It’s been a long time since you’ve heard much from me, but I just have to let a few musings out before the season concludes. It’s worth it, really: read on..
Lent, if you ask me, is all about good ol’ J.S. Bach, the baroque pioneer. I always try to throw one selection in every week (did anyone notice that we had two this past Sunday, thanks to Zach and Valery both lending a musical hand?) to keep the service appropriately moody, tumultuous, tense. Composers in this period were hesitant to combine emotions within one movement of a piece, unlike their classical period friends – that’s you, Mozart – who humorously toyed with tonality. Perfect for Easter, not Lent.
Bravo to the many parishioners and guests who have correctly identified some Bach in the service. The second most discussed music bit during our Lenten season has been the fabulous setting of When From Bondage We Are Summoned we borrowed from Wonder Love and Praise. Go ahead, click on the link and sing it for your neighbors – that’ll keep them from stepping on your flower beds. No, it’s not jolly but how exciting to sing (you all sound excellent!) and moving to hear. The haunting tune, Grid, and accompaniment is by a living composer (gasp!) named Thomas Pavlechko at a hymn writing conference. The name of this Dorian tune came from a member of the audience at its premiere who exclaimed: “That tune has grit!” Tom though the said it contained “grid,” whatever that means, and thats how we know and love it today.
I wish there was a video of a choir or parish performing When From Bondage.. but it is noticeably absent from YouTube. You’re lucky we’re not singing it this Sunday or else I would record you all! Nevertheless, I always dust off my recordings of Handel’s Messiah during Lent. “You mean that Christmas song?” Yes yes.. It is most frequently performed at Christmas, but that’s only one-third of the story. Literally. Handel’s magnificent work is written in three dramatically titled sections – The Annunciation (should be called: The One Everyone Performs), The Passion (aka: Overlooked Due Programming Competition), and The Aftermath (Warning: For Messiah Dorks Only!) Locking it away until Advent is surely a sin! Of course, if you bring your whole block to the Easter Vigil, they will all be saved when they hear I Know That My Redeemer Liveth from the final section.
Looking ahead, the great 40 days are right around the corner. So, comment here with the hymns or songs you love to sing during the Easter season. I’ll be listening!