The Feast of St. Philip Neri, 2019

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Celebrations for the feast of St. Philip Neri began with First Vespers on Friday, May 24. Music for Vespers was provided by the Oratory Choir: Pangamus Nerio (William Sewell); Psalms with falsobordone by Tomás Luis de Victoria and Giaches de Wert; Magnificat primi toni (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina); Vadam et circuibo civitatem (Jonathan Dove); Regina caeli (Tomás Luis de Victoria), and the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543 (J. S. Bach).

A Solemn High Mass was celebrated on the morning of May 25. Music was again provided by the Oratory Choir: Missa super Laudate Dominum (Ruggiero Giovanelli); Offertory: Laudate Dominum (Tomás Luis de Victoria); Communion: Vadam et circuibo civitatem (Tomás Luis de Victoria); Organ: Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532 (J. S. Bach).

The choral music sung at the Mass features composers connected to St Philip Neri and to the early history of the Oratory. The Spanish composer and priest Tomás Luis de Victoria served for seven years as chaplain to the church of S. Girolamo della Caritá, living in close contact with St Philip and the other early Oratorians; after his return to Spain in 1587, he continued a correspondence with members of the Oratorian circle, including Bl Juvenal Ancina. Ruggiero Giovanelli (c. 1560-1625) may have studied with Palestrina; he held several important posts in Rome, including maestro di cappella for the Cappella Guilia and finally the Cappella Sistina. His works are fine examples of the polychoral style cultivated by the Oratorians in the early seventeenth century, and documents from the time show that his compositions were part of the repertory at the Chiesa Nuova (the Oratorian church in Rome).

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