composer at the same time as Palestrina) are you stating you could definitely tell anyone whether it was sacred or secular?
Its seems some in this thread are content to show others nothing other than their own private interpretations of Papal encyclicals on sacred music. I shall do likewise – what more can anyone do? Pius X never had two of the giants of Western music in his sights when discussing the relative merits of other forms of liturgical music – that would defy all common sense and reason, especially in a Church trying to attract people to the Faith.
Yes, chant is meant to be pride of place and the general norm, but lets never forget the Mass is a Mass is a Mass – it is no less a Mass if an orchestral Mass is sung as opposed to a sublime rendition of a Gregorian Mass – how can it possibly be, if the graces and riches from the Mass are infinite? You cannot have “less infinite”.
Three cheers for the Holy Father for yet again showing the mind of the Church all along here – actions surely speak louder than words, don’t they?
I don’t really need to defend Palestrina’s style as intrinsically sacred: St. Pius X has already done that in Inter Sollicitudines:
“On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple…
4. The above-mentioned qualities are also possessed in an excellent degree by Classic Polyphony, especially of the Roman School, which reached its greatest perfection in the fifteenth century, owing to the works of Pierluigi da Palestrina, and continued subsequently to produce compositions of excellent quality from a liturgical and musical standpoint. Classic Polyphony agrees admirably with Gregorian Chant, the supreme model of all sacred music, and hence it has been found worthy of a place side by side with Gregorian Chant, in the more solemn functions of the Church, such as those of the Pontifical Chapel. This, too, must therefore be restored largely in ecclesiastical functions, especially in the more important basilicas, in cathedrals, and in the churches and chapels of seminaries and other ecclesiastical institutions in which the necessary means are usually not lacking.”
On the other hand, more modern works DO require further analysis and scrutiny (See inter Sollicitudines II, 5-6). The onus seems to be on the proponents of Mozart, Haydn – or, in fact, of any other ‘modern’ composer – to demonstrate that the composer’s style in sacred works is actually sacred.
So no, I’m not giving a “private interpretation” of the Papal Legislation. Look to the Diocese of Rome when the Motu Proprio was implemented and see what the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music, The Sistina – even the seminary choir of Propaganda Fide – were doing! Apart from chant (which is a given), they were doing lots of classical polyphony and very carefully selecting other modern works. Perosi’s Masses were considered suitable.
I really don’t understand this great defence of the Mozart and Haydn Masses. So far, nobody has addressed any of the following:
1. Texts that are at odds with the rubrics because of unneccessary repetition or taking the Celebrant’s words as their own. Contra legem custom cannot apply if the legislator has expressly ruled against a practice (especially when it has the weight of a Motu Proprio!).
2. Glorias with overlapping texts – in direct contravention of (admittedly later – but binding on all liturgical choirs) Roman and Papal legislation.
3. Masses of excessive length, where Pius X has said in Inter Sollictudines that,
“22. It is not lawful to keep the priest at the altar waiting on account of the chant or the music for a length of time not allowed by the liturgy. According to the ecclesiastical prescriptions the Sanctus of the Mass should be over before the elevation, and therefore the priest must here have regard for the singers. The Gloria and the Credo ought, according to the Gregorian tradition, to be relatively short.”
4. On a blog that has spent much time discussing the ‘heremeneutic of continuity’, there has thus far been been no discussion of whether the orchestral Masses of Haydn and Mozart are discontinuous with the Polyphonic and Gregorian tradition. Pius X’s litmus test is,
“the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.”
Stylistically, structurally I cannot see how the Haydn and Mozart Masses grow out of the musical heritage that they succeeded.
I now will address a couple of the arguments made FOR orchestral Masses:
1. They are beautiful pieces of music.
Okay – no contest. I’m not going to argue that they’re not beautiful. I’m not even going to argue that they don’t elevate the mind to God. But, as Nick K has already stated so eloquently, “Since the time of Pius X, authentically Sacred Music has always been identified by the three characteristic marks of sacrality, excellence of form, and universality. The great orchestral masses nearly always carry the latter two, but it seems a question can be raised as to whether or not such music is truly sacred.”
2. The Pope just did it.
With all due respect, if I was guided by what has happened liturgical in Rome for the past 40 years, I would now feel rather confused. We’ve witnessed some amazing changes even in the past 5 years in the way the Roman liturgy is conducted – Some of which we might even interpret as an ‘about face’ from the immediate past. Of course, if we look to the underlying legislation, it all makes sense. So, to be honest, I’m not so interested in what anybody says or does as to what the legislation says. I look to Rome in Pius X’s years as the example of how to understand the legislation because one would think that Pius X’s own diocese would follow his instructions on sacred music diligently – All the information in Hayburn certainly points to that.
Since you’re not prepared to answer a simple question on what precisely distinguishes secular and sacred music around Palestrina’s time (I’m not asking Pius X here, I’m actually asking you because you are the one making the accusation (not Inter Sollicitudnes) that the classical orchestral forms are not in the correct mold for sacred music (as opposed to religious music) ), I’ll just make these quick points:
I think it would be fair to say the current Holy Father is well enough versed in liturgical matters not to violate any musical rubrics on a major feast of the Church. That he has celebrated orchestral Masses on other important occasions can surely not be the result of a complete misunderstanding of such rubrics or of Inter Sollicitudines?
Mozarts and Haydn’s Masses were never offically banned by the Church. If they were, these two composers who wrote the majority of great orchestral Masses would be mentioned in the encyclical as models to “avoid” just as Palestrina is mentioned as the “supreme model”. Wouldn’t that clear up any ambiguity for all time? As it is, nothing is mentioned and for one simple and obvious reason – that was never the intention – in fact the reference as eluded earlier is to the plethora of second-rate hacks composing orchestral Masses in a semi-operatic style, not to the liturgical music of universal geniuses!
Masses of excessive length – I agree, but most orchestral Masses are not of excessive length. The Papae Marcelli for example is longer than most Mozart Masses. Many of the earlier Masses are no longer than any by Victoria, Josquin etc The reference in the document is clearly to contemporaneous orchestral Masses.
The Holy Father described the music at the Pentecost Mass as “a great symphony to God” – this is a man who always very carefully chooses the precise words he says. I think any sound Catholic would say this indicates he believes such music to be “sacred”. Joseph Haydn certainly doesn’t need to justify his liturgical music as being sacred.
Hang on a minute, Euphraise.
Inter Sollicitudines explains that Classical Polyphony is appropriate because it has developed out of Gregorian Chant. I don’t need to demonstrate that it is different from Palestrina’s secular output because the Supreme Legislator has deemed it to be so. Anything later than Classical Polyphony, however, is not held up as a model in the same document. As to why the Pius X didn’t mention specific composers I don’t know. The ONLY composer mentioned in the document is Palestrina. The supreme model, by the way, is not Palestrina, but Chant. And Euphraise, where is the continuity between Chant and the orchestral Masses, or Classical Polyphony and the orchestral Masses?
The Holy Father does not oversee every detail of the liturgical ceremonies in the Vatican, so who knows who actually approved the Haydn Mass. In any case, nobody has addressed the rubrical issues that arise when using orchestral Masses. The argument that ‘The Pope did it’ is one that I addressed in my last post.
As to the Holy Father’s statement about the Haydn Mass, it is important to remember that not all statements of the Pope carry the same weight. A Motu Proprio carries a lot more weight than a sermon.
For a good discussion of why Mozart and Haydn are unsuitable, see Richard R. Terry’s “Catholic Church Music” (London, Greening and Co, 1907) – III – Essential Fitness of the Old Music & VI – Modern Music.
Terry was Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral. The book, coming so soon after the Motu Proprio (and indeed reprinting its text in full along with other Papal Legislation) can be viewed as representative of the views of the legislation and its intent in the period immediately following its enactment.
I agree the Holy Father’s words during the sermon don’t carry the same binding weight as an encyclical, but neither does it detract from the truth of them.
re as to the ceremony – let’s no try and secondguess what might have taken place here. I think that would be rather futile.
All classical music arose from music of earlier periods, and so on and so forth. Classical music would be impossible without chant and without classical polyphony. I’m not sure what your point is here, because no-where in Inter Sollicitudines does it specify more modern forms of music need to have some continuous, unbroken line with chant – it simply states chant is the supreme model, and that the closer the music is to it, the more sacred it is. No-one is disputing that, but you’re going even further, saying other more modern forms such as these orchestral Masses have no place in the liturgy. The document in fact further states the more modern forms (deemed suitable) are “no way unworthy” of the liturgy, andtherefore in “harmony” with the “supreme model”.
Look, the fact you personally cannot see how these orchestral Masses grow out of the earlier “model” forms or how they are musically connected with them is neither here or there. That would involve a level of musicology certainly above what I know. The point is – the document does NOT forbid the great orchestral Masses, and after over a century after it is written, I think the consensus of common sense and experience suggests that as well.
Pope Benedict XVI on Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, on the occasion of hearing Mass on his brother’s birthday:
Dear Georg, dear friends, almost 70 years have passed since on your initiative we went to Salzburg together, and in the splendid Abbey Church of St Peter heard Mozart’s Mass in C minor. Even if I was only a simple youth at the time, I realized, with you, that we had experienced something other than a mere concert: it was music in prayer, a divine office in which we had felt the magnificence and beauty of God himself and were moved by it. After the war we returned several times to Salzburg to hear the C minor Mass and this is why it is deeply engraved in our joint inner biography. Tradition claims that Mozart composed this Mass to fulfil a vow in thanksgiving for his marriage to Constanze Weber. This also explains the important soprano solos which Constanze was to interpret as expressions of gratitude and joy gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam gratitude for God’s goodness which had transported him. From a strictly liturgical viewpoint some might object that these great solos are somewhat removed from the sobriety of the Roman liturgy; yet on the other hand we may also ask: do we not perhaps hear in them the voice of the Bride, the Church, of which Bishop Gerhard Ludwig has just spoken? Is it not the Bride’s voice that actually resounds in these solos both with her joy at being loved by Christ and with his own love, and thus brings us before God as a living Church in her gratitude and joy? To the grandeur of this music and this Mass, which go far beyond any individuality, Mozart entrusted his most personal gratitude. At this time, dear Georg, we have thanked God together in the harmony of this Mass for the 85 years of life that he has granted you. In the programme prepared for this concert, Professor Hommes has strongly emphasized that the gratitude expressed in this Mass is not a superficial gratitude impressed upon it lightly by a man of the Rococo age but, rather, that the full intensity of his inner strife was expressed in this Mass, his search for forgiveness, for God’s mercy and then joy in God rises from these depths, more radiant than ever.
“All classical music arose from music of earlier periods, and so on and so forth. Classical music would be impossible without chant and without classical polyphony.”
Using that line of reasoning, there is nothing wrong with a rock Mass (or worse) because rock music could not have happened without classical music, could not have happened without classical polyphony, could not have happened without chant. The link between styles has to more intimate than that.
“The document in fact further states the more modern forms (deemed suitable) are “no way unworthy” of the liturgy, andtherefore in “harmony” with the “supreme model”.”
The paragraph after the one you’ve just paraphrased goes further:
“Still, since modern music has risen mainly to serve profane uses, greater care must be taken with regard to it, in order that the musical compositions of modern style which are admitted in the Church may contain nothing profane, be free from reminiscences of motifs adopted in the theaters, and be not fashioned even in their external forms after the manner of profane pieces.”
“The point is – the document does NOT forbid the great orchestral Masses, and after over a century after it is written, I think the consensus of common sense and experience suggests that as well.”
Does it? Read Terry’s notes on Mozart and Haydn Masses. It is not just my subjective opinion of these Masses that I am stating, but an opinion that is consistent with the attitude in the Church immediately following the Motu Proprio. If these Masses weren’t forbidden, then why don’t we hear anything about them being sung in Rome immediately after the Motu Proprio? Or at Westminster?
