Music: August 2003 Archives

Reflections in d minor, another Oklahoma-based weblog, with an emphasis on classical music, links to a biographical survey and analysis of the music French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), by Terry Teachout, in the June issue of Commentary.

Fauré's Requiem (text and translation here) is one of my favorite choral works. I particularly love the movement "In Paradisum", which beautifully weds text and music, and leads the listener to the gates of the New Jerusalem:

In paradisum deducant angeli:
In tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres,
Et perducant te in civitatem sanctem Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
Et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
Aeternam habeas requiem.

Into paradise may the angels lead you:
May your arrival be greeted by the martyrs,
And may they lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem.
Choirs of angels sing to you,
And with Lazarus, once a poor man,
May you have eternal rest.

Christian sages from Richard Baxter to C. S. Lewis follow the apostle Paul in exhorting us to set our minds on things above. The Requiem, with its dire warnings and its hope of eternal rest, can help us in that regard.

This year's September 11 memorial service at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Tulsa will feature Fauré's Requiem, performed by the Coventry Chorale and members of other Tulsa choral groups. Details to be added to this entry later.

The most difficult part of heavenly contemplation is, to maintain a lively sense of heavenly things upon our hearts. It is easier merely to think of heaven a whole day, than to be lively and affectionate in those thoughts a quarter of an hour.

Faith is imperfect -- for we are renewed but in part -- and goes against a world of resistance; and, being supernatural, is prone to decline and languish, unless it be continually excited. Sense is strong according to the strength of the flesh; and, being natural, continues while nature continues. The objects of faith are far off; but those of sense are nigh. We must go as far as heaven for our joys. To rejoice in what we never saw, nor ever knew the man that did see, and this upon a mere promise of the Bible, is not so easy as to rejoice in what we see and possess.

It must, therefore, be a point of spiritual prudence, to call in sense to the assistance of faith. It will be a good work, if we can make friends of these usual enemies, and make them instruments for raising us to God, which are so often the means of drawing us from him. Why hath God given us either our senses or their common objects, if they might not be serviceable to his praise? Why doth the Holy Spirit describe the glory of the New Jerusalem in expressions that are even grateful to the flesh? Is it that we might think heaven to be made of gold and pearl? or that saints and angels eat and drink? No, but to help us to conceive of them as we are able, and to use these borrowed phrases as a glass, in which we must see the things themselves imperfectly represented, till we come to an immediate and perfect sight. Besides showing how heavenly contemplation may be assisted by sensible objects, this chapter will also show how it may be preserved from a wandering heart.

-- Richard Baxter, The Saints' Everlasting Rest, Chapter 15

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Music category from August 2003.

Music: July 2003 is the previous archive.

Music: September 2003 is the next archive.

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