I don't mean to mock this as I would recommend anyone to see it. I love this kind of entertainment on stage! But it does give you insight into the times of the 1960's and what happened to our Mass, how it was highjacked by the entertainment industry and from which we have yet to recover! Although at the end I do prefer that English version of the Confiteor even to our revised English one today! What do you think?
Leonard Bernstein's Mass is set to the traditional Latin Mass, can't you tell from this scene?
Leonard Bernstein's Mass is not meant for the Mass. It is a performance Mass or opera meant for the stage. I saw it at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC around 1978 (which is right next to that famed Watergate Complex and intrigued me to no end when I went to that center as a seminarian). I couldn't believe I was sitting at the epicenter of political intrigue and scandal as I watched this Mass unfold on stage.
This is a review of this Mass from 2008 which I copy for your reading pleasure. Does it indicate some of the problems of the Church of that period and problems today that still exist in the Liturgy and the Church? I report, you decide.
Revisiting Bernstein's Immodest 'Mass'
by Marin Alsop
Marin Alsop was a Leonard Bernstein protege. With his Mass, she has championed her mentor's most controversial piece.
September 27, 2008 - Leonard Bernstein, for me, was the greatest risk-taker in 20th-century classical music. He thrived on conflict, and this is nowhere more evident than in his most controversial composition, Mass.
Bernstein composed the piece, on commission, to memorialize John F. Kennedy, America's first Catholic president. The occasion was the grand opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 1971.
Bernstein chose the structure of the Roman Catholic Mass, complete with a celebrant playing the central role. But this was a far cry from your ordinary Mass. Bernstein used the traditional Mass as a framework on which to hang all of his beliefs and questions. The music embraces Broadway and opera, rock ballads and blues, with a narrative that blends Hebrew and Latin texts.
Provocative and innovative to some, appalling to others, Mass is first and foremost a celebration of human faith, but it also questions the relevance of ceremonial rituals and immutable "truths" in an increasingly faithless modern world. Audiences leapt to their feet at the premiere, reacting to a work that felt so anti-establishment and so real.
To me, Mass contains the essence of Bernstein as a complex man and artist. Sure, the music is intoxicating, but beneath the showiness on the surface is a profound statement of faith. Bernstein was a nimble composer. He moved comfortably between high art and pop culture, not confined by stylistic boundaries. This was long before "crossover" became trendy.
Today, 37 years after its world premiere, Mass seems even more vital and relevant. Political volatility, an unpopular war seemingly without end, and our ongoing struggle as individuals to find faith and spirituality in contemporary society — this was the backdrop for Bernstein's portrayal of a modern-day crisis of faith. And while the music and the text may have less shock value to our contemporary ears, the message of Mass has enduring significance.
I'm proud to be conducting this defining work of Bernstein's career with the Baltimore Symphony in October, celebrating the life and legacy of my friend and mentor in what would have been Bernstein's 90th birthday year.
When I was 9 years old, I saw Bernstein conduct at one of his New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts. That moment convinced me that conducting was the only thing in the world that I wanted to do. That alone would have been enough of a gift; but when I was 31, he took me under his wing and imparted to me the heart and soul of the craft.
Bernstein always told me that a composer spends his entire life writing the same piece, trying to answer the same unanswerable questions. Mass was his journey in search of an answer for all of society, then and now.
Marin Alsop is the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She's the conductor laureate of the Colorado Symphony and conductor emeritus of the Bournemouth Symphony.
And more delightful memories! Actually I thoroughly love this kind of entertainment with a very deep spiritual signficance for the times and it is a time warp that is very valuable for today's generation of Catholics to understand so much that has transpired in the Liturgy since the 1960's. This I find very enjoyable and much of it sends chills up and down my back and in a good way! Although I understand that some would find this sacrilegious but it wasn't intended to be at the time at all, far from it! But in a nut shell, liturgical composers of modern Masses for the actual OF Mass today were very much influenced by this genre. Can you tell????????