Friday, March 21, 2014

7 quick takes: favorite prayers, a snobby review of my favorite music, and my cat.

1. This, I have come upon fairly recently. It is a prayer before Mass by Saint Ambrose. I can clearly see why Saint Augustine was so taken by this man's preaching. His words say what I cannot summon, but my soul longs to express.

O loving Lord Jesus Christ, I, a sinner, not presuming on my own mertis, but trusting in Your mercy and goodness, with fear and awe approach the table of Your most sacred banquet. For I have stained both my heart and body with many sins, and have not kept a strict guard over my mind and tongue. Wherefore, O gracious God, O awful majesty, I, a wretched creature, entangled in difficulties, have recourse to You, the fount of mercy; to You I fly for healing and take refuge under Your protection, and I ardently desire to have Him as my Savior whom I am unable to face as my Judge. 

To You, Lord, I show my wounds, to You I lay bare my shame. I know that my sins are many and great and on their account I am filled with fear. But I trust in Your mercy, which is endless. Look down on me, therefore, with the eyes of mercy, Lord Jesus Christ, eternal King, God and Man, crucified for men. Hear me, for my hope is in You; have mercy on me, for I am full of sin and wretchedness, You who never cease to let flow the fountain of mercy.

 Hail Victim of Salvation, offered for me and for all mankind on the tree of the cross. Hail, noble and precious Blood, flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ washing away the sins of the whole world. Remember, Lord, Your creature, whom You have redeemed with Your Blood. I am grieved because I have sinned. I desire to make amends for what I have done. 

Take away from me, therefore, O most merciful Father, all my iniquities and my sins, that, being purified both in soul and body, I may worthily partake of the Holy of Holies; and grant that this holy oblation of Your Body and Blood, of which though unworthy I purpose to partake, may be to me the remission of my sins, the perfect cleansing of all my offenses, the means of driving away all evil thoughts and of renewing all holy desires, the accomplishment of works pleasing to You, as well as the strongest defense for soul and body against the snares of my enemies. 

2.   I am not sure if this is also from St. Ambrose, but it is a beautiful Act of Hope.

Since Thou dost deign to come and dwell within me, O my Redeemer, what may I not expect from Thy bounty! I therefore present myself before Thee with that lively confidence which Thine infinite goodness inspires. Thou not only knowest all my wants, but Thou also art willing and able to relieve them. Thou hast not only invited me, but also promised me Thy gracious assistance.

3. Prayer for Those Whose Lives I Touched   F.E. Callaghan

 Beloved Shepherd of Souls!
As I tread into the sunset of my life, I grow anxious for the spiritual welfare of souls who came to know me.
It grieves me to think of the offenses they may have committed because of words or deeds of mine.
I have in mind those who were my close responsibility as well as those whom I sponsored in Baptism
and whose spiritual condition is no longer known to me.

In Your Merciful Goodness I now plead for the pardon of the soul who because of me may have lost Your favour.
Humbly I implore You, let not one of them be lost, but when they leave this world may they find glorious entry into the Kingdom of Heaven!

On behalf of those who may need to atone for offenses I may have caused them to commit,
I offer You any infirmities or sufferings I am to undergo during the remaining years of my life.

Dear Shepherd of Souls, grant them life eternal.

 4.  TODAY

My life is a gift of God given, not years but a day at a time. Today is the day the Lord has made for me, and he planned it to be the most important day of my life. Yesterday is gone, never to return. I must not worry about it, but leave it    in the hands of God.
Tomorrow and all that it holds is God's secret and its coming is not assured.
Only today is mine. Each day, arranged by God with infinite wisdom and goodness is his gift,     his act of love for me.
In thanksgiving I will offer him every day the gift of myself my prayers, works, joys and sufferings.
Please God, receive them graciously.

-from a daily prayer book given out by my home parish, St. Monica

5.  Okay, I know you were waiting with baited breath for my Snobby Music Review. 

Bob and I were blessed to go see a program of music at the Kimmel Canter last week, of various artists and time periods, but all pieces I absolutely adore. Okay, maybe not the Franck organ piece. But everything else.

