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.

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 […]

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, […]

12th Day of Christmas: The Christmas Tree Points to Christ 

Merry Christmas on this, the 12th Day of Christmas!     Today is the last of my daily “Twelve Days of Christmas” posts. While today doesn’t mark the end of the Official Christmas Season®, we are nearing its end.  In an earlier post I described the season as a series of ripples emanating from Christmas Day with decreasing […]

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 […]

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 […]