Saturday, July 4, 2015

MOZART'S CORONATION MASS WITH SAINT POPE JOHN PAUL II AS CELEBRANT--SAINT PETER'S BASILICA

It is silly to think that Masses of this nature, which could be sung only as a concert and not as a Mass, should not be sung as a Mass. It lifts people's spirit in order that they might actually participate in the Sacred Mysteries.

Pope Benedict said this today about Mozart's Coronation Mass: "It remains indelibly impressed in my memory how, for example, as soon as the first notes resounded from Mozart's 'Coronation Mass,' the heavens practically opened and you experienced, very deeply, the Lord's presence."

25 comments:

Andy said...

Amen, Father. Maybe sometime in the future, we can have an EF Mass using this Mozart setting at Saint Joseph's.

Anonymous said...

This is the best form of the OF of the Mass there is. However, I still think the beauty of the EF Mass is missing because the flow of the Mass is interrupted with the parade of lay people with outsized books etc. Also, the concelebration and all speaking the words of consecration to me also detracts from the Mass. And, although I love St John Paul II The Great dearly, his turning around in a circle showing the host isn't the same as the elevation at EF of the Mass. Even in its highest form it is easy to see where this Mass is lacking by comparison to the Tridentine and it tends more to a "show" than a Mass. That is hardly surprising when you think that the Tridentine Mass has evolved over centuries. Nevertheless, I have to say the spiritualness of St John Paul The Great is very uplifting. The Mass setting is beautiful. Thank you, Father.

Jan

Anonymous said...

"His turning around in a circle showing the host isn't the same as the elevation at EF of the Mass". Actually this is very traditional. When the pope used to celebrate Mass publicly, which was rare, and solemnly, the rubrics for a papal Mass called for the pope to raise the host in elevation to the north, the south, the east and the west. Go on YouTube and look at the video of Pope John XXIII celebrating his coronation Mass. He raises the sacred host to the north, the south, the east and the west.

Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

Thank you, Anon @7:04. I was gonna make the same comment. The turning was not a "John Paul II-ism," but is a part of the Papal Mass in the traditional form. Pope Benedict did it, too, but to a less noticeable extent than traditionally called for. It's only been discontinued with the present Pontiff.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous 7.04 - I looked at the Coronation Mass of Pope John XXIII and you are right he does more or less turn around and face the people as St John Paul II The Great does. However, Santa Missa gives the rubrics for a papal Mass as: "At the Elevation of the Host and Chalice, the Pope raises his arms perpendicularly, turning first to the right and then to the left" no mention of turning round to face the people as John XXIII does.

Looking at an earlier Mass of Pius XII there is no turning around to face the people or any turning from left to right either, so perhaps it is reserved to the Coronation Mass or it was an innovation of Pope John XXIII.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7k8ZuO8JZk - the elevation can be seen at aroun 4.22 and it is the normal elevation at the Tridentine Mass.

Jan

John Nolan said...

The Viennese Masses of Mozart, the Haydn brothers, Hummel and so on were 'concert Masses' which would have been sung in the context of a Low Mass. When B XVI in 2009 had Haydn's 'Harmoniemesse' on Pentecost Sunday to commemorate the bicentenary of the composer's death it had to be slotted into an OF Solemn Mass - it would have fitted the EF better, but even so the Pope would have spent a lot of time standing around doing nothing.

The linear nature of the OF makes even some chant settings of the Ordinary appear long. Thankfully, the musical structure of the Roman rite has been preserved in the Novus Ordo, albeit as a rarely-used option.

Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

Jan, Pius XII preferred the Papal Low Mass, which, if I'm correct, didn't/doesn't include the turning around. I don't think John XXIII started the turning as an innovation.

Anonymous said...


"Looking at an earlier Mass of Pius XII there is no turning around to face the people or any turning from left to right either, so perhaps it is reserved to the Coronation Mass or it was an innovation of Pope John XXIII."

