Friday, December 29, 2006

Ave Verum Corpus -- An Awesome Composition by Mozart

Today, I will be focusing on a Motet which was composed by Mozart specially for "Corpus Christi Sunday".

It is awesome, beautiful, inspiring, and soul stirring.

Although, it is short -- It has an awesome perspective on "The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist".

Here are some Links which give a brief description on this beautiful Motet.

1) A Brief Description on this Motet:

2) Ave Verum Corpus - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

3) Listen to "Ave Verum Corpus" at the following Links:



Enjoy and Have a Blessed Week - End.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Blessed, Holy, Joyful, and Merry Christmas to one and all

Merry Christmas to one and all.

May the Infant King who was born in the manger at Bethlehem bless you all abundantly and your families too.

Here are some interesting links to check out on "The Solemnity of Christmas".

1. An Awesome Directory on Christmas (This Site is my favorite Catholic Site)

2. Awesome Homilies on Christmas Day by a Holy Priest






3. Listen to The Third Mass for the Nativity of Jesus Christ Chanted by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint Martin Beuron, Bavaria in Germany (Gregorian Chant)

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Rosary Sonatas of Heinrich Von Biber

Today, I will be focusing or talking about the "Rosary Sonatas" also called the Mystery Sonatas of Heinrich Von Biber -- a Baroque Composer of the late 17th Century.

He was renowned for his Sacred Compositions.

Here is some information on Heinrich Von Biber from a couple of links.


"Biber Mystery Sonatas"

by James Clements

In 1676 Heinrich Biber wrote of his ‘faith in stringed instruments (fidem in fidibus)’, demonstrating his love of rhetoric, probably imbued in him by his Jesuit education. Of all Biber’s seven collections of music, however, the expression ‘faith in stringed instruments’ is most evident in the Mystery or Rosary Sonatas, which survive in a beautifully-written manuscript, compiled in the early 1670s, and now housed in the Bavarian State Library. The manuscript contains fifteen compositions for violin and bass, and a concluding Passacaglia for unaccompanied violin. In the absence of a title page, the various titles in use today derive from the fifteen engravings in the manuscript, one placed at the start of each of the first fifteen compositions depicting, in turn, the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. Similarly, the Passacaglia is accompanied by a drawing of a Guardian Angel holding the hand of a child.

The engravings were probably cut from a Rosary psalter, the name given to the hundreds of devotional books published by Rosary confraternities active in central Europe at this time. These books contained detailed instruction on praying the Rosary, and frequently included biblical quotations, meditations, prayers, and engravings depicting the mysteries. Such books were produced by the Jesuits — a religious order who influenced education and devotional practices more than any other religious group in seventeenth-century Europe — and who were known for advocating Rosary devotion with music. One such confraternity existed in Salzburg during the seventeenth century. It met in the lecture hall — the Aula Academica — of Salzburg’s University, which still contains fifteen paintings depicting the mysteries. The Rosary Sonatas were probably performed in this room.

As Biber mentions in the Latin dedication of the Rosary Sonatas, Rosary devotion was promoted most ardently by the dedicatee of the collection and Biber’s employer, Archbishop Maximilian Gandolph von Khuenberg, who may have attended meetings in the Aula Academica. The paintings in the Aula Academica, the engravings in Biber’s manuscript and Rosary psalters exemplify the importance of imagery in Rosary devotion in the region at this time, which correlates with a principal concept of Jesuit devotion, namely, the use of all five senses when praying. Thus, by contemplating the image, reading the texts, and hearing the music, individuals were supposed to create a mental picture of the mystery, often in minute detail and at great length.

Read more at:

2) Check out more on "The Rosary Sonatas" at this Awesome Link

If anyone wants a link to listen to 3 of the 15 Rosary Sonatas composed by Biber, Contact me via email.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Online Catholic Classics Advent and Christmas Special

Today, I am focusing on two Catholic Classics which are extremely helpful and insightful specially for us -- Catholics during Advent and Christmas.

The Two Catholic Classics are:

1) Bethlehem by Father Frederick Faber

2) The Birth, Incarnation, and Infancy of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

Both of these Catholic Classics can be read at the following links:

"Bethlehem by Father Faber" (An Excerpted Work)


The Birth, Incarnation, and Infancy of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

(An Excerpted Work)


A Blessed Advent and Merry and Joyful Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

More on Tomas Luis De Victoria

This is the "Final Edition" of my Post on one of the most awesome Composers of "The Early Rennaissance Period" from Spain.

I found this article extremely interesting as well as insightful as regards Tomas Luis De Victoria.

