Catholic Music in Time of Pandemic

"From Plague, Famine & War, Deliver Us, O Lord: Catholic Music in Time of Pandemic" Presentation by Susan Treacy, Ph.D. Professor of Music, Emerita, Ave Maria University

As choirs have only been recently restored at local parishes on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be interesting to find out if Catholics were involved in sacred music during earlier pandemics. This presentation examines Catholic sacred music—both liturgical and devotional—in times of pestilence.

It begins in the fourteenth century with the composition of the formulary (with its accompanying Gregorian Proper chants) for Masses in Time of Pestilence. Several Renaissance motets were composed by such masters as Josquin des Prez that could have been sung during plagues. This lecture will also feature a special focus on Saint Charles Borromeo and the Milan Plague of 1576-78. How did Saint Charles, as Archbishop of Milan, minister to his faithful, and how was music used? The lecture will feature recorded examples of pandemic music.

Length of Lecture = 50 minutes

Question & Answer period after lecture = 10+ minutes

Click Here to download class notes

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