I think that a decent musicological analysis of Mozart and Haydn’s Masses will just highlight more problems.
…and still, nobody addresses the issue of rubrical problems in these works!
Again, you’re quoting a text that has less weight than the Motu Proprio.
It would appear that the Pope actually heard the work at a concert (I quote from your quote, with emphasis added):
” In the programme prepared for this CONCERT, Professor Hommes has strongly emphasized that the gratitude expressed in this Mass is not a superficial gratitude…”
And that’s precisely where this Mass is great – In a concert! Perfect! Pius XII dealt with sacred works that were not liturgical appropriate in his encyclical on sacred music, in which he recommended that they be performed in concerts.
Sorry about the bolding. Oh, and the exact words in the Pope’s Pentecost homily about the Harmoniemesse were “a sublime symphony for the glory of God”, and that it had been “appropriately chosen”.
Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos gave a talk in 1997 where he said the following: “The Incarnation is not a simple idea but a fact; it is “the” fact of history; it is so great that inside major classical composers, like Mozart and Haydn, Schubert and Bruckner, and so on, at the words of
the ‘et incarnatus est’ of the Creed, the artistic sensibility itself raised accents so smooth, delicate, enchanting I would say, that one gets the impression that music itself
is kneeling and worshipping such a mystery.”
As for the performance aspect — that’s a dilemma even for people in the pews. Are you going to just kneel? Will you try to kneel with technical perfection? Will you kneel so as to be a good example of kneeling for your kids? Is it right to be embarrassed if you kneel badly, and make a huge kneeler crash, or is it totally wrong to be conscious of such surface matters? Do you kneel from the heart? Do you stay kneeling too long or too short a time, and draw attention to yourself? Do you kneel to God?
So no, there’s no real difference between the dilemma of “am I worshipping or performing or just executing the music?” in a schola or an orchestra. Different scale, maybe. Different sorts of things to watch out for. Not a difference that matters.
Again, the problem for me is that you’re not really quoting from a source with any (canonical) weight. A Papal Sermon, A Cardinal’s speech with a passing reference to sacred music. Neither legislative in nature, nor even a commentary on the legislation itself. When you read specific music professionals of the era commenting on Inter Sollicitudines, they tend to say the same things – Chant yes, Polyphony yes, everything else: exercise great caution – not too much is appropriate.
Let’s say it’s right after “Tra” came out. Let’s say the Pope had a plane back then, and had flown to China or darkest Wyoming. Some little village scrapes together a village orchestra, and not having read Tra, they use some Haydn or Mozart Mass.
Do you really think the Pope would think this Mass infected with theatricality?
We live in a time and place where “theatrical” means Broadway, where even secular classical music has taken on a semi-sacred character, and where there is definitely not a problem with too many parishes doing Mozart and Haydn all the time in the spirit of Greatest Pop Hits. Indeed, the focus of performing Mozart and Haydn in an “early music” style rather than in a soupy operatic Italian style suggests that our Mozart and Haydn are not at all the same composers suffered in Tra’s, at all.
The moment I find myself groaning, “Harmoniemesse at the 9:30 again?”, I will concede your point.
Euphrasie: The point is – the document does NOT forbid the great orchestral Masses, and after over a century after it is written, I think the consensus of common sense and experience suggests that as well.
Nor is the question of the great Pope Saint Pius X’s precise intent then necessarily a controlling factor now. Archaeological dissection of legislation of earlier eras is not always helpful. For instance, who would suggest rigorous adherence now to the direction in Tra le Sollecitudini V.14 that “only men of known piety and probity of life are to be admitted to form part of the choir of a church”.
Does anyone else recall an anecdote about Pope Pius XII who, when asked how something he’d said compared with Pius X, replied “I am pope now.”
To me, at any rate, it’s pretty important who is pope now, and what the current Supreme Legislator says and does.
“Let’s say it’s right after “Tra” came out. Let’s say the Pope had a plane back then, and had flown to China or darkest Wyoming. Some little village scrapes together a village orchestra, and not having read Tra, they use some Haydn or Mozart Mass.
Do you really think the Pope would think this Mass infected with theatricality?”
I think that the Pope would understand the good faith of the little village, and, being the great shepherd that Pius X was (and therefore desiring to give his flock the best of the Church’s spiritual and cultural riches) would probably speak to the Bishop and bring about a reform in that diocese.
“We live in a time and place where “theatrical” means Broadway, where even secular classical music has taken on a semi-sacred character, and where there is definitely not a problem with too many parishes doing Mozart and Haydn all the time in the spirit of Greatest Pop Hits. Indeed, the focus of performing Mozart and Haydn in an “early music” style rather than in a soupy operatic Italian style suggests that our Mozart and Haydn are not at all the same composers suffered in Tra’s, at all.”
Opera is opera, regardless of when it was written and regardless of who performs it. The ‘new theatrical’ that has emerged to add to the mess is Broadway (and I shudder when I think of some of the horrid music that parishes have inflicted upon them regularly in this style!). I prefer to hear Classical era music played on period instruments and suchlike too. That doesn’t change the fundamental structure or style of the music though! Ultimately, the legislation is about protecting sacred music from the profane – whether that be rock, pop, opera, broadway, polka, folk or jazz!
Henry, Pius XII didn’t really do too much to Pius X’s original legislation – A little tweak here and there, really. You can talk about the actions of the reigning Pope, but the fact is that there IS legislation for sacred music out there already. Annoyingly, I can’t find my copy of Jones’s “Moral Theology”, which has a great section about law and its application. To the best of my knowledge, law remains law until either
a) Its substance is replaced by a new law, or
b) The Legislator repeals it.
If the Legislator wishes to do something about the law, then he needs to act in certain ways to replace or repeal it. I see no statement from Benedict XVI to repeal or replace anything in Pius X’s legislation.
To be honest, the Motu Proprio doesn’t require any dissection. It’s pretty clear what the intention was from both the text and the actions in the Diocese of Rome (and published material from that time). It does not look favourable for the Mozart and Haydn Orchestral Masses. Refer to Terry and you’ll see what I mean.
Ok, seems like palestrina (the younger) will not take no for an answer.
Then let me suggest the following counter-question: where are the rubrics for the orchestra, choir and congregation?
To the best of my knowledge there are none. So if we go the legalistic route, one might chastise the priest for either repeating too often or too little, but that does not in any way make it impossible that the choir and orchestra repeat phrases – including the first lines usually as intonement. So it looks like there is an easy solution to the problem, fully allowing orchestral masses, namely by making sure the priest follows the rubrics, pretty much ignoring the music. (something that happened regularly in the EF, I gather from other posts on this blog, with it being common the choir was till busy with previous parts when the priest was well into the canon)
One could use a similar style of reasoning for most of your other points. Personally, I rather take my cue for His Holiness – none of the documents you cite have the power of dogma, so they could be changed by the stroke of a pen. I can well imagine the Holy Father would prefer to celebrate Mass and lead by example than to sift through two millenia of publications from his predecessors to formalize everything he doesn’t agree with…
“Then let me suggest the following counter-question: where are the rubrics for the orchestra, choir and congregation?”
There are such things as rubrics of the singing of the Mass, from which I will now quote:
“III. The priest alone and in a clear voice gives the Intonation of the Gloria in excelsis Deo, and then Et in terra pax hominibus is continued by the choir…”
“V. When the Gospel is finished, the priest gives the intonation of the Credo (if it is to be sung), the choir continuing with the Patrem omnipotenem…”
What’s more, Inter Sollicitudines prescribes how the text is to be rendered AND the particular musical treatment that is appropraite.
“So it looks like there is an easy solution to the problem, fully allowing orchestral masses, namely by making sure the priest follows the rubrics, pretty much ignoring the music. (something that happened regularly in the EF, I gather from other posts on this blog, with it being common the choir was till busy with previous parts when the priest was well into the canon)”
Thus effecting a split between the music and the liturgical action? As St. Pius X said: “Music is the handmaid of the liturgy.” What you suggest makes it a kind of ‘tack-on’, and isn’t much better than the “hymn sandwiches” that are so prevalent today?
“One could use a similar style of reasoning for most of your other points. Personally, I rather take my cue for His Holiness – none of the documents you cite have the power of dogma, so they could be changed by the stroke of a pen.”
No, they’re not dogma: they’re LEGISLATION. See my remarks in a previous post about law. Pius X’s document is the “magna carta” of Catholic musical legislation. You’re right: the Pope could change it. But he hasn’t! Furthermore, as I’ve already stated, John Paul II came out on the 100th anniversary of the document and reaffirmed its continuing relevance to the Church today!
Palestrina, you spoke of that book about church music; do you also have recommendations for solid accounts of music history? I have learned so much from your posts…thank you!
I think one thing to keep in mind in this debate is that the Mass is a prayer. How well the music integrates into the fabric of the Mass should also play a role in determining its eligibility for liturgical use. While orchestral Masses have a unique ability to raise the mind to God through their plethora of timbres and textures, I have found that they can sometimes become a superimposed layer on the Mass as opposed to something integral to its celebration. Perhaps this is partly due to the way the priest celebrates the EF (intoning a prayer and going along his merry way as the choir sings). Maybe the true reform intended to rectify this?
Palestrina: First, let me say that I agree with you (and Pius X and everyone else whose view would be worth mentioning) that Gregorian chant is the proper musical voice of the liturgy, and should be the norm on most occasions, the only ordinary exception being polyphony which has its roots in Gregorian chant. I would not want to quarrel with those few places that have regular orchestral Masses, but my personal view (as a mere internet tyro) is that they are suitable mostly for great and special occasions – like yesterday at St. Peter’s Basilica. (Of course, since it’s not about me, it’s utterly irrelevant that I myself simply do not “connect” with most orchestral settings at Mass, prefer unaccompanied chant or polyphony, and no musical instruments in church other than the organ.)
That said, I suspect there’s considerable doubt that — with all the water under the dam since Pius X (both good and bad, mostly the latter) – there’s much to be gained by citing his motu proprio as currently applicable or binding legislation, in however great respect many of us here hold him, and would prefer that most of his directions (in this and other areas) be followed.
Also, it seems worth mentioning that the EF high Mass one frequently observes nowadays — with virtually the entire congregation joining in chanting the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, etc.) and all the dialogue responses – not only represents the participation actuosa that Pius X urged, but is probably the only type of Mass the typical bishop can find in his diocese where Vatican II’s goal of “actual participation” has been realized. Dating back as I do to pre Vat II days, I certainly agree with the quip that the Council has done more good for the older Mass than the newer Mass. (Of course it was supposed to improve old Mass practice, since the older Mass was the only one the Fathers of the Council knew, and they certainly never envisioned any “new order” of Mass.)
Why make a fetish out of Pius X’s legislation? In any event, I’d be surprised if he had ever hear a Mass of Hadyn or Mozart. What he was really out to eliminate was the Italian operatic style of the 19th century, which can be heard, for example, in the recordings of the castrato Alessandro Moreschi. The Masses of Hadyn and Mozart have continued to be sung in Germany and Austria without a break, ‘pace’ Pius X. And German choirs continue to sing in vernacular German Latin, as we heard from the Cologne chorus, despite Pius X’s demand that all liturgical Latin conform to the Italian pronunciation.
One may like or not like this music at Mass, but Pope Benedict’s comments in his homily make it quite clear that what, if anything, Pius X thought about Haydn Masses, his opinion has been superseded.
You seem to use as a basis for the correct interpretation of Inter Sollicitudines the actions of certain dioceses immediately after the document was promulgated? If one used merely that as a criteria, we could discount a large sum of prior “legislation” of the Church, not to mention prior Councils of the Church, whether its Vatican II, Trent or earlier etc
What you have failed to realize is your musical mind is stuck in 1903, and fails to take into account a vast body of scholarship in music of the classical period in the last century, particularly in the music of Joseph Haydn since the war – knowledge which was simply unavailable to Pius X and his musical advisors – having said that, I maintain they still would not have forbidden orchestral Masses of Haydn or Mozart. There has similarly been a significant amount of scholarship undertaken in chant, and chant styles in the last century which have illuminated and informed us on how to more accurately interpret this style of music.