I am not sure whether I have mentioned this in my first post on Tomas Luis De Victoria, but my all time "Favorite Compositions of Victoria" are 1) Missa Magnum Mysterium, 2) O Vos Omnes, and 3) Ave Maria.

Here is a small snippet of this article for your perusal.


By Jon Dixon

From the magazine Early Music Review (September, 1997)


Tomás Luis de Victoria, arguably the most outstanding composer of the Spanish golden age, ranks with Byrd, Lassus and Palestrina as one of the four greatest composers of the 16th century. He was long overshadowed in public esteem by Palestrina, and it was not until the early 20th century that a complete edition of his works was prepared by the great Spanish scholar Felipe Pedrell.

This is an invaluable and well documented edition to which all subsequent editors are indebted, but, because it makes extensive use of C clefs and presents the music at original written pitch, it has not facilitated the performance of this fine music as much as it deserves.

Later, in the mid 60s and early 70s, two excellent critical editions, now prepared according to modem editorial conventions, were produced in modem clefs and reduced notation by Higinio Anglés and Samuel Rubio. These made the music more accessible and added considerably to our knowledge of the various sources, but neither edition covered the whole of Victoria's output and both presented the music at original pitch.

A number of very useful and well-produced performing editions have also appeared but comparatively little of Victoria's output was covered.

Read more at:

Check out some new links I have here for your perusal.

1) "Text Version of Masses, Motets, Hymns, and Psalms composed by Victoria"

'Listen to two awesome compositions by Tomas Luis De Victoria'

2) "Ave Maria by Tomas Luis De Victoria"

3) "O Domine Jesu, Motet" by Tomas Luis De Victoria

Lastly, Listen to these awesome "Tenebrae Responsories" composed by Tomas Luis De Victoria.


Note: If anyone is interested in awesome mp3's of Victoria, contact me.

Also, let me know whether you enjoyed reading this second post on Tomas Luis De Victoria.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Tomas Luis De Victoria -- An Awesome 16th Century Spanish Sacred Music Composer and Polyphonist

Today, I am focusing on a Composer who is not very well known.

He is a Spanish Composer of "Sacred Polyphony" known as 'Tomas Luis De Victoria'.

Tomas Luis De Victoria is one of my favorite composers of "Sacred Choral Music" along with Beethoven, Mozart, Palestrina, Bach, and Haydn to mention a few.

He was responsible for composing twenty masses, 44 motets, 36 hymns, 16 alternating plainsong magnificats (plus a magnificent work for two choirs, ten sublime Marian antiphons, 7 psalm settings for double choirs, 4 sequences, some pieces written to be included in the liturgy, and a body of music composed for Holy Week services).

Here is some awesome information on this Composer.

1) From:

Victoria was the greatest spanish polyphonist of all times, and probably one of the best of his time in Europe. He was born in Avila around 1548, as the seventh child of Francisca Suarez de la Concha and Francisco Luis de Victoria. Although they would still have four more children, Francisco Luis de Victoria was to die when the composer was only nine years old. Around a year later he became chorister in the cathedral of Avila, where he would stay until the age of eighteen. He started here with his studies of the theory of plainsong, counterpoint and composition, and also practiced playing the keyboard. During these years he studied under the supervision of the masters Jeronimo de Espinar, Bernardino de Ribera, Juan Navarro and Hernando de Isasi. Some specialists think he may also have met Antonio de Cabezon during this time.

Once he ended his time as chorister, Victoria was sent in 1567 to the Colegium Germanicum of the Jesuit Order in Rome. He possibly studied under the supervision of Palestrina, who was chapel master and instructor of Chant and Music of the nearby Roman Seminary, (where he also met Palestrina's sons, Rodolfo and Angel). In January 1569, he left the Collegium Germanicum and, while continuing his studies, became organist and singer in the spanish chapel of Santa Maria de Monserrat, the official place of worship of the crown of Aragon in Rome. In 1571 he returned to the Collegium Germanicum where he was appointed as teacher. In this year, he also succeeded Palestrina as chapel master of the Roman Seminar, (according to Casimiri, it was Palestrina who proposed him).

Read More at:

2)Listen to Victoria's Sacred Music at the following Links:




P.S.- At the above link, you can listen to some Music of Victoria.

" A Group in France dedicated to Sacred Polyphony"


e) Listen to a Mass composed by Tomas Luis De Victoria and performed by a Group dedicated to "Sacred Polyphony in the United States"

"An All Comprehensive Directory where you can listen to Music composed by Tomas Luis De Victoria and performed by several groups.


