Lecture on Recusant Catholic music in New York City

Our readers in the NYC area might be interested in this concert + lecture + Mass + Reception on the musical life of Recusant Catholics:

A special evening this Friday, May 27, sponsored by The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny:

“Like the octave of some great feast”
Perspectives on the life of English Catholics under Elizabeth
at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, 869 Lexington Ave. Manhattan.


Lecture at 5:30 pm by Samuel Schmitt, Ph.D., with live musical examples provided by Grant and Priscilla Herreid and Charles Weaver

Solemn Mass in the traditional Dominican rite at 7 pm, featuring the Missa Regali of Robert Fayrfax performed by the Schola of St. Hugh under the direction of Charles Weaver

A festive reception will follow mass.

Explore the riches of English Catholic musical and religious culture under the Tudor persecutions. A lecture by Dr. Samuel Schmitt explores the musical and cultural life of recusant Catholics in the time of Elizabeth, with live examples from the Paston manuscripts provided by Grant and Priscilla Herreid and Charles Weaver. The Mass which follows, in the traditional Dominican Rite, features the Missa Regali of Robert Fayrfax, essentially in its original liturgical context, in the English Gothic Revival setting of the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer. The contrast in musical styles will highlight what was lost and what was gained in sacred music in the tumultuous passing from the age of Fayrfax to that of Byrd.

This event is free and open to the public.

To view the flyer, just click here.

Further information:

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5 Responses to Lecture on Recusant Catholic music in New York City

  1. EPMS says:

    The fact that composers such as Byrd and Tallis were or became Catholics while composing for both Anglican and Catholic liturgies raises the question, which I have raised before, of how much of the so-called “Anglican” Patrimony is actually just “English” Patrimony. I would put simnel cake and embroidered hassocks in this category as well.

    • Of course, you are right. But the fact is that the Catholic Church in England (as reestablished in the 19th Century) has never really reconnected with this English tradition. That is why Fr. Aidan Nichols refers to the “missing years” or the “missing centuries”. The Ordinariates are reestablishing this cultural link to an English Catholicism.

  2. EPMS says:

    That’s true. But then this gets tangled up with Lancelot Andrewes, Sir Charles Hubert Parry, and C.S. Lewis, who were actual Anglicans. How do they fit in to this picture?

    • Well, in the intervening years, Englishness in worship and in the arts expressed itself primarily within the Church of England. Who is to say what the Catholic Church in England would be like today if the Reformation had never taken place? Moreover, Anglicanism was able to add things to the expression of worship which might never have happened if the Catholic Church had been left on its own – vernacular liturgy, a wealth of music in the vernacular, hymn singing, etc., etc. The Ordinariates have the privilege of being able to bring all of this heritage into the Catholic Church of today.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        One can equally ask what the Catholic Church on the continent would have been today, had the reformation never taken place. The counterreformation and the Council of Trent suppressed much diversity. The Ambrosian Rite survived in Milan and the Mozarabic Rite continued to be celebrated in one chapel in Toledo, but all other western rites and uses — including Sarum — vanished from normal use in the Catholic Church. Also, Latin — initially introduced over a millennium earlier because it was the vernacular of the day — became entrenched as the sole liturgical language of the Roman Rite for the next five centuries.


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