Archive for April, 2019

Christus Surrexit and an Anniversary

Volunteer Park 2019

Volunteer Park, Seattle, April, 2019 – a beautiful spring day, Monday of Holy Week, with the Conservatory in the distance…

It brought back memories of five years ago, when I blogged about walking in Volunteer Park after learning about the death of my mentor and friend, Peter R. Hallock, on Sunday, April 27, 2014.

And Sunday, April 28, 2019 will be almost five years to the day since that previous walk in the park, as well as the same liturgical day – the Second Sunday after Easter, “Quasimodo Sunday” (read more about that in the link above). How ironic — when Notre Dame Cathedral and its famous hunchback have been in the news of late.

CD cover - Of the Lord's MerciesOn Easter Sunday, the Compline Service began, as it has for more than three decades, with Peter’s processional “Easter Canticle.” The piece has now been recorded on CD for the first time in the choir’s new CD Of the Lord’s Merciesjust released. The CD is described as “a sonic journey through the arc of what Western Christendom calls the Paschal Cycle, encompassing the seasons of Lent, including Holy Week, and Easter, culminating on Pentecost: The 50th Day of Easter.” Previously, the choir had recorded  What Hand Divine, comprising music for the Christmas Cycle (Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany) – so the new CD is a natural sequel. Both recording’s title tracks are taken from works by The Compline Choir’s composer-in-residence Erin Aas (b. 1974).

The anthem at Compline on Easter Sunday was Jacob Handl’s “Christus Surrexit,” which is also on the new recording. This year, Jason Anderson made our performance especially exciting, by inviting half the singers on each part in the tutti sections to sing in a staccato fashion. The result certainly made the melodic lines stand out with excitement! I think the effect out in the cathedral was especially stunning – although it may have been a little too marked to the radio audience due to the closeness of the microphones. But see what you think – the anthem is introduced, with translation of the Latin, by one of our excellent readers, Gregory Bloch:

To hear the podcast of the whole service, go here. You might want to compare the performance of Christus Surrexit with that in last year’s post, or that on the new CD.

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Holy Week 2019

Notre Dame

In a week where many Christians are focused liturgically on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the singing or reading of the Lamentations of Jeremiah is heard during the daytime prayers of Holy Thursday or Good Friday, or during the service of Tenebrae, as the candles are symbolically extinguished. During Lent, the Compline Choir at St. Mark’s, Seattle has a tradition of singing settings of the Lamentations, which are usually by Renaissance composers.

Early in the week came the disastrous fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, inspiring numerous lamentations and prayers. My friend Jim Friedrich posted photographs he had taken of the cathedral with quotes from the Lamentations, in his “Lamentation for Notre Dame.”

Last Sunday the Compline Choir sang the second part of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis. It was an ambitious undertaking, which lasted almost 13 minutes. The Compline Service broadcast probably set a record, lasting almost 45 minutes, and can be found here. There was some wonderful music, including the Vexilla Regis setting by Franz Liszt (with organ), but I’ve extracted the performance of the Lamentations, with the Latin text and translation. The choir provided what I think was (in my memory) one of the most inspired performances of the Lamentations.

Wishing you a good week and a happy Easter to come!

De lamentatione Ieremiae prophetae: The lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah:
GHIMEL. Migravit Judas propter afflictionem, et multitudinem servitutis; habitavit inter gentes, nec invenit requiem: GHIMEL. Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place;
DALETH. omnes persecutores ejus apprehenderunt eam inter angustias. Viæ Sion lugent, eo quod non sint qui veniant ad solemnitatem: omnes portæ ejus destructæ, sacerdotes ejus gementes; virgines ejus squalidæ, et ipsa oppressa amaritudine. DALETH. her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress. The roads to Zion mourn, for none come to the appointed feasts; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her maidens have been dragged away, and she herself suffers bitterly.
HE. Facti sunt hostes ejus in capite; inimici ejus locupletati sunt: quia Dominus locutus est super eam propter multitudinem iniquitatum ejus. Parvuli ejus ducti sunt in captivitatem ante faciem tribulantis. HE. Her foes have become the head, her enemies prosper, because the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.
Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum. Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God.


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