The similarities of music to language are very striking. While I fancy myself fluent in the latter (English, that is), I’m still very much a novice in the former.
Sarah and I just came back from our Maundy Thursday service. Our choir sang the Rutter Requiem. It was my first time and I’ll never forget it.
Here is the final movement, Lux Aeterna.
Here are the lyrics. The soprano soloist (sung by our associate pastor) part is in English, while the choir is in Latin.
I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,
for they rest from their labors:
even so saith the Spirit.
Lux aeterna luceat eis Domine:
Let eternal light shine upon them, O Lord:
Cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.
with Thy saints for ever, for art merciful.
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine,
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
and may light perpetual shine on them,
It’s a hard thing to describe, singing in a 100-person strong choir. To use your small voice as a string in a large instrument… it’s a moving experience. Then add to that the greatness of a musical piece like Rutter’s. The dark minor sections followed by such pastoral reverie have a way of penetrating your mind and perhaps your soul. To call such times “heavenly” or “divine” isn’t saying it deeply enough.
For my church choir’s annual Christmas concert two weeks ago, one of the solos was a piece from Bernstein’s Mass, titled “Hymn and Psalm: A Simple Song.” It’s a very modern sounding song, not at all like traditional requiem masses. At times, it was very dissonant and haunting, other times similar to big band Broadway. Nevertheless, Lenny wrote a mass. And I can’t get it out of my head.
Give this a little listen…
Rewind a week and a half to our Friday night performance of Brahms’ German Requiem. The concert hall wasn’t full, but there were still about 800 or so seats filled. The orchestra was assembled and emanating that wondrously cacophonic trill of tuning instruments. The choir had warmed up with scales, the last throat cleared. The conductor’s baton was now raised.
Continue reading “Recap: Brahms Day 3”
150 voices, full string section of violins, celli, french horns, harp, percussion — awesome.
Continue reading “Brahms: day 2”
This is the Lenten season.
Continue reading “Brahms & anger management”
Would you believe it? I joined a choir.
Continue reading “Big Blue”