"Listen to an awesome and young group from Milan, Italy performing many of Victoria's Works including a couple of Masses composed by him.


Enjoy and give me some feedback.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Feast of Saint Francis Xavier: India’s greatest and most revered Saint and Patron of the Missions

Today, I am taking a Day's Break from Blogging about Sacred Choral Music and instead I wil be blogging on one of the greatest Saints that the Catholic Church has produced -- Saint Francis Xavier, an intrepid Jesuit Missionary to Asia.

Today is a Glorious Day for all Asian Catholics.

I say this because, today is the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier Patron of the Missions and Missionary par excellence who evangelized parts of Asia in the 16th Century.

Check out these awesome Links to learn more about Saint Frnacis Xavier.

1) "Francis Xavier: The greatest and most revered Saint"


December 3,2006

"Francis Xavier: The greatest and most revered Saint"

Goa (ICNS) -- December 3 is the feast of Saint Francis Xavier, one of the greatest missionaries of the Catholic Church. These days, thousands of pilgrims are venerating the relics of St Xavier at the Se Cathedral in Old Goa.

Indian Catholic pays tribute to St Xavier by presenting the life and times of the saint who worked to spread the Gospel in Asia.

Francis Xavier was not yet born when Portuguese ships had been moving across Arabian Sea carrying pepper and cardamom.

And Goa was not in the Portuguese map until several years after their first ship came in with Vasco Da Gama in 1498.

As trade began to pepper politics in the southwestern Indian coast, Cochin was the Portuguese base. Their ships never anchored on the seas of Goa during that time.

Then on one day in 1510, Portuguese commander Afonso d'Albuquerque came in to challenge Sultan of Bijapur. Armed Afonso was successful. History began to change as Portuguese feet touched the sandy beaches of Goa.

At that time, Francis Xavier was only four years old. He must have been then running around the Castle of Xavier in Navarre, Spain, where he was born in 1506, and baptized as Francisco de Jaso.

Living in the aristocracy of his Basque family, India and its Christian mission was not in his mind. That remained so much after he completed his teenage.

At the age of 19, he went to study at the University of Paris, where he graduated in arts in 1530. He furthered his studies in theology, and became acquainted with Ignatius of Loyola.

Meeting Ignatius ensured a change, and it meant some hard decisions.

Ignatius and Xavier together with five others bonded themselves on August 15, 1534 by a vow and formed the Society of Jesus, what is now popularly known as the Jesuit Order. They told the pope to use them for mission anywhere on the globe.

Those were the times, when Portuguese kings decided mission matters of India and the rest of Orient.

King John III of Portugal wanted Jesuits to take up mission work in the Orient. Together with two other Jesuits, Xavier left Lisbon on April 7, 1541, on board the Santiago.

He sailed through Mozambique and lived in that place until Mach 1542. He reached Goa on May 6, 1542.

In Goa, officially he held the role similar to present Apostolic Nuncio and operated from Goa the following three years.

He had grand plans and colorful dreams for mission in the Orient.

On September 20, 1542, he left for his first missionary activity among the Parava, along the east coast of southern India, north of Cape Comorin.

On the west coast, he attempted to convert the king of Travancore, but was not successful.

He also visited Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In 1545 he planned a missionary journey to Macassar, on the island of Celebes, in today's Indonesia.

He abandoned the idea of visiting Macassar after arriving in Malacca in October 1545 and waiting there three months in vain for a ship.

He left Malacca on January 1, 1546 and landed on Amboyna, where he stayed until mid-June. He then visited other Molucca Islands. Shortly after Easter 1546, he returned to Ambon Island, and then to Malacca.

Read more at:

2) "When St Xavier was the Defender of the East"

3) "The Miraculous Body of Saint Francis Xavier"

4) “The Official Web Site of The Basilica of Bom Jesu in Goa, India where The Incorrupt Body of Saint Francis Xavier is kept in a casket”

Enjoy and let me know whether this was a post that you enjoyed reading.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Mozart's Awesome Coronation Mass or Krönungsmesse

Today, I will be concentrating on "Mozart's Awesome Coronation Mass".

It seems that no other Mass composed by Mozart is as popular as "The Coronation Mass".

It was performed on "Easter Sunday" for the first time on the 4th of April 1779. It was also performed for the Coronation Services of two Austrian Emperors Francis I and most likely Leopold, The Second.

Check out these awesome Links to learn more on this Mass which is short in nature and in which there is the use of "Wind Instruments" in this Mass.

It is celebratory in nature as is expected of a Mass on Easter Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, Our King.

