There could be no better place, musically, to start on Easter morning than with Henry Wood’s triumphant setting of This joyful Eastertide. In word and song, we hear told the action of the one who descended to the dead in order to crush the sting of sin. There is no need to be afraid: our baptism into Christ, and into the life of the Church, has inaugurated us into this new life that is without end, this life and love that will not let us go. It is worth reading verse three in full:
Death’s flood hath lost his chill,
since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver.
Musically, the refrain provides an ecstatic realisation of this vision. Its repetition of the word ‘arisen’ by an ascending sequence, finally reaching the highest note after what feels like an age (!), seals the great image of the one who has passed from death to life. You can listen to it by clicking here
There is, perhaps, no greater moment in the musical life of the Church year than those opening chords introducing Jesus Christ is risen today. One gets the powerful sense of the whole Church participating in this, our ‘triumphal day’. You can listen to this, in a brilliantly colourful and brass-heavy recording, click here to listen. You wouldn’t even get that at St Pancras on Easter Day!
No Easter Day in our churches would be complete without the Maria Consolata at the end of Mass. Our Blessed Lady, whose heart had been pierced as she stood at the foot of the cross, now greets her son in his resurrection glory. She, too, now knows the meaning of ‘noli timere’ - ‘do not be afraid’ - and as we greet her, so we rejoice with her in promises kept and prayers answered.
Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven, alleluia.
He whom thou wast meet to bear, alleluia.
As he promised, hath arisen, alleluia.
Pour for us to God thy prayer, alleluia.
I’ve not been able to find a decent recording of this, but you’ve got the words and you know the tune, so I’ll send you out with an organ voluntary instead click here to listen.
It has been a real joy and privilege to travel with you in word and song this week. Turn up those speakers, keep singing, and keep the faith!
With love on Easter Day,