Rorate Caeli

Bartolucci returns for one day

Domenico Bartolucci, the man chosen by Pius XII to guide the Pontifical Sistine Choir for life (and shamefully dismissed from his position by Pope John Paul II, advised by Piero Marini), will direct his dear choir for one day: today.

Sandro Magister informs in his blog that the Saint John's Day concert will be directed by Bartolucci and will be performed before the Holy Father. It will include Bartolucci's composition for the occasion ("Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto", for six voices) and several compositions by Palestrina, including the Credo of the Missa Papae Marcelli. After the presentation, Pope Benedict will deliver a special speech.

Read more about Bartolucci here and here.


  1. Apologies to Sgr. Bartolucci, but whether it was under Pius IX, X, XI or XII, the Sistine choir have never been any good. Italians - for that matter continentals (with the exception of the Germans) - can't direct boy-choirs like the English. Sad but true, and the phonographic evidence bears the assertion out. Too bad Martin Hill isn't the director of the Sistine. Then they'd sound more like "The Sixteen."

  2. Hebdomadary you are absolutely correct.Cardinal Gagnon,himself no friend of current liturgical music,told me at the time PJPII wanted to get rid of Bartolucci because the choir was so bad.Well they got rid of him and it is worse.The best singing was when the boys choirs from all over the world sang in St.Peters. I have a recording of Christmas Eve mass 1949 (the beginning of the Holy Year) and the Sistine choir sang (as they always did) the Mass of Pope Marcellus.It was awful. I agree they should get either a German or an English director.The organist is American.

  3. "Never"? Never is a long time... Traditional-minded Catholics must be very careful with this word, especially regarding such an ancient and venerable institution, whose earliest origins precede the arrival of Saint Augustine in Canterbury.

  4. They were very good indeed at the time of St. Augustine of Canterbury.

    Unfortunately, their rep for the last millenium or so hasn't been that hot. My nominee for the post? Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, formerly of Regensburg fame. (They used to call him 'Orgelratz' and his little brother 'Bücherratz' [i.e., 'Organ-Ratz' and 'Books-Ratz']).

    "Terrible" is definitely a relative term, though. I heard them at the Papal Installation Mass and the JPII funeral and they seemed to me to do a lovely job, though of course, not utterly beyond criticism.

    If anybody wants to hear them (I assume it's them), but doesn't want to watch the non-Trad, versus populum proceedings, you can go to these links, turn off your monitor, turn on your speakers and just listen and judge for yourselves... Fr. Harrison--very sympathetic to Trads and writes for the Seattle Catholic--loved the Requiem!

    Benedict Inauguration

    JPII Requiem Mass


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