As you may have noticed I said when the pope celebrated solemnly, solemnly, which was very very rare, he would elevate the host to the four corners of the world. Pius XII practically never celebrated publicly in a solemn papal Mass. Even on Christmas when he decided to say Mass in the Basilca for the first time, it was traditionally celebrated in the Sistina, it was a low Mass. A solemn Papal Mass was infrequently celebrated due to the intricacies involved. Before Vatican II popes never just "invented" things in the liturgy, they followed the rubrics. Popes doing their own thing during the liturgy is a post Vatican II phenomena.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.23 pm a description of the solemn papal Mass is giving on Wiki as: While elevating the Host and the chalice the pope turned in a half circle towards the Epistle and Gospel sides, respectively, as the "Silveri Symphony" was played on the trumpets of the Noble Guard" which is in line with what Sancta Missa says: "At the Elevation of the Host and Chalice, the Pope raises his arms perpendicularly, turning first to the right and then to the left."

But from the video you mention Pope John XXIII does far more than that and turns a full circle to face the people, so it is quite possible that either he innovated or misinterpreted what he was supposed to do.

Jan

John Nolan said...

Not a few priests copied JP II and turned right and left at the elevation. The NO rubrics simply require the celebrant to 'show' Host and Chalice to the people. Consequently I have seen a) no elevation at all, b) elevation only to chest level, elevation of paten (or bowl) along with the Host, and d) elevation one-handed.

The minor elevation at the doxology in the Roman Rite (it doesn't exist in other Uses, cf the Dominican) has become a major event in the NO.

Priests would do well to emulate Pope Francis's mode of elevation, without copying his other idiosyncrasies. Incidentally, when celebrating at the papal altar J XXIII would have already been facing the nave and would not have to turn to face the people.

gob said...

"Concert Mass"....."lifts the spirits"? Depends on the congregation, or, in a "concert Mass", the audience. There are MILLIONS of Catholics whose spirits would not be lifted by the likes of Mozart or Haydn, but would be lifted by the likes of Hank Williams or Bob Dylan or Dr. Dre. or Bob Marley. What about them? This is all about a highfalutin, highbrow, elitist Catholic Church....like the one most of the folks here would like...not a Church for the people....the masses...like the one Pope Francis is working toward.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, maybe a Grateful Dead concert Mass.

Anonymous said...

Gob, rather than lifting their spirits, the secular music you refer to is what is driving a lot of people out of the churches. We are at Mass to worship God, not man. The dignity of the Mass has been more or less destroyed in the Novus Ordo Mass by the form of secular music you appear to recommend. Many Catholics have been forced to attend Sunday Mass accompanied by pentecostal-type praise and worship bands and it's no wonder the churches are emptying.

Jan

gob said...

Too bad. They just did their last show.

Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

Do enlighten us, gob, concerning just how Pope Francis is working toward a "Church for the people" on a liturgical level. His Masses are *pretty much* the same as Pope Benedict's were, in style, and your use of his name on this subject is a weak argument at best.

gob said...

I'm really not inclined to do remedial work to bring you up to speed, Mike. You obviously haven't been paying attention since Pope Francis was elected. I'm afraid you're WAY behind the curve.

George said...


gob:

Any music and words designated for liturgical use should be those creative works which are appropriate to what we are engaged in, which is the worship and adoration of the Almighty God. It is to our benefit only in as much as compositions dedicated to such use serve that purpose, and aid us in entering into that which transcends the mundane, which is our praise for, and communion with, the Divine Creator.

The Mass should not serve as a vehicle for the purpose of entertainment.



gob said...

I wasn't the one who brought up "concert Masses". Talk to John N.

Are you saying that you're sure that Almighty God likes Mozart and doesn't like Dr. Dre?? How do you know that? What is "mundane" and what isn't is a matter of opinion.

John Nolan said...

I wasn't aware that Hank Williams, Bob Marley or Dylan, or Dr Dre (who he?) had written music for the Catholic liturgy. Neither did Richard Wagner, although few would deny that his music can be spiritually uplifting, sublime even. Nor is every setting of a liturgical text necessarily liturgical music.

