The season of rebirth and renewal is upon is. Days are longer, the flowers are blossoming, and the sun is warming us again after a long winter. Whatever your religious beliefs, the story of humanity becoming whole once again with Spirit resonates with us all, and the music from Tudor England was joyful as it praised man’s Divine Oneness with God.
The Alleluia, which has been silent during the period of Lent, comes back in full force. Think of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, overflowing with exuberance.
Now the queen of seasons, bright
with the day of splendour,
with the royal feast of feasts,
comes its joy to render.
– John of Damascus
The perfect place to begin is with the Haec Dies – “Haec dies quam fecit Dominus. Exultemus et laetemur in ea. Alleluia”
Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it… This album from the Choir of Clare College sets the tone perfectly.
Flemish composer Orlando di Lassus wrote Surgens Jesus, an cappella motets, capturing the reunion between Jesus and the Disciples after the Resurrection. The music sounds so joyful, you can almost feel the life returning back to the world after the darkness of Lent and the Easter vigil. It’s followed on this album below by Christus Resurgens, a bright piece of music.
Lassus also wrote the Aurora lucis rutilat, which is based on a 5th century hymn that means, Light’s Glittering Morn Bedecks the Sky, and tells the story of that fateful Easter morning when the Disciples’ lives would be changed forever. The Lassus setting is haunting, hinting at the joy that would unfold as the day progressed.
Alessandro Striggio was an Italian composer and diplomat (those two careers often went together since composers could travel much easier than others, and it was easier for them tog et information. I posted about that in a piece on the Spy’s Choirbook). Striggio composed madrigals, but he also wrote this 40 Part Mass. The piece was recently rediscovered in Paris, and it celebrates the Easter Mass in a spectacular fashion.
Remember, you can grab all this music and more on my Music for Holy Week Playlist on Spotify – follow it here so you don’t miss new music when I add it!
It is my hope that whatever you celebrate at this time of year – whether it’s Solstice, Passover, Easter, or Mercury Retrograde (I blame it for all the tech issues I’ve had the past few weeks!), your Spring is filled with joy, peace, flowering and blossoming creativity, and lots and lots of love.