Reflections from a roving retirement
At primary school I loved "There is a Green Hill Far Away..."But nowadays it has to be JS Bach, end-to-end, nose-to-tail, JS Bach. Mmmnn - which'll it be this year? St John or St Matthew?Even this humanist/humanitarian has to have the right music for the right holiday. That much at least is still programmed. I am not an utter heathen!
I'm guessing I loved it too back then, but no longer. This and other traditional Good Friday hymns have taken its place.As for Bach I have to hold my hands up in surrender and admit that I have a bit of blind eye or deaf ear where he is concerned. Not that I don't enjoy or appreciate him, but other composers speak to me more. I have virtually none of his music in my admittedly small collection, which says it all, I think. But I know you will have soaked yourself in your choice today, as is only right and fitting.
Classicfm played the whole of the Pergolesi 'Stabat Mater' this morning - gorgeous - and I sang along with it (good sight reading practice for the contralto part!) I think I'm going to be able to get down to church for the Stations of the Cross at 2.00pm (haven't been able to get to anything else this week so far). Not sure whether the 'Sonrise' service will happen on Sunday morning at 06.30am at Mochdre (or whether I'll get to it, as the clocks go forward that night as well!) - early mornings and me don't agree as a rule, but I might try and make the effort if it hasn't snowed again. I did wonder if the road up to your little cross-roads is passable, and whether we could get up there in the 4x4 and pick you up to take you to something on Sunday if you can walk up your track to the road - could it be a possibility? If so, what times are the services and where would you like to go? If not, have a Blessed Easter, and see you soon.Love from us both
That sounds glorious, Helva, but sadly listening to music isn't working well for me at the moment. it's now my right ear which is deaf, until the snow clears and I can keep that postponed appointment to have my ears syringed (should have been last Monday).I do hope you managed to make it to church this afternoon. I've just been quiet on my own for the past couple of hours. As for the roads here, I honestly haven't a clue. The whole of our lane is still at least 3 to 5 feet deep in snow and we're just too old to clamber over drifts as we used to in the past, so we haven't been up to investigate the world outside. The thaw is being incredibly slow up here and there is still a good covering of snow in most places, including the roof and even on the trees. So although I truly appreciate your kind offer, given the way we keep having hard frosts every night and icy surfaces every morning, I won't take you up on it, thanks.
Are you continuing with the olive oil treatment - it certainly works for me, usually? How awful not being able even to listen to your favourite music as well - I made it to church, and had echoes of 'Messiah' at various points during the meditations (having sung it both as a chorister and as soprano soloist many times I nearly know it off by heart, and so much of the Passion narratives are used that it's impossible to hear them without adding the music mentally!)A thought - can't one of your farmer neighbours bring his tractor with 'bucket' and clear your track? I bet they've made some clearance on the roads by now. You'll be getting short on essentials before too long otherwise (milk, etc.)
Oh yes, but they just need syringing and music sounds muzzy, which detracts a lot from the listening experience. I'm glad you made it to church and know just what you mean about the intimate link between 'Messiah' and the Passion narratives.We've held back from bothering our farmer neighbours as yet, since this snow must have made life hard for them and we have a LOT of snow to be cleared. We're fine for supplies at the moment, as I always have milk in the freezer and plenty of flour to make bread. But if the thaw doesn't get going fairly soon once the Easter break is over, we'll have a word with one of them.
I love this hymn and you've made me miss my UK Easters. I do hope you manage to get to church at least for Sunday. The weather must be so frustrating.
Sorry to stir up memories, but I hope they are happy ones. As I've just said in my response to the previous comment, we are still cut-off by a long lane full of drifts, so I shall share in the TV service from Paisley Abbey instead.
I thought you'd be interested to know that with the sunshine making an appearance in Hebden Bridge, the twon is packed, with people coming to see the local high school performing the Pace Egg plays all over town at different times of the day. The atmosphere is wonderful, and so far I've bumped into a man, and many followers, carrying a large wooden cross round the town, twice. I'm not sure that Hebden Bridge has captured "solemn" for today...but they are well rehearsed for celebration on Sunday. Fondest wishes P. Jx
Gosh, that takes me back, Janice! Not that I've ever seen them, but I remember my Lancashire grandmother and Yorkshire grandfather talking about them and have just been to Wikipedia to refresh my memory. :-) They come from the same tradition as the medieval mystery plays and were a way of teaching and proclaiming the faith as well as having a lot of fun. As for Good Friday processions, there was one in our local town this morning as there is every year. It's good to know the iold traditions are still carried on.
Hari OMI adore this image. Not a painter I am familiar with and clearly cubist influence. Perfect tone, though. Blessings to you. YAM
I'm glad you like it, Yamini. Graham Sutherland is best known for his design for the great tapestry behind the altar in Coventry Cathedral and his style is unmistakable once you've seen that. This painting was unknown to me until I searched for an image for this post, but I was very much struck by it. If you click on the link in the footnote you can read an article about it.
Watts speaks straight to the heart.
Simplicity and profundity - a perfect combination.
Have just returned from the Good Friday service at St.M's. Both last evening's Foot Washing and today's Solemn Mass were headed by our Bishop.We will also be privileged to enjoy his presence again tomorrow.The music (if comments from the congregation are to be believed), was well done - it is hard to judge in the middle of it all - and both services were for me, supremely satisfying.I did remember to include you in my prayers and will do so again tomorrow and Sunday morning.Perhaps your snow will vanish as qujickly as it came. Let's hope so.
Gosh, so much singing already, Ray and you're only halfway through. I can imagine you must be very tired by now, however satisfying the services were. I take it that tomorrow you will be having a confirmation service?Thank you for remembering me as you so kindly promised. i really do appreciate it. As for the snow vanishing quickly, I'm afraid there's not much sign of that yet, as the frost each night is so hard. But we still have plenty of food, so we're going to go on sitting it out for the time being.
