Although Epiphany season is well behind (and, in the cycle of sacred time, even further ahead) of us, no time is a bad time to celebrate manifestations of divine glory.
That’s why I’m pleased to have discovered the work of Three Notch’d Road: The Virginia Baroque Ensemble.
Their most recent CD, released a couple years back, is entitled Epiphany, and includes works by Bach, Bieber, Buxtehude, and Kapsberger. For a taste of its contents, and a little background on the musicians involved, see this informative and engaging video:
Specializing in the performance of early music on period instruments, the group is led by violinist Fiona Hughes.
In this article, Hughes describes how years of playing music inspired (directly or indirectly) by the Catholic faith led to her own conversion.
In some cases, such as Bieber’s Rosary Sonatas, the music is by Catholic composers seeking to embody Catholic devotions. Others, such as the Lutheran J. S. Bach, remain intimately engaged with elements of a tradition partly abandoned by their own churches—as with Bach’s magnum opus, the Mass in B Minor.
Hughes recognizes that “what we listen to, and how we listen, affects our mind and emotions,” and therefore “can influence the health of our soul and a right worship of God.”
In this age of deliberately induced (and ruthlessly exploited) fears about things temporal, she reminds us that music is not only “a source of hope,” but “spiritually essential.”
With the help of this wonderful ensemble, let us heed that lesson!
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