A Lenten Musical Journey, Coda


Looking back on my recently-completed musical adventure, I’m pleased. I feel like it did exactly what I wanted it to do: made my Lent both more meditative and more musical. I’m a bit surprised, though, at how much of it was Russian. And/or Polish. (I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Music is the one place [Read More...]

The Journey Is Over


He is Risen! Let the Alleluias ring! Haec dies quam fecit Dominus: exultemus et laetemur in ea, Alleluia. This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it, Alleluia. Attribution(s): “La Résurrection” by James Tissot (Source) is licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons; “Bells” via Shutterstock. [Read more...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 46


Waiting; waiting; waiting. O tù chì dormi in sta petra sculpita d’avè suffertu da colpi è di ferite dopu d’atroci martiri persu hai ancu la vita, oghje riposi tranquillu a tò sufferenza hè finita. Oh you who sleep Within this sculpted stone And have suffered blows and wounds After atrocious torments You have also lost your [Read More...]

Complacency, Abandonment, And The Violence That Precedes Grace


This piece was originally posted on March 28, 2013. “Our age not only does not have a very sharp eye for the almost imperceptible intrusions of grace, it no longer has much feeling for the nature of the violences which precede and follow them.” – Flannery O’Connor I stumbled across that O’Connor quote earlier this week while searching [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 45


Bach’s Matthäus-Passion has served as the soundtrack to so many of my Good Fridays, I’ve lost count. It’s particularly effective (for me, at least) when paired with the libretto (pdf version here), because Bach highlights and underscores the text in all sorts of wonderful (and deeply moving) musical ways. I was pleased to find this version (led [Read More...]

SVS: “On the Waterfront”


“Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. They better wise up!” Recommending a film on a particularly liturgically-meaningful  day such as today always seems a bit incongruous to me. Audacious, even. Yet I’ve always tried, spurred on by the fact that I myself have had several transformative cinematic experiences on Good Friday (most of them revolving around [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 44


The Matthäuspassion of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, my first (and to this day, most moving) encounter with his music. Wonderfully meditative, preparatory stuff. Attribution(s): “Bells” provided by Shutterstock. [Read more...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 43


Today, the Matthäus Passion of Gottfried August Homilius. I’m not terribly familiar with him as a composer, so I had to do a bit of hunting to find out more. According to (the ever-reliable) Wikipedia, he was “a German composer, cantor and organist,” “one of the most important church composers of the generation following Bach’s,” and “the [Read More...]

“A Condition of Complete Simplicity” from T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”

The Agony in the Garden circa 1799-1800 by William Blake 1757-1827

I can’t remember how this came to pass, but over the past few days, I’ve found myself listening a great deal to T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” And especially listening to the performance of “Little Gidding” by Paul Scofield (that can be found on YouTube). Now, as I’ve listened to Eliot off and on through the years, I’ve come to [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 42


Georg Philipp Telemann wrote a Matthäus Passion. I did not know this. …which, by extension, means that I also did not know that he’d written more than forty musical reflections on Christ’s Passion. That’s right. OVER 40! So, here’s his Paßions-Musik nach dem Evangelisten Matthäus (TWV 5:31) from 1746. It feels almost mild when compared to some of [Read More...]