Here is the blurb about the program:

Fauré's Requiem

Alain Altinoglu - Conductor
Michael Stairs - Organ
Susanna Phillips - Soprano
Philippe Sly - Bass-baritone
The Philadelphia Singers Chorale - Mixed chorus
David Hayes - Music director
program Gabrieli - Canzon septimi toni No. 2, from Sacrae symphoniae
Franck - Organ Chorale No. 1 in E major
Villa-Lobos - Bachianas brasileiras No. 5
Duruflé - Four Motets on Gregorian Themes
Dukas - Fanfare from La Péri
Fauré - Requiem

Thursday, March 13, 2014

8:00 pm Verizon Hall

Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin has regretfully withdrawn from performances scheduled for March 13, 14, and 15 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Conductor Alain Altinoglu, whose engagement comes at the recommendation of Mr. Nézet-Séguin, has graciously agreed to lead the Orchestra on those dates, making his Philadelphia Orchestra debut. There will be no change to the previously-announced program.
The Orchestra’s multi-season exploration of the great requiems continues with Fauré’s intimate and contemplative work. Its distinctive orchestration of lower strings is the centerpiece of a spiritual program featuring unique combinations and ensembles in styles ranging from Medieval chant to antiphonal brass to Brazilian rhythms.

                        the conductor, Alain Altinoglu
             Looks a bit like our own Fr. Kelley. But French.

The only review I could find of this concert, I'm sorry reviewer, but, woefully inadequate. So here is mine. Philadelphia Orchestra Brass. Take your breath away. They were like one big brassy instrument, they were so perfectly in tune and together. I have known and loved the Fanfare from La Peri my whole life, I know it inside and out, and have listened to it done by scores of different groups. Philly, you were the very best. My only slight disappointment was that it seemed kind of fast, and some of the harmonies not allowed to linger, even for a second longer, before they were gone.

Here it is done the way I like it. The video says it is 24 minutes, don't worry the fanfare is just the first short piece, about two and a half minutes. Philly zipped through it much quicker. Mr. Altinoglu replaced Nézet-Séguin, and I can't help but wonder if he might have savored it a bit more.

You may have also noticed the Durufle motets are on the program also.. I posted the Ubi Caritas a few weeks ago. Beautifully done at this concert by the Philadelphia singers. My only distraction was one smallish Philadelphia Singer. A bass, smack in the center, right beneath the organ, who kept catching my eye, buried though he was, and the lighting was left very soft. He had a sort of alarming mannerism of lifting his chin and stretching out his neck with each note, while making a pursed-lip "oooooo" formation. How he did that no matter what the words were baffles me still. But the effect in general was...

I curse my love of Mr.Bean at times like this.

 The main reason I wanted to see this concert to begin with, was the Faure Requiem. Much like the Fanfare, it is a piece I have have loved and listened to since my teenage years, except this piece has become part of the FABRIC OF MY BEING.  I have a favorite recording, to me the Only Way to properly perform it, (haha), so I knew going in, that hearing it done some Other Way was going to be a little rough.

Again, I don't know if the conductor had any responsibility for how it was done, my apologies, Mr. Altinoglu, but I was really sad. Some of the most gorgeous parts were completely glossed over. At times, the tempo was double what it should have been. I could see him conducting in cut time. One of the most exquisite Amens in all of music was practically obliterated. Now, would it have been the same under Nézet-Séguin? Who knows. But if indeed this conductor's way was significantly different, then bravo to the orchestra and singers for gamely following. It was so painful to hear this Requiem raced through in parts, and it's dynamic range greatly reduced. The ppps were there but none of the fs, or the occasional ff. Which made the ppps seem less ppp. If you get my drift.

So, here is The Version, for anyone who might like to enhance the beauty of their Lent with a Requiem. I was only able to find the ending movement to share with you here.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, once the poor man, may you have eternal rest. 

6. I am obviously not going in order of gravity here. As a way to give alms this Lent, please go here and consider helping this order of monks. There is a link to go through Pay Pal.

7.    And, lastly in gravity, but firstly in cuteness; my cat.

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