Like any such documents, Inter Sollicitudines was a reaction to circumstances at the time, and its results in the half century afterwards were mixed. IN my own country, it took over 35 years for anything to filter through. SC in the 1960’s again affirmed chant as pride of place (in even stronger terms than anything in Inter Sollicitudines) but this didn’t register. On the specific use of instruments hence orchestral music, I suggest you update your knowledge here and read Musicam Sacram (1967) – that should help clear up any outstanding issues you have in this matter.
Ah well, I’ll grant you that – assuming you quote correctly, which you probably do – strictly speaking the first line of the gloria and credo should be done by the priest only. Still, no reason to throw out the orchestra, merely to train father’s vocal cords and shut the choir up for one single line.
As for seperating music and liturgical action, I wouldn’t be in favor of that. But that’s one of those things you get it you go the legalistic route. People try to find mazes in it, which there invariably are, and those have consequences – probably much worse that what one seeks to prevent.
Now you can of course continue to argue that every legal i has to be dotted and t to be crossed, even to teh spirit of the rule rather than the letter. Fine, if that works for you – but excuse me (and others) who do not consider themselves bound by that if the one authority that can change it gives clear indications that he does not consider it binding anymore.
Another interesting point (which I hope no-one has yet made: so many comments!) is that Pope St Pius X highly approved the compositions of Don Lorenzo Perosi (1872-1956), which he considered an appropriate contribution to the sacred Liturgy. This may shed some light on the breadth of his views as to what was, or was not, suitable liturgical music.
I think frazjoseph, with the stunningly illogical Bernini reference inadvertently hit the problem on the head. His argument seem to be that Bernini is great art, Mozart is great art, therefore if Mozart is not appropriate, Bernini is not.
Rape of the Sabine Women is a masterpiece. Doesn’t work well as an Altar frontal.
The arguments have all devolved into disputes on tastes in ART, or scholarship in ART. Fact is, the question is one of appropriateness to the LITURGY, and while orchestral Masses sometimes might fit a particular Liturgy (a large, festive Mass for a special occasion), they run the risk of detracting from the Mass as well. While the execution of Gregorian chant might detract, the chant itself never can.
Unfortunately, the question of appropriateness cannot be “solved” in precise legalistic examinations. This is one that requires a degree of judgement, just no way around it.
First, I took what Franzjosf wrote a bit differently than you did, but I’ll let him clarify.
Second, you’re comparing apples to oranges. I agree that Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” is inappropriate for liturgical use and that Rubens’ “Rape of the Sabine Women” is also inappropriate for a church or chapel. I’d also say that at least some of Mozart’s liturgical works (I’m not acquainted with all) are appropriate for the liturgy and that Rubens’ altarpieces are appropriate for altarpieces.
you completely missed the point of both comments. Music fits IN to the Mass, sculpture does not. For both, discussion of the resemblance of qualities on strictly artistic grounds is nothing but a side issue. It is the SACREDNESS, and in the case of musicm APPROPRIATE scale that is at issue ONLY. Tra sets Gregorian Chant as the supreme model of SACREDNESS of music, not compositional qualities. The rank order Pius X set down for appropriate music was an attempt to define the undefinable, and a good one. Big is not best, adding instruments always risks veering away from the sacred, to entertainment, detracting from not supporting the Mass, becoming an exercise in ego and excess, not serving the spiritual.
Thanks, Daniel. For a good overview of Western Music History, I recommend Grout and Palisca’s “A History of Western Music”, which is now a real ‘classic’, having been through six editions. For Church Music History, either Terry’s book that I’ve mentioned in a previous post, or Hayburn’s “Papal Legislation on Sacred Music”, which shows that Pius X’s motu proprio is the product of much thought – and tradition!
“Also, it seems worth mentioning that the EF high Mass one frequently observes nowadays—with virtually the entire congregation joining in chanting the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, etc.) and all the dialogue responses – not only represents the participation actuosa that Pius X urged, but is probably the only type of Mass the typical bishop can find in his diocese where Vatican II’s goal of “actual participation” has been realized.”
This is going down a rabbit hole, so I’ll deal with it briefly. This level of participation is encouraged in both Pius XII’s Mediator Dei AND Musicam Sacram. So to call this Vatican II’s goal is really not accurate at all.
“You seem to use as a basis for the correct interpretation of Inter Sollicitudines the actions of certain dioceses immediately after the document was promulgated?”
In the case of Inter Sollicitudines, it is appropriate to examine what happened in Rome. Why? Because Pius X, in December of 1903, wrote a letter to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, basically telling him to oversee the reform of sacred music in Rome. As a result of that order, Cardinal Respighi issued regulations for Sacred Music in Rome (February 1912). As a result of those regulations, every single schola, choir, choirmaster, organist and chorister who sang in the Diocese in liturgical functions was required to obtain a faculty from the Roman Commission for Sacred Music. This faculty would only be obtained with complete submission to the Motu Proprio. FURTHERMORE… Regulation 19 says “… Musical compositions destined for church functions, if they do not belong to the ancient classical polyphony, must have the approbation of our Roman Commission for Sacred Music…”
In this way, the Diocese of Rome would set an example to the world of what sacred music was to be used – This was Pius X’s desire.
So, in light of that… Look through what was sung in Rome during that time. Try and find Mozart, Gounod, Haydn, Faure etc on the lists. Good luck…
“What you have failed to realize is your musical mind is stuck in 1903, and fails to take into account a vast body of scholarship in music of the classical period in the last century, particularly in the music of Joseph Haydn since the war – knowledge which was simply unavailable to Pius X and his musical advisors – having said that, I maintain they still would not have forbidden orchestral Masses of Haydn or Mozart. There has similarly been a significant amount of scholarship undertaken in chant, and chant styles in the last century which have illuminated and informed us on how to more accurately interpret this style of music.”
Pius X was not ignorant! Inter Sollicitudines is not a document that fell from the sky one day. You’ll find that he implemented almost exactly the same regulations in his dioceses of Mantua and later Venice. Frankly, it would have been easier to research Mozart and Haydn at that time than any of the Renaissance composers. Isn’t the Vatican STILL working on publishing the complete works of Palestrina?! One of the legislative documents of either Pius X or XII specifically asks for research into Classical Polyphony to get it all republished!
“Like any such documents, Inter Sollicitudines was a reaction to circumstances at the time, and its results in the half century afterwards were mixed. IN my own country, it took over 35 years for anything to filter through.”
That had more to do with disobedience among musicians than anything else. I’ve read a thesis dealing with this matter in one jurisdiction, and have here a book about a choir that continued to sing the forbidden works for more than 20 years after Pius X’s motu proprio.
“SC in the 1960’s again affirmed chant as pride of place (in even stronger terms than anything in Inter Sollicitudines) but this didn’t register. On the specific use of instruments hence orchestral music, I suggest you update your knowledge here and read Musicam Sacram (1967) – that should help clear up any outstanding issues you have in this matter.”
Musicam Sacram doesn’t contradict Inter Sollicitudines. In fact, it doesn’t even discuss the principles governing sacred music’s STYLE. It is more of a practical document – concerning where to sing and what to sing and order of priority! As to orchestral instruments in the Mass, I don’t have any particular problem with them – provided that they are played in an appropriate style (and there are some instruments that should rarely or never be used). What I DO have a problem with is the style of Haydn and Mozart’s Masses, which really are liturgically inappropriate. If you are looking at Musicam Sacram to legitimise those Masses, you’re applying a ‘hermeneutic of discontinuity’ – A Mass in Latin before Vatican II should be just as liturgically appropriate or inappropraite after Vatican II!
“Still, no reason to throw out the orchestra, merely to train father’s vocal cords and shut the choir up for one single line.”
Go to a music editor and ask him (or her) to edit the music in the way you describe. The editor will laugh in your face! Mozart’s works (as indeed are most classical era works) based on the Sonata Principle. Charles Rosen’s book on this is particularly important. You can’t just cut out the “Gloria in excelsis Deo” without doing severe violence to the musical structure. This section in the work would be used to establish the tonic key which is extremely important because of the modulations that come later. Read Rosen and you’ll understand.
“Now you can of course continue to argue that every legal i has to be dotted and t to be crossed, even to teh spirit of the rule rather than the letter. Fine, if that works for you – but excuse me (and others) who do not consider themselves bound by that if the one authority that can change it gives clear indications that he does not consider it binding anymore.”
As far as I can see, I’m just following the principle of “do the red, say the black!” The fact that the music proposed doesn’t fit the rubrics (or the motu proprio) would seem to be the best argument against its use! If you want to be governed by the “spirit” of the rubrics, please, be my guest. But then don’t complain when others do what they like, inspired by the “Spirit of Vatican II.”
Prester, thank you! Perosi is a true way forward. As is Durufle, as is Peeters, as is…
Lets get back to basics here – you the the one making the assertion that classical orchestral Masses have no place in the liturgy. Despite the copious time you’ve evidently spent replying to people on this thread, you still haven’t proved your assertion but only stated you personally can’t see HOW they fit into Inter Sollicitudines and subsequent musical documents. It is evident that despite what may have been practices in certain dioceses at one particular point in history, what you are seeking is not there – I’m sure you’re a very thorough person but even you haven’t found it, the Holy Father hasn’t found any grave conflict, the Pontifical Insititute of Sacred Music hasn’t found it either, nor the musicians/clergy at some of the greatest Cathedrals on Earth. In practical terms, you have little to fear – most regular parishes cannot afford to hold these orchestral Masses, requiring trained choristers and intrsumentalists, and they hold no threat whatsoever to the prospect of the restoration of Gregorian Chant in our liturgies. My advice to you is get over it, and concentrate on more important matters. If you don’t like orchestral Masses, for heaven’s sake, don’t go to them – you won’t be missed.
Looking back over the comments, I find that Palestrina had already referred to Perosi, so that was old news.
Perhaps the Pian reform of Church music had greater impact in those countries where the faith was more recently planted. It was taken very seriously in Macao, and its effects are still felt there even today. In Australia at the close of the nineteenth century there was a serious need to address the state of church music. In prominent city churches operatic male and female soloists held sway. It was necessary to make Catholics, clerical as well as lay, aware of the criteria for good liturgical music.
I once assisted at Midnight Mass at the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi. The Mass ordinary alternated between the chant of the Missa de Angelis, with tremulous organ accompaniment, and sections performed by extremely operatic soloists. It was simultaneously outrageous and endearing …
“Lets get back to basics here – you the the one making the assertion that classical orchestral Masses have no place in the liturgy. Despite the copious time you’ve evidently spent replying to people on this thread, you still haven’t proved your assertion but only stated you personally can’t see HOW they fit into Inter Sollicitudines and subsequent musical documents.”
Haven’t I? Let’s sum up just a few points in my prior posts demonstrating why orchestral Masses don’t work:
2. Historical interpretation of “modern music” in the Diocese of Rome excludes Mozart and Haydn.
3. Writings of the period AND periodicals of the period which were concerned with the Motu Proprio exclude Mozart and Haydn. By the way – Show me ONE serious publication of the era (that has approbation), which indicates that the Mozart and Haydn Masses ARE Kosher.
Also… I think that Pius XII’s Musicae Sacrae is pretty clear about orchestral Masses (and in fact, most things post-Renaissance): Paragraph 53 praises Classical Polyphony. But look at what 54 says:
“Although in the course of the centuries genuine polyphonic art gradually declined and profane melodies often crept into it, during recent decades the indefatigable labours of experts have brought about a restoration. THE WORKS OF THE OLD COMPOSERS HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY STUDIED AND PROPOSED AS MODELS TO BE IMITATED AND RIVALLED BY MODERN COMPOSERS.”