1) Mass in C Major "Coronation" K.317


Mass in C Major "Coronation" K.317 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

Not composed for, but performed at Coronation of Francis I in Prague, 1792 and probably Leopold II, 1791.

1. Kyrie
2. Gloria
3. Credo
4. Sanctus
5. Benedictus
6. Agnus Dei

Of the sacred works that Mozart composed in Salzburg none is as well known or as popular as the Mass in C K. 317. In 1779 Mozart returned from his disastrous trip to Paris and, partly out of material necessity and also to please his father, he took up a position in the Archbishop's service in Salzburg. He was to "unbegrudgingly and with great diligence discharge his duties both in the cathedral and at court and in the chapel house, and as occasion presents, to provide the court and church with new compositions of his own creation". At the first opportunity Mozart fulfilled this demand, composing the mass for the Easter Day service on 4th April 1779.

The musical style of the piece corresponds to the hybrid form that was preferred by the Archbishop: its use of wind instruments suggests a "Solemn Mass", and its length suggests a "Short Mass". Mozart himself described his task in a letter: "Our church music is very different to that of Italy, all the more so since a mass with all its movements, even for the most solemn occasions when the sovereign himself reads the mass [e.g. Easter Day], must not last more than 3 quarters of an hour. One needs a special training for this kind type of composition, and it must also be a mass with all instruments - war trumpets, tympani etc." It therefore had be a grand ceremonial setting, but the mass also needed to have a compact structure. Mozart therefore omits formal closing fugues for the Gloria and Credo, the Credo with its problematic, vast text is in a tight rondo form, and the Dona nobis pacem recalls the music of the Kyrie.

Read More at:

2) "For an All Comprehensive Perspective on this Awesome Mass composed by Mozart"

3) "For a Perspective which is insightful on this Mass"


Friday, December 1, 2006

Beethoven's Sublime Mass in C Major

It is exactly a week now, since I started blogging. I am happy to know that my Posts are being appreciated by Classical Music and Sacred Choral Music Fans in Cyberspace.

Today, I am focusing on Ludwig Van Beethoven's "Sublime Mass in C Major".

It seems that Beethoven composed this Mass for the Birthday of Princess Marie von Liechtenstein -- Wife of Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy (II).

This is a Sublime Mass which needs a lot of concentration to appreciate it.

It was initially not appreciated for quite some time by Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy and this upset Beethoven to a large extent.

Check out these awesome Links for more information on this Sublime Mass composed by Beethoven.

1) From:

The C Major Mass was commissioned by Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy (II) to commemorate the name day of his wife, Marie von Liechtenstein. Beethoven’s motivation for writing it, then, was less related to his own religious feeling. Because of this, the style of this mass was similar to that of Haydn’s masses. In fact, this commission was an annual Esterhazy custom fulfilled on six prior occasions by Haydn. The Mass in C, therefore, is not highly creative and is written in a static form.

Even some melodies have been more suggestive of Mozart or Gluck than Beethoven.Nevertheless, Beethoven put enough of his own style into his C Major Mass that he occasionally deviated from conformity to strict conventions. After the first performance of the Mass, the Prince reportedly said, "My dear Beethoven, what have you written there!", evidently in a condescending tone. Beethoven immediately became irritated by this, and he left the Prince’s court on the same day of the performance. The score was then dedicated to Prince Ferdinand Kinsky instead.

Read More at:

2) "For an All Comprehensive Perspective on Beethoven's Mass in C Major"

3) Listen to this Mass in its entirety performed by "The Twin Cities Catholic Chorale" in Minneapolis"

'Mass in C by Ludwig van Beethoven Proper of the Mass'

Enjoy and Let me know if you enjoyed reading this Post on Beethoven's Sublime Mass in C Major.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bach's Awesome Mass in B Minor

By now, some of you all who read my Blog may know that I am an "Ardent Lover of Sacred Choral Music" as well as of "Classical Music".

Well, here is another one for all those who are just like me.

Although Mozart, Beethoven, Palestrina, Tomas Luis De Victoria, and Handel happen to be my favorites -- I do like listening to some compositions of Bach which were composed purely for "Liturgical Services".

In my humble opinion -- Mozart's Coronation Mass, Mozart's Grand Mass in C Minor, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and Beethoven's Mass in C truly rock but I do believe that Bach's Mass in B- Minor is an awesome composition that competes well with the Masses that I have mentioned above.

In this connection, it is interesting to note that Bach was actually a Lutheran who lived in Germany but composed his awesome Mass in B- Minor with -- it seems a "Catholic Setting in Mind" and modelled it extensively on 'Catholic Liturgy as it existed in the 18th Century.

