Saturday, August 12, 2006

Rejoice in the Lamb

Celtic cross
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
Back to my favourite church today - The Cathedral of The Isles on Cumbrae - to rehearse for a concert tomorrow. Most of the hard work was on that extraordinary piece by Britten, "Rejoice in the Lamb" with wonderful, mad words by Christopher Smart. The choir for this concert is terrific, and by the end of the day it was sounding pretty amazing. I have a solo to sing, in which a mouse faces up to a cat, and I'm indebted to organist Jonathan Cohen for accommodating my tempi (and the odd missed beat) with such aplomb.

Actually the bit I love best in the piece is the moment when we sing "man and beast bow down before him": the organ comes in quietly under the voices with slowly pacing chords as if some great beast - maybe an elephant - were indeed walking with great dignity to worship and "maginify his name". Real spine-tingling stuff!

We're also singing John Tavener's Funeral Ikos, a sombre reflection on what happens at death, wondering if the dead miss us as much as we them, inter alia. The ultimate message is a simple statement of the reward in Paradise for the Righteous Ones. Much of it is in unison, like plainsong, but when it divides into harmony the effect is deeply moving. I'm looking forward to the performance.

And I'm happy to be able to report that my friends made it home to Alabama after a trying journey, albeit minus some luggage. Deo gratias.


  1. Highly excellent photograph

  2. Delighted to hear they made it home safely.