Orthodox dreams


One of the lovely things about my room at the Hampton Inn in East Aurora is the Sony Dream Machine -- a twin-alarm clock radio and CD player. The alarms are easy to set. It has a "nap" function -- you can set an alarm for so many minutes from now, rather than having to do the math in your head.

Back home, my children listen to CDs as they go to sleep. Joseph sometimes listens to Love-A-Byes, a sweet collection of lullabyes filled with lyrics about parental love and God's watchful care. He's been listening to it since he was small. We managed to find a CD copy before our cassette wore out. Other times he wants to hear Riders in the Sky, or part of one of the Gospels (from a CD set of the NIV), or some soft classical strings. Katherine likes the Wiggles' "Go to Sleep, Jeff".

I don't do this at home -- maybe I should, but at the hotel each night I drift off to sleep and wake up to music of my choosing. It settles my brain and blocks out any stray noises from the hallway, the air conditioner, or the micro-fridge.

On this trip, that music is Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vespers, or All-Night Vigil, performed by the Robert Shaw Chorale. It is beautiful a cappella music for mixed chorus. Rachmaninoff's harmonies and embellishments are built around ancient Russian chants. The lyrics are from the Psalms and the Orthodox liturgy. Years ago, the Coventry Chorale performed several selections from the work, in Russian. As we worked on pronunciation, we had opportunity to read through the lyrics in English. The texts are filled with the glory of Christ, the Victor over Death. Here is a link to texts and audio files of another recording of this work. And here is a review of a performance of the work.

Here is an English translation of one of my favorite movements from the work, Voskreseniye Hristovo videvshe

10. Having Seen the Resurrection of the Lord

Having beheld the resurrection of Christ,
let us worship the holy Lord Jesus,
the only Sinless One.
We venerate Thy Cross, O Christ,
and we hymn and glorify Thy holy resurrection,
For Thou art our God, and we know no other than Thee;
we call on Thy name.
Come, all you faithful,
let us venerate Christ's holy resurrection.
For, behold, through the cross
joy has come into all the world.
Ever blessing the Lord,
let us praise His resurrection,
for by enduring the cross for us,
He has destroyed death by death.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 29, 2004 1:17 AM.

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