Good Friday Reflection Through Music

Perhaps Good Friday,the most somber and grave day of the year, is a day that can be given to prayer and some private musical reflection. Here are three pieces that I find reflective of the character of this day. If you have 15 minutes for reflection, please stay a while.

The first piece is Adagio in G Minor by Tommaso Albinoni (9:54). Whenever I hear this selection I instinctively associate it with Good Friday and Our Lord's Passion. It begins very quietly; with a distinct feeling of a purposeful and trudging movement. Waves of pathos build slowly and finally reach a crescendo. The end comes with a quiet and sweet violin. If you close your eyes and picture The Way of the Cross...

The second piece I favor on this day is Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie. (3:28) After the Lord's death there is an emptiness that is not reconcilable: the feeling is more than loss, it's uncertaintly and misunderstanding. The work reflects a mild dispirited confusion where the final phrase is slightly discordant. This piece is also slow (lent) but not as heavy as the first. For me it reflects the despair of time in between death and resurrection.

My final selection is somewhat more hopeful. It is Schumann's Traumerei. (2:28) It's performed by the master pianist Vladamir Horowitz in Moscow.This is a favorite among the Russian people whose history has been filled with tragedy. The piece conveys sadness but its ending is more encouraging: it is peaceful and we know that we are reconciled. I enjoy the quiet appreciation and reassurance on the faces of members of the audience. They are recollected and witness an attentive spirit. They are vulnerable and open to the music's message.

We adore you O Christ and we praise you, Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.



teresa_anawim2 said...

Thank you for this afternoon concert/meditation through music!
I especially appreciate the Adagio...the weight of the via dolorosa portrayed by the heavy pizzicato of the cello and bass, and the long-to-resolve dissonances throughout. Made me sense through music the Savior's Passion...the weight of sin.
Then on the other hand I imagined the unseen Heavenly guides going along with Him portrayed by the upper strings and solo violin.

Thank you for introducing me to this great piece.

Ruth said...

Thank you for putting this together. I was particularly struck by the expressions on the faces in the last piece too. They seemed like an 'accompaniment' to the music, and enhanced the experience.

I was a classical guitarist prior to acquiring my spinal cord injury so I am more familiar, in general, with Segovia and Bach than others, but am familiar with the second piece and when I heard it thought oh yes this expresses the spiritual journey well.

Little Scribe said...

Thank you so much for this meditation concert on our Lord. I am waiting to listen later today when I have the appropriate quiet for prayerful listening, but want you to know how much I appreciate this post. Already the Lord is speaking to my heart through your descriptions of the music. I pray that you and your family have a blessed and grace filled day.

Tom in Vegas said...

I love Albinoni's Adagio in G minor (did you know that the finished piece was NOT written by him?). I have enjoyed its melody and contemplative disposition from the second I first heard it quite some time ago. I'm glad the version you posted doesn't rush through the entire piece. It's so irritating to hear an adagio played as a Minute Waltz.

Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 1 is also a favorite of mine. There are orchestral arrangements that interpret this piece with the same level of melancholy and unique note progressions as heard im the more intimate piano solo.

Now, Schuman's Traumerei. Sorry to say but I've never like it. The reason escapes me, but since first hearing it I've found it alienating and directionless, especially the opening measure. Despite my derogatory perception of Traumerei, it's quite a popular piece.

Good music selection:0)