I used to publish a Sunday Choral Report detailing what we sang in my church choir. When we returned to Canada five years ago, we were lucky to land in a parish with a fabulous organist and traditional choir at the 11:30 am mass. We rehearse from 10-11:15 on Sunday mornings in preparation for that mass, so there’s no weeknight rehearsal which is best for a choir made up of professional singers and musicians (who sing) as well as strong amateurs.
Our organist/director has a love of the Renaissance so we often sing from that era. This morning was no exception. For the offertory we sang Nigra sum sed formosa filia Jerusalem by Tomás Luis de Victoria. The first line of text (originally from Song of Solomon) replaces the singular filliae (daughters) with filia (daughter) pointing to Mary. The full (English) text is as follows:
I am a dark-skinned but comely daughter of Jerusalem,
Therefore have I pleased the Lord
And he has brought me into his chamber
And said to me: arise my love and come.
For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone,
The flowers have appeared in our land,
The time of pruning is come.
Chanticleer performs it here.
Certain man organized a great dinner and sent his servant at the hour of dinner so that he said to his guests to come: Because everything is prepared.Come to eat my bread and to drink my wine that I prepared for you.
Quite an appropriate Communion hymn.
After mass, I travelled south to my my monthly book club meeting where we shared our thoughts onGone Girlby Gillian Flynn. [No spoilers follow.] A psychological thriller featuring an arguably evil protagonist, I personally found it both hard to put down and necessary to set aside as the tension rose. Themes of marriage, life in the big-city vs. small-town South, the fate of print journalism and the impact of the 24-hour news cycle and quest to be first with “the” story were all present and considered by the group. While the book was rated on average 8/10 with a small range (7-9), differences of opinion were expressed about the protagonist’s mental state and motivation for the events detailed in the novel. We all loved her plotting (with some debate over how much closure the ending achieved), her sense of humour, and agreed that we’d all see the movie together when it comes out. We had one new member today, and a couple of usual members were absent, but the discussion was excellent. It topped the Amazon.ca Best Pick for 2012list.
On my drive home, I considered my descent from the divinity of the mass and the music we sang, to the discussion of evil and how it comes into a person, a marriage, and a world. On arriving home, I was greeted by my husband sitting on the porch with the papers, a whisky, and a cigar, the first time we’ve had our furniture out on the deck this spring. Life in the middle seems pretty ok.