A Treasury of Sacred Music


Part I (1954-1964): Reverend Monsignor Richard B. Curtin, Director of Music

Track #TitleComposerYear RecordedLength
1 Veni, Veni Emmanuel Gregorian/Hufstader 1955 2:41
2 In Dulci Jubilo Old German Tune 1955 2:29
3 Christus Factus Est Gregorian Chant 1954 2:44
4 O Sacred Head Bach 1954 3:25
5 In Monte Oliveti Croce 1954 3:33
6 Tantum Ergo Spanish Chant 1963 1:40
7 Ave Verum DesPres 1964 4:03
8 O Bone Jesu Palestrina 1964 1:43
9 Hymn of St. Patrick Woollen 1963 2:32
10 Oremus Pro Pontifice Ambrosini 1963 3:02
11 O Esca Viatorum Anonymous 1963 3:23

All arrangements used with permission.


Part II (1993-1995): Reverend Anthony D. Sorgie, Director of Music

All recordings made in 1995, except track 15 (1993).

Track #TitleComposerLength
12 Come Holy Ghost Traditional/Zuar 4:21
13 Tu Es Petrus Gregorian/Ravanello 1:29
14 Magnificat Thompson 3:15
15 Jesu Redemptor Omnium Ravanello 3:02
16 The Heavens Are Thine Hilber 2:36
17 Laudate Dominum Charpentier/Hitchcock 3:56
18 Domine Non Sum Dignus Victoria 1:50
19 O Sacrum Convivium Remondi 1:47
20 Thanks Be To Thee Handel/Lefebvre 3:05
21 Jubilate Deo Peeters/Currie 5:09
22 Alleluia Bach/Ehret 1:40
23 Salve Regina Gregorian Chant 1:39
24 Tu Es Sacerdos Montoni 2:30


About the Collection

A Centennial Celebration in Song
Saint Joseph's Seminary

This anniversary collection of hymns, chant and polyphony reflects a wide range of the Catholic Church's sacred music and spans two distinct eras at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers. The seminary, known as Dunwoodie, after the quiet community where it rests, celebrates its 100th year of preparing priests for the Archdiocese of New York. No more fitting tribute could be given to the sacred work of the seminary and to the fine men who have graced its halls then this collection featuring choirs from the 1950's, 1960's and 1990's. To say that here the old school meets the new would be misleading. The sacred music of the Church is, in its own way, timeless. It is fashioned to present not the passing spirit of an age but the perduring source of beauty which speaks to every soul.

A distinct character marks this recording. Each piece flows from the inspired life and reflection of the Church through out the centuries, as she attempts to express and touch the deep mystery of God. The music comes from prayer and leads to prayer. The listener is warmly invited to respond to the call.

The collection is also marked by the beautiful use of Latin, the Church's traditional language, and the distinctive harmony of all male voices.

The appeal of these tones reaches far beyond the cloister. In fact, the project may never have gotten off the ground if not for the encouragement of the popular music man Sam Goody, whose flashy stores dot the New York metropolitan area. Back in the 1950's, when Msgr. Richard B. Curtin (Dunwoodie Class of '42), the seminary's music director, thought of recording the hymns of his students, Sam Goody offered generous advice and guidance. He even sold the finished LP's in his stores. Such a cooperation between the sacred and the secular has been the way of the Church from her beginning, and it is ordered toward the spreading of the Gospel.

Father Anthony D. Sorgie (Dunwoodie Class of '82) was named the seminary's music director in 1986 and set about renewing Dunwoodie's great music traditions. After listening to the four LP's recorded under the direction of Msgr. Curtin, Father Sorgie decided to follow in his predecessor's footsteps and record the 1993 Advent and Christmas concert. Guided by the experienced hand of executive producer Stephen Challman (Dunwoodie class of '96), the Concert for Advent and Christmas recording has become a part of the holiday music collection of thousands of music lovers.

The 100th anniversary of St.Joseph's Seminary provided the occasion to assemble this anthology of sacred music which features five decades of seminary voices. Selections from the original reference recordings and master tapes made by Msgr. Curtin in the 1950's and 1960's have been remastered using state of the art digital technology.

