Ralph Vaughan Williams: Easter

12 04 2009
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The cross taught all wood to resound his name

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delays,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him may’st rise;
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, Just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The cross taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied,
And multiplied;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

–George Herbert

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Gabriel Fauré: En prière (In Prayer)

5 04 2009

Do not abandon me, give me the necessary gentleness to ease suffering

"Do not abandon me. Give me the needed gentleness to ease suffering"

On this Passion Sunday, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while the disciples wait, or rather, sleep. Though the text of this prayer is Bourdèse’s, the image of Jesus desiring Calvary in order to ease suffering seems so organic and so appropriate for today.





Hugo Wolf: Auf ein altes Bild (In an old painting)

22 03 2009

und dort, im Walde, wonnesam...

"und dort, im Walde, wonnesam..."

This simple song remains one of my favorites. So simple, so lovely. It moves slowly, at a strolling pace, as if one is walking through an art gallery observing a piece of art. When the viewer realizes that this lovely scene will soon lead to Christ’s crucifixion on the cross, the pain of the realization stings the soul.

The work may have been inspired by Durer’s Madonna and Child, but then again, many artists painted this same scene. In my mind’s eye, I see a conglomerate of works that I came to love growing up at Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum, namely di Credi’s work and the Gossaert’s “Mother and Child with Saint Agnes.”