Psalm 18:1-5
No (Coverdale) psalm today


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I haven't heard this particular version before, but when I was a member of an Antiochian Orthodox parish we used a similar setting for a hymn with the refrain, "Blessed are you O Lord, teach me thy statutes.."

In parish usage the choir or cantor sing the verses and the faithful join in on the refrain.

That's very...stirring. Must be good to sing.

I can't listen to all these alle....s until next week.


I consider that I'm doing my duty by not listening to anything but church music. Though most of it has been alle....-less.

"That's very...stirring. Must be good to sing."

In the parish I attended we sang it with slightly more "zip" (although not during Lent). I much prefer it to the Russian setting we use in the OCA parish where I'm now a member. To me the latter's a little too pretty to be really penitential.

I keep encountering that dilemma with penitential music. Even music that's not pretty, but profoundly beautiful and maybe somewhat dark, affords a lot of pleasure which is not exactly penitential.

Yeah, music that was written in past periods reflects the sentiments of the times, and needless to say those do not always jibe with ours. For example, Haydn's "Seven Last Words From the Cross" sounds fairly upbeat and jaunty to me (even if it is a little darker that normal Haydn), but I can't imagine it sounded that way to Haydn or his contemporaries. Likewise, some of the Russian church music that we sing sounds somewhat doleful, even when the lyrics are expressing joy.

That may have something to do with the Russian character in general. :-)

As it happens I've been listening to Haydn's "Seven Last Words" and agree. It is definitely sweet. Even the "earthquake" bit is quite tame. This is the quartet version. I haven't heard the choral setting and I suppose the words might help, but I assume it's the same music, so the effect wouldn't be that different.

"That may have something to do with the Russian character in general."

Oh, no doubt. Time and place both play into it, I'm sure!

I listened to the choral version of Seven Last Words, not very attentively, and my first impression is that the voices give it a good deal more gravity than the quartet alone. And that's without looking at the words, which, according to something I read, are devotional poetry, not, or not only, the scriptural texts.

When I was an Episcopalian the choir at my church used to sing the Dubois Seven Last Words every year on Good Friday. I liked it a lot at the time, and found it very moving, but haven't heard it for over 25 years. I'm not sure what I'd think of it now, having become accustomed to less "dramatic" sacred music.

I've not heard the Haydn choral version, only the orchestral.

I first read that as "the Dubious Seven Last Words.":-) I don't know that piece.

I'm sure some people might consider it dubious. ;)

Theodore Dubois was a French Romantic composer, roughly contemporary with Franck and Saint-Saens if memory serves. I don't remember much of the cantata in any detail, but I recall liking the opening piece very much, as well as the dramatic section in the middle which dramatizes Christ's trial and condemnation. And I remember finding the closing very moving. Although it seems to be quite a popular work for church choirs there aren't many recordings of it available, at least on CD. Discogs shows several older ones on LP, however, in both English and the original French.

I have mentioned The Aviator more than once, I think, and you can currently get a hardback copy on eBay for less than $2--just over $5.00 with shipping. I got mine from the company that has "plum" in it's name.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.


Money's not my obstacle. Time is my obstacle. But I will certainly consider reading it.

Oh yeah. I forgot you never read a book that wasn't planned long ago.


I'm not totally sure whether you're laughing because I have a plan or because I don't. But plan or no plan, I just can't seem to put much more than a small dent in the mass of things to be read.

It just now occurred to me to look on YouTube for that Dubois piece. There are several videos of it, but as it's almost midnight I'm not going to listen to one now.

I'm laughing because you are currently reading a book you just decided to read. And there's been at least one other recently.


I give myself the worst of both: I make plans but can't stick to them.

No matter what I plan, I run out of time.

I am currently reading 6 or 7 books for one reason and another. You are probably wise not to do likewise.


I try really hard to limit it to 2. It's kind of self-limiting because time constraints mean that if it's more than that I'll lose track of all of them--meaning that when I pick them up I'll be lost.

I usually read two, sometimes three, at the same time, but they are always very distinct from one another. It's almost always one fiction book and one non-fiction book, and if there's a third it's generally something lighter -- nature, travel, etc. I almost never have two fiction or two non-fiction going at the same time.

Happy Easter to you all, by the way. In the East we've got another month to go.

Thank you. I didn't realize East and West were so far out of sync this year.

One fiction and one non-fiction is what I tend toward as well. But I'm subject to highly unplanned diversions. A few weeks ago I picked up a library discard of one of Gene Wolfe's novels, because I've heard good things about him. So I read something over 50 pages of that before deciding I didn't want to go any further. Also I'm reading a fair amount of poetry, which as a rule doesn't mean a particular book read from cover to cover.

It is because I am in a bunch book discussion groups. They are all so interesting. And then they mention books and you write books, and I read a couple for Lenten reading.

It's been years since I read like this.

At the moment I am reading one my sister loves and it's quite annoying.


"I didn't realize East and West were so far out of sync this year."

Yeah, a full four weeks. I think the farthest apart they can ever be is five.

If I were pope, the first thing I would do is change the date of Easter.


What is it?

Seems to be some odd lag in the appearance of comments. "What is it?" referred to the book that's annoying you, and I'm reasonably sure that your comment was the only one visible when I made that reply.

Anyway, Janet, what would you change the date of Easter to?

"Your comment" about the book, I mean.

I would make it be the same as the Orthodox Easter. Of course, I guess it would be necessary to wait a year for the change so they could print new liturgical books and calendars.


The book is Overstory.


"a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance"--ok, I'm un-sold.

Would you change the date of Easter because you think the Eastern way is correct, or just for unity?

Just for unity. It doesn't seem like one way is more correct than the other. I think the most correct way would be to make them both align with Passover.


Trees good (or even godly)/humans awful-except a chosen few.

According to Wikipedia, the Church fairly early on deliberately put some distance between the dating of Easter and that of Passover. I tend to agree that having it the same as Passover makes sense though it's not something I pretend to have any knowledge about.

I had a somewhat frustrating conversation recently with someone who looks at religions from the comparative mythology angle. He insisted that Easter occurs when it does because Christians deemed the spring equinox an appropriate time. Which it is, of course, but he seemed completely unaware of the fact that it started with the date of Passover, because Easter (unfortunate name) for Christians *is* Passover. The person grew up Protestant, where that's not generally emphasized, but still, it surprised me a little that he seemed to be unaware of the connection. But then comparative mythology will do that to you.

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