A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 9

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One more Russian “Thief,” this time from Alexander Grechaninov’s Passion Week. (Remember those names. More anon.) This particular version (and its wonderfully-eerie overtones) comes from Charles Bruffy and The Kansas City Chorale, who are absolute staples in my chorale-music diet. Their stuff is really, really wonderful (as evidenced here). Разбойника благоразумнаго во едином часе раеви [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 8

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Here’s another setting of “The Wise Thief,” this one coming our way courtesy of one of my very favorite Russian composers, Pavel Chesnokov: Разбойника благоразумнаго во едином часе раеви сподобил еси, Господи, и мене древом крестным просвети и спаси мя The Wise Thief didst Thou make worthy of Paradise in a single moment, O Lord. By the wood [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 7

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Staying with the composerial trend we started yesterday with Sergey Taneyev’s cantata, here’s his “The Wise Thief (Razboinika blagorazumnago).” The Penitent Thief is pretty much my personal Lenten patron. Or at least a paradigm of the way my Lenten efforts typically proceed. I feel like I’m always squeezing in at the last possible second, late-but-sincere. (Or late, at least.) My Russian’s [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 6

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Today’s piece is a Russian cantata: Sergey Taneyev’s “John of Damascus.” Sometimes described as “The Russian Requiem,” it’s huge, densely melodic, and filled with gorgeous longing. That last bit is what makes it particularly appropriate for Lenten meditations, methinks. (There’s a through-line here from the last few days, as well, and not just because Taneyev and [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 5

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Since we’re already in Tchaikovsky territory (thanks to yesterday’s post), here’s #8 of his Nine Sacred Pieces: “Let My Prayer Arise.” Da ispravitsya molitva moya, yako kadilo pred Toboyu: vozdeyanie ruku moeyu, zhertva vechernyaya. Gospodi, vozzvakh k Tebe, uslïshi mya: vonmi glasu moleniya moyego, vnegda vozzvati mi k Tebe. Polozhi, Gospodi, khranenie ustom moim: i [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 4

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Because yesterday’s Mendelssohn reminded me so much of Russian sacred music (and because today is Our Lady’s Day), I find myself moving fairly straight-forwardly to the fifth of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 9 Sacred Pieces, the gorgeous “It Is Truly Meet.” Достойно есть, яко воистину блажити Тя Богородицу, присноблаженную и пренепорочную и Матерь Бога нашего, Честнейшую херувим и славнейшую [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 3

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Here’s another of the 8-part motets from Mendelssohn’s Opus 79 that I highlighted yesterday. This one, #6, is titled “On Good Friday” and (again!) includes the dreaded “Hallelujah” So it’s a bit of an odd selection. Like yesterday. Or at least it seems odd on the face of it. But musically/mood-ly, it’s perfect. Especially the [Read More...]

A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 2

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Today’s entry is the fourth of the six 8-part motets from Felix Mendelssohn’s Opus 79. Its title says “At Passiontide,” so it might not be quite right for Early Lent.  But it also says “Hallelujah!” So I’m getting it out of the way early on, before our ears become unaccustomed to the sound of that phrase. The piece [Read More...]

My Lenten Journey in Music

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In recent days, while reflecting on why music has always seemed to occupy such a large space in my life, I’ve come to realize that I use it in (mostly) two ways. Well, three, actually. Because the first — “first” as in “primary” — way is pretty much straight-up enjoyment, brought on by an appreciation of and a [Read More...]

Fat Tuesday Antics from the Susanka Seven

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The boys are gearing up for Lent with their usual enthusiasm. The Furious Five Eldest spent a lively breakfast hour engaged in “Give-Up One-Upmanship,” where each vies with the others in an attempt to come up with the most outlandish sacrifice. “I’m going to give up the iPad during the day!” Well, I’m going to give [Read More...]


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