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Holy Monday 2020

Dear Friends,

Here are my musical reflections for Holy Monday, I hope you find them helpful

 
My song is love unknown is one of the great poetic reflections in the English language on the passion and death of Christ. The music was composed by John Ireland who also, incidentally, composed the music for today’s anthem. You can listen to today’s hymn by clicking here.
 
Bishop William Walsham How, the author of It is a thing most wonderful, attempts in his little poem to understand the paradox of extravagance and simplicity in God’s self-offering of himself. Here, language strains to say that it is ‘almost too wonderful to be’ that Christ chose ‘a poor and humble lot / and died to save a child like me.’ John Ireland’s setting - written much later in 1944, for upper voices only - bathes the text in an ethereal light, building over time to its climax on a top A flat (‘which like a fire’). Ireland’s own title for the text, Ex ore innocentium, can be translated into our well-worn phrase ‘out of the mouths of babes’, and might give us a clue as to what is attempting to be said by both poet and composer. 
 
The story of Holy Week is perfumed with seemingly incidental moments that turn out to have far greater significance than originally thought. Were we in church this evening, we would hear read at Mass the story of Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) wiping the feet of Jesus with her hair and a pound of costly ointment. The extravagance of the act is bound together with the sheer simplicity of the event.  It is worth regularly reminding ourselves of the great and profound simplicity of the actions of a God who chose to live with us and die for us, and that our response need be no more complicated than to ask ‘that I may love thee more and more / until I see thee as thou art’. You can listen to this extraordinarily beautiful anthem (with your speakers turned up!) by clicking here.
Look out for more music from me tomorrow...

With love,
Simon
 
Our Lady, S.Pancras and all the Saints Pray For Us
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