I think this paragraph is very important. Firstly, Pius XII takes the view that stylistic development after Classical Polyphony was a gradual decline. Secondly, by “old composers”, Pius XII is referring to paragraph 53, in which he praises polyphony of the 16th century – So it is clear that Pius XII is holding up Classical Polyphony, NOT later works (ie. part of the “gradual decline) as a good model for modern works!
“the Pontifical Insititute of Sacred Music hasn’t found it either”
Please, find me a composer from the Pontifical Institute or Rome generally in the past century who has REALLY – and I mean deeply and accurately – imitated the Mozart/Haydn style for liturgical use. You’ll find even among their students – who may have adapted snippets – that they don’t disobey rubrics, don’t repeat themselves and the style is immediately more functional. I have one particular composer who DID enjoy Haydn and Mozart in mind and DID study in post Motu Proprio Rome (under either Casciolini or Perosi) as I write this. Perhaps Prester can guess!
“nor the musicians/clergy at some of the greatest Cathedrals on Earth.”
That depends upon where you look!
Palestrina (I admire your humility in choosing this name…),
Personally I am not going to rehash material which has already been covered. If orchestral Masses were so objectionable/forbidden, why did Rome grant an indult to the Germanic countries to allow these Masses to be performed, not just on special occasions, but regularly? Would that not be seen as a complete backflip by any reasonable person, if your case is true? Could it be recognition of the fact singing such Masses was the custom
in parts of Europe for hundred’s of years? IF you wish to pursue a legalistic, line by line approach to liturgical music, so be it – most people I know, including musicians, see this as quite unfeasible in practice. If whoever you wish to adopt that perspective, you will find few Masses anywhere where some rubrics are not broken at some point – eg. one could easily mount an argument if they wished, the insertion of a chant credo in a polyphonic Mass directly contradicts Pius X statements on what can or can’t be done with the Ordinary (ie. in not preserving unity by using a completely different style of music at a point in the Ordinary, where the text does not ask for it – in other words, putting musical considerations ahead of the text. Not to mention those who dissect parts of the Ordinary and combine polyphony and chant within individual movements – again, seemingly contradicting Inter Sollicitudines in not maintaining musical continuity and unity within the Mass Ordinary. For example, I would’ve preferred the Credo from the HarmonieMesse than Credo III at the Holy Father’s Pontifical Mass as it would’ve preserved complete compositional unity of the Ordinary as called for in Inter Sollicitudines. However, I’m not going to sleep over it either – one can’t have everything their own way and it didn’t detract from what was a magnificent and splendid occasion. My point here is to illustrate that all music, including liturgical music in practice is always a compromise between competing demands, available resources and interpretations. I personally couldn’t care less what was the practice in Rome with respect to music in the liturgy around 1904 – this is 2009, and what Rome is doing now is what concerns me and other Catholics. I realize you are someone that must have every minutiae in print, rather than simply using your eyes and seeing what is happening around you and the lead the Holy Father is taking, so all I can suggest is we wait for Benedict XVI to come out with a document on Sacred Music – I’m sure we will all be enlightened by it.
One principle must guide this question: The Mass is not an occasion for a musical performance, no matter how high the quality of the music. IMHO, the comment above that music and liturgy should re-enforce each other is simply wrong. Any music at mass must always be subordinate to the liturgy.
The fact that Rome at one time permitted orchestral music at mass proves nothing other than that Rome at one time permitted orchestral music at mass.
As much as I might like Allegri’s Miserere, Mozart’s Requiem, or some of Bach’s Cantatas, I find The Art of Fugue (esp. transcribed for chamber orchestra) and certain Vaughn Williams works (e.g., Thomas Tallis and Lark Ascending) every bit as “religious”–and I certainly don’t want them played at mass.
“If orchestral Masses were so objectionable/forbidden, why did Rome grant an indult to the Germanic countries to allow these Masses to be performed, not just on special occasions, but regularly?”
Indult? Please, enlighten me. I have my copy of “Papal Legislation on Sacred Music” right here. If an indult has been granted since 1900, it is probably in there. I’ve had a good read of Hayburn and can’t see any mention of indults. Are you sure you’re not mistaking disobedience for an “indult”?
“Could it be recognition of the fact singing such Masses was the custom
in parts of Europe for hundred’s of years?”
Well, given the number of illicit customs that the Motu Proprio abolished, I’d say probably not. And then if you look at the dubiae submitted to Roman Congregations, you’ll find that indults for anything contra legem are rare things indeed!
“If whoever you wish to adopt that perspective, you will find few Masses anywhere where some rubrics are not broken at some point – eg. one could easily mount an argument if they wished, the insertion of a chant credo in a polyphonic Mass directly contradicts Pius X statements on what can or can’t be done with the Ordinary (ie. in not preserving unity by using a completely different style of music at a point in the Ordinary, where the text does not ask for it – in other words, putting musical considerations ahead of the text. Not to mention those who dissect parts of the Ordinary and combine polyphony and chant within individual movements – again, seemingly contradicting Inter Sollicitudines in not maintaining musical continuity and unity within the Mass Ordinary.”
I don’t think you could adopt that line of reasoning at all! The section of the Motu Proprio that you’re paraphrasing is as follows:
“(a) The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc., of the Mass must preserve the unity of composition proper to the text. It is not lawful, therefore, to compose them in separate movements, in such a way that each of these movements form a complete composition in itself, and be capable of being detached from the rest and substituted by another”
Reading that correctly, it is about each movement of the piece preserving integrity within itself i.e. not having an aria for “et in terra pax”, then chorus for “laudamus te” etc.
As to settings of the Mass which alternate plainchant and polyphony. Two observations:
1. These Masses form part of the Renaissance repertoire, INCLUDING Palestrina’s “Missa Orbis Factor.” Since Pius X gives essentially blanket permission for Classical Polyphony AND holds up Palestrina as a particular example of high quality writing, it can be inferred that this practice is acceptable.
2. The practice of alterating falso bordone and plainchant in vesperal psalmody is clearly not considered an abuse. Given some of the falsi bordoni are quite polyphonic in style, there is nothing wrong, in principle, with the alternation of two licit and lauded musical styles – which, as both Pius X and Pius XII point out – are related to each other by virtue of one developing from the other.
“I personally couldn’t care less what was the practice in Rome with respect to music in the liturgy around 1904 – this is 2009, and what Rome is doing now is what concerns me and other Catholics. I realize you are someone that must have every minutiae in print, rather than simply using your eyes and seeing what is happening around you and the lead the Holy Father is taking, so all I can suggest is we wait for Benedict XVI to come out with a document on Sacred Music – I’m sure we will all be enlightened by it.”
Well you’re right: I DO care about liturgical law. Since Inter Sollicitudines is PRESCRIPTIVE, rather than directive law, I believe I SHOULD care too.
If you’re keen to use your eyes to guide what you will and won’t do liturgically, please let me know when you’re going to replicate WYD Cologne or Toronto. Bring on the guitars!
Palestrina is a username. I took it because I love his work. Stick to the subject at hand instead of jumping down rabbit holes.
You actually think that sculpture is inappropriate in a liturgical context?? Do you think that the Pieta is inappropriate for a liturgical space?
I disagree with you on why Haydn, Mozart, Faure, Gounod, Franck, etc., are not found on the Roman “White List”. Pope St. Pius X made it clear that “every nation is permitted to admit into its ecclesiastical compositions those special forms which may be said to constitute its native music”, provided that these be “subordinated in such a manner to the general characteristics of sacred music that nobody of any nation may receive an impression other than good on hearing them.” (Paragraph 2, for those who may want to look it up.) The musics of Austria, France, etc. are not native to Italy and vice versa. Section V states that other instruments (besides those which are forbidden) to be used in the liturgy with the permission of the Ordinary.
Please remember, that the current Pope is the interpreter of Tra le Sollecitudine (and later documents). If orchestral Masses aren’t a problem for him, they aren’t a problem for me. Remember how Pius XII changed the orans position and reminded those scandalized that he was the lawgiver when it comes to liturgy?
It would be a mistake to see WYD as a model of liturgical propriety. While I am sure that the Holy Father would like to reign it in a bit, he has to trust the people organizing it to plan it for him. It would also be a mistake not to expect the Papal Basilicas to be models of liturgical propriety, especially when the Holy Father so clearly wishes to reform the liturgy.
“(a) The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc., of the Mass must preserve the unity of composition proper to the text. It is not lawful, therefore, to compose them in separate movements, in such a way that each of these movements form a complete composition in itself, and be capable of being detached from the rest and substituted by another”
>>Reading that correctly, it is about each movement of the piece preserving integrity within itself i.e. not having an aria for “et in terra pax”, then >>chorus for “laudamus te” etc.
We’ll have to agree to disagree here – it entirely depends on how one intereprets the phrase “complete composition”. I”m not aware of any movement in Haydn’s Harmoniemesse which can form a complete composition on its own – to suggest that would be rather insulting to Haydn who’s musical conception in his Masses displays a unity between themes/motives not only within movements, but between movements i.e between parts of the Ordinary. Haydn is certainly not violating this rubric.
re the comment on former WYD’s is completely irrelevent. We are talking here about one of the major feasts of the liturgical year in Rome at St. Peters, celebrated by a man who is a world expert on the liturgy of the Church, as well as being the Supreme Legislator of the Church. IF you need to wait for him to write it clearly down for you (because you can’t see or hear or perceive properly or just use common sense), then hopefully that will take place, and trust you will likewise adhere to it – otherwise you’re going to be in a bit of a pickle, because its fair to say, these Masses will continue not only in Rome but elsewhere. I’d get used to it for your own health – these works are part of our Catholic musical heritage and always sound best when performed in the context for which they were written.
Alice, I think you’re mistaking me for somebody else. I have no problems with statues in churches – provided, of course, that they’re not those awful, mass-produced plaster disasters that only serve to remind me of the great harm that the industrial revolution did to ecclesiastical art!
“Pope St. Pius X made it clear that “every nation is permitted to admit into its ecclesiastical compositions those special forms which may be said to constitute its native music”, provided that these be “subordinated in such a manner to the general characteristics of sacred music that nobody of any nation may receive an impression other than good on hearing them.” (Paragraph 2, for those who may want to look it up.) The musics of Austria, France, etc. are not native to Italy and vice versa.”
“Mozart through inculturation”, I must admit, is a new and novel way of viewing the situation!!! However…
to import something of a national characteristic into liturgical music is not a licence to introduce styles that are fundamentally secular. To extend your line of reasoning, the works of Verdi might be admitted because they are an expression of Italian nationalism (Verdi having been admired by Italian nationalist). Admitting national characteristics, in other words, does not mean checking holiness at the door.
The Instruction that followed Pius XII’s encyclical on Sacred Music (the encylical seems to focus on national musics as being particularly useful for hymns) mentions that in missionary territories, the national music of a culture might be adopted to sacred use. Pius X’s precise wording in his document is “native music”, which would seem to allude more to ethnic traditions than national style. In fact, when in the 19th century one saw the rise of Eastern European nationalistic music (among the Poles, Russians, Czechs etc), there was no similar trend in Western Europe. Why? Precisely because these nations, through mutual influences, had largely lost this individual element: Whereas in Eastern Europe we perceive a whole set of different rhythms, scales and gestures, Western Europe had assimilated the same tonal system and rhythmic structures.
“Please remember, that the current Pope is the interpreter of Tra le Sollecitudine (and later documents). If orchestral Masses aren’t a problem for him, they aren’t a problem for me. Remember how Pius XII changed the orans position and reminded those scandalized that he was the lawgiver when it comes to liturgy?”
I’m not a sedevacantist and am well aware of who the current Pope is. I am also aware of the fact that Inter Sollicitudines still stands. See my remarks a couple of miles above this about law and how it is given (better still, find a copy of Heribert Jones’s “Moral Theology”, because I can’t seem to find mine!).
