Last night I posted a video to one of my favorite Contemporary Christian songs, “Speak to Me” by Rebecca St. James. But you know, if you want contemplative music, it doesn’t get much better than this:
In 1986 I saw the National Symphony perform Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis at the Wolftrap Performing Arts Center, a gorgeous outdoor amphitheater located in the rolling hills of Virginia not far from Washington DC. It was 16 of the loveliest minutes of my life. While this Youtube video goes nowhere near to the splendor of hearing this music performed in a beautiful outdoor setting, it nevertheless gives you a taste of just how evocative of deep prayer lovely music can be — particularly music from the hands of two of England’s finest composers, Thomas Tallis from the sixteenth century and Ralph Vaughan Williams, four centuries his junior. I commend this music to you both as something to accompany the reading of great mystics like Evelyn Underhill or Julian of Norwich, but also — and especially — as worthy of your undivided attention. It will be sixteen minutes well spent.