Music for a Quiet Lent: Sunday, April 12 – Easter Sunday

Alleluia! He is risen!

I can’t give you darkness and candles being lit one by one to light the darkness, but I did find a lovely version of the Exsultet online. It’s a little more elaborate than the ones I’ve heard in actual services, but it’s beautifully done.

For a good Easter Alleluia, it’s hard to go past Mozart, especially when sung by the gorgeous Diana Damrau.

But if that isn’t enough Alleluias for you, perhaps some Handel will do the trick?

With the official Easter business out of the way (!), let’s get straight on to the Easter carols and hymns. I’m going to start with perhaps my favourite Easter Carol, Now the Green Blade Riseth. I love everything about this – the lovely French medieval tune, the gorgeous harmonies, and the lyrics are just wonderful.

Another Easter Anthem I love for its lyrics and medieval sound is O Sons and Daughters. The trick was finding the right version of this – the version I sing at the Catholic churches is subtly different to the Protestant one, and I prefer the lyrics and tune of the latter, mostly because it has Doubting Thomas in it. I’ve always loved Thomas’s story, because faith isn’t always easy, and I love that Jesus accepts that and gives Thomas the evidence he needs to believe. Alas, nobody seems to have recorded that version, so you will have to make do with the lyrics here, and listen to this slightly abridged (but beautifully-sung) version below.

On a brisker note, I am not a major Rutter fan, but this one is pretty good fun.

And this is just a lovely Easter carol, which you can find in Together in Song, if you are in the mood to sing along…

Speaking of singing along, let’s have some proper Easter hymns to sing along to.

The first and most necessary choice is of course Christ the Lord is Ris’n Today. I found a ridiculously elaborate version here, complete with brass and with small children forming a handbell ensemble, and it honestly fills me with joy, but it also feels like a bit too much. And then I found this slightly hilarious pop version with electric guitar which feels like… something, but is again, not quite what I’m looking for. I’m linking to both of these because they really are delightful in their various and strange ways. But for singing along, I prefer to be a bit more traditional. Lyrics here – though I’m not 100% sure they are the ones being sung by this choir…

I’ve always loved the melody of this next one, especially the Alleluias (and why should the choir and the soloists get all the alleluias, and the congregation none?). This is a very good recording from one of my favourite cathedrals, but really, I encourage you to sing along (you can find the lyrics here), because this one is just good fun to sing.

Pretty much every Easter service I sing at ends with this glorious hymn by Handel – though I’ve not heard this descant before. However, I am absolutely and utterly for big descants at Easter, especially if this is what we are going out on. You can find the lyrics here.

Wishing you a happy Easter – I hope you are able to celebrate it in a way that is meaningful and joyful to you, despite the difficult times we are in.

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