T HAS BEEN A WHILE since I have written here. The life in the seminary has been very busy and the Christmas season has been very intense. As I promised last time, I am going to share more about Fr. Áureo Castro, a priest, composer and music educator of the Diocese of Macau, China. 1
As I mentioned in my last post, I found a collection of choral pieces composed by local composers when I was going through old book in the seminary. One piece that I found in the collection is a setting of Missa de Angelis:
Missa de Angelis has always been the “pop” Gregorian Mass; it is the most widely-known and popular chant Mass setting. Fr. Áureo’s setting alternates the chant melody and the choral parts, which allows both the congregation and the choir to sing. While the internal participation is very important, it is also nice to allow the congregation to participate externally through active singing, especially the Ordinaries of the Mass. While this Mass setting is not the most difficult and complicated, the choral range is pretty wide and can be challenging. Also, you may realize there isn’t a score for the “Agnus Dei” movement; the Portuguese at the end of “Sanctus” actually indicates that Fr. Áureo didn’t compose any choral parts for the “Agnus Dei”.
So, when you are thinking about singing the “pop Mass” next time, consider about using this choral setting. I hope it will add beauty to your worship and make your Missa de Angelis more interesting. Please feel free to leave comments on our Facebook combox.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Fr. Áureo Castro was born in 1917 at Pico, on Calendaria in the Azores, Portugal. He came to Macau in 1931 when he was 14 years old and he entered the St. Joseph Diocesan Seminary. He was ordained for the Diocese of Macau later in 1943. He was actively involved in parish ministries and the musical training of diocesan seminarians. In 1951, Fr. Áureo went to Lisbon to further study music at the National Conservatory and he graduated with distinction in music composition. He founded the St. Pius X Academy of Music upon his return to Macau. The institute not only offers music classes, but it also organized public concerts and has invited many internationally famous musicians to Macau. He dedicated his life to the promotion of music and his compositions are widely recognized. He passed away in 1993 at the age of 76.