Premiere of newly composed Vespers in honour of St. Clement

From left: Fr Martin Leitgob, Sr Anneliese Herzig, Dr Yasmine Wessely, Professor Sauseng from the Vienna Music University.

In March 2020, a wide range of events had been planned for the 200th anniversary of St Clement’s death. One of these was Vespers in the Church of St. Ursula, Vienna, where St. Clement worked in the last years of his life. Students from the Vienna University of Music had composed all the various musical parts of the service. However, this plan could not be realised because of the first lockdown due to the Corona pandemic.

After three years, it has finally been possible! On  4 March 2023, the Compositions for the hymn, the antiphons and the responsory of the Vespers in honour of St. Clement were premiered. The works were not only written by students of the University of Music, they were also performed and conducted by students. In this way, the participants in the Vespers heard Contemporary music at a high level.

Sr Anneliese Herzig of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer preached at the Vespers. She drew a picture of St. Clement as a preacher of the Gospel. In doing so, she pointed to the Bible verse written on the pulpit of St. Ursula’s Church, from which St. Clement often preached: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God”. St. Clement, as a preacher, was first a listener. He listened to the Word of God, but also to the needs and longings of the people. As he preached, he conveyed “something of the freshness of the Gospel”. In addition, he was always moved by the Word of God to set out anew. Sr Anneliese Herzig: “If we want to proclaim the Gospel, we have to set ourselves in motion, set out, go out into the streets and to the people of our time, even taking paths that are uncomfortable”.

The Vespers were presided over by Provincial Fr Martin Leitgöb. At the end of the celebration, he reminded the audience that church music was very important to St Clement at that time, and that it was therefore gratifying that compositions by young composers of our time were heard during the vespers.

Fr Martin Leitgöb CSsR