Euphraisie – You are reheating the same old argument and it is getting tiresome. It is one that I addressed a long time ago. It’s called the “The Pope just did it,” argument.
The Pope can do what he likes. It’s one of the perks of being the Supreme Legislator. If he likes, he can grant himself an indult. I can’t remember which Pope forbade the taking of snuff at Mass, but when his MC picked him up on it during a Papal Mass, the Pope simply responded, “I grant myself an indult.”
The fact is, Inter Sollicitudines is a law. Read Jones’s “Moral Theology” and understand what law is, how it is given, and how it is modified.
If, as you say, the Popes never intended to do away with Mozart and Haydn, why does Pius XII come out some 50 years after Inter Sollicitudines and describe the developments after Classical Polyphony as a gradual decay?
I am still waiting for you to find me that Indult for the Germanic Countries…
Yes, I misunderstood your comment on sculpture and I apologize for that.
As to ethnic/national music, I disagree, but I don’t have time to write a treatise on 19th century music right now.
I realize “Inter Sollicitudines is a law” – I have spoken about it no other context. However, I also acknowledge the enactment of that law by its sole interpreter (which thankfully is not you), as witnessed, for example, by the Pentecost Mass last Sunday – something you are reluctant to do, until it is spelled out in black ink. If you believe the Holy Father violated the rubrics of the liturgy, then have the decency and guts to come out and say it. He has not granted himself anything here, and it is outrageous for you to even suggest that you can somehow second-guess the mind of the Holy Father in these matters.
“If, as you say, the Popes never intended to do away with Mozart and Haydn, why does Pius XII come out some 50 years after Inter Sollicitudines and describe the developments after Classical Polyphony as a gradual decay?”
With all due respect, Pius XII does not say this at all – he simply says classical polyphony was in decline – that’s all. It would be helpful if you didn’t impose your own additions to these encyclicals. On the issue of secular vs profane, I’m not aware the Catholic Church has designated the melodies in Haydn’s Masses profane? All I’m aware is that “Palestrina” has done so. The reference is clearly to the plethora of composers who wrote Masses in an operatic style – something which does not apply to Haydn if you know anything at all about the composition of his Masses.
Would you accuse Palestrina borrowing music from his secular madrigals in his liturgical works as polluting his work with profane melodies? How is that instrincally different to anyone else in a later period borrowing music from their secular works in their liturgical works?
Oh my, we have heard from a great many “infallible popes” on this one!
A good re-read of Day’s “Why Catholics can’t sing” would be good
for many of the pundits here.
It seems such a silly discussion when one thinks about the music of
the Liturgy over the last 45 years!
Liturgy means “work of the people”. Each of “the people” has a particular “job” to
do at the Liturgy. The Priest prays the Great Priestly Prayer; the Deacon and Sub-Deacon assist with the Gospel and Epistle and other ceremonial actions; the people answer “Amen” and stand, sit, kneel, cross themselves, bow, etc., etc.. The Servers do their part, the chanters chant the Propers, the Choir sings the ordinary and the orchestra accompanies–as does the organ–another INSTRUMENT just like a violin or trumpet. Each one “performing” his duty at the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb!
Let us not judge. Let us work to preserve the entire patrimony of the Church. Let us understand that there are different sensibilities and that the Church has always provided for all. If your preference is not a Mass by Haydn or Palestrina or Gounod or Tallis, then do not go to that Mass but do not shoot yourself in the foot by making very personal opinions universal doctrine.
We have to acknowledge that authentic Western Culture is currently on the skids. The Church has for centuries been the patron of the arts. For the past 45 years the Church has abrogated this responsibility and the result has been a brutalizing of Western Culture. The stakes are just too high here. The Vandals are at the gates of Rome! Rather than all of this petty snipping, support the work that is going on, THANK GOD in many places to recover what is truly beautiful, sacred, and a part of our authentic Western Culture.
God is glorified by the sincere heart uplifting his voice in song–be it chant, polyphony, concerted music or modern truly sacred music. The Church is not a museum where ONLY the music of one period, or the architecture of one period or the Iconographic tradition of one period is to be used. The Church is ever old yet ever new.
There is so much real work that needs to be done. Let us not miss the opportunity by pointless arguing and finger pointing.
I am hearing here the same tired old arguments of the pre-conciliar Church. Many of the people who were so against the authentic musical tradition of the Church at that time and quoted Pius X et al., ad nauseum ad infinitum, were the ones who gladly abandoned the Chant and polyphony for guitars and drums! Yes, I heard the same old strident legalistic arguments at that time and Flor Peeters gave way to Ray Repp!
With all due respect, Father, there is legislation for a reason. People can like or dislike what the legislation is, but it’s there. What’s more, it’s there until it’s changed: I have finally found my copy of Jone’s “Moral Theology.” I suggest that people read the very useful remarks on law, legislators and changing of law.
I am not going to sit here and transcribe the whole book. This is all that I will transcribe:
“I. A new law abrogates a former law if it expressly states this, or if it is directly contrary to the old law or if it regulates anew the entire subject matter of the old law.
In the cause of doubt the revocation of an earlier law may not be presumed…”
“II. Custom revokes a law of the Church only if it is reasonable and has enjoyed more than forty years of uninterrupted observance. If the law forbids contrary customs in the future, then only a centenary or immemorial custom can revoke the law.
A custom expressly reprobated by the law is unreasonable.”
So where has Inter Sollicitudines been revoked? Where is its matter so ENTIRELY dealt with that it is no longer relevant? I’m looking at Musicam Sacram and I’m not seeing enough there to revoke the whole matter of Inter Sollicitudines!!!
“God is glorified by the sincere heart uplifting his voice in song—be it chant, polyphony, concerted music or modern truly sacred music. The Church is not a museum where ONLY the music of one period, or the architecture of one period or the Iconographic tradition of one period is to be used. The Church is ever old yet ever new.”
Yes, agreed. No contest. But the general requirements of liturgical music must still be met – regardless of which period’s works you’re using. I’m not disputing the edifying nature of much of this music. What I AM disputing is its liturgical appropriateness. Pius XII made ample provision for unliturgical yet edifying works in his encyclical on sacred music by suggesting concerts of religious music should be held to perform these works.
“Oh my, we have heard from a great many “infallible popes” on this one!
A good re-read of Day’s “Why Catholics can’t sing” would be good
for many of the pundits here.”
I have it right here. The fact that I’m reading it doesn’t mean that I’m going to take the non-legally-binding opinion of one (albeit good) author as gospel. He raises some excellent points. I’m not setting myself up as infallible, but neither am I setting up every reigning Pope as infallible in their daily actions. That’s called ultramontanism, and is not the same as Papal Infallibility.
“Let us not judge. Let us work to preserve the entire patrimony of the Church. Let us understand that there are different sensibilities and that the Church has always provided for all. If your preference is not a Mass by Haydn or Palestrina or Gounod or Tallis, then do not go to that Mass but do not shoot yourself in the foot by making very personal opinions universal doctrine.”
It’s not all about “preference.” People try to paint me as biased against one particular style. I’ve had the same arguments with the proponents of rock Masses. The truth is, I can appreciate the art in any style of music. I don’t know how many times I have to say that I’m not disputing the beauty of the style. What I AM disputing is its liturgical appropriateness.
We can preserve the Church’s entire cultural patrimony without having to cram it all into the liturgy. The fact that some of the Papal vestments are stunning and worthy of preservation, for instance, doesn’t mean that they will make a return to the Papal liturgy.
Ultimately, somebody DOES have to judge whether music is appropriate or not. I happen to be in a position where I have to make those decisions regularly.
“I am hearing here the same tired old arguments of the pre-conciliar Church. Many of the people who were so against the authentic musical tradition of the Church at that time and quoted Pius X et al., ad nauseum ad infinitum, were the ones who gladly abandoned the Chant and polyphony for guitars and drums!”
That so many gave up is disappointing. I happen to be fortunate, having been taught be one who never surrendered to the insanity of the day and stood by Pius X’s regulations (and every other regulation that came out of Rome after that, I might add!!!) regardless of the criticism, name-calling, hostility and sometimes downright rudeness that was to be suffered at the hands of those who call themselves “Catholic.”
“With all due respect, Pius XII does not say this at all – he simply says classical polyphony was in decline – that’s all. It would be helpful if you didn’t impose your own additions to these encyclicals.”
No, let’s look again. Direct copy and paste:
“Although in the course of the centuries genuine polyphonic art gradually declined and profane melodies often crept into it, during recent decades the indefatigable labours of experts have brought about a restoration.”
He says not only that classical polyphony was in decline, but that profane melodies crept into it… ie. the original art was corrupted – and experts are bringing about a restoration.
“On the issue of secular vs profane, I’m not aware the Catholic Church has designated the melodies in Haydn’s Masses profane? All I’m aware is that “Palestrina” has done so.”
Before you try this one again, why don’t you read Terry’s text on Catholic Music, look at the customs in Rome, examine the teaching practices of the Pontifical Institute and the Roman Seminaries immediately after the Motu Proprio? It’s not a matter of a “melody.” A melody can be treated in many ways. Its a broad, overarching esthetic that is creating problems.
And – once again – there are the underlying RUBRICAL problems. A Haydn Gloria with all four parts singing different texts at once. How is this possibily appropriate? How is it appopriate to usurp the celebrant’s intonations? They’re all there: printed in the Missal, for good reason!
“Would you accuse Palestrina borrowing music from his secular madrigals in his liturgical works as polluting his work with profane melodies?”
Trent condemened parody masses based on secular tunes, so, yes, I would condemn a work where Palestrina borrowed a secular piece as its basis. I don’t know if he ever did though. If he did, you can be assured that I wouldn’t use that work in a liturgical context. I am very even-handed in my approach.
“A Haydn Gloria with all four parts singing different texts at once. How is this possibily appropriate? How is it appopriate to usurp the celebrant’s intonations? They’re all there: printed in the Missal, for good reason!”
It isn’t appropriate to use a telescoped Gloria or for the priest’s incipit to be taken by the choir in the EF. Not all Haydn Glorias do this.
euphrasie, if one may use a metaphor drawn from pugilistics, you seem to be aiming to “hit below the belt” in some of your responses to Palestrina.
It seems to me that the expression “genuine polyphonic art” would cover all compositions with more than one voice (whether human or instrumental), and the infiltration of “profane melodies” would refer to abandoning the tonality characteristic of the Church’s chant, and indeed of any reference to the latter.
The recovery of pre-modern tonality was part of the movement that fostered the Pian reform of church music. This was also a factor in the revival of “native music” in certain places.
Who taught these people how chant is supposed to be done, or sound like? Have they ever actually listened to a good recording? Sounds like they need a good directorm to teach them to actually chant as a group and not overpower each other. Best example I’ve heard live was at Ave Maria U’s EF mass.
>>A Haydn Gloria with all four parts singing different texts at once
“different texts”?? No Haydn Gloria does this. If you really want to be precise, and you seem to be a precise sort of person, overlapping texts can also occur in many a Palestrina/Victoria/Josquin Mass – so what’s your point? The congregation can clearly hear what is being sung which is what the rubrics require. There are no problems at all – except possibly for you.
Music in the Mass is nothing more than sung prayer – the EF liturgy has overlapping prayers all through it (somewhat like a fugue in fact which adds to its beauty) – with the choir (or schola) singing one part of the text, and the clergy reciting another (often liturgically they are in fact singing different parts of the Mass at the same time) – this occurs in every Missa Solemnis or Missa Cantata. Nothing is confusing (at least when one is aware of this) and there are no problems – it works very well.
“examine the teaching practices of the Pontifical Institute and the Roman Seminaries immediately after the Motu Proprio”
Actually, examine them now Palestrina. Even the living Magisterium and the official interpreters of Inter Sollicitudines aren’t taking any notice of you. I repeat my request – if you believe the Holy Father gravely transgressed the musical rubrics of the Mass at a major feast of the liturgical year, state it clearly and for all to hear.
