CECILIA BARTOLI IN VERSAILLES

This morning we experienced a little bit of the triumph of good over evil. Today, the Lord’s Day, July 22, 2018, would also be the Feast of St. Mary Magdeline. However, her annual feast day is trumped by Our Lord’s Day, this beautiful summer Sunday. After a “tornado” hit our peaceful home with a threatening letter from our local fire department, telling us that we had a matter of a week or so to transform our quarter acre, cutting all branches from all our trees six feet from the ground, among other things. If we failed to pass the second inspection, we would be given a sizable fine. If we ignored the threatening notice, a lien would be taken out on our property. Two homeowners, one in San Diego and the other in Oakland, California have already lost their homes!!!
So, this morning, around 8:30 a.m., Jose, Michael, and their crew arrived to transform our garden as required by the fire abatement regulations of our local fire department. Thank God, my husband read the mail the day the notice arrived, as the deadline is threatening. Just as the powerful chopper was fired up and the lower branches from all of our trees were being fed into the chopper, suddenly the fabulous voice of Cecilia Bartoli came ringing into my ears as she sang IN CONCERT on EWTN in the Palace of Versailles, music composed by the 17th century Italian priest, composer, and diplomat, Fr. Agostino Steffani.
This music can be heard on the new album, “Mission”. The fabulous music played and sung in the gorgeous setting of Versailles included a period-instrument orchestra, I Barrocchiste, with a lute, tambourines, Baroque guitar, organ, harpsicord, and chorus.
Fr. Agostino Steffani was born on my grandson’s birthday, July 25th in the year, 1654 in Castelfranco Veneto. He had a wonderful voice and was admitted into the chorister at San Marco’s in Venice at an early age. Although he was an Italian, he spent most of his life in Germany. He wrote 15 operas and 75 chamber duets.
Count Georg Ignaz von Tattenbach took him to Munich and his education was paid for by Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria. In 1673, he was sent to Rome to study. There he composed six motets. In 1674, he returned to Munich and published his first work. He was appointed court organist and was ordained as a priest with the title of the Abbote of Lepsing. Elector Maximillian Emanuel appointed him as Kapellmeister of the Court of Hanover where he became friends with the future Queen of Prussia. In 1710, he showed great kindness to Handel.
Pope Innocent XI made him a bishop of what is now modern day Biga in Turkey. He served as Vicor Apostolic of Upper and Lower Saxony. In 1698, he was sent as the ambassador to Brussels. Then, at Dusseldorf, he held the offices of privy councillor and protonotary of the Holy See. He composed several more scores under a pen name.
The Academy of Ancient Music elected him its honorary president. The British museum possesses more than a hundred cantatas he composed for two voices, accompanied by a figured bass. The scores of his compositions are preserved in Buckingham Palace. He was sent as an ambassador to various German courts. He met, for the last time, Handel, in Italy in 1727. He returned to Hanover and died in 1728 on February 12th, while on diplomatic business in Frankfurt.
Cecilia Bartoli, who sang his compositions this morning on EWTN from the Palace of Versailles, can be heard and seen on You-Tube, where she is given an extensive interview, along with recordings of a voice lesson by her mother, and finally, a recording where she sings with my all-time favorite opera star.
So, as I smelled the fragrance of the redwood, bay, birch, apple, pear, and pine tree branches being chopped in the powerful, loud chopper beneath my bedroom window, I listened and watched Cecilia Bartoli’s lilting voice in the elegant setting of Versailles. God is good. Her Immaculate Heart will triumph in the end. Light over darkness; good over evil. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God bless you all.
Yesterday, about the time the mini-“tornado” was beginning to subside, a package was delivered to our door. Inside was a lovely leather edition of The Vatican II Weekday Missal by the Daughters of St. Paul. My used copy was falling apart, and my gracious husband found this beautiful out-of-print volume in beautiful leather on Amazon. I opened the book to page 1114 and 1115 for the First Reading from the book of the prophet Micah, year II on the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time, which stated in part: “Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches, In the morning light they accomplish it when it lies within their power. They covet fields, and seize them, houses, and they take them; They cheat an owner of his house, a man of his inheritance……..”
Thank you, Jesus. I prayed to St. Anthony, James made a search on google, made a couple of phone calls, and Jose and Michael came to the rescue. I topped off the Sabbath morning with several Country French crepes for the two of us. God is good. All is well. The threatened disaster has been vanquished. Thank you, Jesus.

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