• Music for Holy Week

    March 26, 2013

    I completely missed the Lenten train this year. I should have fasted from Facebook as I’ve been considering for months now. So that the Holy Week train doesn’t also leave the station without me, I’m taking some reflection time each day this week to consider the mystery and miracle of the sacrifice and triumph of Jesus. Part of that reflection for me involves music, and I wanted to pass on a couple of selections that have been meaningful.

    gorecki-miserereItalian composer Gregorio Allegri composed Miserere in the early 1600s (Probably 1630s). It’s a setting of Psalm 51 meant for use during Holy Wednesday and Good Friday services in the Sistene Chapel. A portion of the text reads,

    Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness
    According to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offences.
    Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.

    This is one of a handful of works I discovered as a teenager that sealed my love for classical music. I remember hearing it the first time, having no idea what the musicians were singing but thinking it was the most beautiful sound ever created by the human voice. I still think it may be. You can read along in English as the singers deliver the Latin, download a version sung in English, or simply close your eyes and listen (in any language) to the sounds of the soul in contrition before God. Get alone, shut out all other sound, and just listen.B0001ENY6M.01.LZZZZZZZ

    At the other end of the historical spectrum of classical music is John Debney’s score to the 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ. Whatever you think about the film itself, or its director, the original score is a gem worth revisiting. Again, close your eyes, and just listen. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back to first century Israel to witness the beauty and horror of that Holy Week. And unlike Miserere, the Passion soundtrack ends with the resolution of resurrection.

    Would love to hear your own suggestions. Feel free to comment below.

    Have a happy and holy week.


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