Vatican insider, Sandro Magister, gives us insight into the significance of the June 24th concert at the Sistine Chapel, conducted by Maestro Bartolucci.
A Change of Tune in the Vatican – And Not Only in the Secretariat of State
Bertone takes Sodano’s place. But an important shift is also taking place in liturgical music. The way was pointed out by a concert with the pope in the Sistine Chapel, conducted by maestro Bartolucci
ROMA, June 27, 2006 – Step by step, Benedict XVI is impressing a new form and a new style on the governance of the universal Church.
Recent days were marked by the announcement of a change in the secretary of state: from Angelo Sodano to Tarcisio Bertone.
But another event orchestrated by pope Joseph Ratzinger is of no less importance: the concert conducted in the Sistine Chapel, on Saturday, June 24, by maestro monsignor Domenico Bartolucci.
With this concert, Benedict XVI has symbolically restored the Sistine Chapel to its true maestro. Because the famous chapel is not only the sacred place decorated with the frescoes of Michelangelo, it also gives the name to the choir that for centuries has accompanied the pontifical liturgies.
Maestro Bartolucci was named the “perpetual” director, the director for life, of the Sistine Chapel by Pius XII in 1959. Under this and later popes, he was an outstanding interpreter of the liturgical music founded upon Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. But after a long period of opposition, in 1997 he was dismissed and replaced by a choirmaster thought to be more fitting for the “popular” music dear to John Paul II.
Bartolucci’s replacement was the finishing stroke of the almost complete elimination of Gregorian chant and polyphony as desired by the authors of the postconciliar liturgical reform.
The person responsible for Bartolucci’s removal in 1997 was the master of pontifical ceremonies, Piero Marini, still in service with Benedict XVI although close to his own dismissal. Marini brought in monsignor Giuseppe Liberto as head of the Sistine Chapel, having noticed and appreciated his work as music director during John Paul II’s visits to Sicily. It was easy to get pope Karol Wojtyla’s permission for the maneuver.
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