Mammon vs. Cecilians (1879–1904)

Salvatore Basile

in Fifth Avenue Famous

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231874
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823234929 | DOI:
Mammon vs. Cecilians             (1879–1904)

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The late nineteenth century was a fascinating time in which to be a church musician. The job did not carry the swank of centuries past, when choristers were lifelong retainers and routinely wore their robes in public as a declaration of pride, but it was possible for a musician to conduct an entire career in sacred music without losing face among his colleagues. This was definitely the case in cities, and in New York especially so; and at St. Patrick's Cathedral—the newest, the largest, the most exciting of churches of the time—very much so indeed. Several factors contributed to this climate, and they had absolutely nothing to do with religious sensibilities of any kind. The prime motivator was the city's big-time media culture in its first flush. This chapter looks at the early years of the St. Patrick's Cathedral choir under William F. Pecher and how its music was influenced by the Cecilians.

Keywords: sacred music; New York; St. Patrick's Cathedral; media culture; William F. Pecher; Cecilians

Chapter.  10756 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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