Mary’s Month

Marian triptych

I had this idea that on Saturdays during the month of May, I’d post something about Mary, the Mother of God.  I'm thinkin' we should take a look at the origins of Marian devotion, the titles under which she is honored, the mysteries of the rosary, and the great music, art and architecture which bears her name.Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Mense Maio (On the Month of May) which was published on April 30, 1965, explained the devotion: May is the "month which the piety of the faithful has es … [Read more...]

THE DEADLY “TE DEUM”: Jean Baptiste Lully’s Performance Gone Awry


Jean Baptiste Lully is the only person ever known to have suffered Death By Conducting.The Italian-born composer who became the Surintendant de la musique de la chamber du roi (the Superintendent of Music to the King of France), Jean Baptiste Lully had a humble beginning:  He was born in Florence, Italy, the son of a working-class miller.From Dishwasher to Guitarist Lully was not well schooled; but with the help of a Franciscan friar, he learned basic techniques on the guitar.  After t … [Read more...]

Music to Inspire the Conclave of Cardinals

Musica Vaticana

I imagine Pope Urban VIII offering the liturgy at St. Peter’s Basilica on a summer day in 1638, offering his prayer that he might do God’s will as he puts the finishing touches on a bull protecting the existence of the Jesuit missions in South America by forbidding the enslavement of natives.  He hopes, too, that he might open China and Japan to greater missionary efforts.  As he stands before the great altar, he reflects on the mystery of Christ’s birth.  The setting for the liturgy is the Missa … [Read more...]