Church music in Rome

Old Sep 9th, 2008, 07:12 AM
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Church music in Rome

Where in Rome, in the last week of this coming November, am I most likely to hear:

- good Plainsong
- a well-sung Sunday Latin High Mass. Could be Plainsong: could be Palestrina: could be Mozart or any of the other usual suspects - but must have a decent choir, and the key bits of the Mass itself must be in Latin, not Italian. Perfectly happy if that means a sermon in Italian. Preferably not St Peter's

The main Roman churches seem astonishingly reticent about their musical activities on the web: is there a "great ecclesiatical" site somewhere I'm failing to find?
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Old Sep 9th, 2008, 11:50 PM
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All these Rome experts round here. You can't ALL be heathens, surely?

Or have the Illuminati taken over and there's a plot to keep quiet about church music in Rome?
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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 03:02 AM
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I remember seeing a notice at Santa Susanna church for mass with Gregorian chant. I tried to get there but it was either only on Sunday or early on a weekday so I missed it. I would email them and ask if they know of any Roman churches celebrating mass in Latin. From their site it looks like they would be helpful.
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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 05:45 AM
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Good plainsong ?? in Rome ??? you must be joking.

The Benedictine monks at San Alselmo on the Aventine could be the best bet for plainsong. The choir at St Peter's (Capella Giulia) is gradually taking a different approach to their music, but the main Sunday Mass (10.30am) is still more congregational than choral. They might give the plainsong introit and Mozart's Ave verum, but nothing contrapuntal.

S Mary Major is perhaps the "highest" mainstream church, and the choir sings in latin with tremendous determination and force (no microphones)from the apse.

I have also been told that the Dominican monks on the Aventine often have plainsong, but I have never heard them.

There is no great choral tradition in Italy like the UK's Oxbridge college choirs, and any locally produced church music I have heard in Rome tends towards Italian-language "pappy" folk hymns, some of them actually quite good.

Perhaps the best bet is the visiting choirs at S Peter's, usually 5 or 5.30pm Mass - complete pot-luck as to whether a parish choir from Italy (pappy) or something better - usually means a UK or German school choir on tour.

Take your MP3 player.

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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 05:50 AM
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let me correct myself !

Wednesday 26th Nov. 2008, 5pm - Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican

Holy Mass celebrated by His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Comastri
Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica

Gregorian Chant
Choir of the Basilica of the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Conductor Peter Latona

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
Venite Populi KV 260 (248a)
Joseph Haydn, Missa Solemnis in B flat
“Harmoniemesse” HOB. 22.14
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
“Magnificat” from Vesperae de Confessore KV 339
Youth Orchestra of the
Americas, Gächinger Kantorei
Conductor Helmuth Rilling

Sorry- this is a Wednesday, and in St Peter's, but is likely to be the nearest aural experience to your expressed needs.
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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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I went to the same website and found a MUCH better concert (on the same day!):

Just MHI, but you won't find better chorale music than Tomás Luis de Victoria, John Tavener (not Travener) or Arvo Pärt

Go go go !!

Wednesday 26 November 2008
09.00 - Uhr Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

"Music for a mass in honor of the Immaculate Conception
Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Conductor Peter Latona

Hymne in Honor of the Immaculate Conception
Rouen Church melody, arr. Peter Latona

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 - 1611)
Missa Salve for 8 voices
Kyrie eleison
Gloria in excelsis deo
Agnus Dei

Claudio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643)
Cantate Domino for 6 voices

Speyer Gesangbuch, 1615, arr. Peter Latona
The Annunciation

Luca Marenzio
Jubilate Deo for 8 voices

Luca Marenzio
Magnificat for 8 voices

Arvo Part (b. 1935)
Magnificat (1989)

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 - 1611)
Ave Maria for 8 voices

John Travener (b. 1944)
Hymn of the Mother of God (1985)

Vincenzo Ugolini (c. 1580 - 1638)
Beata es Virgo Maria for 12 voices
from Motecta et missae...liber secundus, Rom, 1622
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 10:54 PM
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I'd assumed till now there was about as much church music as we're used to here, but it just wasn't publicised and I'd always hit Italian churches when the real choir was away. You're right: "pappy" really does sum them up.

Bizarre that it's easier to find properly sung Latin masses in London (or even Liverpool) than in Rome. Yet another mystery in life's rich pattern. Perhaps they've never recovered from the outlawing of castration.

Still, at least we're there when there's some good music on. Even if they have to import the singers. Entire.
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