The Archdiocese of Birmingham has released full details of the music for the Beatification Mass to be celebrated by the Pope at Coventry Airport on September 19. It could be a lot worse; indeed, as I revealed recently, it was going to be a lot worse until the official organisers – backed by Rome – took the side of proper musicians against trendy bureaucratic liturgists.
So now we have the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei from James MacMillan’s beautiful new Mass for Blessed John Henry Newman, as he has named it. Plus plainchant (the real stuff as well as the cod-plainchant of Credo III); a motet by Claudio Monteverdi, priest and master of dramatic polyphony; one by the recusant genius William Byrd; another by the Victorian Anglican stalwart Charles Villiers Stanford; Edward Elgar’s setting of Ave Verum; and the hymn Praise to the Holiest, words by Newman, music by R R Terry (Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral who, as it happens, played the organ at my grandparents’ wedding). Nice to see three knights of the realm among the composers. It would have been four, but Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose For All the Saints is the recessional, turned down a knighthood but accepted the OM.
The term 'bureaucratic Liturgists,' is felicitous because it is 100% apropos. Twits need--crave--bureaucracy. It's a substitute for manliness.