This week, more lenten music and I thought I would provide an interesting (and surprising) link to some very good semi-professional performances emanating from the Church of St-Agnes in St-Paul Minnesota.

Monsignor Richard J. Schuler (1920-2007) was pastor of St. Agnes Church for thirty-two years (1969-2001). He held a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music (1950) and in 1954, he spent a year of study of renaissance music manuscripts at the Vatican Library on a Fulbright scholarship, after which he taught music and theology at the College of Saint Thomas for fifteen years. He received a doctorate in musicology from the University of Minnesota in 1963.

In 1956 he founded the Twin Cities Chorale. “He was not only a brilliant musician”, said CMAA’s note on its founder’s death, “he was also pioneer in the use of large-scale polyphony and symphonic sung Masses after the Second Vatican Council. He never wavered in his dedication to what is both beautiful and true”.

Monsignor Schuler was a founder of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) in 1964, as an American affiliate of the international papal sacred music federation, the Consociatio Internationalis Musicae Sacrae, and which he served as vice-president for ten years. He published several articles, one of which outlinmes his views on music and lithurgy.

As you would expect from a man who has devoted his rich musical talents to the service of the Church, there is a well-developed liturgical life at St. Agnes. At the Sunday High Mass, the Twin Cities Chorale to*gether with members of the Minnesota Orchestra sing the Masses of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and other great composers. These Viennese settings of the ordinary of the Mass are sung together with the propers in Gregorian chant.

When Mgr Schuler first started incorporating orchestral masses by Viennese masters into the liturgy, some of his parishioners complained that such elaborate music distracted them from their prayers. Mgr Schuler's gentle but--I think--powerful response was always the same: "the music cannot distract from prayer, because the music is a prayer."

Here is a short sample of the results: the Gloiria from Haydn’s Pauken Mass:

You will find at the below link masses by Beethoven, Haydn and Gounod, with some other recordings by musicians and singers associated with the Church (in Windows Media Audio format):


March 23, 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will be adding a new montage "Spring" to its Pod-O-Matic Podcast. Read our English and French commentary March 23 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.