SIR'-Your reporter's belief that the Haydn " Seven Last Words " at the Aquinas Centre was the first performance " in the way the composer intended" in recent times must be slightly adjusted. It was done here last Lent, with a darkened church, crucifix illuminated by candles only, meditations, string quartet and a packed church. (The Neri Orchestra did Op 47: we did Op. 48-the same work in two different expressions.) But
it may well be that someone else has done it earlier.
It is a remarkable spiritual exercise. For that matter. any spiritual concert with judicious words and prayers can he highly devotional. St. Philip Neri knew how to combat the apathy and neglect of his day and bring the people into his church. My experience in an ordinary parish is that the church will be full for any religious musical work.
Yet the Neri Orchestra has been unable to raise a spark of enthusiasm. The fault lies not in our TV and cinemas, but in ourselves. There are amateur choirs and orchestras all over England who would be delighted to give occasional works in churches-merely for the asking. But some of the most glorious music ever writtenwritten, mind' you. expressly for the Church remains unknown.
Under the guidance of Pius X111 we have an opportunity to restore the musical position of the Church in this country by performing some of the finest works in our churches -but this does suppose a willingness to go to the trouble of seeking advice and acting upon it.
The Warden of Greyfriars, Oxford.
SIR,-The Neri Orchestra wish to
thank you for the interest you have taken and the support you have given to their concert on Sunday, March 16, at the Aquinas Centre. Haverstock Hill.
This Orchestra consists mainly of Catholic students and they try at each of their concerts to do one work by a Catholic composer. Enquiries for auditions and for joining the Orchestra can be obtained from me.
(Mrs.) Haydn Rogerson 45 Carlton Hill,