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.

The Last Chance Before Lent: Haydn’s Te Deum

     Lent is approaching fast: Ash Wednesday is just over a week away.  This is one of our last chances to get in a joyful sacred composition by our old friend Joseph Haydn before the penitential season begins.      Today’s selection is a setting for the ancient prayer Te Deum (see my discussion of the prayer itself below […]

Before the Storm: The Finale to Haydn’s The Creation

    We’ve been looking at selections from Haydn’s oratorio The Creation over the past few weeks .  Last week we saw the overture, “Chaos,” a musical representation of the state of disorder that prevailed before God created the universe.  The selection before that was “The Heavens are Telling,” based on Psalm 19.  This piece comes at the end […]

A Musical Evocation of Chaos by Joseph Haydn

    Last week’s musical selection was “The  Heavens are Telling” from Joseph Haydn’s masterpiece, an oratorio called The Creation. There are three parts to the oratorio as a whole. The first part deals with the creation of the heavens and earth, and inanimate things such as light, water, land and plants.The subject of the second part […]

The Drama of Salvation: Agnus Dei from Mozart’s Coronation Mass

Sacrificial Lamb Josefa de Obidos

   Catholic Christianity has been blessed with a vast array of artists of every sort whose manifold talents have brought glory to God. There are poets as different as Dante Alighieri and Gerard Manley Hopkins, we have Carravaggios and Michelaengelos in the visual arts, and there are a whole list of Catholic composers including Monteverde, […]

Things Old and New: Berthier’s “Laudate Dominum”

     The Twentieth Century is known for many things, but beautiful art, whether in the visual arts or music, is not one of them.  There are nonetheless some lovely creations hidden among the experimental and the transgressive and the deconstructed offerings cluttering the past century.  You can hear one of those sparks of beauty in the clip below:  “Laudate […]

Vittoria Aleotti: Io v’amo vita mia

    The claim that Christianity has historically been used as weapon against women, a tool to keep them down, is a falsehood, a smear against the Church.  The charge misses the point, first of all, because Christ didn’t come to offer anyone advancement in this world, but to draw all of us, women and men alike, deeper into […]

Agnus Dei from Haydn’s Missa in Tempore Belli

Spiritual Warfare has been a theme in a number of my posts recently, and for good reason: while the struggle “against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12) is always with us, it has been causing more […]