>I just sang a requiem mass for a local bigwig — a former deputy mayor of the city and a long-time Social Democrat. Well, before that he had been a Nazi. OK, he was in the Gestapo! But somewhere after the war he got himself denazified and joined the Social Democrat wagon, and enjoyed a respectable political career and I would guess a nice little retirement. I had not heard of him before the funeral so I can’t really say much about him or his choices. But he dedicated himself to the SPÖ, not the right wingers, so there must have been some good in him.
But the funeral — well! Firemen in their “formal” uniforms — gray jackets and silver fireman’s hats — ringed the interior of the cathedral, some bearing banners from some organization or another. Giant floral wreaths by the (flag-draped) coffin, and more outside. A rifle unit dressed in traditional costume. The priest spun the sermon around the idea that people like the deceased were the ones who helped to create the (fortunate) political climate we have here today. It was quite the love fest.
And although I am certain it was not intentional, the music fit in perfectly with the surreality of the event. My eyebrows went up at the liturgical response “Der Herr ist mein Licht und mein Heil“, and I couldn’t really keep a straight face by the time we got to a hymn which contained the phrase “und führe mich ins Vaterland.” Fortunately we were standing on the back balcony, by the organ. We also sang parts of the Joseph Rheinberger requiem mass, which is lovely.