Classical Music Masses

At Bach’s time, Lutheran services routinely went on for 3 to 4 hours, so this kind of time frame would not have been completely unrealistic for him. It was probably intended for use, even if it is doubtful it was ever performed in its integrality in Bach’s lifetime for various reasons (official mourning on the year it was composed, following the death of Friedrich August I. von Sachsen, for being one of them).

Bach did conduct the Sanctus himself on several occasions.

Just cherry-picking here :wink:

When at Mass did she sing it? I thought solo singing was forbidden. When at Mass is solo singing ok? Where does it fit in?

I read the article, and it gives indeed little clues as to the origins of this dislike.

As a celebrant, though, who sometimes presides “cantata-services” with a real baroque chamber orchestra, I can say this : it’s both incredibly beautiful when music, Bible readings and liturgy all come together, and a bit frustrating when you have two violins, a oboe, a cembalo and a viola da gamba tuning, however discreetly, while you are speaking.

Multiplied by the number of musicians in a big symphonic orchestra, I can see it becoming a nuisance distracting from what is happening and which music should be serving.

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People sing solos at Mass all the time. Been going on for years. In fact, sometimes there is only one singer at the Mass.

The Communion Reflection after Communion is one place where a soloist will often do the “Ave Maria”. My parish growing up would have the best singer in the choir (man or woman) do it on major holidays. My mother would always cry upon hearing it.

Thanks for posting that article. Its an interesting read and rings quite true. Certainly I think that Pius X’s moving the age of First Communion to the age of reason was a good thing, overall. But it did have the disastrous consequence with regards to Confirmation. This could have easily been accounted for. Of course, it shouldn’t be too hard to fix it now, but there are lots of local vested interests in lots of dioceses to keep the order of the sacraments of initiation and the age of confirmation seemingly permanently deformed.

What disastrous consequence do you mean?

Where I come from, people receive Holy Communion at age 7 or 8 and they are confirmed at age 13-14. Seems perfectly normal to me. Early teens is usually when young people have the ceremony or take the step to become “adult” members of their churches in most religions.

It seems perfectly normal to you because that is what we are used to our entire lives. But it is wrong. The proper order of the sacraments are baptism, confirmation, then Holy Communion. It is exactly as the article said, it has led to a complete misunderstanding of the sacrament of confirmation, it has denied children graces they need growing up.
The sacrament of confirmation has nothing to do with becoming an adult. In most religions? I think we can say the only examples that matter are the Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, and Roman Catholic Churches. Take out the last 100 years of the Roman Catholic Church and you “perfectly normal” idea falls apart pretty quickly.

I will say that the 1983 code of canon law tried to fix the problem, specifying the age for confirmation in the West should be the age of reason. Unfortunately it allowed Bishop conferences to override this, and the bureaucratic inertia in many dioceses allowed the wrong approach to continue.

ETA: I will add that I have always question if the bishops of the US are actually following canon law with this regard. It allows the bishops conference to set an age, not individual bishops. The USCCB, from my understanding, decided to leave it up to individual bishops, which does not seem to be valid. They should either set an age or leave it at the age of reason.


I believe 9 years is the historical average length of a papacy.

Whatever, this is not a hill I want to die on. I always felt that the idea of receiving Holy Communion at 7 was in order to help you grow in holiness until you had gained enough knowledge and wisdom to reach the point of being confirmed 7 years later. I don’t see any point or benefit to being confirmed at a young age. It is a moot point to debate it with armchair Church historians and theologians, as the bishops have decided this is how it’s going to be. With that, I’m done with the Confirmation topic.

It is thread drift, so this is my last word also. And its fine that you are not really interested in the topic. But your understanding of the issue (you have the sacraments reversed in both chronologically and to a large extent in meaning) certainly illustrates the problem. The sacraments are part of our faith after all, and we should all strive to understand them.

I think it was during communion.

While Gregorian chant and to a lesser extent polyphony are supposed to take pride of place in Mass, I’d also like to see more classical music, as there are a lot of beautiful compositions out there that would be suitable for Mass.

Some classical settings simply don’t work for Mass… Vivaldi’s half hour long Gloria come to mind. And, I mean how often does a parish have a full orchestra at its disposal?

However, some of my favorite composers, such as Durufle, Vierne, and Faure created jaw-droppingly beautiful settings which were absolutely meant to be used in the Mass. Of course, it takes a talented organist and competent choir, but I’d love to hear this kind of music at parishes that are capable of it.

One of our Archdiocesan parishes has been offering classical music monthly at Mass.

Wow! Very cool! And a beautiful parish to boot!

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I’m going to be lazy and give an opinion without looking at any of the links people have given. (I did glance at most of the responses.)

I’m going to suggest that Pope Pius X objected to classical music Masses because they too much emphasized the orchestra . Sacred polyphony can also come across as concert music but at least it emphases human voices as opposed to a pit full of musical instruments. In fact, it does not require instruments at all. And it’s generally a bit less dramatic.

I suspect your suggestion is pretty much spot on.

I can’t recall hearing a person sing solo in tye church other than when they only had one person in the schola. I thought solo singing was more of a Lutheran thing.
Wouldn’t a solo be more like a performance which is forbidden?

Just because you “can’t recall” hearing it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen or that it is forbidden.

It is clearly not forbidden as again, it happens all the time.

I would rather have a piano at Mass than an orchestra!

So how is a solo singing at Mass different from a solo performance? Is solo singing at Mass an American thing perhaps?

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