I’m afraid, Euprasie, that a few of Joseph Haydn’s Missae Breves do indeed have a “telescoped” Gloria and/or Credo. You can see for yourself on Page 19 of this PDF: http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/images/9/99/HaydnM7T.pdf
Thanks for your comments.
I think you misunderstand – my comment was rhetorical. Telescoped texts also are prevalent in Masses of the Renaissance school e.g. Josquin, but is certainly more prevalent in the 18th Century. It is hardly a justification however for banning a Mass because it is a purely musical consideration, not a liturgical one – it doesn’t detract from the liturgy in any way whatsoever. “Telescoping” of the Mass text inevitably occurs anyway, regardless of whether one has a Missa Cantata or Solemnis in the EF, and irrespective of the music chosen – there’s no way getting around that unfortunately.
Even if it were conclusively proven a particular work violated certain condition in Inter Sollicitudines – please, give me a work of genius which satisfies 90% of the criteria, which represents a crowing achievement in our Catholic music heritage, which has a praxis lasting centuries, over a non-descript, mediocre and uninspired work that may satisfy 100% of the criteria (many of those White-List composers are all but forgotten and for good reason too – they were simply not in the same league in setting the Mass text from that of the great composers of the classical era. I think history has borne that very emphatically. No-one is more aware of this than the Holy Father – I think its fair to say the majority of Catholics are right to take their lead from the way he approaches these matters. For Palestrina’s sake, let’s hope he puts pen to paper sooner rather than later.
I think you have misunderstood precisely what “telescoping” is. It’s basically about getting through a Gloria (or any other movement) really fast by starting DIFFERING TEXTS in each section contemporaneously e.g. “Et in terra pax” in the first, the next on “Laudamus te”, the next on “Qui tollis peccata mundi” and the last on “Quoniam tu solus sanctus” – ALL AT THE SAME TIME!
Please, find me an example of where Josquin does this. I’d be very interested to see it.
“Actually, examine them now Palestrina.”
This is the “Musical Offering” of PIMS. Listen to the examples of the new composers. I can ‘t hear ANY affinity with the Mozart/Haydn style in their works. Look at their performances of other works. Mozart and Haydn aren’t even represented. Then look at the course structures of PIMS and find me where they focus on studying orchestral Masses. They DO seem to focus on chant and polyphony though (admittedly, ethnomusicology and study of organ works are also offered).
“I repeat my request – if you believe the Holy Father gravely transgressed the musical rubrics of the Mass at a major feast of the liturgical year, state it clearly and for all to hear.”
I have already dealt with this point, haven’t I? The Holy Father can’t really transgress liturgical law because he can just give himself an indult for whatever he likes. He is, after all, the Supreme Legislator. So stop with the “you’re accusing the Holy Father of this and that” argument, because I’m not.
You are trying to prove the abrogation of a law by showing a few examples of the contrary being done. To me, these things, of themselves are not enough to prove that the law has been superseded. A contra legem custom has yet to establish itself, and the law still stands unchanged.
“Music in the Mass is nothing more than sung prayer – the EF liturgy has overlapping prayers all through it (somewhat like a fugue in fact which adds to its beauty) – with the choir (or schola) singing one part of the text, and the clergy reciting another (often liturgically they are in fact singing different parts of the Mass at the same time) – this occurs in every Missa Solemnis or Missa Cantata. Nothing is confusing (at least when one is aware of this) and there are no problems – it works very well.”
Interesting point. Have you ever read Adrian Fortescue’s book on the Mass? Quite interesting, because what I got out of reading it was that after the introduction of Low Mass, its rubrics started to filter through into High Mass. Historically, for instance, there was no recitation of the Introit, Gloria, Graduale etc as the choir was singing these. The practice of the priest reciting these texts seems to have become normative from Low Mass, in which he would “supply” them in the absence of a choir (yet they have always remained texts that, if everyone takes their proper part in the liturgy, are proper to the choir). But this is a rabbit hole, and not really to be pursued any further…
Euphrasia, because you mentioned Harmoniemesse a few times, I thought I’d go back and have a listen, to see if I really was being unfair to Haydn and to you.
I stand by what I have already said.
The Kyrie starts with an introduction worthy of any one of Haydn’s secular symphonies. The first entry of the choir reminded me a little of the opening scene of Verdi’s ‘Otello’. It certainly is dramatic! The repetition of the text destroys the triple nature of the Kyrie completely. This sort of undue repetition is directly condemened in Inter Sollicitudines. The length of this movement is also unreasonable: 7 minutes. Talk about leaving the sacred ministers waiting an inordinate length of time at the Altar! I could get through a full Gregorian introit, polyphonic Kyrie, and probably STILL have time to improvise on the organ before the Celebrant was ready to intone the Gloria in 7 minutes!!!
Listening to the Gloria, firstly we have the choir usurping the priest’s role of intoning. After that, we once again have needless repetition. 11 minutes of singing?! Pius X says the following:
“22. It is not lawful to keep the priest at the altar waiting on account of the chant or the music for a length of time not allowed by the liturgy. According to the ecclesiastical prescriptions the Sanctus of the Mass should be over before the elevation, and therefore the priest must here have regard for the singers. The Gloria and the Credo ought, according to the Gregorian tradition, to be relatively short.”
I have not yet touched on the problems of style. The ensemble writing (as distinct from the chorus writing) has all the gesture of secular operatic writing. It is not merely a matter of the manner in which it is sung: the very gesture of the music betrays its secular origins. When the music is not overtly operatic, it is certainly still secular in its inspiration.
Before we run down the rabbit hole of “this is just you showing your distate for orchestral Masses” again, I wish to add that I am rather enjoying listening to this work. I enjoy lots of sacred choral works. That is not to say that I think all are appropriate for the liturgy. Certainly, Harmoniemesse is not appropriate the reasons I have outlined.
My first exposure to Duruffle’s Missa cum jubilo was the version for organ. It didn’t make much impression. Later I heard the orchestral version: what a stunning difference!
It is a wonderful example of an orchestral Mass which is solidly based on the Gregorian heritage. I wonder if anyone is using it liturgically?
By-the-by, I was never much impressed with Duruffle’s Requiem either, until I heard it in church. Wow!
There is little room here (nor do I have the time) to address your assertions Haydn’s Masses are operatic – that only illustrates the fact this style of music is not your forte. If you want to play the game of this bit of music sounds like this bit of music, we can play that all day with any piece of music you care to imagine – its not sound scholarship or musical argument and only detracts from the issues at hand.
I only want to address your comment that the Holy Father has granted himself an indult here in order to circumvent the rubrics – your whole premise in explaining the performance of this Mass in St Peters would seem to be based on that. If you really believe someone of Benedict’s background (and mindful of all the books/articles he as written on the liturgy and music) would then deliberately alter these rubrics (not superficially mind you, but in a deep and fundamental way that would allow music you believe is unsuited and unworthy of the Mass), and to do so several times already in his Pontificate, to do so at one the greatest feasts of the liturgical year, at the Holy Father’s principal church in Rome, and then somehow reinstate the original rubrics back at the end of the Mass, I really think you need to take a holiday. That is not only an incredulous theory to put forward here – its just peculiar.
Its appropriate when it doesnt take away from the mass, as All liturgical music is. One can have very modern music, that can be very fitting, or the opposite. Like wise, “messiah” or Berlioz’s “Te Deum” wouldnt be approprite for the mass, simply because they are performance pieces.
And yes, even some of the orchestral Masses, are not appropriate. It all depends on how closely we are following the canon law on it, whether or not it enhances the liturgy, and lift’s the faithful’s soul towards God. When it turns the faithful’s head to the choir, no matter how gorgeous the piece is, you have failed utterly as a church musician.
“There is little room here (nor do I have the time) to address your assertions Haydn’s Masses are operatic – that only illustrates the fact this style of music is not your forte.”
Please address the other matters I have raised in that case. Am I the only one here who can see more than a passing resemblance of the operatic ensembles in this Mass? And – by the way – I have studied both Classical era music broadly AND Classical opera, so I do know my way around the esthetic pretty well. Please, show me where I’m wrong!
“If you really believe someone of Benedict’s background (and mindful of all the books/articles he as written on the liturgy and music) would then deliberately alter these rubrics (not superficially mind you, but in a deep and fundamental way that would allow music you believe is unsuited and unworthy of the Mass)”
There’s a difference between an indult (or perhaps I should have used the word ‘dispensation’) and altering the rubrics. In any case, I think the “The Pope just did it argument” complete with the “you’re attacking the Pope and putting yourself above him” argument is growing a bit old now, and I have addressed it in full. I am not going to respond to any further accusations made along those lines.
Please, by all means, show me how Haydn and Mozart Masses correspond to Inter Sollicitudines. I’ve just offered you a solid musicological analysis of how I believe they don’t, including references to BOTH style and legislation. All you do to refute me is say that classical music is obviously not my “forte.” Well, if that’s the case, and if it is really your forte, please, show me where my analysis falls down.
“It is a wonderful example of an orchestral Mass which is solidly based on the Gregorian heritage. I wonder if anyone is using it liturgically?”
Yes, isn’t it lovely? I’ve heard of it being used, but only with organ.
>> In any case, I think the “The Pope just did it argument” complete with the “you’re attacking the Pope and putting yourself above him” argument is >>growing a bit old now, and I have addressed it in full.
With all due respect Palestrina, you have not addressed the former “The Pope just did it argument at all” – all you have stated is the following and what can only be described as rather desperate words – perhaps because you must realize you’re on thin ground now:
“The Pope can do what he likes. It’s one of the perks of being the Supreme Legislator. If he likes, he can grant himself an indult.”
I’m afraid that sort of mindless speculation on your part is a completely unsatisfactory response – there is no rational, logic or reason that you even offer here for this apparent “decision” (according to you) of the Holy Father.
Perhaps the solution is simply this – the Pope loves this music (as we know he does), he described it as being “appropriately chosen” for the Mass, and it doesn’t contradict His view on what constitutes good liturgical music -that’s a much simpler explanation I’m sure you would agree, it fits all the evidence and data we have, and certainly the general consensus on this Mass from many other reputable blogs has been it was a marvelous occasion and the music was splendid. You really shouldn’t be trying so hard to look for truly fantastic and complicated solutions, when simple ones suffice.
I’m not going to spend my valuable time debating details of musical rubrics and their interpretation with you as you’ve clearly made up your mind on these matters and are unable to grasp how documents such as Inter Sollicitudines are meant to be actually employed in practice. Finally, there is a excellent video of the Schöpfungsmesse at the Bergkirche in Eisenstadt which was sung on Pentecost Sunday – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it – marvellous camerawork in this one too. The URL is: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/content/763306?inPopup=true
Perhaps the solution is simply this – the Pope loves this music (as we know he does), he described it as being “appropriately chosen”
Appropriately chosen why, precisely? Not for liturgical style, saith the Pope, but because it was the anniversary of the composer’s death. Some selective quoting, perhaps?
I am still waiting for you to show my where my analysis of the musical work has fallen down, given that you think that orchestral Masses are not my “forte.”
I am also still waiting for you to produce the text of that indult for the Germanic countries.
So, let’s review:
1. Ignore the celebrant’s intonations for the Gloria and Creed that are specified in the rubrics,
2. Use a style that is essentially secular and operatic – if Harmoniemesse is representative – including ensemble arias,
3. Repeat the words of the text unduly in direct contravention of Inter Sollicitudines,
4. Have long Glorias, in spite of Inter Sollicitudines requiring them to be ” relatively short”, in the Gregorian tradition,
5. Were abandoned in Rome, after the implementation of the Motu Proprio, which was undertaken by the Cardinal Vicar of the Diocese to make the place a model for musical reform to the Catholic world,
6. Were ignored by Catholic music periodicals along the lines of Caecilia, which were promoting different modern esthetics at the time which were actually consistent with the Motu Proprio,
7. Were specifically criticised by the eminent musical scholars and directors of the day in their writing, including Richard Terry (DoM at Westminster) and Stephen Moreno (who studied composition in Rome)
8. Sometimes use ‘telescoping’, which is in contravention of the requirements of Pius X’s motu proprio
9. Come from an era which was part of what Pius XII described as a “gradual decline” of Classical polyphony, in which profane influences crept in,
10. Are largely ignored by PIMS and the Sistina,
11. Were not used as models for sound modern liturgical music by Perosi, Casciolini, Praglia or Casimiri, not to mention – so it would appear – the modern composers at PIMS…
But we just heard a Haydn Mass in Rome so they’re therefore liturgically appropriate…
Am I the only one here who sees an obvious non-sequitur here?
