Today in Mass we were treated to the musick of another 18th Century Italian of whom I had never heard, Giovanni Battista Casali (1715-1792).  (Yes, in part I post about these musickal matters just to tweek those of you doomed to electric guitars, drum sets at the alter and kumbaya. I’m terribly sorry, but I just cannot resist the neener, neener impulse.)

Anyhoo, Casali interested me because I could not, to save my life, have placed his musick:  It carried in it not only elements of the Baroque, but also strains of the Renaissance and also hints of the Rococco and beyond.  Small wonder, I suppose, in a man who was born two years after Bach began his professional career and died a year after Mozart. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say about Casali:

Musician, b. at Rome in 1715; d. there 1792. From 1759 until his death he held the position of choir-master in the church of St. John Lateran. Of his numerous compositions a mass in G major and several motets (Confitebor tibi, Ave Maria, Exaltabo, Improperium) have been reprinted in Lueck’s “Collection” (Ratisbon, 1859). These compositions, while liturgical in spirit and form, show a considerable departure from the great period of the Roman School in a freer use of the dissonance, and they also bear witness to the influence of the opera in which form Casali also wrote. Most of his works are preserved in the library of Abbate Santini in Rome. Casali was one of the last of that period to write for voices a capella.

I note in this entry a certain amount of damning with faint praise.

Anyhoo, it was pleasant and moving.  Aaaaand, for those of you not fans of Casali, the Offeratory Motet was by Palestrina, which ought to make up in and of itself for any perceived shortcomings of the rest of the liturgical musick.  This is true especially because of the fact that the Offeratory I had heard earlier in the day at Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church was by John Rutter.  Now I am sure that Mr. Rutter is a very nice man and that he means well, but the fact of the matter is that his musick is so fubsy, so treacly, so mushy and so Hallmark Card As Written By Cathy Guisewite, that it gives me what Mr. John Keats would have called the guts-ache.

Incidentally, regular readers may recall that last Sunday afternoon I managed to skin my knees pretty badly at the eldest gel’s softball practice.  Well, this morning it was pure agony to kneel not for one, but for two separate services, self having attended the family’s Episcopal service and then my own High Mass. The agony was increased by the fact that the alter at my Catholic parish is made of marble.  By the time that I was done, blood was beginning to seap through the knees of my grey flannels.

I have often meditated on the hardships of keeping up dual worships, but I never imagined they could be so out-right physical in nature.