Music and Prose
Music can be used to express what we hear whether poetry or prose. After hearing a reading if we then listen to a piece of appropriate music we may find that it helps us to open up to the deeper meaning of what we have heard and by so doing to enter those deeper places within ourselves where we may encounter the living God.
THEME: JOY AND PRAISE
Reflection: Lord, we bless you for our creation.
Music: 1st movement from Symphony No. 6 - Beethoven (5 - 1O minutes).
Short silence (2 - 3 minutes).
The morning rose, in memorable pomp,
Glorious as e'er I had beheld - in front,
The sea lay laughing at a distance; near,
The solid mountains shone, bright as the clouds,
Grain-tinctured, drenched in empyrean light;
And in the meadows and the lower grounds
Was all the sweetness of a common dawn -
Dews, vapours, and the melody of birds,
And labourers going forth to till the fields.
(William Wordsworth, quoted in From Darkness to Light, ed. Victor Gollancz 1956)
Music: For the beauty of the earth - John Rutter (3 minutes)
Short Silence (2 - 3 minutes).
JOY AND PRAISE IN THE USE OF OUR TALENTS
Reading: 'Charles' by Leonard Clark
He was born blind with the snow on a winter's day;
The moon blank as marble stared at him from the full,
But his mother wept to see the vacant rolling of his eyes;
His father dared not look and despairingly turned away
When hands like feelers fumbled in space to pull
Fingers and lips to upturned face to recognize.
Growing older he sat in the dark learning voices by heart,
Carried on conversations with birds singing in summer trees,
Heard brooks changing their sound at flood time, the angled dart
Of dazzled bats diving through twilight air.
But music played by wandering band or organ at the fair
Moved him to tears and fingers to invisible keys
So that at twenty-five he began to drown the village church
With ceaseless tides of Handel, Bach and Mendelssohn,
And magnified the Lord for seven-and-thirty years,
With egg-shaped head he sat upright upon his perch
Praying on flute we might depart in peace
Triumphant came from Egypt on the bombardon,
Made thunderstorms at will, stars race like charioteers,
Captivity to turn, the harvest to increase;
He brought sweet healing to the troubled mind,
Fearlessly opened the eyes of the blind.
Music: 'How lovely are thy dwellings' from German Requiem, Brahms. (5 minutes).
Short Silence (2 - 3 minutes).
Magnificent weather. The morning seems bathed in happy peace, and a heavenly fragrance rises from mountain and shore; it is as though a benediction were laid upon us... One might believe oneself in a church - a vast temple in which every being and every natural beauty has its place. I dare not breathe for fear of putting the dream to flight – a dream traversed by angels...
In these heavenly moments the cry of Pauline rises to one's lips. 'I feel! I believe! I see!' All the miseries, the cares, the vexations of life, are forgotten; the universal joy absorbs us; we enter into the divine order, and into the blessedness of the Lord. Labour and tears, sin, pain, and death have passed away. To exist is to bless; life is happiness. In this sublime pause of things all dissonances have disappeared. It is as though creation were but one vast symphony, glorifying the God of goodness with an inexhaustible wealth of praise and harmony. We question no longer whether it is so or not. We have ourselves become notes in the great concert; and the soul breaks the silence of ecstasy only to vibrate in unison with the eternal joy.
(Henri_Frédéric Amiel 1821-81, quoted in From Darkness to Light)
Music: Finale from Symphony No. 6, Beethoven (5-1O minutes).