This has to one of the oddest reviews I have ever seen. The Washington Times reviews Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass”
This is what WT has to say about “Mass”
Subtitled “A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” – commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as a key part of the Kennedy Center’s 1971 grand opening – generated a considerable amount of advance buzz and excitement.
Yet critics and the attending glitterati generally gave it thumbs down after hearing it.
Mawkish and sentimental, the work oozed the kind of New Yorky armchair agitprop skewered by Tom Wolfe in his book “Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.” “Mass” was, in effect, Mr. Bernstein’s confused classical response to the radicalized 1960s, wrapping its garbled antiwar, anti-Nixon vibe in psychedelic, feel-good packaging reminiscent of the groovy Day-Glo brotherhood portrayed on the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s” album cover.
The composer used the Roman Catholic Mass as a frame-tale around which to wrap his secular approach to religion. With an assist from “Godspell” composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz, Mr. Bernstein’s book is a crazy quilt of liberation theology and situational ethics. Worse still, the climactic smashing of the Eucharist near its close is pure sacrilege for practicing Catholics.
So irritating were the politics of “Mass” that many classical fans, myself included, were happy to assign the work to the proverbial dustbin of history.
The review ends by saying that Mass “remains dated and embarrassingly awkward at times.”
So the Times conclusion, this anti-Catholic embarrassingly dated mawkish and sentimental sacrilege? Four Stars, a must see. You can’t make this stuff up.