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Monday, November 16, 2009

Great Liturgical News from Rome



By Fr LW Gonzales On November 16th, 2009
Great Roman Polyphony Returns to Saint Peter’s
Not in a concert, but in a Mass. It will be conducted by Domenico Bartolucci, the most brilliant interpreter of Palestrina’s music alive today. He was removed as head of the Sistine Chapel choir twelve years ago, but now, with Pope Benedict, has finally been rehabilitated


by Sandro Magister


on Thursday, November 19, at the hour of evening when the setting sun blazes through the apse of Saint Peter’s. That evening, making his solemn return to the basilica to conduct a sung Mass, will be the greatest living interpreter of the Roman school of polyphony, the one that has come down from Giovanni Pierluigi of Palestrina – whom Giuseppe Verdi called the “everlasting father” of Western music – to our own day.
This interpreter of undisputed greatness is Domenico Bartolucci, for decades the “permanent maestro” of the Sistine Chapel choir, the pope’s choir, and now, at age 93, still a miraculously adept director of Palestrina.
Bartolucci is a living witness of the elimination of liturgical music from the West, but also of its possible rebirth. The last time he conducted a complete Mass by Palestrina at Saint Peter’s was all the way back in 1963. The last time he conducted the Sistine Chapel choir was in 1997. That year he was brutally dismissed, and without him the choir fell into a sorry state.
But now comes its return – powerfully symbolic – to the basilica built over the tomb of the prince of the apostles.
At the Mass on November 19 at Saint Peter’s, Bartolucci will not conduct Palestrina, but his own polyphonic compositions, in alternation with Gregorian chants from the Mass “De Angelis.” And with that, he will show how it is possible to cherish the best of the Latin musical tradition even within the canons of the modern post-conciliar liturgy: just what Pope Benedict wants, as a profound theologian of the liturgy and a music connoisseur. Naturally, Bartolucci’s secret dream is to return at last to conduct the emblematic “Pope Marcellus Mass” by Palestrina, as a Mass celebrated by Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s.

From http://www.overheardinthesacristy.net/?p=7079