March 24, 2015

There are certain passages of Scripture that have become permanently associated with a particular piece of music. I cannot hear the phrase “For unto us a child is born” without hearing Handel’s music dancing beneath it.

The Psalm at today’s Mass is another example. Psalm 102: “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my crying come unto thee”. I can never hear it without hearing Purcell’s poignant 8-part setting:

6 Responses to “Psalm”

  1. Janet Says:

    The hardest part of being a lector is having to read either passages from The Messiah, or passages from prayers that are frequently recited in the Liturgy of the Hours, like the Magnificat. The text is somewhat different, so I stumble over the words, or the music in my head makes me want to read in the same rhythm to which I am accustomed.


  2. cburrell Says:

    I know exactly what you mean. The trotting rhythm of “and the government shall be upon his shoulders” must be resisted at all costs. It just doesn’t sound right when read in that way.

    As for slightly varying translations of the Magnificat, or the Creed, don’t get me started! I have now committed the Book of Common Prayer version of the Magnificat to memory, and I’m not budging from it.

    • Janet Says:

      Now you can never say the Liturgy of the Hours with your Catholic brethren. Maybe at Maclin’s church. I don’t know.


    • Janet Says:

      And I really, really hope that I never have to read that passage because I will be laughing so hard I will totally disgrace myself.


  3. That’s beautiful. Every time I hear something new (to me) by Purcell he rises a notch in my estimation.

    Funny, I’ve been planning to memorize that BCP Magnificat, too. But I usually don’t think about working on it until I’m in the middle of the evening prayer sequence in Magnificat (the magazine).

  4. cburrell Says:

    My wife and I recently committed to pray the Magnificat together daily. So we had to pick one. I ruled out any that didn’t say “hath holpen” somewhere.

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