Some Catholics may wonder why I am blogging about Bach who was a Lutheran ?

Well, I strongly believe that anyone who loves Sacred Choral Music and essentially Church Music is not confined to whether these Composers were Catholic or not.

Although, I do prefer "Catholic Composers" -- I am open to good Sacred Music even if the composer in question was from 'The Russian Orthodox Church'.

I have come across these awesome and inspiring Links connected to Bach's Mass in B- Minor and would like to share them with you all.

Here are two snippets from two articles, I recently came across on the web.

Check out all the Links to know more about this awesome "Mass in B- Minor".

1) From:

Bach's output of religious music based on Latin texts was not insignificant. Besides the B Minor Mass, he composed the Magnificat, 4 "short" masses, and 5 settings of the Sanctus. Since the churches in Leipzig were Lutheran, one may wonder why the Roman Catholic mass was being set to music.

In fact, Luther had retained the Kyrie, Gloria in excelsis, Credo, and Sanctus movements of the Catholic Ordinarium Missae for use in Protestant churches. Thus, in Leipzig, perfomances of the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, and Sanctus were not uncommon during Bach's lifetime.


"Mass in B Minor — Bach’s only complete setting of the Latin Ordinary of the Mass"

by John Butt

J. S. Bach --

On 27 July 1733 Bach petitioned Friedrich August II, the new elector of Saxony, for a court title that would boost his status as the somewhat beleaguered Kantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig. The ‘trifling product’ that Bach enclosed was the set of beautifully prepared presentation parts for a missa, the Kyrie and Gloria that later became the first part of the Mass in B Minor. In scale and idiom the missa seems designed for the mass repertory typical of Dresden.

Bach re-used some of the missa music in the mid-1740s for the Latin cantata ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ BWV191. It is possible that the D major Sanctus composed for Christmas 1724 was performed on the same day (perhaps celebrating the peace of Dresden in 1745, concluding the second Silesian war). Thus the juxtaposition of these two works, related as they are to the Latin Ordinary, may have inspired Bach to compile a missa tota in the remaining years of his life, perhaps in response to his first and only personal experience of the horrors of war.

However, we know of no definite occasion for the performance of the mass as a whole. There is some circumstantial evidence to link it with further commissions from, or presentations to, the Dresden court but it is eminently possible that Bach compiled it with no specific occasion or performance in mind, and that it belongs among the increasingly abstract and ‘speculative’ cycles from his later years, such as Clavier-Ubung III or The Art of Fugue.

Bach drew much of the material for the Mass in B Minor from existing works, producing a veritable compendium of all the styles he had employed in the composition of arias and choruses throughout his career. There is almost the sense that he was scanning his career to compile some of his ‘greatest hits’. The ‘lack’ of originality is more than adequately compensated by the skill with which he adapted the material to fit the new context. Furthermore, by abstracting movements from some of his finest vocal works, originally performed for specific occasions and Sundays within the Church’s year, he was doubtlessly attempting to preserve the pieces within the more durable context of the Latin Ordinary. Although many of the movements lack existing models is may well be that they reflect lost cantatas — both sacred and secular.

Of the movements for which models survive, ‘Crucifixus’ comes from the earliest traceable source for any movement in the entire mass — the first section of the chorus opening Cantata 12, ‘Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen’, composed in Weimar for 22 April 1714. Here Bach adds the interlocking flute lines, the throbbing crotchet movement in the continuo, and the four-bar introduction of the ground bass. The final four bars, with the extraordinary move to G major, are new in ‘Crucifixus’, perhaps representing Christ lowered into the sepulchre, or the redemption achieved through Christ’s death.

Read More at:

3) "Another Awesome Perspective on the Mass in B- Minor"

4) (Listen to most parts of this Mass at this Link)

5) (Listen to two parts of this awesome Mass at this Link)

Note: Check out new posts that I will be making on Tomas Luis De Victoria, Beethoven, and Mozart starting from tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


One of my favorite compositions by Mozart is his awesome "Grand Mass in C Minor".

I love all the "Glorias" that are sung the best in this Mass.

Here is some interesting information on this Beautiful Mass.

From --

"Mozart's Mass in C Minor"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Mass in C Minor, K427, is a religious musical work for chorus and orchestra. It is considered such a great musical work that it is called the 'Great Mass'.

Why did Mozart write the Mass?