The music uniquely proper to the Roman liturgy is of course Gregorian Chant, although other styles (especially sacred polyphony) are by no means excluded. Mozart's music is not elitist; what is elitist par excellence is the attitude of people like Gobshite who assume that 'the masses' are incapable of appreciating high culture and need to be fed the pabulum of industrially produced popular culture.

Incidentally, play a piece of Gregorian Chant to anyone and they will immediately place it in its correct context even if they don't understand a word of what is being sung and have never entered a church in their lives.

George said...

If you have a craft, a skill you have developed to a high degree through experience and knowledge, then you would judge another who is engaged in using that skill from the standpoint of the expertise you have built up. Some may be just good at what they do, others very good, and still others excellent. Your expertise provides you the means to judge the skills of others. I say leave the liturgical music judgement to those who have studied and practiced in that field and are well-versed and knowledgeable in the subject. Additionally, the body of words which comprise a chant or a hymn should not contain anything in anyway which is contrary to the Catholic Faith. I know that there are small church with limited musical resources, but no matter the particular size of parish we are in, we should strive to provide God with the best that we can of liturgical music which is appropriate for worshipping Him and giving Him due honor.

gob said...

So John...If I hired you to come sing some Gregorian Chant at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville or the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, you think you'd draw a crowd?

John Nolan said...

George, the only problem with your argument is that those well-versed in liturgical music include the likes of Paul Inwood, David Haas, Dan Schutte, Marty Haugen, Bernadette Farrell and a long line of musical mediocrities who have made a fortune out of churning out third-rate music to accompany the exciting (not) new vernacular liturgy, with the backing of the bishops.

James MacMillan is a first-rate composer who announced not long ago that he would not be writing any more liturgical music since the Church needs first and foremost to recover its existing musical heritage, one of the greatest achievements of mankind. She also needs to recover her liturgical heritage which was squandered after V2, to the dismay of many people of culture who weren't even Catholic (look at the list of those who petitioned Paul VI in 1970 to allow the continuation of the Tridentine Mass which resulted in the famous 'Agatha Christie Indult').

The process is indeed under way, but it will be a long haul. Young children learn the simpler chants easily and think singing in Latin is 'cool'. Sadly their (Catholic) teachers are liturgically and musically ignorant (not their fault, they know no better). Initiatives to bring chant to junior schools - such as those in the Leeds (UK) diocese - are bearing fruit and musicians need to see their role as part of a wider evangelical outreach.

John Nolan said...

Gob:

The Grand Ole Opry isn't a liturgical venue, any more than Westminster Cathedral is a venue for Country and Western (or whatever you call it - sounds to me like an insurance company). People don't go to a rock festival to see a Verdi opera. Horses for courses.

I have sung the Dupre Vespers in a concert performance and a sizeable number of people paid to attend. They knew in advance that they would be hearing chant and organ music. Had they been confronted with Miley Cyrus they would not have been best pleased.

What exactly is your point? Assuming that you have one.

George said...

John Nolan:

Believe me, I'm on on the same page with you. Paul Inwood David Haas, Dan Schutte, Marty Haugen have differing degrees of formal musical education. None of them in my opinion have the background to compare to James MacMillan with the exception of Mr Inwood. There is a hierarchy of skill level in any field. I know people who prefer Bob Dylan to Mozart but would never claim the the former is equal to or better than the latter. That's why in the last sentence in my comment I referenced small churches with limited musical resources. I've attended Mass in a small Catholic church where there was only two guitarists and a keyboard player, none of whom seem ed all the musically educated. They were in tune and could sing on pitch(to my ear anyway) so that was a big plus. So it was Schutte and Haugen which is not my cup of tea, but they did it well enough and so I consoled myself that it could have been worse.



John Nolan said...

George, you raise some interesting points. Is it better to have good music performed badly or bad music performed well? I have been to weekday Masses in France where the congregation sang simple vernacular chants with no accompaniment and with which they appeared familiar. They weren't Gregorian in style but had nothing of the faux-folk or pop idiom about them.

Ditch the guitars, for a start. I have never, in 50 years, heard anything in church accompanied by a guitar which wasn't dire.