Church of St. Francis Xavier Sunday Service

Event Information

Church of St. Francis Xavier

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
26 April 2022

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

01 May 1870, Morning

Performers and/or Works Performed

Composer(s): Berge


Review: New York Herald, 02 May 1870, 3.

“This work, although not constructed on the grand and imposing scale of the Paschal Mass by the same brilliant composer, is probably one of the most popular of his works. There is a popular catching ring to every part of the mass, and it is full of brio and expression. The Kyrie opens with a simple triple movement, in which all the voices join and which is chiefly colored by a brilliant accompaniment. The soprano and bass dialogue in the Christi in a light, pleasing manner and the introduction is again brought in as a refrain. There is a similarity in the style of the commencement of the Gloria and the similar movement in Mozart’s Twelfth Mass. The similarity, however, consists only in the voices singing the common chord in unison, and they break into the notes of the diminished seventh, continuing their joyous tones as far as the Dominie Deus. This is a charming duet for tenor and bass, and has an air of spontaneity which makes it doubly attractive. The Qui Tollis is a quartet in A minor, which leads in nine-eight tune [sic] into the corresponding major key. The soprano sings the Miserere in passionate, declamatory phrases, accompanied by the prayerful, devout supplications of the other voices. The Quontam returns to the introductory key of D major, and is sung in unison. Cum Sancto is commenced by the tenor alone; then the soprano repeats the theme, followed by the bass and alto. The Amen is very brilliant, and forms a fine close to this part of the mass. The Credo commences with a tutti unison, and the tenor has Et in unum Dominum all to himself. The Et Incarnatus is a gem of tenderness and expression. The soprano announces the great mysteries of the redemption, and the other voices break in in wondering and awe stricken phrases. The Crucifixus is of the same dramatic character, and in the finale the terror and awe depicted in the staccato ejaculations of the chorus is worthy of the sublime theme. The resurrection is described in a dashing, joyous outburst of the chorus. The alto tells of the second coming of the Redeemer in a beautiful solo, which received every justice at the hands of Miss Mary Werneke, one of the best contraltos in the city. Signor Bacelli excelled himself in the Et in Unam Sanciam Ecclesiam, and gave out his G’s like Le Franc’s ut de poitrine, with a strident earnestness and trumpet sonority that reverberated through the church like the peal of a great organ. But the great charm of the mass was the artistic coloring it received at the hands of the organist-composer, Dr. William Berge. Without his bold, varying organ background, half the effects of the musical picture would have been lost. [Note on the sermon.] The solo choir consists of Misses Teresa and Mary Werneke, and Signors Tamaro and Bacelli. Rossini’s Messe Solennelle will be sung at this church after due preparation and rehearsal. It will be given with the original orchestral score for the first time. A work of this kind sounds very different when the composer’s own name is preserved than what it does when some itinerant German scores it from a piano copy.”