Unlike many of Mozart's other pieces of music (including his Requiem) the mass was not commissioned. Mozart wrote it purely for his own pleasure - in fact, he probably spent time writing the mass when he should have been working on his boring paid commissions. Clues from letters have led many people to believe that Mozart wrote the mass partially in thanksgiving to god, possibly because of good events that had recently occurred in his life. These events included his marriage to Constanze Weber, the birth of their first child, and Constanze's recovery from illness. He could also have been trying to prove something to his father.

About the History and Music of the Mass:

Like all other masses, this one contains the following sections in order: Kyrie eleison, Gloria in excelsis Deo, Credo in unum Deum, Sanctus and Benedictus. However the final part, Agnus Dei, is missing, and the Credo is incomplete. The texts for these sections are the same in all masses (although performances at certain times of the year may see some parts omitted).

The mass is thought to have been written in 1782 - 83, and was first performed on the 26 October, 1783 (Mozart's sister Nannerl mentioned in her diary that a half-finished mass by her brother was performed; Constanze was apparently the solo soprano singer). It is thought that sections from other masses were performed alongside Mozart's to fill in the missing bits.

Read More at:

Also, Check out another Link which also has an awesome perspective on this Mass composed by Mozart.

You can also hear a sample of this Mass at this Link.

This is a late addition today.

I have just discovered an awesome Link that explains "Mozart's Mass in C Minor" excellently part by part.

Check it out. Here it is.

"Another interesting perspective on the Grand Mass, a complete text translation plus links to more information".

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina --- The Prince of Sacred Roman Polyphonic Music

I wonder how many know that Palestrina is considered "The Prince of Sacred Polyphony" in the Catholic Church.

He literally saved "Sacred Polyphony" at a very critical time after the "Council of Trent".

Palestrina was also in charge of Music at the Sistine Chapel in the 1500's.

Palestrina was responsible for composing numerous beautiful Masses like "Missa Papae Marcelli" as well as Motets and Hymns in honor of Our Lady like "Stabat Mater" and many more.

Here is some interesting and insightful information that I came across.

"Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina"

The greatest composer of liturgical music of all time, born at Palestrina (ancient Praeneste) in 1514 or 1515, according to Baini, Riemann, and others, according to Haberl, in 1526; died at Rome, 2 February, 1594. His early history is practically unknown. Giusseppi Ottavia Pittoni (1657-1743), in "notizie dei maestri di cappella si di Rome che altramontani", 1600-1700", a manuscript in the Vatican, relates that young Pierluigi sang in the streets of Rome while offering for sale the products of his parents farm and that he was heard on such an occasion by the choirmaster of Santa Maria Maggiore, who, impressed by the boy's beautiful voice and pronounced musical talent, educated him musically.

As to the identity of the choirmaster, tradition gives no clue. Some hold that Palestrina was taught by Jacques Arcadelt (1514-60), choirmaster and composer in Rome from 1539 to 1549. The opinion, so long held, that Claude Goudimel (1505-72) was his principal teacher has now been definitively abandoned. As far as is known, he began his active musical life as organist and choirmaster in his native city in 1544; his reputation increasing, in 1551 he was called to Rome, entrusted with the direction and musical formation of the choirboys at St. Peter's, and within the same year was advanced to the post of choirmaster. In 1554, he dedicated to Julius III (1549-55) his first compositions, a volume of masses for four voices, and was rewarded with the appointment as a member of the papal chapel in contravention of the rules governing that body. The popehad set aside the rule requiring those who held membership in the papal choir to be in Holy Orders, and also used his authority to exempt him from the usually severe entrance examination. These circumstances and the further fact that his voice was much inferior to those of the other singers, aroused the opposition, and antagonism of his fellow-members. The papal singers did not appreciate the object of the pope, which was to secure for the gifted young man the necessary leisure to compose.

In the course of the same year, Palestrina published a volume of madrigals. The texts of some of these the composer himself in later years considered too free. In the dedication of his setting of the Canticle of Canticles to Gregory XIII, he expresses not only regret but repentance, for having caused scandal by this publication. Marcellus II, as cardinal, had protected and admired Palestrina, but died after a reign of only twenty-one days. Paul IV, shortly after his accession, re-inforced the former rules for the government of the papal choir. Besides Palestrina, there were two other lay married members in the choir. All were dismissed with a small pension, in spite of the understanding that these singers were engaged for life. The worry and hardship caused by the dismissal brought on a severe illness; restored, the composer took charge, 1 October, 1555, of the choir at St. John Lateran, where he remained until February, 1561. During this period he wrote, beside Lamentations and Magnificats, the famous "Improperia". Their performance by the papal choir on Good Friday was ordered by Paul IV, and they have remained in its repertoire for Holy Week ever since.

