Normally, I would be singing every weekend in Lent – sometimes more than once! – and all the way through Holy Week. By the end of Good Friday, I am absolutely exhausted, and I conclude my penitential celebrations (?) with fish and chips and a viewing of Jesus Christ Superstar.
But this year, all the churches I sing at have closed down, to help protect communities from the spread of the virus. It’s the right decision, but it makes me sad nonetheless. I find it hard to even conceptualise Lent and Easter without music. Singing is so intrinsically linked to my experience of faith, and Lent has always been the easiest part of the church year to connect to, for me. It is the time when we are reminded what it meant for God to become fully human, experiencing the world as we experience it, in solidarity with us. I find it comforting to know that God felt hunger, sickness, sadness, grief, betrayal, and death – but also generosity, community, faithfulness, joy, good food, the satisfaction of using one’s body in work or exercise or singing – the things that make life worth living. And right now, it feels particularly important to know that God is with us.
Sorry, that got very preachy.
Anyway, I can’t do without Lent, and I can’t do Lent without music. So each day from now until Easter, I’m going to post some music for the day. Where possible, I’ll match the Sunday music to the Revised Common Lectionary. On weekdays, I might use the Anglican lectionary, but honestly, I’ll probably just try to sneak in my favourite bits of Lenten music that I am missing this year regardless of what the lectionary is up to. In other words, expect much gratuitous Baroque and early music, because that’s how I roll. For the Sundays and the big services in Holy Week, I will also add a hymn or two that you might want to sing along to.
I hope you enjoy the music here, and that wherever you are, you are staying safe and well.
- Sunday, March 22 – 4th Sunday in Lent: Psalm 23 / The Lord is my Shepherd (J.S. Bach, Howells, Schubert, Handel)
- Monday, March 23 – O Lord, thou hast made my days (Gibbons)
- Tuesday, March 24 – Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (J.S. Bach)
- Wednesday, March 25 – God so loved the world (Stainer)
- Thursday, March 26 – Ach, Arme Welt (Brahms)
- Friday, March 27 – Legend (Tchaikovsky)
- Saturday, March 28 – When David Heard that Absolom was Slain (Tomkins)
- Sunday, March 29 – 5th Sunday in Lent: Dry Bones, De Profundis, and the Trumpet shall Sound (Waring, Morley, Tallis, Rutter, Handel)
- Monday, March 30 – The Ways of Zion do Mourn (Wise)
- Tuesday, March 31 – Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of our Hearts (Purcell)
- Wednesday, April 1 – By the Waters of Babylon (Taylor-Coleridge)
- Thursday, April 2 – Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
- Friday, April 3 – O Vos Omnes (Victoria)
- Saturday, April 4 – Miserere Nobis (Allegri)
- Sunday, April 5 (Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday) – The Children of the Hebrews, Hosanna to the Son of David, Johannespassion, Jesus in Gethsemane (Gibbons, J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach)
- Monday, April 6 – Ich will Dir mein Herze schenken (J.S. Bach)
- Tuesday, April 7 – Ihr Töchter Zions (Mendelssohn)
- Wednesday, April 8 – Leçons de Ténèbres (Couperin)
- Thursday, April 9 (Maundy Thursday) – Ubi Caritas, O Sacrum Convivium, Pange Lingua, Abendlied (Duruflé, Messiaen, Rheinberger)
- Friday, April 10 (Good Friday) – He Was Despised and Rejected, Erbarme Dich, Christus Factus Est Obediens, The Good Friday Reproaches (G.F. Handel, J.S. Bach, Gouzes, Bruckner, Victoria)
- Saturday, April 11 (Holy Saturday) – I know that my Redeemer lives (J.M. Bach)
- Sunday, April 12 (Easter Sunday) – Exsultet, Alleluia, Hallelujah Chorus, Now the Green Blade Riseth, O Sons and Daughters, Christ the Lord is Risen Again, This Joyful Eastertide, and more (Mozart, Handel, Rutter, and lots of Trad. / Anon!)