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Sacred Music


Advent Recitals & Sung Vespers

Each Sunday of Advent: December 2*, 9, 16, 23, 2018; 4:15 & 5:00PM (*Recital at 3:15PM; Vespers at 4:00PM)

  • We once again look forward to our yearly Advent Recital & Vespers series
  • Recitals by the Director of Music, Assistant Organist, and staff musicians at 4:15PM precede the celebration of Sung Vespers at 5:00PM. Vespers is celebrated with chant settings in the vernacular (English) as well as traditional Latin (Gregorian) chant repertoire.
  • Vespers is led each week by one of the Cathedral’s Choral ensembles (see the links below!)
  • One Vespers each year (this year, on December 2) welcomes the Monks of St. Bernard Abbey (Cullman, Alabama) and their Monastic Schola to pray according to their liturgical use. This Vespers also features polyphonic settings featuring the Schola in alternation with Cathedral Choir (this year, we feature the Magnificat Octavi Toni of Cristobal de Morales, the most influential composer of the early Spanish Renaissance).
  • Donations to the Cathedral Music Fund are always graciously accepted ahead of these event, or any other time.
  • Please contact the Director of Music, Bruce Ludwick, Jr., at or 205.251.1279×107 for more information.

Midnight Mass

December 25, 2018 at 12:00AM (Midnight); Sung Office of Readings at 11:15PM on December 24

  • We welcome you to our solemn Midnight Mass. This sung Mass is sung by Cathedral Choir; this year’s Mass ordinary is Tomas Luis de Victoria’s famous Missa “O Magnum Mysterium”, one of the most famous Masses of the high Renaissance. Also presented is the motet “O magnum mysterium” by the same composer, along with the various Gregorian chant propers of the day.
  • This year, the 11:15PM prelude is replaced by the celebration of sung Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours. This office (for Christmas Day) recalls the offices of Vigils and Matins, from which the Office of Readings is derived. Consisting of a number of psalms, readings, and responsories, this is a beautiful way to prepare for the celebration of the Christmas season. It concludes with a sung, solemn Te Deum.
  • Between the Office of Readings and Midnight Mass, Cathedral Choir will present Ihr lieben Christen, freut euch nun/Good Christians, rejoice, BuxWV 51, by Dietrich Buxtehude. This important sacred work, composed for the Sunday evening “Abendlied” Vespers services that Buxtehude began for the Marienkirche in Hamburg, alternates between instrumental, choral, and solo movements, and is an the ancestor of J.S. Bach’s transcendent cantatas.

Weekly and Holy Day Liturgies

Sundays (11:00AM, late August-late June) of the Year and all Solemnities

  • Each Sunday of the liturgical year and all Solemnities in the Church calendar feature fitting music to give glory to God. Within the choral year, Cathedral Choir is present at each 11:00AM Mass.
  • On Sundays, this frequently means polyphonic (or choral) settings of the Mass Ordinary and other pieces from the “treasury of sacred music”. Please check the links below for Music Lists and representative repertoire from past seasons.

In the “Sacred Music” section you can learn about the following sub-topics (also accessible through the menus):