In the summer of 1995, Fr. Sorgie formed the Centennial Choir, inviting priest alumni of Dunwoodie to join the seminars for a unique recording session. The membership of this choir represents the ordination classes spanning the years 1978 through 2000. The rich one-hundred year musical heritage of St. Joseph's Seminary, performed by fifty years of Dunwoodie men, is captured for all ages on one recording. The result is a supreme example of the collaborative work of the Church in the modern world.

The Catholic Church, by her nature, is on a mission to speak in many languages and various media the saving message of Jesus Christ. With an abiding understanding of this truth, St. Joseph's Seminary now sends out into the world the sacred words and tones which form its life of prayer - the prayer which forms the priests of tomorrow who will lead the People of God in their pilgrimage here on earth.

-Brian Caulfield
Catholic New York

About the Music

The Seminary Choir of the 1950's and 60's had twenty-five members at any one time, 24 singers and an organist, and sang only at the liturgical ceremonies in the seminary, and very rarely, at St. Patrick's Cathedral. It appeared in concert only once, in 1961 at Hebrew Union Seminary in New York City, in a joint recital with the Cantorial Choir of Hebrew Union and the choir of the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary.

Rehearsal time was limited due to the strict seminary schedule. The only regular rehearsal period was twenty-five minutes on Saturday afternoon, and extra rehearsals for a special occasion were few. Gregorian chant was the main item of repertoire, and part-music was generally in Latin as well, and both these items were important in singing classic polyphony. Above all, the spiritual awareness, the generosity and the pride of the seminarians were the greatest factors in the performance of the Seminary Choir.

Part 1 of the recordings begins, as does the liturgical year, with the Advent season. The first two selections are taken from the 1956 LP, The Music for Advent and Christmas, the next three from the Music for Holy Week, which was released in 1954. The remaining selections are taken from Sacred Music Around the Year, 1963 and the Music of Lent and Passiontide, 1964. All four LP's feature the choir performing in the Seminary chapel. The records were manufactured monaurally, as was common at that time, but the original stereo master tapes have been restored and used for the last six selections as they are presented here.

-Msgr. Richard B. Curtin


Part I (1954-1964)

Veni, Veni Emmanuel (recorded 1955)

An unpublished setting by Robert Hufstader, contemporary composer and educator, of three stanzas from the 12th century hymn. The original is a rhymed version of the Great O Antiphons sung as Evening Prayer on the seven days leading up to the feast of Christ's birth.

In Dulci Jubilo (recorded 1955)

A 14th century macaronic, i.e., mixed text German-Latin carol. Both text and tune are from the same era.

Christus Factus Est (recorded 1954)

The chant before the singing of the Passion on Palm Sunday. Before the 1970 reform it was the Gradual of the Holy Thursday Mass, and was also sung each evening at Tenebrae. This chant has been part of Holy Week liturgies at Dunwoodie every year since 1986. The melody mirrors the text unusually well, and yet, as far as is known, it was not composed specifically for this text, but is rather a "type melody," used for several liturgical texts of decidedly different sentiments.

O Sacred Head (recorded 1954)

Text from a Latin hymn attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) translated into German by Paulus Gerhardt (1607-1676) and from this into English by H.W. Baker (1821-1877). The tune is originally by H.L. Hassler (1564-1612), and is best known from the many settings by J.S. Bach (1685-1750).

In Monte Oliveti (recorded 1954)

A responsory from Tenebrae of Holy Thursday. The musical setting is by Giovanni Croce (1558-1609), Italian composer and priest who was director of music at Saint Mark's, Venice.

Tantum Ergo (recorded 1963)

The last two verses of the hymn Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).These were required to be sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The melody is of Mozarabic origin as researched by the monks of the Abbey of Santo Domingo at Silos, Spain.

Ave Verum (recorded 1964)

Part of a hymn attributed to Pope Innocent VI, who became Pope in 1351. At one time it was by custom sung at the Elevation of the Sacred Host in Mass. The melody is based on the plainchant setting of the same hymn.

O Bone Jesu (recorded 1964)

A well-known text of unknown origin. The musical setting is one of several versions attributed to G.P. Palestrina (1525-1594).

