Monday, 22 June 2009

Liturgical Music?


Just when you could be excused for thinking the members of the Women's Guild dead (or worse!), here's another musical interlude: Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle (1863). However, despite its name the mass is far from 'petite' and not particularly 'solennelle' as it was written not for use in the liturgy, but for the salon of a Parisien town house. The more pernickety amongst you might also question its status as a 'messe' as it's just so long as to be totally un-liturgical. I've yet to meet the priest with the patience to stand through a thirty-one minute Gloria or sixteen minute Creed, though I may well be wrong. Answers on a postcard (or modern equivalent).

The piece was originally scored for two pianos, harmonium and twelve singers and Rossini himself described the setting as the last of his 'pêchés de vieillesse' (sins of old age). Some movements are entirely ridiculous. The tenor soloist bouncing along to the words 'Domine Deus' is one of the more ludicrous moments. This version is sung by the 'Prince of Tenors', Franco Corelli:




And, just when you thought the piece had reached new heights of utter bonkersness, there is a lengthy harmonium solo between the Benedictus and the O Salutaris Hostia! Yet, in spite of my mockery, the Messe Solennelle has for me some truly uplifting moments and is exciting and dramatic, and possesses a real sense of the holiness. The Sanctus and Benedictus are, for example, very beautiful and moving at times:



So, all you experimental liturgists out there: why not use the 'O Salutaris' for your next Benediction? Delight your congregation with all or some of this 'little' mass setting. You know you want to...!

Friday, 19 June 2009

How I wish I could make these....



Image source here

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, have mercy on us!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Unreasonable Demands?


"Robes, scary art, smoking incense, secret doors in the Iconostas popping open and little robed boys coming out with golden candlesticks, chants and singing from a small choir that rolled across the curved ceiling and emerged from the other side of the room where no one was singing."

Other than the Iconostasis (we don't have any Orthodox members -at least, not yet), this description could easily fit most of the churches in which the Women's Guild lurk attend. So, I was stuck by this blog post by a Baptist minister experiencing Eastern Orthodox worship for the first time (spotted on Shrine of the Holy Whapping) especially as I've become quite accustomed to robes, scary art, incense and gold candlesticks.

"So what did I think about my experience at Saint Anthony the Great Orthodox Church?

I LOVED IT. Loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it.

In a day when user-friendly is the byword of everything from churches to software, here was worship that asked something of me. No, DEMANDED something of me.

“You don’t know what Theotokos means? Get a book and read about it. You have a hard time standing for 2 hours? Do some sit ups and get yourself into worship shape. It is the Lord our God we worship here, mortal. What made you think you could worship the Eternal One without pain?"

I've been thinking of this recently whenever I've been too lazy to kneel in the right places or say my prayers when I ought. Faith is demanding -not about making things easy for yourself.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A Corpus Christi treat

Whether you're keeping Corpus Christi today or on Sunday, here's a treat for the day found in a box of holy cards. Somebody* decided, on 23 February 1900, to make themselves a list of prayers to say in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I suppose the numbers must refer to page numbers in a prayer book -I wonder if any readers with a large library of early 20th century French devotional works can work out which one!



Prières a dire devant le Saint Sacrement exposé

Litanies du Sacré Coeur de Jésus
Amende honorable au Sacré Coeur de Jésus 373
Consécration au Sacré Coeur de Jésus 378
Chapelet – Mystères douloureux 433
Entretien de Jésus avec l’âme adoratrice 391
Amende honorable à Jésus Crucifié 326
Litanies du trés Saint Sacrement 299

This is exactly the sort of thing I could see myself making, losing and then it turning up over a hundred years later in somone else's box of cards.

*E. Cordieu is my best attempt at making out the name but perhaps just wishful thinking on my part given the presence of so many devotions to the Sacred Heart!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

More blogs...


A worried frog

I've just added two more blogs to our blogroll -they've linked to us for quite a while- you certainly have to be patient for recognition round here!

MommyLawyer: Catholic, mother, lawyer, homeschooler and blogger from the foothills of the Appalachians who wants to be a domestic goddess. I'd say she already is -just look at the frog dissection.

Apostolicity: Fr Christopher Cantrell SSC of Fort Worth, with artwork courtesy of Shrine of the Holy Whapping