May I point out that a theory (unlike a person) cannot be “incredulous”?
Well spotted – but I’m sure it doesn’t alter your understanding of the point I was making.
Your problem is you cannot think outside the box, or even know how to apply the box in practice. Great music wins in the end – its as simple as that, whether you hear it on CD, whether you hear it the concert hall, or during the liturgy. The music is not just great aesthetically, but because it magnifies the meaning of the words of the Ordinary – Haydn’s music can be confronting for some (not familiar with his music) which puts him in good stead here for there is nothing at all more confronting than the liturgy. Surely if you have any conception of the progress of either liturgical or musical history, you will have to concede that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Pius X was desperate to try and establish that primacy of chant again, and as mentioned the results were rather mixed, with many places simply ignoring it. The core ideas of what this document, this blueprint was trying to achieve I have absolutely no issues with – I am very happy and delighted to hear classical polyphony at Mass, or polyphonic motets during Offertory/Communion etc. You however are wasting a lot of time/energy trying to attack something which is not only a custom in various parts of the world (and has a liturgical praxis stretching back centuries) but for the overwhelming number of parishes in the world is never a possibility anyway. Nothing is lost at all, especially not the restoration of Gregorian Chant in our liturgies, if there is an occasional orchestral Mass done reverently and respectfully. No other composer has a greater difference between the music that existed when he was born, to that when he died than Haydn. He saw and obviously was instrumental in many of these changes. He put his God-given genius into these Masses (and in fact prayed every day before he composed parts of them as well as officially dedicating them to God) – they were explicitly written for the liturgy (it would’ve been unthinkable for him to merely compose a Mass for the stage, as Mass that would effectively just be religious music (rather than liturgical) – these Masses really culminate a lifetime working with sacred music. His Masses will be sung at countless liturgies around the world this year, next year, and in the future – despite tired protestations of self-appointed liturgical enthusiasts. The Church is informed and illuminated by progress in the arts as these documents state – Haydn has given Her a great treasure here and every time we hear his music at Mass, we can only say “Deo Gratias” for Papa Haydn.
“Your problem is you cannot think outside the box, or even know how to apply the box in practice.”
What happened to “Do the red, say the black”? This type of reasoning could be used to justify almost any liturgical abuse you could think of.
“The music is not just great aesthetically, but because it magnifies the meaning of the words of the Ordinary – Haydn’s music can be confronting for some (not familiar with his music) which puts him in good stead here for there is nothing at all more confronting than the liturgy.”
No, good music doesn’t just “win” automatically. As St. Pius X said,
“5. The Church has always recognized and favored the progress of the arts, admitting to the service of religion everything good and beautiful discovered by genius in the course of ages—always, however, with due regard to the liturgical laws.”
I have never disputed the aesthetic value of the work. Only its liturgical appropriateness.
As to magnifying the words of the Ordinary, it would seem that the text is to be left just as it is, without unneccessary repetitions. That is what the Motu Proprio requires.
“Pius X was desperate to try and establish that primacy of chant again, and as mentioned the results were rather mixed, with many places simply ignoring it. The core ideas of what this document, this blueprint was trying to achieve I have absolutely no issues with – I am very happy and delighted to hear classical polyphony at Mass, or polyphonic motets during Offertory/Communion etc.”
It wasn’t just about primacy of Chant – it was about removing the secular influences which had no right to be in the liturgy in the first place:
“Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God. We do not touch separately on the abuses in this matter which may arise. Today Our attention is directed to one of the most common of them, one of the most difficult to eradicate, and the existence of which is sometimes to be deplored in places where everything else is deserving of the highest praise—the beauty and sumptuousness of the temple, the splendor and the accurate performance of the ceremonies, the attendance of the clergy, the gravity and piety of the officiating ministers. Such is the abuse affecting sacred chant and music. ”
“You however are wasting a lot of time/energy trying to attack something which is not only a custom in various parts of the world (and has a liturgical praxis stretching back centuries)”
Customs are abolished by new laws – if you want to understand this, look up Jone’s “Moral Theology”, which covers the matter in detail.
“We do therefore publish, motu proprio and with certain knowledge, Our present Instruction to which, as to a juridical code of sacred music (quasi a codice giuridice della musica sacra), We will with the fullness of Our Apostolic Authority that the force of law be given, and We do by Our present handwriting impose its scrupulous observance on all.”
The custom argument just doesn’t work.
“He saw and obviously was instrumental in many of these changes. He put his God-given genius into these Masses (and in fact prayed every day before he composed parts of them as well as officially dedicating them to God) – they were explicitly written for the liturgy (it would’ve been unthinkable for him to merely compose a Mass for the stage, as Mass that would effectively just be religious music (rather than liturgical) – these Masses really culminate a lifetime working with sacred music.”
Fine, agreed. There are lots of composers out there for whom their sacred writing was a work of personal devotion and piety. In fact, I can remember a Papal document that mentions this as one of the causes of unliturgical music being so difficult to eradicate: the composers were often good Catholics. I’ve never really gone into Haydn’s motives for writing his Masses. They are really between him and God. All I have to go on is the external forms, which from the point of view of the law, are really all that matter.
1. Ignore the celebrant’s intonations for the Gloria and Creed that are specified in the rubrics
Wrong. As illustrated by Pope Benedict’s intonation before the Haydn Gloria Sunday. And by the celebrant’s rubrical intonations of the Gloria and Credo in the orchestral Masses I’ve witnessed recently. Furthermore …. But I doubt anyone really care what further mistakes I might point out.
Okay, fine. So the Haydn Mass used had an intonation. What about all the ones that don’t? What about the stylistic problems? Deal with the rest of my points.
Sometimes a composer writes a Mass for artistic reasons and/or it “outgrows” the liturgy. I remember my choral professors specifically saying that Bruckner 3 and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis were not clearly not intended to be used in the liturgy because the intonation was given to the choir.
For the rest of your points, I argue inculturation, you argue that inculturation is only for mission territories. (You can read “Music and Liturgy” in Spirit of the Liturgy to find out why I believe what I believe.) To my (obviously untrained by your standards) ears, Perosi sounds eerily like late 19th Century Italian Opera. Finally, I am not arguing that ALL orchestral Masses are licit anymore than you are arguing that Josquin’s Missa L’homme arme is licit.
Palestrina: Deal with the rest of my points.
Anyone who wishes to scroll up can read all he wishes about them. But surely the celebration of orchestral Masses, clearly ad majorem Dei gloriam — by pope, bishops, and priests all over — this Pentecost renders further discussion superfluous. So why spend further time on this?
Alice, I see your point: there are of course, some “Masses” that were never intended for liturgical use. I think part of the problem from the 18th century onwards was the lack of strict direction about compositional style and rubrics for composers. It really did take Pius X’s legislation to make sure that future composition was supervised and made to conform to some sort of standard. As a result, there is a lot of music that either stylistically or rubrically is unusable from the 18th century onward.
I guess my point about inculturation was that it seems to be more about a native musical tradition than just national “styles”, and that it doesn’t mean that one can just adopt a native tradition without adaptation, particularly where the native tradition is part of a secular heritage. Would it be appropriate, for instance, to write Irish Masses that used that nation’s famous jigs as its basis? Opera and symphony are a great part of the Austro-Germanic tradition, but they are fundamentally secular works. Would it be possible to adapt some elements to liturgical use? I’m not entirely sure. Of one thing I am sure, however: if they were adapted correctly, I would not recognise them for their former selves. The reason that, listening to the Haydn Harmoniemesse, I was so struck by the ensemble writing was that I have studed Classical opera, and the texture and style was very close to the operatic examples I have studied.
I only returned a borrowed copy of the “Spirit of the Liturgy” a few months ago – drat!
As to Perosi, I hear romanticism but not opera, because the fundamental gestures are not operatic. Perosi’s is a romanticism that is exercised with a pious restraint, eschewing the overtly sentimental gestures that one finds in 19th century Italian opera. A Perosi “Ave Maria” (there is a stunning four voice one out there somewhere – just beautiful!) is, to me, about as far removed from Desdemona’s “Ave Maria” aria in Verdi’s ‘Otello’ as one can get.
“So why spend further time on this?”
Because there is an apparent contradiction, perhaps? It would seem that the reason this topic was started in the first place was because things are not quite as clear cut as some might like to think they are.
How do you feel about a priest who was a professional opera singer? Fr. Michael Magiera is our FSSP priest, and he has, and uses (to quite magnificent effect) his operatic training in a manner that in no way detracts from the liturgy, but in fact glorifies it, especially when he chants the Preface in the “More Solemn Tone.”
“But surely the celebration of orchestral Masses, clearly ad majorem Dei gloriam—by pope, bishops, and priests all over—this Pentecost renders further discussion superfluous.”
Quite the opposite. I think this was intended to stimulate dialogue, just as the motu proprio SP has reopened discussion on how to reverently and correctly celebrate the liturgy. Hence, this thread. Informative and edifying comments abound!
MAJ Tony – If you’re asking me whether I think the use of bel canto or any other operatic vocal technique at Mass is appropriate (particularly for chant), the answer is a resounding “NO.” I have not, however, heard your priest sing, so I am in no position to say anything about his manner of singing and whether it is operatic, or simply uses good vocal technique. One great thing about opera singers is that they develop vocal technique to a very high standard. They also learn other good things like IPA. Given that your priest is FSSP – and working in an American(?) parish – it’s likely that he attended OLGS in Nebraska. Given also his background as an opera singer, it is likely that he sang with the Seminary Schola. I have been nothing less than delighted and edified with the recordings I have heard of this schola. If your priest sang with this schola for seven years (which is about the duration of formation), then I suspect he would have learned a particular technique for singing chant – If one was to sing bel canto with a schola of this type, the individual voice would stick out like a sore thumb. Seven years is a long time for a musician, and much can happen to one’s technique and one’s voice in that time. Maybe your priest’s operatic training has helped him to project his voice, sing cleanly, precisely etc – I don’t know. It would certainly give him the advantage of having a highly developed apparatus!
I have just stumbled on this interesting thread. Thanks to all the contributers.
My question is to what extent is “unecessary repetition”, “overlapping text” become a hindrance to disqualigy a piece of music being liturgical – is a certain amount allowed, or none at all? It seems the musical documents do not give clear guidelines here. For example, there is overlapping text in many masses in classical polyphonic style, yet they are still being regarded as suitable for liturgy – a simple example is the Gloria of the Palestrina Missa Brevis. Personally, I believe there is plenty of room for movement and flexibility in these matters, many of which come down to matters of taste. I like orchestral Masses in glorifying the liturgy, but also like chant and classical polyphony – the greek meaning of Catholic is universal, and I feel there is universal scope here for varying styles to enhance the liturgy.
Cimara, I don’t think that anybody would take issue with just the occasional repeated word. The problems arise when the repetition is pervasive, as is the case in the Haydn Harmoniemesse.
Overlapping text will occur in polyphony, but it will be ONE overlapped text, rather than the telescoping technique that we were discussing earlier in this thread.
I agree with you about there being room for many different tastes in the Church. Pius X says,
“The Church has always recognized and favored the progress of the arts, admitting to the service of religion everything good and beautiful discovered by genius in the course of ages—always, however, with due regard to the liturgical laws.”