Hymn of Saint Patrick (recorded 1963)

Based on the ancient poem, "The Breastplate of St. Patrick," Russell Woollen (1923-1993) composed this setting.

Oremus Pro Pontifice (recorded 1963)

The text of the Prayer for the Pope as found in the Raccolta, in a contemporary setting by Attilio Ambrosini.

O Esca Viatorum (recorded 1963)

First found in the Mainz Hymnbook of 1661. According to the Julian Dictionary of Hymnology, it was "Probably composed by a German Jesuit, though it has by some been ascribed to St. Thomas Aquinas." The composer of the melody is unknown.

Part II (1993-1995)

The choir of the 1980's and 1990's has numbered between 25 and 40 voices, varying with the Seminary population. This dedicated part of the community sings for Sunday and Festal Liturgies at Dunwoodie and at St. Patrick's Cathedral on a regular basis. The choir has performed for Pope John Paul II twice, on April 17, 1990 at the Vatican, and on October 6, 1995 during the visit of the Holy Father to St. Joseph's Seminary.

Part II of this recording celebrates our 100th academic year with performances by the Seminary and Centennial Choirs, opeing with the processional hymn from the Mass of the Holy spirit, continuing thourgh the historic Papal Visit, and culminating with the Ordination to the Priesthood. Also featured on this part of the recording is the Casavant Freres Pipe Organ which was bult in 1960 and restored in 1996. This elegant instrument and the prayerful voices of the choir add splendor to all Dunwoodie liturgies and contribute to the ultimate goal of Sacred Music: "the glory of God and the edification of His people."

- Father Anthony D. Sorgie

(all recordings made in 1995, except as noted)

Come Holy Ghost

Brian Zuar (b. 1957) arranged this traditional metrical hymn in three parts and composed an intricate brass melody based on the chant Veni Creator Spiritus which is highlighted by the organ on this recording.

Tu Es Petrus

The Gregorian chant used as the Communion verse for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is followed by a three part polyphonic setting of the same text by Oreste Ravanello (1876-1938). Found in the Anthologia Vocalis Liturgica, it is based on Matthew 16:18. This was performed for Pope John Paul II during his visit to Dunwoodie on October 6, 1995.


This composition premiered during the Evening Prayer service conducted by Pope John Paul II in the Seminary Chapel. Written for the Dunwoodie Choir by J. Michael Thompson, it uses the Renaissance practice of alternatim, alternating between verses sung in Pslam Tone VIII of the Gregorian system and newly composed variations.

Jesu Redemptor Omnium (recorded 1993)

Oreste Ravanello composed this Advent Evening Prayer hymn using a sixth century chant melody as the cantus firmus.

The Heavens Are Thine

Arranged by Frank Campbell-Watson for Msgr. Curtin and the Dunwoodie Choir in 1964, the text is taken from the Offertory Prayer of Christmas Day.

Laudate Dominum

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1634-1704) set the Latin verses of Psalm 117 into this short four movement work. Psalm 117 frequently appears in the universal prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours.

Domine Non Sum Dignus

The text of Matthew 8:8, as adapted for use during the preparation of communion in the Ordo Missae is presented here in a polyphonic setting by Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611).

O Sacrum Convivium

The Magnificat Antiphon for the Feast of Corpus Christi, the text is a poetic reflection by St. Thomas Aquinas on the Sacred Banquet. This three part setting was composed by Roberto Remondi.

Thanks Be To Thee

This motet is attributed to George Frederic Handel (1785-1859) and celebrates the triumphant passing of the Israelites through the Red Sea into the promised land.

Jubilate Deo

Flor Peeters (1903-1986) composed this five movement work based on Psalm 100.


This single line of an Alleluia versicle demonstrates the organ style of J.S. Bach (1685-1750). The German text has been adapted in this setting as an Easter Acclamation.

Salve Regina

One of the Marian antiphons from Night Prayer, it has found a place in the general repertoire of Hymns to Our Lady. Traditionally sung before the recessional, the hymn holds a place of honor at all major Seminary liturgical celebrations.

Tu Es Sacerdos

Based on Hebrews 6:20, this setting was arranged by Nicholas Montoni in the fashion of an anthem. The text has been part of Priesthood Ordination ceremonies for centuries.

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