Saturday, November 17, 2007

Solemn Pontifical Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral

I made a day trip to London today to attend the Latin Mass Society's Annual Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

This was a special event this year as, for the first time, it was a Pontifical High Mass (at the faldstool), celebrated by The Rt Revd John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster. Bishop Arnold also preached about the significance of remembering our loved ones who have died and passing on what we have learned from them to others, while remembering that as Catholics we can also unite ourselves in prayer with those who have gone before.

The music for the Mass was Victoria's 6 part Missa pro defunctis of 1605, one of my favourite pieces of liturgical music and one of the highest points of Renaissance polyphony. The choir was not the regular choir of Westminster Cathedral but a group called "the Westminster Cathedral Choir Special Service Choir". They were very competent and included women's voices. They could have done with maybe twice the number of singers to cope with the cavernous acoustic of the Cathedral and the remote place from which they had to sing.


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