So hope you managed to get to church this afternoon, Perpetua. I love the hymn, 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross' too. The painting by Graham Sutherland is beautiful and wordless.
Unfortunately not, Molly, as the lane from our house to the road is still thoroughly blocked by drifts. But I was quiet and read and listened to some music as best I could and marked the day like that.I'm glad you like the Graham Sutherland painting,. It was new to me, but stood out when I saw it. As for 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross' it is my most loved Good Friday hymn and I know it off by heart.
Perpetua, A long time ago I used to play a lot of piano. I even dabbled a bit, playing organ. The video you shared reminded me how much I loved playing organ. I was never brave enough to play in church, though.Have a blessed weekend, and I really do hope all that snow will go away.
Thanks, Nerima, and a very happy Easter to you also. I wish I'd learned to play piano and organ like you, Nerima, and it's a shame you didn't manage to play in church. Our eldest grandson is learning to play the organ on a church music scholarship and will be playing in church before too long. As for the snow, I'm resigned now to the fact that it will go when it goes...:-)
We sang 'When I survey' to Rockingham as the first hymn at our Good Friday service this evening - actually yesterday as it now is, even in the UK, having noticed the time :-) No Good Friday is complete without it. I immediately recognised the artist as being Graham Sutherland because of being Coventry born & bred & the similarity to his tapestry 'Christ in Glory', which hangs in the Cathedral.Like others, I do hope the thaw comes soon, to end your isolation, get those ears syringed & be able to get to Church once more.
I quite agree, Ricky. Though I always tried to vary my choice of hymns for services, 'When I Survey' was always on the list for Good Friday, nit just for me but because the congregations always wanted it.If there's one person I knew would recognise the artist, it's you. :-) The style is very reminiscent of the tapestry, though the feeling is very different.The thaw is continuing during the middle of the day, but we're still having hard frosts every night, which makes progress very slow. Down in the valley things are back to normal but up here in the hills it's still a different world.
A perfect post Perpetua, and thankyou for the video link. My choir sang When I survey, and many other Good Friday hymns yesterday, in what turned into a 2 hour service. Wonderful to see the church so packed in our increasingly secular country. Graham Sutherland is new to me, but I googled Coventry Cathedral and found the amazing tapestry. I like his crucifixion very much. Keep warm in you snow cave and I hope you are released from captivity very soon. Happy Easter.
Thank you, Patricia. I would love to have heard your choir and am so glad your service was so well attended. We expect a packed church on Easter Day, but to have one on Good Friday is wonderful.I'm pleased to have introduced you to Graham Sutherland's work. There was some controversy when the design for the tapestry was first made public as it was too modern for many people's taste, but in the setting of a new cathedral with much other fine modern art it works wonderfully well.
I love the hymns I associate with Easter. Many of them aren't sung as regularly as they were when I was growing up, but when I hear them, I'm filled with memories. For me, the music of Easter often moves me to worship in ways a sermon never could. oxo
I completely agree, Debra, even as one who has spent a lot of time writing and delivering sermons. :-) Sermons appeal to the brain and the heart, but I think music often bypasses the brain and goes straight to the heart and the soul.The hymns attached to the great church festivals become part of us as we sing them year by year and even if we no longer hear them as often as we once did, we never forget them. This is one such hymn for me.
Think I'd go with 'stabat mater' as well. Wishing you a very Happy Easter in spite of the snow drifts :-)
I'm not surprised. It's a glorious work. A very happy Easter to you too and I hope the rain holds off.
This is my favourite Good Friday hymn. We didn't sing it yesterday, so thank you for reminding me of it here.Today, Holy Saturday, is a strange limbo, I always think. Unlike the first disciples, we can dare to begin to hope and to look forward with dawning joy. Yet there is the feeling of absence and silence. He is not here. But soon, soon... You must be sick of having to write about them, but your snowdrifts really are epic, in their longevity as much as their size! Resignation is the wise decision, it would seem. Just think, your hills are 'wearing white for Eastertide'. :)
Very glad to have filled a gap for you, DB. This a hymn I always want to sing on Good Friday, even if only on my own.For a long time I've thought Holy Saturday to be somehow the longest day of the year - a hiatus before the joy of Easter. You sum up its mixture of emotions perfectly.Yes, epic isn't a bad way of describing our snowdrifts, which are if anything bigger than when I last inspected them, thanks to the unceasing easterly wind and the very slow thaw. There is green peeping through in the fields where the snow was scoured thin by the wind, but most things are still white after more than a week. Easter vestments indeed. :-)
Dear Perpetua, I read in one of your responses to a comment that you've lost hearing in the other ear now but that you'll be able to have it syringed when you're able to get out and about. I hope that means you'll get to the doctor on Monday. And I hope also that your Easter is a lovely one, filled with the music that speaks to you so fully. In the Palestine manuscript for which I'm trying to find an agent, I spent days with the scene in which Yeshua is crucified and Ephraim stands at the foot of the cross comforting him with Psalm 22, which they say together. Your postings this week, Perpetua, have brought back to me cherished memories of my Holy Week. Thank you. Peace.
Yes, Dee, the hearing loss has now changed sides and unfortunately it will be some days yet before I'll manage to get to the doctor's. Easter Monday is in any case a public holiday in the UK.I would love to be able to read your novel one day and see for myself the scene you describe. I read Psalm 22 yesterday as part of the set readings for Good Friday and it speaks so powerfully of utter desolation. I'm glad to have brought back good memories for you this week.
I welcome your comments and will always try to respond to them. Thank you for reading.