Mass in Honor of St. Maximilian Kolbe wins first prize

Around noon, I had a brief visit from James Flood, President of the Foundation for the Sacred Arts and music teacher at The Lyceum, whom I had just met Friday as a library patron. He stopped in to tell me that, after being judged by Susan Treacy, William Mahrt, and one other I forget (and who better to judge me here below?), my _Mass in Honor of St. Maximilian Kolbe_ has been awarded First Prize ($4000) in the International Sacred Music Competition for Composers. The public premiere will be on August 14 by the choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC, under Dr. Peter Latona.

A bunch of my buds had done a demo in February, which I’ve been sitting on pending results of the contest. Since we have those, there’s no need to hide it anymore. So here it is! Thanks to all those who made it possible (including and especially God).
Penitential rite
Glory to God
Gospel acclamation
Holy holy
Memorial acclamation A
Memorial acclamation B
Memorial acclamation C
Great Amen
Lamb of God


11 Responses to Mass in Honor of St. Maximilian Kolbe wins first prize

  1. John Venlet says:


    I humbly tip my hat to you, as the ability to compose music is a talent of immense proportions.


  2. kishnevi says:

    Mazel tov!

    The local parish church here is dedicated to, or patroned by, or whatever the proper lingo is, to “St. Max”; it was set up as a parish immediately after he was canonized.

    I don’t have a Catholic calendar handy–but isn’t 14 August the Assumption of the Virgin or something like that?

  3. kishnevi says:

    Just realized–this is in DC. You now get to descend into the very Belly of the Beast.

  4. jeffreyquick says:

    The Assumption is the 15th, which falls on a Sunday this year. Anthony won’t be too happy, but I don’t see myself pulling an all-nighter through the hills of PA to make it back for Sunday morning. It’s a Marian feast; he could lay off Dennis and Mark, hire a few more women and do Faure Messe Basse or something else for women.

    I’ve never been in the Belly; came close a couple times, going to Baltimore with the Wendel band.

    It’s for Kolbe because I had to call it something, and he’s cool, and I have another idea for a St. Gabriel Possenti mass.(Nicholas Owen needs one too, but not sure where his slot is in RC-dom…he may be one of the 40 English Martyrs.) At St. Stanislaus in Cleveland, there’s a row of statues of saintly-looking saints, and on the very end is this geeky-looking guy with big round glasses…that’s St. Max.

  5. jeffreyquick says:

    John — I can’t fish to save my life.

  6. John Venlet says:


    I could teach you to fish, and though I used to play the piano and coronet a bit, long time ago, I do not know if you could teach me to compose.

    I admire your accomplishment.

  7. Linda Morgan says:

    How very beautiful.


  8. kishnevi says:

    Wiki says Owen is celebrated as one of the 40. What attracts you to him? (I see the Possenti connection.)

    Of course, you could do one dedicated to William Byrd, confessor…

    Your parents never took you on the ritual trip to see Our Democracy At Work? Mine did it to me when I was eight. All I really remember was that there was a whole bunch of impressive buildings, some fleeting memories of the White House tour, that the Smithsonian was rather dreary and boring, and the drive to and fro was the most exciting part, because it was the longest trip I’d been to up to that time.
    Oh, and that one evening we trekked all around the Dupont Circle area and could not find one place that sold ice cream. Not a single one!

  9. Jeffrey Quick says:

    Owen Is sort of the unofficial saint of survivalist retreats, being personally responsible for most of the priestly hidey-holes in recusant manors. He did all this construction with a hunchback, and much of it with a hernia held in by iron plates. He was picked up in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot (claimed to be a priest to save the REAL priest in the house), and when they found out who he was, they tortured him (in spite of it being illegal to torture the handicapped), expecting him to name names, which he did, the Names being Jesu and Maria. He died of this, leaving TPTB to float the cover story that he had killed himself with a dinner knife (even though at that point his fingers were incapable of holding a knife)

  10. Chris McAvoy says:

    I don’t want to offend anyone, but, I feel obliged to be critical. These particular settings do not to me stand in the same category of the 16th century polyphony and earlier Gregorian/plainchant mass settings of the 9th to 14th centuries. This is not to say they are “bad” settings, but for me most of them I would not use, the spirit of many them feels too secular. The Kyrie I felt was the best composition.

    As we all know secular music is the norm in most latin catholic parishes of today, therefore many composers will compose music which reflects this sympathy of the secular, perhaps without realizing they do so.

    This music is better suited for a concert hall than a church.

    While the settings are pleasant.. there is something about them that lacks the depth, transcendence, spirit, and majesty of that which I hear in many compositions from before the last 50 years and from eastern catholic/orthodox composers of today as well. I think that within the west there is a true misunderstanding and misapplication of the faith occuring and it’s relationship to art. Perhaps a genuine misunderstanding of truly organic continuously developing Holy Tradition that is not at such odds with its past. I pray that this situation improves in my lifetime.

    I for one will probably prefer the english plainchant settings based on the latin settings of the Graduale Romanum which are included in the new missals. Even though the adaptation could have been better, they are a step in the right direction. For some they may seem “old hat” but as many current composers I think need a re-education and back to the basics of “holy tradition” approach, they at least serve to encourage the imagination in that direction, so that in the future original compositions may be more in line with their spirit.

    I am all for the use of english, and new compositions, but not at the expense of reinventing the wheel and reinventing our faith and view of the world.

    I congratulate your ability to compose and hope that it will continue to develop in a direction which is essentially..more traditional. More in the spirit which helps us reach salvation and brings us “away” from the world instead of celebrates the world.

  11. Jeffrey Quick says:

    Well, different strokes, and all. There are folks who think that music which is too passionate is unsuited to the worship service, that a sacred art should be objective. I have a certain sympathy with that POV, but it’s not a sympathy that tends to be the overriding factor in my music. The Caecilian vs. romantic/popular church music war has been going on for almost 2 centuries now, and it’s the music written at one extreme or the other which has not survived in the repertoire. I’m willing to admit that, for a Roman Catholic Mass, it’s a pretty good Anglo-Catholic Mass. You speak of “holy tradition”, but this is a Mass in the 3rd Mode, with a Gospel Acclamation stolen directly from the Liber Usualis and psalm tone, with imitative counterpoint, with most cadences made by 6th opening to octaves. I think I’m engaging the tradition pretty fully here. It’s probably clearer in my unaccompanied sacred music. If I’ve got a kindred spirit out there, it’s Kevin Allen, in that we both work with linear counterpoint without ignoring subsequent musical technology. Yet I find, amazingly, that there are people who don’t like Kevin’s music…or mine. Fortunately, “in my Father’s house there are many mansions”, and if this Mass doesn’t work for you, don’t perform it…how cool is that?

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