Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Liturgical music in Church - without the Liturgy

Recently I had occasion to look at the November edition of the listing events@brugge. Now let's blow up the second item down in the sixth column:

There is also an advertisement for the event at the Bladelin ensemble's own website. It reads:
Forthcoming concerts:
Mozart, Sint-Jacobskerk - Bruges
10 november 2012 - 8:15 p.m.

Vesperae solennes de Confessore KV 339
Concerto voor fluit, harp en orkest KV 299
Davide penitente KV 4699
It took a while for it to sink in.

Priests will say that such classical masterpieces as Mozart's "Vespers for a Confessor" are beyond the horizon of modern man or that if they were used in the liturgy, people would not be able to participate. Yet in fact, people pay to go to concert halls to hear this beautiful music. I think they are actively engaged.

Nowadays there are often Concerts in Churches and that is a problem in itself. What we have here is not only a Church being used as a concert hall, but music composed for the sacred liturgy being performed as a concert in a Church without the Liturgy being celebrated.

Sometimes it is hard to fathom the depth of madness to which we have sunk in the rejection of our own patrimony of sacred music. The philistines decided that we couldn't have this sort of music in the liturgy because it was too much like a concert. A few years on, we have the same music advertised as a concert in the Church, without even celebrating the liturgy for which it was written. If the priests are singing anything at all, they must be putting their fingers in their ears and going la-la-la-la.

If you want to hear Mozart's Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, K. 339, here is a video from YouTube - of it being sung (in 1990) as a concert in the Franciscan Shrine Church at Poznan; with the choir on the sanctuary.

As a matter of interest, roughly how much would it cost to hire an outfit like this for an evening? We might have a minor win on the Euro Lottery (before we can fund the minor basilica) and we could always have a retiring collection ;-)
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