The problem that I have raised is not merely one of taste, however: I have expressed my serious reservations about the style of Mozart and Haydn’s orchestral Masses. The Church does not admit just art and music to her liturgy on the grounds of taste and beauty alone: it must be essentially sacred and therefore appropriate for the sacred mysteries.
To Palestrina Re Fr. Magiera: If I recall correctly, he went to seminary at Wigratzbad, which makes sense, as he spent much time in Germany in his Opera days. I do know that Fr. Duvelius went there. Both entered seminary at a late age.
As to Fr. Magiera’s style, it does get much influence from his Opera training, but Fr. doesn’t “Grandstand.” He certainly doesn’t use that “bel canto” where he was chanting versus the schola, as in the Tenebrae, but it is noticeable in the solo chanted Lamentations, etc. It’s certainly not overpowering, but well projected and articulate.
>Overlapping text will occur in polyphony, but it will be ONE overlapped text, rather than the telescoping technique that we were discussing earlier in this thread.
Which part of document say text cannot be overlapped? I read it now (not for a long time!), and cannot find it. ONly that the text must be clear to faithful, and cannot change the order of text, or leave text of the Ordinary out. The Haydn Mass obeys all these prescriptions.
re repetition – this would mainly refer to the in gloria patris, and amen etc in the Gloria for example- I believe the repetition here is not undue because it perfectly suits the forms used by the composer in setting the text in the first place. The intent of Haydn, and the style in which he carries out that intent, are nothing other than to magnify the meaning of that text which is what the rubrics require. If you do not approve of long melodies or fugues stretching out one syllable of Amen, then we could apply exactly same principle to gregorian chant on one syllable of Alleluia – there is no intrinsic difference here in either intent or style. These great fugues which often close the Gloria/Credo movements are also quite uncharacteristic of opera. One person here, Euphrasie made very correct point – you could also accuse music of composers of Renaissance school often sounding like secular (profane) music at the time – just because this practice may have occurred before the advent of modern opera does not alter the fact the same phenomenon is occuring. It seems to me you like to use operatic forms(which are easily understadable to us these days) as an scapegoat to try and bolster your case against orchestral Masses. I also agree with comment that these documents are correct in trying to restore chant/polyphony, and accept more more modern forms of music (that serve the liturgical action) – but with respect to all the little details, are just guidelines to help new composers when they write their Masses. Haydn was working within constraints of his time, just as composers of Renaissance school – his solutions are different but no less effective in illuminating the text for the liturgy.
“Which part of document say text cannot be overlapped? ”
It was part of a Roman instruction issued by the VG of Rome – See my prior postings on this. Telescoping makes no sense.
“ONly that the text must be clear to faithful, and cannot change the order of text, or leave text of the Ordinary out.”
AND doesn’t repeat the text unduly. Harmoniemesse certainly doesn’t meet this criteria!
“I believe the repetition here is not undue because it perfectly suits the forms used by the composer in setting the text in the first place.”
And in this we come to the heart of the problem: it is the text that is secondary when this is the composer’s approach. Where the text has to be repeated or otherwise altered to suit the structure of the particular forms, that spirit of Gregorian Chant – the perfect model – is far off. As Cardine (and many other chant scholars note): the object of chant is to declaim the text.
“If you do not approve of long melodies or fugues stretching out one syllable of Amen, then we could apply exactly same principle to gregorian chant on one syllable of Alleluia – there is no intrinsic difference here in either intent or style.”
There is a large difference between the iublius of the Gregorian Alleluia and the I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-aria treatments that one finds in works such as the Harmoniemesse. One is clearly an ornamental structure which is derived from chant’s basic building blocks, the other is a display that is adapted from opera.
“One person here, Euphrasie made very correct point – you could also accuse music of composers of Renaissance school often sounding like secular (profane) music at the time”
It would seem that Pius X disagrees with your assertion: Look at Inter Sollicitudines and what it says about Classical polyphony. The point is not correct at all. It may be more accurate to say that Palestrina madrigal looks like his sacred writing than his sacred writing looks like a madrigal: it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that sacred art has influenced profane art.
“It seems to me you like to use operatic forms(which are easily understadable to us these days) as an scapegoat to try and bolster your case against orchestral Masses.”
Easily understandable? Not quite, given the objections raised to them so far! The case hardly needs bolstering – it’s not about “chance” similarities: the orchestral Mass esthetic of Haydn and Mozart really assimilates their symphonic and operatic techniques without due regard for the liturgical purpose of their work. To some extent, I blame the sonata principle, with its reliance on key structures and their variation: it’s not easy to be faithful to a text when at the same time as you’re trying to develop a wholly unrelated key and motive structure underneath it.
Thank you for your answers.
I’m still confused though – quote you give is “In a harmonised composition it is forbidden to confuse words by singing of them by certain voices and others at the same time by other voices.” You are correct – this would explain it, and is very clear. However, you then later say it is ok to do it once. I don’t think your statement can at all follow from the instruction.
I agree with some earlier comments – the Catholic church must use the finest music to fit the text, not unimaginative, safe works of inferior composers.
A church musician and music scholar with whom I was discussing this discussion yesterday told me that after Tre le soll. was published, there was an outcry in some places, and petitions went to the Holy See to allow the continued use of certain orchestral Masses. St Pius X acceeded to these requests, presumably because he saw that denying them would do more harm than good. Given the vehemence with which some contributors have defended the compositions of Haydn, et al., I’d say that that spirit was still very much alive today.
>>Given the vehemence with which some contributors have defended the compositions of Haydn, et al., I’d say that that spirit was still very much alive today.
I would prefer to use “passion” just as others here are passionate about other forms of legitimate liturgical music.
I agree though with some general queries raised here – the distinction between profane methods of musical expression and sacred was far more blurred in the days before opera (and remember the secular expressions at that time were just as secular as operatic and other more modern forms) – after opera (i.e. Monteverdi) it became much easier to identify secular forms from sacred, and there was of course a lot of mixing too – before this time, there was also mixing with forms feeding off one another (although some here insist that any forms found in sacred music at that time that were also found in secular must’ve originated in sacred music to begin with – with some perhaps yes, with others perhaps no – this is, in fact not an easy time to make clear distinctions about the origins of styles and compositional methods). One wonders whether some on this thread would also forbid the very first complete polyphonic setting of the Ordinary (Machaut) which is based on the forms used in his secular works
“A church musician and music scholar with whom I was discussing this discussion yesterday told me that after Tre le soll. was published, there was an outcry in some places, and petitions went to the Holy See to allow the continued use of certain orchestral Masses. St Pius X acceeded to these requests, presumably because he saw that denying them would do more harm than good.”
I’ve heard this before… BUT… if it had happened, Hayburn would cover it in “Papal Legislation on Sacred Music”, which, believe me, is an EXTREMELY thorough treatment of the subject, including Papal letters and dubiae submitted to the various Roman congregations (dating as far back as 1597 and extending to at leasdt 1959). If this sort of indult was issued, it would also, no doubt, have been published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
“One wonders whether some on this thread would also forbid the very first complete polyphonic setting of the Ordinary (Machaut) which is based on the forms used in his secular works”
Messe Nostre Dame? That comes from the very earliest polyphonic period (1360s) – hardly the ideal that Pius X was pointing to, which really peaked in the 16th century. Apart from that, try finding a choir that is capable of singing it!
“However, you then later say it is ok to do it once. I don’t think your statement can at all follow from the instruction.”
I was referring more to delayed entries (as one does find in Classical polyphony – legimately – without undue repetition) than to telescoping. No contradiction intended!
Yes, passion might be a better term.
Passio proprie dicta non potest competere animæ nisi per accidens, inquantum scilicet compositum patitur. Sed et in hoc est diversitas, nam quando hujusmodi transmutatio fit in deterius, magis proprie habet rationem passionis, quam quando fit in melius. Unde tristitia magis proprie est passio quam lætitia (STh I-II, 22, 1). Ratio passionis magis invenitur in parte appetitiva quam in parte apprehensiva (ibid. 22, 2). Passio proprie invenitur ubi est transmutatio corporalis (ibid. 22, 3).
An interesting discussion here – the whole issue of musical rubrics and what liturgical music is suitable is a very murky one – this “legislation” is frankly of potholes and ambiguities as any musician will tell you. Putting gregorian chant aside as the liturgical music held in the highest regard, it is clear to me that orchestral Masses have their place having been performed for centuries, and helping generations of people all over the world to pray the Catholic liturgy (which is what sacred music is for). The problem I think the Church has it cannot say a piece of music (assuming it is of very high artistic quality, was written specifically for the liturgy, and has great aesthetic qualities as well) does not help you pray the Mass because that is a completely subjective comment – if it helps you, it helps you regardless of what anyone else says. It can certainly advocate which styles of music are better suited to the liturgy, but that only gets one half way there – the other half (the response of the congregant to that music so that they might enter into the Mass more deeply) is crucial as well, and unfortunately no legislation can control that. I think everyone here agrees on the artistic qualities of these orchestral Masses, and the doubt is just whether they enhance the liturgy. Although one could make arguments they don’t satisfy every criteria in the Church documents, I feel the problem with that approach is it doesn’t take account of that “second half” of the equation – the response of the individual. I think I don’t have to present factual evidence to indicate these Masses have been successful whenever they are sung within the liturgy (including on Pentecost Sunday) -so, if it has helped people pray the Mass better, and given them a better insight into the transcendent qualities of the Mass, then it only becomes a matter of horses for courses – if you don’t like it, you don’t have to and no-one is suggesting it become the norm either, but you have to acknowledge that it works for some people.
@Palestrina (5 June 2009 @ 3:02 am):
“I’ve heard this before […] Acta Apostolicae Sedis.”
Footnote 31, page 280, in Sacred Music and Liturgical Reform: Treasures and Transformation, by Anthony Ruff, OSB (Hillenbrand Books. Chicago: Mundelein, IL, 2007):
Austrian emperor Franz Joseph strongly desired that Viennese classical music continue to be permitted in the liturgy, particularly in the royal chapel. He sent his chaplain, Bishop Laurenz Mayer, and his Hofkapellmeister (court music director) Karl Luze, to Rome to explain his concerns in a meeting with Pope Pius X […] At the end of the audience the pope stated, “Thus We wish to make an exception for Vienna” (So wollen Wir also für Wien einer Ausnahme machen); see [Erst] Tittel, Österreichische [Kirchenmusik: Werden-Wachsen-Werken. Wien: Herder, 1961], 315.
A few observations on the excerpt that I provided:
1. Since, as he was perfectly entitled to do, St Pius X granted this privilege viva voce and not by rescript, it will not feature in Heyburn.
2. Other places would have claimed the same privilege by assimilation, a canonically justifiable method at the time.
3. As it required both time and effort for me to produce this citation, I believe that Palestrina owes me a beer.
Well done, Prester! VERY interesting. As to other places claiming the same privilege by assimilation, I am unsure. I will have to consult a canonist friend of mine on that point and see what he thinks. It certainly seems as if Pius X intended this as an exception – for a man that at the time still had a power of veto in a papal conclave (I think!) – rather than a rule. I guess we now have to ask what form of law this is: Is it an indult, dispensation, privilege?
I am actually delighted that you have found this, Prester, because it unequivocally proves what I have been saying all along about the intent of “Inter Sollicitudines”, namely, that all orchestral Masses (ala-Haydn, Mozart) should be removed from the liturgy. The existence of this permission from Pius X for Vienna certainly does not give blanket permission for the use of orchestral Masses – not even in RARE circumstances, or for special occasions – beyond Vienna itself. Even if we do assume that assimilation applies – and I’m not sure that it does – I can’t see that many communities using orchestral masses are using these works on the basis of this principle.
VERY interesting indeed – Thank you! :)
So … beer?
*Palestrina pours stein of Franszikaner beer for Prester*
Vergelt’s Gott! Prosit!