Mozart Makes The Gloria Soar

Angels The Gloria

The Gloria      The Gloria starts with “Glory to God in the highest . . .”  If you frequent the Catholic Mass, you know this prayer.  You’ve heard it hundreds of times, maybe thousands.  But how much do you know about it? Or have you ever wondered where it comes from, or how it got into the Mass?      First […]

Something Strange is Happening – Holy Saturday

 Something Strange  Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. These are the opening sentences in the non-scriptural reading in today’s Office of Readings. The author, it seems, is unknown.  The liturgy simply tells us that it is […]

Crucifixus Etiam Pro Nobis: Lotti’s Musical Meditation on the Crucifixion

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato: Passus, et sepultus est. (Nicene Creed)   Crucifixus Etiam Pro Nobis Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: He was also crucified for us. That brief statement in the Nicene Creed refers to one of the two most important events of all time. The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his Resurrection […]

Have Mercy – Lotti’s Miserere (Music for Lent)

Have mercy on me, O God,according to thy steadfast love;according to thy abundant mercyblot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1) Have Mercy       And what transgressions they were!  King David had used trickery and deceit to send Uriah the Hittite to his death.  He had, in fact, murdered his loyal soldier in order to hide his own adultery.  Tradition […]

Our Goal is the Resurrection: Ain’t No Grave

Spes in Domino Our Goal is the Resurrection

Our Goal is the Resurrection Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.  (Introit for the 4th Sunday of Lent)   Our Goal is Almost in Sight      Why rejoice in the middle of Lent?  Isn’t Lent a solemn and penitential season? And haven’t […]

The Spirit of Lent: Two Choruses from Handel’s Messiah

The Spirit of Lent Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5-4)  Capturing the […]

Fear and Hope: Confutatis and Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem

Fear and Hope

Fear and Hope are the twin themes of the “Confutatis and Lacrimosa” from Mozart’s Requiem. If thou, O LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope . . . (Psalm […]

Music for Lent: When Jesus Wept

Jesus Wept

     I just ran across the beautiful Lenten song “When Jesus Wept” just within the past week, although it has been garnering more attention in Catholic circles in recent years (my sons tell me they sang it in choir at their faithful Catholic college).  It was published in 1770 by American composer William Billings. The melody is […]

The Drama of Sin and Repentance (or not) From Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Music Monday)

Hell is a real possibility for all of us.  It’s not a happy thought, but it’s an appropriate introduction to today’s Music Monday selection, our last musical offering before Ash Wednesday.  It’s not really sacred music, but it is very relevant indeed to the Lenten themes of sin, repentance (or not), and damnation.  This is the finale* of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni (a.k.a. Don Juan), one of the most powerful scenes in the history of musical drama.