Precious in the Sight of the Lord

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 115:15 As noted yesterday in these ethereal pages, the Kingdom of Christ on earth extends to society as a whole through his enthronement in the hearts, intellects, and wills of men. Even as Christ informed Pilate that his Kingdom is notContinue reading “Precious in the Sight of the Lord”

The Fruit of Redemption

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of meContinue reading “The Fruit of Redemption”

Paradise and Pomegranates

Thy plants are a paradise of pomegranates with the fruits of the orchard. Canticle of Canticles, 4:13 According to nutritionists, the pomegranate is a “superfood,” containing a high concentration of nutrients with a panoply of beneficial health effects. The fruit is also visually spectacular, as the above photo illustrates. Sacred scripture chooses the pomegranate asContinue reading “Paradise and Pomegranates”

Barbarity Vanquished

In this marvelous cantata, Barbara, dira, effera, Jan Dismas Zelenka explores the roots of Easter joy in the horror of our Lord’s Passion: Though the sound here is a bit muffled, the power of this performance by Delphine Galou and Collegium 1704 cannot be impeded. That befits the message conveyed: that the barbarity of man,Continue reading “Barbarity Vanquished”

Earth Shall Not Be Desolate

Immisit Dominus pestilentiam is among the earliest surviving works of Jan Dismas Zelenka, dating from 1709. It was composed for Holy Week services at Prague’s Saint Salvator Church. In commemoration of the time between Christ’s arrest in the garden and his Resurrection on Easter morning, the Blessed Sacrament was removed from the main church andContinue reading “Earth Shall Not Be Desolate”

Look Toward Him

One of those occasions when Jan Dismas Zelenka (remember him?) was permitted to shine was Good Friday of 1730. After a liturgy recounting the Passion of Christ according to St. John, the court was treated to Il Serpento di Bronzo, a cantata based on Chapter 21 of Numbers. Wandering in the desert, the people ofContinue reading “Look Toward Him”

Beautiful, But Not Fair

Born and raised in a Bohemian village, Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) inherited a love of music from his organist father. Having studied in Prague, he finally landed a gig in Dresden, playing bass for Augustus the Strong, Prince Elector of Saxony. Zelenka’s dream was to be a composer. He was permitted to tour Italy andContinue reading “Beautiful, But Not Fair”

With Purified Hearts

After the days of [Mary’s] purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried [the child Jesus] to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord. Luke 2:22-23 In August of 1733, Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) composed this Mass (streaming, download) to celebrate “ourContinue reading “With Purified Hearts”

Wondrous Sound the Trumpet Flings!

I possess precious few words for describing music, yet I marvel at the ways composers can bring a text to life, helping us to ponder its significance. The aforementioned Dies Irae is a perfect example. One verse in particular may help to illustrate my point. “Tuba mirum spargens sonum, per sepulcra regionum, coget omnes anteContinue reading “Wondrous Sound the Trumpet Flings!”