St Matthews Digital
Arts and Music
Lent and Easter 2015
15 March 2015
Reflecting on the music written for Lent
Michael Bell reflects on the music written for Lent.
Have You Seen?
23 July 2017
15 September 2019
Care of Creation confession
18 June 2017
25 December 2021
Living the Story
28 February 2016
Farewell sermon for Michael Bell
07 September 2022
22 February 2015
04 February 2022
Climate Crisis Statement
07 August 2016
25 December 2021
The 2021 Christmas special
Meditation & Prayer
Arts and Music
users can comment on a video.
Reflecting on the music written for Lent
Good morning. It's very strange to be up very strange to be up here, this is very much a new experience when Helen first approached me about presenting a talk on Linton Music in place of asuman. My first, my first thought was, are you for real then my second thought was a boy, and then after starting my research into the topic again, is Helen having me on the reason for the latter was that it quickly became clear that to make a talk on music and lent is kind of amusing because historically is the very season when we don't have music while often it was canceled. It's true in Barack Leipzig.
For example, where quiet time was observed between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
I need the Feast of the Annunciation was celebrated with a cantata, even if it fell in that time.
Of course, however, this was not the case everywhere. We music was heard during Lent. It was performed mostly acapella or unaccompanied.
Just as a reminder of where we have actually come from. There are six Catholic no-nos during the season.
Number one, no instrumental music, unless accompanying voices number two. No, singing or saying the Gloria three no singing or saying the Alleluia before the gospel?
No flowers on the altar. Number five, no emptying. Holy water font size. And number six, no Valen crosses before the sixth Sunday of Lent.
Despite the restrictions that were placed on composers, there has actually been an abundance of beautiful music, composed, and performed for Lent. When we're trying to find ourselves in relation to Christ. So Helen is for real and she understands that there's a lot that I could talk about today.
The beauty of the character of the Season might be lost on people in the modern world because the idea of penance is not so very popular today, but just this, we need desperately the season of winter. As we say, it's at Matthews for the heart, we need the season of Lent as an introverted preparation for Holy Week and its glorious finale.
For composers who are quite often. Introverted people, blind offers, great inspiration.
take, for example, o sacred head now wounded, Palace train is stopped but motor and dies irae. The day of Wrath that is often heard in the Requiem Mass like that of Mozart's.
Then there are works that offer Comfort amid, the torment music like the reflection piece today. God, so loved the world by stainer.
Eric Johnson states that in a way. Linton Music began before the church did Jesus. And the apostles saying Passover, hymns on the First, Holy Thursday as testified by the gospels of Matthew and Mark.
The earliest Christians often sang if the passion and the death of Christ, although the music is mostly lost.
What we do know, however, is that these early homes were monophonic and sang in unison.
These chants are widely agreed to be the most penitential type of music and thus the hood frequently during Lent.
As are the Psalms these chants Prevail right through the Middle Ages. They grew in complexity until they finally blossomed and the Renaissance into musical structures that began to match the Grandeur of the buildings and the cathedral's housing. This thing is We think of the composers such as just gone to pray. And if a in the 15th century who began to sit at in accantus tenor, cantus firmus.
with triple discounts and foe board on lions, mostly a sixth interval, Harmony beneath Intervals. Incidentally, play an important role in early music, the more pure intervals, such as the octave, the fourth, and the fifth are found over and above the intervals built on thirds.
The way though, this music might sound strident to our modern ears. It candles the appropriate emotions and are stirring the season of Lent.
Thomas Tallis, working under various English monarchs in the 1500s. He saw much conflict within the church, especially between President partisan and Catholic church and he was actually a real Survivor. He he went with the tired often and so whoever was in power, he wrote the right music for them. So he was good at keeping his job.
But despite all the conflict that he saw he left us beautiful consoling, music appropriate for Lent such as the Lamentations of Jeremiah and even greater work of hers is the 40 part, motet spim and allium.
Hope and any other. The first line means he never put his hope and any other that fully captures the sorrowful character of the season, the journey from Ash Wednesday through until Easter Sunday is perhaps the most important Christian journey of the year and musically, reflects light coming out of Darkness out of the Deep by thales, that will be heard at Communion reflects this idea and it's rising up a voice and by module.
Sitting up by means of a Sharp at the end of its first phrase.
There's some argument is to win, lent, concludes.
Some argue Palm Sunday, While others state that the season ends at the Last Supper on Monday. Thursday, for me to label my box sent Matthew and Cintron passions as Linton. Some may dispute. Although they serve, and text and music as worthy meditations before Easter It's true that, for example bucks cantatas, they offer. Most incredible Treasure of consoling music, and it's obviously a spiritual consolation and it's quite interesting when I'm thinking of my friends. Nicholas Butler for example because he I mean, he's not, he's not a Christian, he's he's half Jewish and he's half pucky.
But it's incredibly credible to me that in my early teens, he discovered bucks music, which I had already, I was already playing almost every day, but he gets as much consolation from it as me now. And it doesn't matter that he's not a Christian and this is the power of of music and he, we will often, every probably on average about every month, he will come over on a Saturday night and we will just Put on CDs of the cantatas and it will go for two or three hours. And we just, we just talk occasionally. It's just the most. It's just such a lovely thing to have to have to share with a friend. You know, there's to be able to share that music, and it's amazing that a human being can speak to us. So strongly, who's been dead for 300 years, it's, he comes across the cosmos, you know?
To us here.
One cantata back wrote.
That is certainly reason for Lent is number 50 for the opening area States stand. Firm against sin, otherwise it's poison Caesars. Hold of you do not list. Let Satan blind you for to desecrate. The honor of God meets with a curse which leads to death.
These words are very typical of much of the libretto bark used for his weekly, cantatas austere and patronizing. But what I find wonderful is how such text is married to to its exact opposite. The most Serene and beautiful music one could ever find.
The voluntary for today is also buy back. Its calm Souza Todd. Come Sweet Death public has sells the famous cellist was in awe of this solemn, sacred song and recorded it. Many times for me, it is the most profound essay on the reality of death and even without its text, the music, Paints the deep and conflicting emotions at play upon contemplation of the Final Act in our lives.
I just like to say now that after the service, I will be playing such a few more examples on the piano over to the left of the church. So you've welcome to to join with me and it won't be necessarily about Linton Music but just about church music in general and I won't be another lecture, one's enough?
Whatever season, we look at in the Christian calendar, Advent Epiphany, the evidence and my own passion is that the music written to convey doc, Divine love as we find in the Christ story, this music reaches depths that I have not ever found and what we label as secular when composers seem to look up, rather than sideways the achieved and ecstatic Beauty excitement and joy, true sorrow, Pathos and comfort. I will Is come back to it.
But what creates this difference? Countless composers have been inspired to write music on the basis of everyday, human love Opera, madrigals, Symphonies and thousands of love songs but for me there's always a change and its quality. It's difficult to explain.
It's the meth use, we try to merge or at least marry these traditionally separate worlds, that is the sacred and secular for me. Anyway, human love is divine the conclusion. I must make is that it shouldn't matter, whatever inspires Us in art or music to carry ourselves in the everyday world with bit of patience, compassion, kindness. And love must be worthy of God.