This production greatly increased Palestrina's fame. In 1561 he asked the chapter of St. John Lateran for an increase in salary, in view of his growing needs and the expense of publishing his works. Refused, he accepted a similar post at Santa Maria Maggiore, which he held until 1571. It is not know at what period of his career Palestrina came under the influence of St.. Philip Neri, but there is every reason to believe it was in early youth. As the saint's penitent and spiritual disciple, he gained that insight into the spirit of the liturgy, which enabled his to set it forth in polyphonic music as it had never before been done. It was his spiritual formation even more than his artistic maturity, which fitted him for the providential part he played in the reform of church music.

Read More at:

Check out the following Link for some awesome Compositions by Palestrina:

My Apologies for this late addition but I have discovered an awesome site where you can listen to a ton of stuff specially Masses, Sacred Madrigals, Motets, and much more composed by Palestrina.

Here is the Link. Check it out.

More on Beethoven's Missa Solemnis

I recently came across an awesome article which I believe is all comprehensive on "Beethoven's Missa Solemnis".

Ludwig Van Beethoven often considered this Mass that he composed as his greatest achievement in his lifetime.

The History associated with "The Missa Solemnis" is awesome and fabulous.

Check this article out at the following Link:

There are musical works of such conceptual scope, majesty and grandeur that they should not be performed too often, lest they become commonplace. One thinks of the B-minor Mass and the Passions of Bach, Wagener's Ring, and a number of symphonies by Mahler.

Of these, the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven is given on a too-regular basis, and has become so well known that its sublimity is diminished, for the listener, through familiarity. Mercifully, the same has not occurred with Beethoven's Missa solemnis, because its length and difficulty ensure that performances will be relatively rare.

Beethoven was never conventionally religious. Although apparently a believer in god, his faith was pantheistic rather than confined to a particular doctrine.

The Missa solemnis was planned originally as a tribute to his friend and patron Archduke Rudolf of Austria, a son of the Emperor, on the occasion of Rudolf's elevation to the rank of Cardinal-Archbishop of Olmütz in Moravia. His investiture took place in the magnificent Gothic cathedral of Cologne in 1820, but the Missa grew beyond suitable proportions, even for such an august occasion. It was not completed until 1823.

Beethoven became obsessed in the exploring the literal meaning of the Mass text, ignoring the by-then-ossified traditional understanding not from any theological dispute with Catholic reaching, but from a desire to universalize a commonly-known text, and a typical artist's need for thoroughness. For this reason he looked back to earlier models, studying Gregorian plainchant modes and Baroque oratorios, in particular Handel's Messiah.

Evidence of these is plain throughout the Missa solemnis, particularly in the Credo. Beethoven's use of a traditional text as the foundation for an exploration of new directions is akin to Renaissance painters' use of common Biblical themes as the basis for arrangements of colors, shapes, textures and proportions. In both cases, the superficial narrative is intended to appeal to the naïve listener (including the censor); the connoisseur is expected to penetrate beyond the surface.

Read More at:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Today, We Celebrate the "Awesome Solemnity and Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal".

Saint Catherine Laboure is often associated with this devotion as Saint Catherine Laboure received a number of visions from Our Lady in the 1830's as regards this Medal.

Saint Catherine Laboure was a "Sister of Charity".

Saint Catherine Laboure pray for us.

Here is some interesting information.


"The Miraculous Medal is a physical manifestation of the gift of grace that perpetually exudes from Our Lady and it, too, is a Sacramental, a most miraculous one. It was originally called the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but because so many miracles were reported by those wearing it that it became known as the Miraculous Medal. Often the Medal is presented to Catholics who are making their first holy Communion, receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation and given at Baptisms.

The Blessed Virgin Mary declared that those who wear it around their necks will be given wondrous graces, among them, not sinking into a life of iniquity or becoming more pure".


This is a very brief version. To obtain the beautiful booklet, MARY'S MIRACULOUS MEDAL, with lovely images, especially good for children to peruse, go HERE. This booklet also has the conversion story of Ratisbonne and the perpetual Novena. The above image is not part of the booklet, but there are many in it and all as lovely, including the cover.

In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by Holy Mother Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, the Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. We have images of her on Pages 3 and 4 of this presentation.

She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a "shining child" who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:

"These are the symbols of grace I shed upon those who ask for them." A frame formed around the Mother of God and within it was written in gold letters, O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

The voice then told her to have a medal struck after this model. Then the vision turned and on the reverse side was a large M with a bar through it and a cross over it. Beneath this M were the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, one crowned with thorns and the other pierced by a sword.

