Saturday, October 10, 2009

A celestial day coming up

My idea of the world's most beautiful music is pretty mutable. Often it is what I am listening to, or what we are working on at choir. Generally the world’s most beautiful music is something by Bach or Mozart. Today, however, it is Duruflé’s Requiem. Every year we sing a Requiem Mass on November 2, All Souls’ Day, and most often it is Mozart. However, some years, we sing another Requiem, and this year it is Durufle, which we have not sung the for quite a while. Mozart’s Requiem is all about the ultimate victory over the terrors of death, and the magnificent triumphal march across the Great Divide into Heaven. Duruflé, on the other hand, seems to have accepted death, and realizes that it can be peaceful and lovely. His Mass setting is more about Heaven itself. Dies Irae, the most terrifying part of the Mozart’s Requiem is not even there. Duruflé is all about eternal bliss. The Gregorian chants are imbued with a new life and quiet magnificence unimaginable until you hear it. It’s like being in a cloud of celestial sound.

You can hear a snippet here, and you can participate in the whole thing at St. James Cathedral on the evening of All Souls Day.

PS: Candle photo is from the Cathedral website, and probably taken by my friend Maria.

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