Not quite what was expected. With the specialness one might expect at a service with the Pope presiding, the music seemed to be a mish-mash of popsey dance tunes, black gospel razzamataz along with some "songs of today" and plenty of mombo beat accompaniment ... all of this while communion was administered.Now, why doesn't this surprise me? Honestly, I am not surprised at all. My Episcopal friends poke fun at the music often heard at Catholic Masses, and they loftily announce that they are the ones who are preserving the music of The Church. There are some Episcopal churches in this area where one may hear an anthem sung in Latin as often as once a week even. I've had the pleasure of chanting Gregorian chant at Compline services ... at an Episcopal church ... for the past several years.
Even the EWTN commentator referred to the "Amazonian" sound of the music. To my ears it was akin to music of Mardi Gras.
There was a hint of what might be sacred music at a few points during the mass. In one "song" the sound of an organ came through, and for a few seconds I saw a 4-manual
drawknob console. A highlight was when Placido Domingo sang an abbreviated setting of the Franck "Panis Angelicus" with a small backup choir, but it seemed odd amongst the music mix before.
Altogether it was, as EWTN described it, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial. But musically it seemed to have no head nor tail, no continuity. For this occasion with the Pope in attendance, it might have been appropriate to have *some* traditional church music of the period before Pope John 22nd-Mozart, Palestrina, Gregorian Chant.
I suppose the argument that may be given for a "multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial" music list is that this is a true reflection of America's society and culture - the "Melting Pot." If America can be a melting pot, surely her Catholic Masses can be reflective of that. But just as ingredients for a really good pot of stew should come together in perfect harmony to make that stew taste wonderful, is it possible for disparate styles of music to come together to make the stew that is the music of the American Catholic Mass?
That would be my open-ended Question Of The Day. Chew on that for a while ... and leave your thoughts in the combox, if you care to.