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THE MUSIC OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

TO THE EDITOR N.Z. TABLET. Sib,— Some short time back, your Christchurch correspondent, in one of bis very interesting and ably-written letters, expressed surprise at Mozart's Twelth Mass being produced in a PiotesUnt church —a church belonging to the Wesleyan denomination be mentioned, if my memory serves me aright. Evidently your correspondent is not aware of tbe elastic nature of a Protestant conscience. Does he not know that in Protestant churches not only are Catholic hymns and psalms frequently chanted, bat, on certain occasions, portions of the glorious music, composed by the great masters to form a fitting accompaniment to tbe Holy Sacrifice of tbe Macs, are also rendered. This may appear strange, but it is, nevertheless, hue, that is to say, if we are to believe the newspaper reports. How our Protestant friends reconcile such a procedure with the stand they take against the Catholic Church and everything appertaining to it was a mystery to me until a short time back, when, happening on an addition of Mozart's Twelfth Mass, my doubts were dispelled. I found that the music of tbe Mass was retained, but the words, not harmonising with religious beliefs of the Protestant Church, were deleted, and new words substituted instead. Lo 1 here was the way out of the difficulty t Take the music, change the words, and imagine tbe rest Verily, a conscience is a plastic thing. How many in the Protestant congregation imagine that they are listening to the music of what they are pleased to refer to as the *' Romish Church." I forward you tbe score in question for the purpose of letting yon see tbis precious production. The words are not even appropriate, but tbe original is really travestied, for in tbe Et Incarnatus, one of the cost solemn parts of the Mass, the singers cry out that " their boms are sore vexed." In the same manner is the Crucifixut dealt with, and in fact the whole of the Mass. Apart fiom all other considerations, this treatment of the Mass can only bs termed an unwarrantable liberty. What would be said if the words in the " Creation," " Elijah," and other great oratorios wera so altered as to completely change the sense of the music, and the? nullify and entirely spoil the conceptions of the great composers, of whose minds and of whose genuises these worka are the outcome ? I venture to think, sir, that such a thing would be denounced by all fair minded persons. Mozart wrote the music for the Masß, and for the Mass let it be. No one has a right to divert it to any other use. The same remarks apply to the numerous hymns, chants, etc, written for the Catholic Church, and frequently sune in non-Catholic churches. It was only a few days ago that the beautiful Christmas hymn Adette Fideles was sung in a Wesleyan Church in this city. Here again Novello came to tbe rescue. Novello seems to be the quarter from which all Protestant bodies look for aid to enable their conscience to clamber over any stumbling blocks of this nature that may happen to arise, for he it was who altered tbe Mass referred to, to suit the Protestant principles. On the cover is set forth, edited by Vincent Novello. Let not your Christchurch correspondent, therefore, marvel any longer, for here is tbe solution of tbe riddle.— l am, etc., Semibbbvb.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/periodicals/NZT18920101.2.26.1

Bibliographic details

THE MUSIC OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH., New Zealand Tablet, Volume XX, Issue 11, 1 January 1892

Word Count
574

THE MUSIC OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. New Zealand Tablet, Volume XX, Issue 11, 1 January 1892

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