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Music that makes the angels weep

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Today is Good Friday and I went to the local church of St Thomas More in Chelsea. The service is unusual, the only day of the year when no mass is celebrated. During the veneration of the Cross, the choir sung most extraordinary music. It was Crucifixus by Antonio Caldara. I am very fond of polyphonic music of 16th century and no stranger to the soaring tunes of Palestrina, Tallis, Allegri and others but I have never heard Caldara’s music. It was an amazing experience and I have scoured the internet for it. The only thing I found was a music sampler from amazon.com (Crucifixus is the first on the list).

My favourite piece of Easter music is Exsultet, which will be sung tomorrow during the Easter Vigil, celebrating the most important event in the Catholic calendar – the Resurrection. I have already written about it last year.

It is said to be the sublimest expression of joyful sound that has ever come from the human heart and mind. Mozart once said that it is the most beautiful music ever written and that he would have given all his works to be able to say that he had written the first line of the Exsultet.

The music’s purity and spiritual power speak to me of the rapture of faith across the ages. It transcends the historical context and connects us to those who were inspired to create such beauty. It is a validation of sorts, not based on reason but on shared impact of the divine.

Happy Easter!

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2 Responses to “Music that makes the angels weep”


  1. Samizdata.net
    on Apr 16th, 2006
    @ 2:17 am

    Happy Easter

    Have a glorious and happy Easter….


  2. Bishop Hill
    on Apr 16th, 2006
    @ 18:58 pm

    If you don’t know them then two pieces well worth checking out are:

    Brumel’s Earthquake Mass and Sheppard’s Media Vita.

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