Category Archives: Music

#327 – A History of the Catholic Church – Holding Festival In Our Whole Life


Music occupied an important place in the life of the Early Church. Good music moved the Christian closer to God, whereas bad music led the Christian astray. Some musical instruments were praised, others were condemned. There was no part of the Christian life that music did not touch.


Image: Section of the Oxyrhynchus Hymn

An example of ancient Greek music in a Chromatic scale

A presentation on ancient Greek music in the Enharmonic scale and Dorian mode

An example of ancient Greek music in an Enharmonic scale

An example of the Greek Aulos/Auloi instrument

The Oxyrhynchus Hymn as it might have sounded

The Phos Hilaron Hymn

W. J. Holleman, “The Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 1786 and the Relationship Between Ancient Greek and Early Christian Music”, Vigiliae Christianae 26, 1972, 1-17.

Christopher Page, The Christian West and its Singers: The First Thousand Years, Yale University Press, Yale, 2010.

Kristen L. Southworth, Music in Early Christianity and Its Cultural-Historical Context

Calvin R. Stapert, A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church, William , Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, 2007.

David VanBrugge, An Analysis of the Ancient Church Fathers on Instrumental Music

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#327 – A History of the Catholic Church – Holding Festival In Our Whole Life

#246 – The Bride of Christ

Saint Kassia, rejected by Emperor Theophilos, but proclaimed by the Eastern Church was one of the most important hymnographers in medieval Christianity. Her writings and work attracted the attention of the people of God of her time and continue to inspire Christians today.

The Hymn of Kassia/Kassiani sung by the choir of Saint Mary Orthodox Church
Other examples of the writings and hymns of Saint Kassia
VocaMe has produced a CD with the hymns of Saint Kassa in the original Greek and samples of her hymns can be found here

Later image of Theophilos choosing his bride.

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podcasticon#246 – The Bride of Christ

Today in Catholic History – World Premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

On 7 May 1824, Ludwig van Beethoven premiered his Ninth Symphony or “Ode to Joy” at the K√§rntnertortheater in Vienna to a large audience who came to see his first on-stage appearance in twelve years. The premiere was a great success “the public received the musical hero with the utmost respect and sympathy, listened to his wonderful, gigantic creations with the most absorbed attention and broke out in jubilant applause, often during sections, and repeatedly at the end of them.” There were five standing ovations.

The audience reception was even more impressive considering that there were only two rehearsals of the entire program. Moreover Beethoven was almost completely deaf and yet insisted on conducting the performance. So both Beethoven and Michael Umlauf, the official conductor, stood on the stage at the same time. Since Beethoven could not hear the performance, he often gave instructions and directions contrary to what was in the score of the symphony – calling for loudness at a moment of quiet and vice versa. Umlauf had to instruct the musicians to essentially ignore Beethoven’s direction during the performance. At the end of the performance, one of the singers had to tug at Beethoven’s sleeve to turn him around to face the audience as Beethoven was unaware that the symphony was finished. The singer later said, “his turning about, and the sudden understanding thereby forced on all present that he had not done so before because he could not hear what was going on, acted like an electric shock on the audience, and a volcanic explosion of compassion and admiration followed, which was repeated over and over, and seemed as if it would never end.”

The words of the commonly sung hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” were written in in 1907 by Henry van Dyke to intentionally be accompanied by the music of the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of divinity
– Beethoven from his Ninth Symphonyh

God — sometimes through periods of interior emptiness and isolation — wishes to make us attentive and capable of ‘feeling’ his silent presence, not only ‘over the canopy of stars’ but also in the most intimate recesses of our soul. There burns the spark of divine love that can free us to be what we truly are.Benedict XVI on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

#200 – The King and The Church


It’s Episode #200 and what a better topic than The King! Elvis’ had a scandalous and an inspirational relationship with the Catholic faith from the beginning of his musical career until it’s end. Indeed he continues to inspire some Catholics in different ways today. Plus, the CNMC and Bears. A special thanks to all of the listeners, here’s to another 200 episodes!

Elvis’ “Let Us Pray” from the move “Change of Habit”
Elvis’ The Miracle of the Rosary from Elvis Now
Antoniu Petrescu – priest and Elvis impersonator

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podcasticon# 200 – The King and The Church