This second vision occurred periodically until 1831. Because she wanted to remain unknown, Catherine told them only to her confessor. Msgr. Aladel, who received permission from the Archbishop of Paris to have the medal struck. The first 1500 were issued in June of 1832, and almost at once there were reported healings, conversions and miraculous events. The Saint could not be convinced to appear at any of the canonical hearings, but eventually the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary was sanctioned on the overwhelming evidence of the miracles obtained by those wearing the medal. Saint Catherine Laboure only revealed herself as the visionary eight months before her death, in 1876. Like St. Therese of Lisieux, this came as a surprise to the other nuns as they considered her quite ordinary. She was canonized in 1947 by Ven. Pope Pius XII. Her Feast is November 27 as is the Feast of the Miraculous Medal, although in some places it is celebrated on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception because of its relation to it.

We have related that this medal is the impetus to conversion for those who wear it or have it in their possession.

Check out more at:

I have also come across some other awesome links with regard to "Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal".

Check them out.

"The Official and Beautiful Web Site of "The Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, France at Rue Du Bac".

"St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal"

By Rev. Robert J. Billett, C.M.F.

The Virgin Mary inaugurates the Marian Era

"An Awesome Homily on Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal"

“The Miraculous Medal and The Immaculate Conception”

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli from a Choir in South Korea

I just got to know about a site in Seoul, South Korea who are hosting "Palestrina's Famous Mass" known in English as "The Pope Marcellus Mass".

Here it is if you want to check it out. I believe that they sing the entire Mass in Latin.

Beethoven's Missa Solemnis

I have discovered an awesome link to "Beethoven's Missa Solemnis" performed by a German Choir in Germany.

Here it is.

"The Choir of the Witten/Herdecke University performs Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, a piece that stands with Bach’s Mass in B Minor as the most significant mass setting in classical music. Beethoven himself called it his greatest achievement.

It was Beethoven's Finest Achievement in 1923 when he was done with it and at that time, there was nothing like it".

For all those who would like to know more about Beethoven's Missa Solemnis -- here is an interesting link.

Awesome Podcasts on Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, and Haydn from Swedish Public Radio and Danish Public Radio

Classical Music Enthusiasts !

"Read this Carefully and Read it soon".

Swedish Public Radio and Danish Public Radio have some wonderful PodCasts and MP3's on their respective sites on some of the Symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, and Haydn to mention a few.

I really do not know how long these MP3'S are going to remain at these sites.

Check them out at these links as soon as possible.

"8 Concerts of Mozart"


"Beethoven, Schumann, and Haydn at this Link below".


I really do not know why is it that I have missed out this year on some of the best and awesome PodCasts from "Danish Radio and Swedish Radio" on the occassion of Mozart's 250th Birthday.

If there is anyone out there, who has downloaded the first 17 hours, I would be most grateful if you could get back to me or send me those awesome mp3's.

Lastly, if there is anyone who has downloaded those awesome Symphonies of Mozart which were made available by "Danish Public Radio" from January - March 2006-- Please get back to me.

Meanwhile, enjoy before it is too late.

P.S.- Many Thanks to Blogger from "The Overgrown Path" for this information as regards "Swedish Public Radio".

Mass of Christ the King Chanted by Benedictine Monks from Brazil

Today, We Celebrate the Awesome Solemnity and Feast of Christ, The King.

Today, is also the Last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.

This is a Mass Chanted by some Benedictine Monks in Brazil.

Check it out.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Feast of Saint Andrew Dung Lac and Companions November 24

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today, we celebrate the "Awesome Feast Day" of Saint Andrew Dung Lac and Companions who were matryred in Vietnam in the 19th Century and are great witnessed to the Catholic Faith in that country.

Check the following links out on Saint Andrew Lung Lac and the Martyrs who died for their Catholic Faith in Vietnam.




He was born in Vietnam in 1785. He became a priest. For being a priest and teaching others the Catholic faith he was beheaded in 1839 in Hanoi. St. Andrew was one of 117 martyrs who met death in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. Now all have been canonized by Pope John Paul II.Saint Andrew was beatified on May 27, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII and canonized on June 19, 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

INTERCESSORY PRAYER: Ask Saint Andrew and his fellow martyrs to intercede to strengthen the Catholic Church world-wide.



(St. Andrew Dung-Lac and his 116 companions, (d. 1745-1862)

There is a detailed explanation on the Martyrs in Vietnam at this Link above.