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23.3.08

Easter Wishes 2008

Ionarts at Large will be writing from New York City for the next couple days, with some reviews from the Metropolitan Opera. Enjoy the holiday!

El Greco, The Resurrection, 1596-1600, Museo del Prado, MadridThis is a brief excerpt of the Troparia for the Lumen Christi, which we sing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in a plainchant setting by Leo Nestor, every year at the Easter Vigil as the paschal candle is brought into the darkened church. The texts are translations of 2nd-century writings by Melito of Sardis and Clement of Alexandria:

Born as a son, led like a lamb,
Sacrificed like a sheep, buried as a man,
He rises from the dead as God,
Being by nature both God and man.

He is the judge of all things:
When he judges, he is law; when he teaches, word;
When he saves, grace; when he begets, father;
When he is begotten, son; when he suffers, lamb;
When he is buried, man; when he rises, God.

Come, then, all you races of humankind, whom sin has saturated,
And receive the forgiveness of sin.
For it is I who am your forgiveness; I, the saving pasch;
I, the lamb, sacrificed for you; I, your purification; I, your life;
I, your resurrection; I, your light; I, your salvation; I, your king!
It is I who bring you to the heights of heaven:
It is I who shall raise you up here on earth.
I will show you the eternal father, I will raise you with my right hand.
These remarkable texts lead into the proclamation of the Easter Exultet, the ancient chant that was intoned in the Middle Ages from ornately decorated scrolls. When I hear this music, only then do I know it's Easter.

Best wishes for joy in the Easter season!

Image:
The Resurrection (1596-1600) by El Greco, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid

2 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Charles, thanks for calling me over to see the magnificent El Greco. I love his paintings. I believe he was way ahead of his time, not at all like his contemporaries in his later paintings and even prefiguring 19th and 20th century painters.

The words of the old texts are lovely.

At this moment, I am writing about "Lucia" at the Met. I am not knowledgeable about music, and I will probably make a poor job of it, but a few of my loyal readers want to know. Mine will not be a music review, simply my impression, an amateur production all the way.

Charles T. Downey said...

Thanks for reading! For anyone interested, the piece on Lucia is at Wounded Bird, which has just been added to my burgeoning blog reading.