We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Living right on the left coast of North America!

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Friday, June 12, 2015

Morricone's Missa Papae Francisci, and a note about a new Kevin Allen composition.

Ennio Morricone conducted his Missa Papae Francisci this past Wednesday. The presentation included the choirs of the Santa Cecilia Academy and the Teatro dell'Opera.

If the Introit and Gloria are anything to go by, Morricone's work is a concert piece more than a liturgical setting. The composition was given a performance in the sanctuary at Il Gesu, the mothership of the Jesuits.

If Morricone's compositions do not satisfy, try a sampling of the truly sacred work of Chicago composer Kevin AllenSanctus and Benedictus from Allen's Missa Rex Genitor.

Note Allen's mastery of compositional technique: the text is given prominence (as it should be in liturgical music) and painted with care; the beauty of unaccompanied human voice shines in every phrase; there is clarity of form and, even while simple, the harmony is elegant. 

Allen knows the human voice. He knows how to create a musical forum in which voices blend and resonate to perfection.

There is no doubt that Allen's music is authentically Catholic. His music is steeped in history. Contrary to the charge that Allen's compositions are merely anachronistic, anyone with an ear can hear how Allen flavours his music with harmony choices that appeal to the contemporary ear. There is a universality, charm and sophistication to Allen's compositions that is missing in many modern composers' works.

—from a Facebook announcement:
The Monastery of the Holy Cross has commissioned Kevin Allen to compose a new choral work for the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
The new work entitled Auctor Beate Saeculi will receive its first public performance during the course of Choral Vespers on Friday, June 12th at 7:00 PM at the Monastery of the Holy Cross.
Let's hope a recording of Allen's new work will be available soon!

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