Music to End the Day Sunday, 22 November 2020
Good evening, friends.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King, the climax of the church’s liturgical year.
Next week we begin a ‘new year’ as we enter the season of Advent.
The Kingship of Christ is powerfully represented in the image of Jesus hanging from the Cross on Good Friday.
In the words of St Luke:
One of the robbers crucified with the Saviour cried out: ‘Jesus remember me, when you come into your kingdom’ Jesus replied, ’In truth I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
We begin our music to end the day with the beautiful Taizé setting of the robber’s plea. In this version the recurring chant mingles with a paraphrase of the twenty-third psalm:
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives repose.
By restful waters he leads me, revives my drooping soul,
guides me on the right path, true to his name.
My head you have anointed, my cup overflows,
and goodness and kindness shall follow all my days
Four months ago, during the first lockdown, the visionary Italian film composer Ennio Morricone died at the age of 91. You may remember that I responded with a piano solo version of his ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’, the theme tune from the 1986 film ‘The Mission’; it was the prelude to our online Morning Service on Sunday, 19 July 2020.
As one of a number of lockdown musical projects, my trumpeter colleague, John Macdomnic and I got together to record a trumpet and piano version of Morricone’s famous theme. Or to be precise, we didn’t ‘get together’. I recorded the accompaniment at Cornerstone, then John skilfully ‘overlaid’ the trumpet part (with elements of spontaneous improvisation) from his home in Harrow! Technical wizardry (mainly John’s) produced a final product which, I hope you agree, has the integrity and feel of a performance together in the same space.
Just to remind you of the context: Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) travels to the Iquazo Falls, climbs to the top and plays his oboe. The Guarani community who live above the Falls had previously tied a priest to a cross and sent him over the falls to his death, but the Guarani warriors are captivated by the music and allow Gabriel to live.
Heavenly Father, may we find inspiration in beautiful music to draw us ever closer to your Kingdom.